Omigod, he was doing that thing where you visit with someone through your computer.
“I like when you stroke it that way,” he said to someone on the other end. I couldn’t see who, and C.W. couldn’t see me. I had stepped into room at an angle to him and he hadn’t noticed me. He was concentrating too hard.
I stood perfectly still.
C.W. and I had watched one of our favorite films the night before, My Favorite Year, with Perter O’Toole. That’s who talked into my computer now. At least it was he the way C.W. remembered him from the movie.
“Oh,” he said, still speaking to the screen, “that’s it. That makes it nice and warm. Heat helps.”
I stayed frozen. He was wearing my earphones so I couldn’t hear what the other person said.
“Next, I’d put my right finger up a bit,” he said. “Yes, right there. Oooh, that does the job, right?”
I thought maybe I’d better wait and get all the facts.
“I can’t find fault at all with that move.” He laughed.
Maybe I should take notes for the confrontation to come.
“Ah, that’s going to leave it looking proud, standing there.”
I strained forward a bit. The person on the other end said something and C.W. nodded.
“Just a few strokes more and we’ll finish with a flourish and a flash.”
Oh dear. Why interrupt him now?
“Wow,” he said, “you keep doing that and the boys will want you to go pro.”
“I love it,” he said. “I really love it. Rub it right there. That’s it. You may have to give that one place a little lick again.”
Should I be recording this?
“My, my,” he said. “You keep going this way and we’re going to create a masterpiece. See what a little guidance and experience will do for you?”
I took a deep breath. I strained slightly toward him to see better. We’ll have a long talk about this later. At that point, I was curious to hear what he would say next.
He smiled, winked, and almost purred into the screen. He made a rubbing motion, as if in encouragement. “That’s the way. Good child. Really good. The fathers would really be shocked if they could see you." He added, “Let’s not tell anyone about this, okay?”
“Fathers?” That sounded strange. Not as strange, though, as what I heard him say next.
“Are you really just fourteen?”
Yikes! That was it. I yelled across the room, “C.W. what the hell are you doing?”
He looked up at me, quite surprised as you might imagine. “Oh hi, Big Dope. This doesn’t concern you.”
“Like hell, it doesn’t.” I stormed across the room to get at the computer screen.
C.W. put up a hand to stop me. “Stop, you’ll frighten the child.”
I slapped his hand away and spun the screen toward me,
“What did I tell you?” he said.
There, on the screen, was a young boy’s face masked in pure terror. He was sitting behind a table and on it, in front of him, was a large silver serving tray, a bottle of polish, and several rags. One was still in his hand.
“What the … ?”
“It’s only my planetary host, Robbie,” C.W. said into the screen. “He’s to me what Fenderhead is to your family, only not, as you can see, as sophisticated.” He turned to me. “See what you’ve done?”
“One of his dads is a Navy veteran and couldn’t pronounce Falloonian names.” He turned to the screen. “Don’t worry, we’ll get it finished before they all get back.”
I was still trying to catch my breath. “What … ?” was all I could get out.
“Thanks for spoiling a nice plan,” C.W. said. “Robbie was going to surprise his parents by polishing some silverware for their anniversary party. They’ve all gone to Little Rock to get a cake.”
“Ed and Donnie.”
“Their third. Thanks for interfering.”
“That’s the oddest thing I’ve ever had to try and understand. I’m just old-fashioned, I guess.”
“Oh dear Big Dope, “ he said, and it was Peter O’Toole talking now. “Where have you been? (He pronounced it as ‘be’” with an added ‘n’). Robbie here is Ed’s child but they both became his parents three years ago. Their marriage is quite legal now. You’ll just have to try and live with the concept.”
“Oh no, “I said. “That’s not what I was talking about at all.”
“What on Earth could it have been? Did you misinterpret our conversation perhaps?”
“No. Well, maybe a little at first,” I lied.
“Then what troubles your heart so?”
|What's Big Dope's problem? - C.W.|
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