I guess, I had a lot of things to occupy my thoughts, otherwise I would have asked my friend before, what she had been up to. Maybe she wanted to be a mailman, and was trying to sell her wares, as it were, from door to door.
What with runaway dogs, and making money washing cars, it seemed like my life was filled up with enough things to do, in a not so ordinary summer, as summers go. It was, however, about to increase my workload even more, and it happened when my next door friend, suddenly turned up at my doorstep without any warning, whatsoever.
First there came a knock on the front door. Not an ordinary knock, nor an unusual knock. You know how it is, with having to have a “k” on the “knock” which made it all seem a bit silly, but then I didn’t invent this language, although I might have, if given the chance? Uh why did I start going down that road, what was I just thinking of?
I looked out of the door, wondering why the mailman decided to knock instead of just stuffing the mail through the slot in the door. Maybe it was time for the summer catalog, filled with smiling people in summer pastel colors, running and playing, having picnics and the like, while someone else had pasted a lot of prices underneath, showing the rest of us, what happiness really costed.
My mother liked to look at the catalogs when they arrived. She seemed to sigh more than usual, as if she had wanted something else out of life, than just being a housewife, married to a master of garage antics, and fix-it possibilities. She had stopped, long ago in trying to interest my father in the same pictures, waiting for his comments of, “Wow, look at those pants, or that dress would look good on you honey, not that you need any sprucing up, you still are as pretty as the day I married you, let’s take a weekend trip all alone, just you and me, like having another honeymoon”. He was more interested in seeing, if there were any new tools in the back of the magazine, then promptly excused himself to the garage, when there wasn’t anything interesting enough to capture his attention.
I didn’t see his mail truck outside, and wondered if he had gone the way of using the mail bicycle instead? Not everyone had the legs for it, and I think he was a bit embarrassed to show his hairy legs in public.
After a while, a new round of knocking started again. It might just be someone selling Girl Scout Cookies? I used to like smelling them, when they first came out of the box. Mom always said that we should support that sort of thing in our city, otherwise those girls would end up on the wrong side of town. I looked at a map once, and wanted her to show me, where the wrong side of town was located. She just looked at me in her exasperated way, and said “that was just an expression of speech.” As I’ve gotten older and have started to think about girls in different ways than before, I wondered again where that part of town really was? It seemed most of the girls that I knew, didn’t seem to notice me, no matter what I did to gain their attention, but those other girls in that other part of town, just might look at me differently! I didn’t want to ask my mother again, as I figured she wouldn’t tell me anyway, which meant that I needed to concentrate on the right side of town instead.
The third round of knocking sounded more angry than before. I cautiously opened the door to find my next door friend, looking like she was going to explode, and the blast was directed at me. “Have you been lost in Daydream-ville again? Have you even tried looking out of the window to see who it was? Do you think that I dare do this kind of thing everyday, using the frontal attack approach, while your Mom is at the store!”
“You’d better come with me you Ninny, before she discovers you and me, all alone together-like kissing, and who knows what else can happen?”
It’s funny how the word “kiss”, made me lose track of the conversation! I walked over to her house in a trance-like way, letting her open the front door, and lead me upstairs to her room once again. I felt that she needed to do something drastic to snap me out of my trance. I could come with a suggestion, but she was usually the one who decided what and when I really deserved a reward.
She seemed to have control over me, like some James Bond Girl, who was controlled by Goldfinger, or Blackheart in Japan or Europe at the October Fest, with exploding cars and skiing down the Alps with only 1 ski, while dodging snowmobiles with German Austrian Cold War Agents. He always got the girl, but sometimes she got it too, making it necessary for him to get a new girl, but that wasn’t any problem, when he ended up at some casino in Monte Carlo sipping a shaken, not stirred martini sitting at the Blackjack table, waiting for Raquel Welch to come by, and….
“Earth to Ninny. Earth calling Ninny. Come in Ninny. ”
“You are really wack-a-doodle! I wish, I could join you in dream-land sometime just to see how far you’ve really gone! Listen here. Today is the most important day of your life. Do you understand me? Read my lips.”
