“Jump, jump, jump…” they chanted. The two of them stood safely on the ground as they urged the 3rd Musketeer to take a flying leap.
“Come on, don’t be a baby,” chided the Inventor.
“Yeah, a Momma’s boy, ” added Meat.
Nobody wants to be called a Momma’s boy, but it was Momma that said don’t get hurt as I skipped off with my two best friends in the world. We’ve been together since preschool and thick as thieves every since. The Inventor, Ricky, was the ring leader because he wore glasses. Meat, Brandon, was the bulk of the group because he was the biggest kid in class. And me, Timbo or Timmy, was the bravest because the other two could always convince me I was fearless.
It was the 4th of July and Dad was barbecuing his famous dried chicken and sausage. Mom was in charge of the holiday sides; beans and potato salad. The soda and watermelon was chilling in the fridge. So when I get back everything should be ready, right after I become the The World’s First Flying Boy.
“Jump, jump, jump…” they continued. We were 4 blocks away from home at the back side of the culdesac. On top of Mr. Johansen’s metal shed. Mr. Johansen was out of town visiting his daughter for the holiday weekend so we climbed his fence. He had the best trees and no dog. He hated animals just as much as he did kids. So here I was, again convince of my extreme bravery, poised to “fly” with the help of a moth eaten army blanket and rope. The Inventor said I could and Meat agreed. But if I jumped and died that would ruin the day. And if I jumped, lived, and Mom found out, that would ruin my life.
“Jump already. You have the cape. We made sure this time it was tied tighter than last time,” said the Inventor. “But that’s what you said about the balloons,” I yelled down; trying to justify my hesitation. “Well that was different. This cape will catch the wind and you will float like a feather to the ground,” he assured me.
“Why am I always the crash dummy?” I continued to question.
“Cuz you weigh less than Meat and I’m the Inventor. You gotta do it. How will we ever know if it works,” he reasoned.
“Yeah, come on, Timbo. Jump!” yelled Meat.
“But last time, I sprang my ankle and was on crutches for 6 weeks”, I reminded them.
“Yeah, but remember all the cool signatures you got on for your cast and the days you got to stay home.”
“Yeah,” I reminisced.
“And you missed gym class when the rest of us had to do track and field,” argued Meat.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot that.”What am I thinking? I’m not thinking, that’s what.
“But, I don’t think it’s going to work. Are you sure you cleared the ground of rocks and sticks?” I asked with reservation.
“Did you …?”
“What was that? I heard something,” startled Meat with his index finger to his mouth.
“Somebody’s coming, get down,” whispered the Inventor.
Meat and the Inventor dove behind the nearest tree, leaving me atop my perch. All I could do was freeze in broad daylight. Hoping whoever it was thought I was a weathervane. So there I stood in plain sight on top of the metal shed. Then I saw it! A figure the size of a large dog. The most god awful thing you could imagine. In the clearing, gazing up at me, and looking me square in the eye. With a wet thumb and dolly in tow stood my worst nightmare. My Little Sister! Aaaaaggghhhh!
My knees buckled and I almost wet my pants as she calmly asked, “Whatcha doing “Thimmy”? A visit from the tooth fairy had left her saying my name as best she could.
“Yah know you shouldn’t be up there. You’re going to fall and Momma said don’t get hurt.”
Meat and Inventor came out of hiding when they heard my sister’s voice.
“Oh, it’s just Kimmee? Boy, Meat you were scared to death. I didn’t know you could move that fast.” “Me, what about you, behind that tree shaking like a leaf.” They both nervously laughed.
“Guys, this isn’t good. Kimmee can’t hold water in a cup,” I interrupted.
“Yes I can, too, hold water in a cup. I’m not a baby anymore.” Kimmee defended.
“Not a real cup, silly, I mean, you’re going to tell”
“I won’t tell. I promise.”
“On dolly’s eyes?,” added Meat.
“On dolly’s eyes and Mr. Kitty’s fur?,” continued the Inventor.
“Yeah, you tell and we’ll turn Mr.Kitty’s white fur blue. Get it”, explained Meat.
“Okay, okay. So why’s Thimmy up there? And why you wearing that blanket Thimmy?”
“We’re working on an experiment, so stand back,” I informed her.
“He’s going to fly and we’re going to watch, that’s what,” explained Meat.
“The first flying boy,” said Inventor.
