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After forever, p.14
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       After Forever, p.14

           Krystal George
 
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CHAPTER 7

  He saw Aunt Louise walking down the road. He stopped next to her.

  “Aunt Louise? Where are you going?”

  “Into town.”

  He shrugged. “Why not take dad’s car?”

  “Harrumph. Too nice a day. Thought I’d walk.”

  “Okay. See you later.”

  He rode away, but she called to him. “Have you seen my boys?”

  “No ma’am. I finished my job and was coming straight home.”

  “Make sure you do that. And do the laundry.” She turned around.

  He shook his head. “Laundry again? How do they dirty so many clothes?”

  As he turned into the driveway, Bottles decided he’d better lock his bike away every time he was home. He realized if his cousins were grounded, the bike would be the first thing they’d come after.

  He wheeled the bike down the steps and closed the hatch door. He ran inside to the cellar. Locking the hatch door from the inside, he hid his money, tossed in a load of laundry and went upstairs to shower. He figured he had roughly half an hour before they’d return, providing the chief let them out.

  When he was finished, he looked in the fridge. His aunt had made a roast, but Bottles knew better than to eat any of it. Instead, he made a boloney sandwich and headed to the cellar. After swapping the load of laundry, he went back upstairs with a book and sat on the porch.

  Sure enough, the red ’57 Chevy pulled into the driveway. Aunt Louise did not look happy. Neither did his cousins.

  Stomping up the porch steps, Aunt Louise stopped long enough to tell him to put that book away and that supper would be ready in fifteen minutes. Then she turned to her boys and ordered them inside.

  During dinner, someone knocked at the door. Bottles opened it.

  “Mr. Myers? Come in.”

  When Louise saw it was a man, she ran her fingers in her hair, pinched her cheeks, and shifted her breasts for maximum exposure.

  “Who is it, Ralphie?” she screeched.

  “It’s Mr. Myers from the hardware store.”

  “How nice of you to visit.” She placed a hand on her hip and practically shoved her bosom in his face.

  He stepped back. “Actually, I came to ask Bot--, I mean Ralph, if he would help me tomorrow.”

  “Oh,” she screeched again, “Is this about his job?”

  “No, ma’am. I was just wondering if he could help me carry a few boxes.”

  “Sure I can, Mr. Myers. Be glad to.”

  “Thanks. Oh,” he reached into his jacket pocket. “I also wondered if you and a couple wall rats would like a few tickets to the first playoff game against the Madison Muskrats tomorrow at five o’clock.”

  Bottles eyes lit up, just before Louse reached over and snatched them from the man’s hand.

  “How very kind of you.” She counted them. “There’s only three.”

  “That’s all I could get.”

  “Well the boys and I thank you.”

  Bottles’ eyes teared. “What about me?”

  “What about you, Ralphie?” Jimmy sneered.

  “Don’t worry, son. I’ll try to get another one, for you .”

  “Thank you, sir. What time did you need me tomorrow?”

  “Can you be at the store by four o’clock?”

  He nodded.

  Mr. Myers turned. “Enjoy the game tomorrow. Be sure to keep your tickets stubs,” he added. “There’s going to be prizes. Free hotdogs, too. Be sure to be there early.

  Bottles watched Bernie pull out, then ran inside. “Why do you want the tickets? You don’t even like baseball.”

  “So?” The three of them laughed at the boy. “Free food and prizes. And Ralphie? After you finish helping that man carry the boxes, you come straight home. I’ll have some chores for you.

  He glared at them and ran to the cellar.
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