The summer was over and I was, as the poets are wont to say, shit out of luck. Even my pot plants were dead.
After one full year at college in the north east I had repaired to a relaxing summer holiday at the home of my Uncle Archibald and Auntie Mildred near the beach, Somewheresville, south shore of Long Island, New York. This white clapboard with dark green trim colonial had been my home since I could remember.
It was the summer of hurricane Floyd and all over the news it was determined that the state of Florida was chewed up, and the entire country of Honduras would never be the same. What I knew empirically was that my feeble pubescent marijuana plants, outside on the porch, had perished in the storm and every time I saw ads for FEMA I contemplated petitioning for compensation on account of my crop failure.
I’d been home two weeks before I had gathered the courage to look the relatives square in the face and confess my decision. Rain had soaked the earth for two days solid and I remember it was a gloomy morning that found me and the relatives sitting in the blue and white themed breakfast nook. It was still early and a morning fog sat right outside the bay window, clouding things. We picked from a plate of fried sausages, which Auntie Mildred tenderly called ‘bangers’, as we did every Sunday; my aunt’s idea of doffing the ancestral hat to Mother England. Max, the house dog, an enormous handsome mutt of murky origins kept himself discreetly under the table, where he lay on his side and methodically slapped the tip of his tail across the arch of my feet, a mild furry whip.
Tapping a banger at the edge of the plate, so that the grease pooled into a coagulation, I coughed and said, “What I learned at college, unequivocally, is that I have zero intention of wasting one more minute there. College, like it or not, is just a cushy jail delaying the inevitable. I’m not going back”.
A monstrous battle ensued. Inexplicably my aunt held a sausage in each hand and was waving her arms around like a conductor at the opera, meanwhile murmuring, “…well I never! A person could have a heart attack!” a regular refrain from Auntie Mildred which generally preceded the ingestion of handfuls of ‘calming’ pills. Uncle Archibald bashed the table with clenched fists but said nothing as he inelegantly wriggled his bulky torso free from the round table. Just as he had himself standing upright somehow the plate of sausages began to wobble, as if possessed, and eerily slid to the floor. We all watched in horror, as if it were a portent of a bigger picture. The blue and white plate did not break when it hit the tiled floor, but instead sort of bounced and flipped over. The upshot of our fight was without a clear resolution on either side. All parties disbanded and the kitchen was soon vacant, except for Max, who set about scarfing the runaway sausages.
…TO BE CONTINUED