He’s back. If you haven’t followed George from the beginning of his adventure, feel free to seek out his stories by scrolling down to the “Be a Seeker” box on the right side and typing in “George Mowgli.” You can also start from the very beginning by clicking here.
Her cackle from some location below elicits an involuntarily response, pushing the left side of his nose and mouth into a sneer. “No doubt she’s turned on the stupid box and is laughing at some brain-sucking sitcom. She’ll probably find it imperative to try and repeat the scene to me later. Won’t matter if I’m engrossed in a good book or napping.” He pulls his face out of the sneer as if putting a long abandoned piece of laundry back in its drawer. Matter-of-fact. No point letting more bitterness creep in.
In about three hours, Micah will either shut himself in the garage (AKA his workshop), or he’ll change into something similar to what he’s already wearing and head to his idea of a night out. Thirty-eight years old and he’s still playing Dungeons and Dragons with kids ten or fifteen years younger than him. Such a disappointment.
The moccasins that are his house shoes await him somewhere in the darkness above. He should have put them on when he came down for breakfast this morning, he knows that now. The climbing, always the climbing up and down, it was all he could think about after his morning ablutions. “Is this what athletes go through before every game,” he wonders, “or maybe soldiers before a battle? Knowing they’ve done it many times before, but worried they might just be all tapped out?” Another step … and then another … almost there.
George needs rest before continuing his perilous journey into the recesses of his mind. He is taking a brief hiatus while his writer attempts to create something from scratch for a mystery writing contest. He was a bit appalled at my thirst for competition, but when I mentioned I wasn’t 38 years old and still living at home his objections fell silent. I apologized for hitting below the belt, to which he replied he probably wouldn’t feel it anyway. I believe he has a much better sense of humor but I was careful to laugh politely out of respect.
In an effort to compromise, I allowed him to leave a forwarding address in case anyone wants to write him. You may address any comments or questions to him below and I will be happy to serve as his personal secretary until his return. You’ll also be happy to know that he guilt-tripped me into slapping up some poetry since it is National Poetry Writing Month. So feel free to stay tuned for some flow.
His palms are slippery. He turns his right hand over, barely recognizing the mottled exterior, the soft-skinned canvas of his lifelines loosely draped around the bones and swollen joints. Like ghosts in his mind, a false duet of memories and the present, he can still make out the muscles of his youth as he twitches his thumb. Days were when his calloused hands put in time at the lumber mill, returning home with nubby, dirt encrusted nails as evidence, scrapes and bruises the “war wounds” of their service.
A bar of Lava soap, wrapped in the dirty imprint of this or the other hand from those days, still convalesced on the shelf in the mudroom. He thinks about tossing it once in awhile. Recollections of the texture, the solace of that gritty lather under soothing warm water, prevent further consideration. Comforts of the past. He splays his fingers and turns the decrepit looking thing away from his view, wafting air along the sweaty underside as best he can. He dares not loose his grip on the railing yet.
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He’d wanted to name the baby, “George, Jr.” but Sarah whined it wouldn’t do. Not poetic enough. Not ear catching. What would the girls at work think? Looking back, he was certain she’d only agreed to have a baby because she wanted an excuse to stop working and stay at home. It was clear, once the mission was accomplished, she was ill-prepared and had as much motherly instincts as a harp seal. He’d watched one of those television documentaries on the creatures and experienced deja vu when he discovered the mothers abandon their defenseless babies vulnerable to predators, alone on the ice after only twelve days.
Now he knows what that must feel like. Hadn’t put two and two together back when she forgot Micah was playing on the sun porch and locked the door. Poor kid had nearly fainted of dehydration by the time she realized. From all accounts over the years, Micah could have been one of those poor little babies that baked to death in the back seat while his mother lollygagged at the mall. But for the strange ironic brew he’d come to accept where good things happened to bad people and bad people happened to good ones, Sarah would be seeking all manner of reporters and gullible ears to question “Why on Earth any legitimate legal system would put a poor mother behind bars for an innocent mistake that had taken her child from her bosom of love …” Her flair for drama and talent for overlooking reality was cemented in the fabric of his familiar. Try as George may, he can’t get the stain she leaves on his attitude to wash clean.
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