Saturday, November 25, 2017

Skid Mark
© By Jack Bogut

A man returning home after working late was headed down his driveway when he noticed a long, narrow, black mark curving into the garage. He pressed the garage door opener and pulled inside and had to stop suddenly. His wife was standing there in her nightgown.
Two bad signs!
            As she moved his son’s bicycle out of the parking space, she said, “Honey, our son got in a little trouble with the Police tonight.”
            “You’re kidding?”
            “No. He was over at Anderson’s after dinner and…”
            And then she giggled through the whole story.
When she finished, she said their son was upstairs, scared to death that he was going to get the death penalty or something. A Policeman had been there and said not to be too hard on him. That he was a good kid but and had never been in trouble before but he got a little close to it that night. Plus, he really wanted to make sure that the boy got home safely because he had jumped on his bike and took off through a hedge and continued across-country. (That accounted for the long skid-mark on the driveway.)
            The man told his wife to tell their son to report to their bedroom, the place for a formal meeting.
             “I understand you got in a little trouble tonight.”
            “Yeah,” the boy answered in a quivering voice.
            “And the Police were here.”
            “Yeah.” Same voice.
            “Do you want to tell me about it?”
The man had to stifle a laugh as he said, “Well, I think you’d better…”
And then the ten-year-old started into a halting but painfully honest version of what happened that night.
            “We were over at Anderson’s house in their garage and Anderson said, ‘Hey, there’s some Murphy’s Oil Soap. Let’s throw some at cars!’
            “And what did you say?” The man asked.
            “O-o-okay.” He answered.
            Now the father is scratching the toes out of his socks trying not to show his laughter. “You’d better tell me the whole story, son.”
            “I wasn’t going to… I didn’t throw any soap, Dad.”
            “Well, how did you get in trouble then?”
            “I… I… I was the look-out.”
            “Explain that.”
            “Well, I was supposed to hide in the hedge and when a car came around the corner, I was supposed to hollar: ‘HERE COMES A CAR!’ and Anderson and his brother were gonna’ throw the soap,” he responded and stopped, hoping that was enough information.
            “Continue,” the man said, reading the disappointed frustration on his son’s face.
            “Well, a car came around the corner and I hollered, HERE COMES A CAR, and, and, and they threw the soap!”
            “Did they hit the car?”
            “How did the Police find out about it?”
            “It was a Police car!” the boy answered in a barely audible voice that seemed to echo off the walls in the bedroom.
The man almost got a hernia controlling his laughter. But he could see how earnest and nervous and sincere his son was, so he told him that he wasn’t going to scold him, that he thought he had learned his lesson and wouldn’t get in trouble again.
“RIGHT?” The man asked.
            The next day when he was taking his son somewhere, the man told him that everything he had said the night before still applied; that he was proud of him for telling me the truth, and…
            “That was one of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard, son.”
            The boy didn’t answer.

            To this day he still won’t.

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