“But Thimmy can’t fly. Thimmy you can’t fly!,” exclaimed Kimmee.
“Yes he can, just watch,” my friends rallied in undying support.
“Shut up Kimmee. Another part of not telling is keeping quiet,” I replied. Reminding me of rational thought was making me nervous.
“Okay, but I’m telling yah, you can’t fly.”
So there stood Kimmee, holding Dolly, and sucking her thumb. Anxiously waiting to become an only child. She would just love that, wouldn’t she? But how would that be any different than now. She’s been the center of attention since Mom and Dad brought her home from the hospital 6 years ago. And now that she’s lost her two front teeth, and talking like a rabbit, she’s been getting even more attention. “She’s so cute” “Honey, did you hear Kimmee say cereal.” “What a sweetie.” It’s all a guy can do to keep from throwing up his favorite pizza. Almost.
But that’s no reason for me to kill myself by jumping off this roof in a vain attempt to be King for a day, is it?
“Okay Timbo, ready? You get to the edge and we’ll count,” started the Inventor.
“Are you sure this will work?,” I said.
“Of, course. That’s why I picked the shed. It’s not that high up and you should still get a good wind. Just remember to hold your arms straight out.”
“Yeah, straight out,” said Meat.
“Okay, it’s now or never cause we gotta get back,” reminded our fearless leader.
“Okay, let’s do it,” I agreed.
I couldn’t chicken out with Kimmee watching. Just me and the guys sure, but Kimmee, no way. I couldn’t live with that. Even though she was a spoiled brat; she did look up to me.
“Here goes!” I got to the edge of the tin roof with the toe ends of my shoes pointing North. The Inventor said the North wind was the strongest of the 4 directional winds.
“One!”, started Meat.
Just stay focused, bite your lip, close your eyes and jump.
“Two!”, they chimed together.
“Thimmy, I’m scared,” quivered Kimmee.
“Hush, Kimmee”, said Meat; quietly reminding her of the promise she made.
Bend my knees and…
“Three!” They yelled together.
Jump! And off I pushed from that rusty tin roof as hard and as fast as I could. My arms were straight out and I sailed through the air. It worked! I can’t believe it. It worked! I can see the trees and the rooftops and and and… Uh Oh! Something’s wrong. What’s that brown thing coming fast and hard? OMG! It’s the ground. But what about the blanket? It’s suppose to hold me in the air. What about the fact that I weigh a buck-o-five? My last thoughts ironically, were of my Mother. “Help me Mommy!”
As I lay there dazed, with the wind knocked out of me, I could hear cries of concern.
“Thimmy, Thimmy, are you okay?” cried Kimmee. She had forgotten all about Dolly who lay in the grass as she kneeled next to my head. Unknowingly, she was choking me by resting on the blanket that was still tied at my neck and winding around my lifeless body.
“Timbo, speak to me, Timbo. Can you hear me?”, asked Meat.
“Come on Timmy, Timmy!,” cried the Inventor.
I couldn’t move, but I had to do something cuz Kimmee was wailing her head off. The least I could do was open my eyes. So I did and focused best I could on my three attendees.
“Did I fly?” I asked in spite of all my bodily injuries.
“Timmy? Are you alright? Man you flew. I knew you could do it,” said the Inventor.
“Yeah Man, you flew, I saw the whole thing,” exclaimed Meat.
“Thimmy, Thimmy, you fell off the rooth. Thimmy are you okay?,” said Kimmee. It seems she was the only one with since. But I didn’t want to hear the truth; I needed fiction like a healing balm for my injuries. No way did I fly, that was hang time before gravity graciously pull me back to reality. And the brutal reality is Mother is going to kill me. And Dad is going to join in when he sees the doctor bill. That’s usually how it goes when I injure myself against my Mother’s wishes. Then I’m grounded for an eternal 2 weeks. I ache all over so I just know something’s broken. What is it this time? Arm, leg, ankle, how about a good rib?
My fellow musketeers’ helped me to my feet after getting Kimmee off the blanket. I stood up on wobbly legs amid the cheers of avid supporters. I flew. I actually flew. It worked just like the Inventor said it would. I can’t believe it. And nothings broken. Just a few scrapes and grass stains. I made it. Kimmee calmed down once she saw me standing. But just in case she forgot her oath on Dolly’s eyes and Mr. Kitty’s fur, we reminded her all the way back to the house.
