Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chapter 9: Figurehead

Days have passed with the trench half dug, a narrow gash in the frozen lawn stopping just short of the Mound. The black pipe/hose is showing no signs of giving up down there, shooting forth from the back porch towards the shed. The project is on hold until Dave is able to get the Bobcat out there. He's been forbidden to dig by hand again. Here's why:
The night we started digging Dave threw his back out in a glorious display, casting his shovel far from his side and stabbing his left arm into the air. "ERGHH!" he grunted, clutching his lower back with his right hand, his face a frozen Maalox moment. He stayed like that for twenty or thirty seconds until we noticed the sound of digging had stopped and I swung my childhat around to spotlight him. "Dad!" shouted Jungleboy, toppling us over in a frantic dismount. Strangely enough, the helmeted boy ran directly for the shovel. I, on the other hand, moved cautiously towards Dave, who was beginning to remind me of one of those frightful Human Statues that plague me in every major city. I wondered aloud if it was a heart attack and he was so annoyed at the inference that he broke the pose and gasped, "Threw out... my back.... Shmavvy... get the wheelbarrow... from the shed..."
Jungleboy was in the shed already storing the shovel dutifully when Dave spit out the command. Within a few seconds he was wobbling the wheelbarrow towards us with his miner's helmet casting maniacal shadows on its contents. I held Dave upright with my nose dangerously close to his armpit.
The twenty minute trek to his front door was utterly cinematic. Like most of the goings on here as of late, it was hard to believe we weren't being filmed for a Wes Anderson picture. It was impossible for me to push him up the dirt/gravel hill in that thing, so Dave got out and crawled alongside it until we hit the driveway. Then he clamored back in and shouted at Jungleboy to light our way. Drawing inspiration from Norse legend, JB felt the best way for him to illuminate the path was to prop himself up on the front lip of the wheelbarrow, planting his filthy rain boots between Dave's splayed legs.
Probably weighing the aesthetic value of this perch against my personal discomfort, Dave not only agreed with this positioning, but actually supported him with one knee. But once supported, indie-Jungleboy angrily jumped down, stumbling and rolling towards the busy road to our right. Dave cursed him out between grunts and moans, upsetting the delicate balance I was attempting to move forward within. Road safety has always been his biggest battle, ever since he saw his son's face bathed in blood, screaming and strapped in to his car seat in their suddenly totaled Volvo ten feet out of their blind driveway. In retaliation, JungleB angrily resumed his totem-post on the bow of the wheelbarrow, slapping away Dave's helping hands. We hit a rock, Dave caught him with the knee, and down he went again, angry at the persistence of Dave's "training wheel." This thumbwrestling of wills played out three times while we traversed the hundred feet between our houses, until our jolty parade was finally parked at their front door.

And when she opened the door, bowl of popcorn in one hand, hairbrush in another, and no trace of surprise on her face, Lori actually said, "Again?"


Christine said...

the impossibility of identifying whether jungleboy is experiencing great pleasure or great pain is just one of the things that make him so amazing.

Jess said...

Hilarious! When is the world going to find out about your many talents?