Everyone was gone, just Cousin Boy and I were in the house. He was baby sitting me again, although I was starting to think I was getting too old now to need a baby sitter. I was eight years old now. In the Third grade. I could take care of myself. I could even cook me a hot dog if I was hungry.
The house seemed quiet with everyone gone. Not even the dog was barking. I was getting bored though listening to the old house creak and snap to mysterious wooden pressures. I was stiitng in tje living room, being quiet like I was told. And I was getting bored listening to the wall clock loudly tick.
I was getting bored listening to the slow drip of the kitchen faucet. It made an irritating hollow noise as it dripped directly down the drain and and went “poink” in the gooseneck. I could hear it from all the way in the kitchen, now that everybody was gone.
I had been staring at the dust dancing in the rays of light streaming through the living room window. There was nothing to do and no one to play with. Boy was all grown up now. He did not play any more. He even had a job. He was a painter at the Port Hueneme Navy Base, Home of the SeeBees.
“Hey Joe! Let’s go for a ride. I’ll buy you an ice cream.” Cousin Boy said. He smelled funny. I knew he put something in his hair, and it kind of smelled like flowers.
Boy said to magic words, “Let’s go.” And “Ice cream.” I wasn’t going to say no. And I didn’t.
Boy’s car was a wonder. I wanted to get one just like it, a ’51 Ford Coupe. It was a high powered showcase, a mobile record of his many nights of driving home late at night from the Silver Dollar Saloon. It was only three blocks away, but both front fenders were smashed in. Boy rolled the car over one time into the creek across the street. It still smelled like dirty creek water.
Another time Boy rolled the car had rolled over at the beach so the roof was smashed in and then hammered out. The driver side of the car had gaping gash from front to back, like someone had cut it open with a giant can opener.
I loved that car thouqh, it had a big engine and it went real fast. The engine roared as boy sped us down the four miles of road into Oxnard. Cousin Boy never drove slow. It was a great feeling to feel the wind against my face. I looked up in admiration as Boy sat low and jammed the gas pedal down with a mischievous grin on his face.
“I wish I could be like him.” I said to myself, watching the toothpick dangle from his lip.
The tires squealed as Boy sped into a downtown alley and skidded to a stop at the back of the Blue Onion. It was a drive-in hamburger joint. Well, actually it was the only one in town, and it had a wonderful appetizing smell of garbage and burned grease. A cute girl with short shorts scampered out quickly.
“Hi.” She said to me in a friendly way as she stuck her face into my window. She wore bright lipstick and had on lots of make up. I noticed that because my sisters and cousins were not allowed to do that. She leaned into the window to talk to me. I could not stop myself from noticing her blouse and how healthy that pretty young girl was.
“You must be Joe.” She said to me sweetly. She had a wonderful smell of perfume and hamburger grease.
How did she know my name? I wondered. Cousin Boy got out of the car and walked with the girl around the side of the building.
Where are they going? I wondered, still seated in the car.
Another pretty girl soon distracted my wondering thoughts by bringing me a huge syrupy cone of soft ice cream dipped in chocolate, my favorite. I soon forgot about Boy and the girl and the Blue Onion. I was too busy licking and slurping.
Without warning, the door slammed open and Boy had jumped back in. “Got your ice cream hub?” He noticed me happily licking away. “I’m getting my desert tonight.” He said. That was O.K. with me. It didn’t much matter when his got his desert, but I never liked to wait for ice cream.
Boy made the tires squeal as he backed out into the alley. He sped away so quickly that my face slammed into my ice cream cone.
Boy looked down at my sticky brown and white face and let out a nasty giggle as he lurched into the street and sped away toward home.
I had nothing but my shirt tail to clean myself off. Boy let out another irritating giggle as he watched me try to clean myself.
He timed it just right. As I readied myself for another lick and slurp he slammed the brakes. My face again slammed into what was left of the cone. Boy giggled and laughed. He changed gears and slammed the gas pedal down. Once more I slammed the cone into my face.
We got home. Boy was giggling all the way back. My aunt took a long slow look at me. Ice cream and chocolate were all over my face. Her eyes looked down to my shirt which was mostly streaked with brown. My elbows to my hands were a sticky mess. I looked up to her angry face. There was no point in telling her that Boy did it. He was not the one eating the ice cream.
“How can you be such a little pig I” She pretended to cry. “You’re too old to be making messes like this! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Now you are going to have to get cleaned up all over again!”
Boy stood by and giggled but I could not explain how I got ice cream all over me from head to knees. I had to take another bath, twice in the same day.