By the time we got back to the house, she was completely convinced with me squeezing dolly for reassurance all the way. “I said okay, now gimme Dolly. You promised,” she whined.
“Here you go and remember what we said,” I threatened as she walked up the driveway into the house. The Musketeers needed to talk in private.
“I was ’bout to think you weren’t going to jump. Then I would have had to put Meat up there with two blankets.” The Inventor laughed
“Very funny!”, retorted Meat.
“Yeah, I just made up my mind and did it. You know I am the bravest in the bunch.” I begin, sticking my sore chest out in fake courage. I was scared as a marshmallow at a campfire. I needed to cut the meeting short and get inside to check my wounds.
“Well, guys, I better get inside for lunch. It’s noon and my Mom’s waiting.” See you guys later.
“Hey, what about coming over later for games?” asked Meat.
“Sure, you still have the scores saved from the last game, right?”
“Yep! Your low score is still there. Saved on the Wall of Shame.”
“I’ll wipe it out later when I beat you. See you later.” I agreed.
I tenderly waved to my best friends as they went down the street to their prospective homes. Before I made a beeline for the stairs to escape to my room, I stood by the kitchen wall to eavesdrop on the conversation. Kimmee had been alone with Mom and Dad for more than 5 minutes and I needed to know if I was safe from retribution. I’ve learned in the past, 5 minutes is Kimmee’s chatter limit before she starts to innocently spill the proverbial beans. Well, things seemed okay. She was busy convincing Dolly to wear her new dress, Dad was finishing up on the last of the barbecue and Mom was dishing out plates of Holiday sides. The conversation was safe enough. “Aunt Edna was out of the hospital…” “Uncle Bob was still looking for work…” and Dolly had agreed to Kimmee’s fashion sense to change her wardrobe to winter in the middle of summer. Okay, let’s get upstairs and check out the damages from my latest fiasco. After carefully undressing, it’s just as I thought. Today’s event will require long pants for lunch. And probably for the next 3 days. Nice. What if I take a hot bath; that should help with the bruising? Mom wouldn’t mind me bathing in the middle of the day. She always says I needed to wash up anyway. No better time than now.
Freshly scrubbed and ready for lunch, I stiffly walked down the stairs starving for my “hero” meal. “Timmy you look nice, what’s the occasion?”, Mom teased. “Did you wash up? Without me telling you? Are you sick?”
“No mom, I thought with it being the Fourth and all; why not?”, I lied.
“Hey Son, got a girl coming over? What you all cleaned up for?”, started Dad.
“Jeez Dad, can’t’ a guy wipe up without getting the 3rd degree”, I defended. This was too much attention. They were getting suspicious. I needed to calm down.
The entire time this was going on, I kept a sharp eye on Kimmee. Praying she wouldn’t join in the conversation. I didn’t need her paying attention and chiming in.
“Alright, alright. Let’s just eat”, ended Dad.
The food was fit for a King, or maybe The Boy Who Could Fly. I ate till I couldn’t feel my feet. Delicious. And as usual we had the family holiday movie picked out. We always enjoyed our deserts in front of the TV watching the family holiday movie. I still couldn’t believe I flew. Hang time?, Flying?, what’s the difference? I am King of the Neighborhood. You gotta love it. As I sat there with my desert melting and daydreaming of bragging rights that will last all summer… Huh! I think I hear them calling my name. Huh!
“Timothy!”, shrieked my Mother
“Tim!”, yelled Dad.
As I focused on the room and looked at my kid sister’s pink face I knew immediately what had happen. Kimmee squealed. The gig was up. I was only dreaming for a second. How did Kimmee get past my evil eye? It really wasn’t her fault. Much to my dismay the family holiday movie was The Incredibles and when Kimmee saw that the animated characters could fly she begin to give an account of how I could also fly. Right off Mr. Johansen’s old shed. She wasn’t really ratting me out, she was just proud to have a brother that could fly. As I turned to look at the faces of my Mom and Dad, I knew I wouldn’t be beating the high score on Super Mario tonight.
“Go to your room, Mister!” was the last thing said as I went upstairs to ponder my life choices. As I sit here in my room looking out the window, more like up at the clouds, because after all I did fly today. But I’m wondering if flying was worth missing 2 weeks of outside antics and video fun. Yes, it was worth it.
So that’s how my day of independence innocently turned into a day of confinement. Just remember, from one superhero to another; “Don’t ever fly where your kid sister can see you”.
Happy Fourth of July