She shouldn’t have said lips. Anything other than lips. She could have talked about her mother, and how she wears Army Boots, or why Canadians want to speak French, just something other than lips. Why lips? If only I had the nerve to tell her, what I was thinking about then I might have a chance to…
“I am holding my index finger in front of your face! Follow my finger closely. Do not take your attention away from my finger. My finger is going to poke you in the eye, if you lose your concentration one more time. Now get a grip!”
She moved over to her closet and took something dark and cumbersome out. It was the suitcase, we had found in the forest, when my dad and I had been camping. It had the initials DBC under the handle, and I don’t know why in the world, it was so important to her?
“I want you to concentrate on the suitcase” she said while showing my her index finger once again. “This suitcase might just change the rest of your life”.
She placed it carefully on the ground and started looking at how it could be opened. “If there are explosive charges involved, my words will be the last ones that you’ll remember, before we are blown to kingdom come!”
This was sounding a bit melodramatic, but I tried to keep my attention on the suitcase as much as possible.
“Do you read the newspaper, Poindexter?” she said while fidgeting around with the locks on the suitcase.
“Sure I do. The funnies with Peanuts are always good. And the weather page is always interesting. The other day I saw that it snowed in Montréal. Think of it? Snow in July. I wonder if they had snowball fights, and had to go to the emergency room after someone had put a stone in one, and had knocked out someone’s tooth?”
“I am holding my index finger up, once again. Look only at my finger. Do not take your attention away from my finger. Your life might depend on it!”
“Listen here you Ninny. There was an article recently about a highjacker who jumped out of an airplane with a suitcase filled with money. DB Cooper was his name, but you know what? They never found him, or the money again. Now what if those wind currents blew the suitcase around a bit, knocking seagulls out of the sky, and hitting a tree or two, before it finally hit the ground? Are you following me now?”
I really didn’t want to tell her, “No”, because I was afraid of her reaction. She might just poke me in the eye, or something making it necessary for me to go to the emergency room at the hospital. “We’ll need to call your parents!, you know and the police will need to be involved if a crime has been committed.
My mother would arrive, being all worried, and mad at the same time, wanting to know, how something like that could happen to me? “Was it some Cosmic Dust, or a stray bullet fired by some Canadian on the rampage?” I didn’t know how to tell her the truth, so it would end up in a new lie, thus protecting the girl next door once again. Honestly, I was getting rather good at covering my tracks, telling my mom white lies about this and that, just to keep on the good side of my mysterious friend, girl. Not”girl friend” next door.
“I see, what you are implying”. It is interesting. Very interesting.”
“Stop sounding like those guys playing Nazis on the Laugh-in show! This is serious business.”
She finally managed to loosen the locks on the suitcase, prying up the lid with a screwdriver, or two. We both looked inside and saw something like bundles of green things.
“You see, you Ninny!” Wads and wads of Greenbucks! Moola. Money. Sawbucks. Cool cash! I told you so. I did. I did!
We dove into the suitcase nearly knocking each other over in our excitement. When we began to feel the bundles, my friend’s excitement turned to anger. “We’ve been cheated! This is not money! These are just bundles of moldy socks! We’ve been gypped.
It was true, what she said. At least about it not being money. It looked like a salesman’s suitcase, filled with wares sold door to door.
“I know what happened!” she said suddenly, her anger turning to joy. “It was a traveling salesman. He happened upon a farmhouse, where DB Cooper was holed up. The only person there that day was the Farmer’s Daughter, who obviously switched the money for the Salesman’s socks. The old Switcheroo, it is as old as the hills! That means that the money is still out there somewhere, probably at a nearby farmhouse. She probably wooed him with her womanly charms, then pursed her lips, and….
She should not have said lips again. Not again. I wondered how women did that, purse their lips that is. Is it the same as pucker? There are just too many things to think about this summer. Way too many things.
Did she say lips?…………….