The Cricket, p.1William Colton
By William Colton
Copyright 2016 William Colton
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Garden
Chapter 2: The Fillmore
Chapter 3: The Shortcut
Chapter 4: The Studio
Chapter 5: The Bowl
Chapter 6: Reconciling
About William Colton
Thank you to Uncharee Miller, Sally Ou, Steven Fisher and Kathy Easterling for their help in editing The Cricket. Good editors help us remove the ‘kick me’ sign from our backs.
For my girls
“When the impossibility of replacing an individual is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and continuance to appear in all its magnitude.” ---Victor Fankl
Chapter 1: The Garden
Grandpa Bishara crouched in a roof-top garden, harvesting sweet potatoes with one hand while blocking out the sun with the other, straining to see his nine-year-old grandson Jacob sitting at a nearby table. There was a big glass of lemonade on the table where Jacob played with his action figures. But throwing his hero Captain America doll in the air, watching him crash down on Red Skull, Captain America’s arch enemy was getting tiresome.
“I'm bored, Grandpa,” Jacob announced.
“Why do you think you're bored, Jacob?”
“Well, if I knew that I wouldn't be bored.” But Jacob thought the real reason he was bored was because his grandpa was boring and always doing boring stuff. Where was the fun in gardening under a hot sun? Also, Grandpa didn't have any video games, no smart phone, nor did he even have cable TV. Jacob wondered if that was even legal.
“I think you spend too much time gardening.”
“Jacob, the most beautiful bay in the world is right in front of you next to one of the world's most famous cities. Few in the world get to see such views even once in a lifetime.”
Jacob pulled his t-shirt up to expose his sucked-in stomach, his mind already switching to a more important matter. “Grandpa, I’m hungry.”
Grandpa dropped a knapsack full of sweet potatoes into a large box. The sound bounced off a retaining wall and echoed across the garden like the rapid kick of a base drum.
“Be patient, I have to get these sweet potatoes pulled before the sun bakes the ground.”
“Just hose it down.”
“If I did that, then I'd have a muddy mess.”
A mischievous smile grew on Jacob's face and his eyes opened wider. “I'd like that, Grandpa!”
Grandpa laughed and thought to himself that his grandson was getting older and needed more adventure. He just wondered if he had the strength to keep up with him.
Jacob heard a ship's horn in the distance and sat up a little higher in his chair so he could see over the wall that surrounded the roof–top garden. He breathed in the fresher air and took in the wide expanse of the San Francisco Bay. His eyes rested not on the Golden Gate Bridge, but on the small island in the middle of the Bay, Alcatraz. Jacob fondly recalled sitting with his grandpa to watch “The Rock”, a DVD about the only successful escape from Alcatraz prison. He was still surprised that his grandpa had let him watch the movie and he wondered to himself if any of the men that escaped from Alcatraz were still alive.
“There’s still fog around the Rock, Grandpa.”
Grandpa shot his precocious grandson a wink. Jacob knew such winks were a kind of code between them that imparted secret information. Jacob searched his memory and quickly realized that grandpa was reminding him that watching the movie “The Rock”, which was rated for adults, was a secret between his grandpa and himself.
Grandpa wiped the sweat from his brow. “I wish some of that fog was over here right now.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Jacob suddenly noticed a cricket sitting on a shaded leg of the patio table. He cornered the cricket and then trapped it between his forefinger and thumb. “Gotcha. Look, Grandpa, I caught a cricket!”
Grandpa absently looked up with a smile and then continued on with his task. “That's nice, Jacob.”
Jacob brought the cricket in for a closer look. He marveled at how similar the cricket’s facial outline resembled his action figure Red Skull’s skeletal body. Seeing an opening to ending his boredom, he grabbed a small shovel resting on the table. He pressed the cricket to the table.
“Grandpa!” he shouted with pride. Jacob liked to share important moments with his grandpa. He then raised his other hand holding the shovel. “I will save humanity by killing the evil Cricket Man!” said Jacob with gradual ascending volume.
Grandpa looked up, but before he could say a word, Jacob severed the cricket’s head off with a single blow of the shovel and said in a loud voice, “Take that, Cricket Man!”
Grandpa immediately stood up and looked disappointed. “Why did you kill that cricket, Jacob?”
Jacob stood his ground but was surprised at his grandpa’s admonishment. “What? I...” Jacob struggled to find his words. “Grandpa, it’s just a cricket!”
Feeling perplexed on how to respond to Jacob's explanation, Grandpa pointed toward the house and said in a drawn-out low voice, “Get cleaned up for lunch!”
Grandpa watched his grandson walk away and then looked down at the ground for a moment deep in thought. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone and started dialing.
A little while later, Jacob was sitting at the kitchen table, eating his lunch and thinking about the run-in with his grandpa. He didn't see what all the fuss was about. “Crime spree continues, boy kills cricket, News at 11!” Jacob imagined seeing on TV and smiled to himself approvingly. He then shook his head and thought that Grandpa was just old and had made a big deal about nothing. Instead, Jacob focused on more important matters, like what was in front of him. His sandwich.
A short time later, Grandpa appeared from the hallway wearing a big smile. “How’s that ham sandwich?”
“Tasty. It's my favorite.”
“Good, good.” Grandpa pulled up a chair, spun it around, and straddled it across from Jacob. “I have a nice surprise for you.”
A glob of Jacob's sandwich tumbled down his chin past his stomach and out of sight. “What? Tell me Grandpa! What is it?”
“Today we will not be going to the park. We will be taking a little field trip instead.”
Jacob's enthusiasm was guarded. “Where to, Grandpa?”
“My old friend Yumiko has a pottery studio in Japantown. Today she will give us a demonstration of pottery making and a tour of her studio.”
Jacob swallowed his last bite of sandwich and quickly followed up with two gulps of milk. “Okay, Grandpa.” He wondered how interesting a trip to a pottery studio would be. But he decided it would be better than watching his grandpa work in the garden. He then proceeded with a long-drawn-out belch.
“I'll give that a score of...” Grandpa paused and furled his brow, “Eight.”
They both laughed. Jacob felt the disagreement about the cricket was over and that was good.
The Cricket by William Colton / History & Fiction have rating 2.6 out of 5 / Based on37 votes