The house arrived one day unannounced. A truck must have surely delivered it. I got home after school, and there the place sat; complete, spotless, tan in color and brand-new. Finished. Ready to move in. Looking totally done, except for the surrounding yard. Deep ruts of a delivery vehicle told the whole story, but green grass was to never grow in the dirt across the street.
Strange, but the lady who owned place and I had already met. A school chum came along to show off his large array of action figures during recess one day. My sixth-grade eyes went wide at the sight of his collection. Magnificent and glorious, they were just what I thought I needed to make life worthwhile, so I asked him a favor.
You can get your own, he coldly told me, after I had begged for just a few of the characters, but then he mentioned the name of the store where they had come from, so I relaxed and made plans.
Then less than twenty minutes after class ended on that hot Texas afternoon, I walked the air-conditioned aisle of the drugstore on the town square, my pockets overloaded with plastic heroes, and quietly hurried out of the place without paying for a single one.
I could hardly wait to get home, for no one would be around for awhile. I barely remember the short journey itself, but I do recall thinking up all sorts of adventurous plots along the way. I dreamed of several scenes involving each and every character as I raced down one sidewalk after another. Heroic rescues. Dashing fights. Mad chases, which, of course, all ended victorious, except for the hapless pair of villains I had chosen to steal.
As soon as I got inside the front door, I ran to my room, pulling out figurines as I went. Twenty minutes later, while lost in reverie, a soft voice behind me spoke up. It belonged to my momma.
“Where did you get those?”
She sounded so interested.
“A kid at school loaned them.”
Like most moms, mine loved me dearly. But when the woman went mad, she hissed through clenched teeth to get your attention. It was one effective ploy.
“You march yourself down to the drug store this instant!”
Two years went by before the house cropped up across the street. I sat on my front steps that afternoon, checking one of my dogs for ticks while watching the going-ons. Two people walked around the perimeter; one a portly man and the other, a thin blonde woman. Both spoke and gestured to each other, seeming to be in agreement. Lady jerked and barked just before she ran off. It was then that I recognized the woman across the street. She worked at the drugstore down on the square.
I was soon to abandon childish ideas of theft, however; this lady had a daughter just a year older than me.
I think I should stop now and give the girl a call, just to see if she remembers.