Every single day for three years straight Mr. Campbell has taken a nap on his back porch. At precisely 2:25 every day, he saunters out to the screened in porch, plops himself into his wooden rocking chair, and as he gazes into the woods that expands off the back of his yard he dozes off. Here’s the not so typical eighty-year-old man aspect to the nap; there is a strategy behind it. And the ultimate goal of this strategy is to avoid the young boy who lives nextdoor, Charlie. The nine year old boy in the fifth grade, is dropped off everyday at approximately 2:45 right in front of Mr. Campbell’s house.
Charlie and Mr. Campbell have an interesting relationship. Mr. Campbell has a passion for gardening and landscaping, and after the sudden death of his wife four years ago that is just about one of the only things he does with his time, besides his daily nap that is. Jeff does not mean to but like the average rambunctious nine year old, he cause a lot of trouble.
There was a terrible incident over the summer with Charlie’s slip and slide. All of the run off water washed under the fence separating the two yards and wiped out all of the rhododendron plants that lined the side of Mr. Campbell’s house. Now any anything else would not have angered Mr. Campbell to such great lengths but this was different. These were Mrs. Campbell’s rhododendrons, one of the last traces of her unrivaled green thumb, and one of Mr. Campbell’s last talismans. Charlie had destroyed Mrs. Campbell’s favorite birdbath in the first month that he lived in the neighborhood. So Mr. Campbell put up the fence that fall to keep further incidents from happening. But that spring Charlie drove the lawn mower right through the fence that separated their two yards and it was an entire month before it was fixed. In that one month Charlie caused more damage than ever. He painted Mr. Campbell’s cat, NEED MORE THINGS HELP SUGGESTIONS??
Ever since Charlie moved in Mr. Campbell’s life has been nothing but cleaning up, fixing, and replanting everything. Now Charlie had apologized for all of these incidents but Mr. Campbell did not care. If he was really truly sorry, he would have stayed away from Mr. Campbell’s yard, and that was that.
So like any other day Mr. Campbell retired to his rocking chair and rocked himself to sleep. And just moments after his eyes were heavy and dreaming, the school bus screeched to a stop on the other side of the house.
“Batting practice before it gets dark out?” Jeff clambered off the bus accompanied by his friend Charlie, who lived on the next street and the two boys made their way to Jeff’s house. Jeff’s mom worked at the nursing home until five so it would be a while before she would be home to hound him to do his homework. Besides tryouts for the school team started soon, and their chances looked good but every chance to practice was not wasted. Charlie ran home to get his glove and Jeff went out back with his glove and picked up his bat and ball on the way out.
Charlie would be a few more minutes so Jeff decided to start anyway. He positioned himself facing the woods directly behind his house, threw the ball up, and swung with all his might. Strike. He picked the ball up and had another go at it. The second he felt the bat through his fingers contact with the ball he knew things were not going to end well.
In disbelief and wishing he could simply rewind and undo, he watched, jaw dropped as the ball flew way too far left to land anywhere good. Seconds later the sounds of shattered glass filled Jeff’s ears and panic set in. Seconds after that Charlie entered the yard.
“What the heck was that?”
Jeff could not even put together sounds to create words and stammered out something along the lines of “Oh no.” Charlie surveyed the scene, the bat in Jeff’s hand, no ball, Mr. Campbell’s broken window. “Dude we’ve got to get over there and get you’re ball back! No one can know it was you!”
The two boys rushed to the fence to make sure the shatter had not woken Mr. Campbell. Luckily he still sat still as a stump in his rocking chair. They made their way around the fence and decided it would be easier to go right through the front door. They opened the front door and quietly crept up the stairs. Unsure where the room with the broken window was the boys split up in order to get out of there as fast as possible.
Jeff entered the 2nd room to left of the stairs which was clearly the bathroom he knew he was in the right place. The cool evening breeze swept over him like a wave of guilt as he laid eyes on the baseball lying just in front of his feet.
Stay tuned ladies and gentlemen