The Big Surprise chapter five

I noticed Bobby standing still, across the street. He looked at us as if he had been our director and observing our performance. Teddy nodded at him and Bobby nodded, also. I felt there was something hidden in the situation. I had no time to think strategically. I said, “Charles, you’re going to drive me to mother’s.”He shrugged. “What if I never take you there again?”

Teddy laughed. “I can move some of the tools around in the shed and make room for him. He won’t need to pay rent.”

Charles said, “He’ll have to go all the way down the hill and buy you liquor. Put him to use.”

“There’s a liquor store up here. Not very big but it has the major brands.” 

“He needs to do more than loaf around. Make him sweat.” 

I said, “I’m not staying with you! You’re taking me to my mom’s!”

Connie said, “You’re staying with me, Philip.”

I yelled, “Charles!”

He sighed. “Did you call me?” 

“You’re taking me to mom’s!”

“Is that a line from a pop song? You need to work on your phrasing.”

“I’m serious. I need to see her.”

“She won’t solve your problems.” 

“That may be so but I need to at least see her. I grew up with her and, regardless of what she did to my living situation, I feel I can have some sort of balance if we go there and I can discuss things with her.” 

He got up. “Okay. That’s fine. Come on.”

We walked to his car. There was no backseat. I tried again letting go of Connie and Mona. They stayed eerily quiet and calm, continuing to grip tight. I said, “Stop this! I’m leaving!” 

Connie said, “You’re not going without me.” 

Mona said, “You’re not going, period.”

Bobby walked to our side of the street. He approached us. “The reason I’m not having a panic attack is I feel warm and good knowing you are in a bind. If you were resolved in everything, I would have to put in some trouble. I don’t need to physically hold your hand, Philip. I’m not gay. Well, when it comes to you, I am but otherwise I like women even though I would never want to be with any because they repulse me. But my best friend, Mona, is holding on for both of us. I can get my thrill from seeing her entrap you. If it were not for her, I’d need to see you in a straight jacket or jail so I would be happy.” 

Mona said, “You had no idea I would do this. All these years, all you did was say how much you admired Philip. Why are you on his case, now?” 

“I’m not really on his case. I’m telling him what excites me so he knows how much I adore him.” 

Connie said, “I’m tired of both of you. I need you to let go, Mona.” 

She shook her head. “That will never happen.” 

Connie walked close to her and reached for her sweater by the beltline. Mona let go of my hand and stepped back. Connie laughed.

Mona said, “You almost ruined my life!” 

Bobby said, “I guess I need to hold his hand.” 

Mona grabbed him from behind in a hug. “You are through imitating me! You just want to touch him because I did!” She walked backwards, dragging him with her. Their faces changed expression, as if they were now fully feeling the effects of whatever drugs they had used earlier. Mona kept walking, holding Bobby in a bear hug across and up the street.

Charles smiled. “So, we are ready to see mommy?” 

I went in the passenger seat. Connie stuffed herself in with me, squeezing the pressure of her grip. She said, “I want to see mommy also.” 

Charles went in the driver’s seat. He smiled. “Are you comfy cozy?” 

I said, “No.”

He nodded. “That makes me feel good.”

Connie looked at me with love eyes. Either she had strong feelings for me or enjoying making the trip uncomfortable. 

Charles asked, “Would you like me to turn on the radio so this trip is more bearable?” 

I said, “Yes, please.” 

“Okay, I won’t.” He winked. 

As he drove, he had a smug expression on his face. I chose not to say anything. I would lose my temper altogether if I let the full extent of it get to me. The road was becoming less nice looking. The trees were getting fewer, replaced by dollar stores and gas stations. I was worried I might become ill. The town of Buchanan made me feel like it was a greasy plate of cheap food as opposed to Waterville which was organic produce. Now, since we were returning to the area I considered home, I could understand the possibility I made a mistake by returning. The full effect of something did not always show itself in advance.

When we arrived at mother’s house, I was still unsure if we were doing the right thing but I was ready for the wrong thing if that was all I could get. Connie got out of the car and pulled me out with her, almost yanking me as a way of using control. There would be conflict as to whether mother or Connie controlled me. Perhaps Charles was the real controller. Before we entered the house, I asked, “Did Charles really tell you to do this?” 

Connie sighed. “Damn it. No, he didn’t. I wanted to do this ever since Mona had talked about it in the fourth grade.” 

I was nervous. “You went to my school?” 

“I went by Patrice back then. Patrice is my middle name. My mom’s name is Connie, too. I was called Patrice to distinguish myself from her.” 

I thought for a moment and then remembered suddenly Patrice, a quiet but pretty girl who was among the shirt tucking kids back then. She might not have worn her sweater or sweat shirts tucked in like Mona but she frequently, if not always, tucked in her shirt. I remembered seeing her during recess. She was not in my class so I could not pay attention to her like I could with Mona, but I remembered thinking of her as my ideal. One day, back then, I glanced at her and she looked at me with eyes that penetrated me in the most strange way, as if she shook my hand through eye gazes. I turned my head away because I could not handle the intensity of her stare. Somehow, my nervousness made me stop looking at her, even though I wanted to do so. I assumed she would glue herself to me with her gaze if we continued looking at each other. I asked, “Did you and Mona talk about me?” 

“No. She told Sally Bennings. Sally said she was crazy so Mona didn’t do it. I was eating lunch at a bench close by and overheard them. I kept it to myself. I was finally able to make it happen, thanks to everything. I’m sure you’ll soon find out.”

“What do you mean?” 

Charles smiled. “Let’s see mommy.”

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