My companion puts his hand on my shoulder. It takes me a moment to remember I can hear his voice in my head when he does that – probably the only way I could hear him, with all the pandemonium, certainly the only way I could hear him with a modicum of privacy.
“Reg, you do remember your conversation with Bevel at the time, do you not?” he asks.
I nod, reflecting a moment as I get out my huge cast-iron skillet – one slightly larger than a respectable wok. I rarely use it, but it’s the only pan that’ll cook the veggie-sausage on a timely basis. I line it with olive oil, place it on a burner with middling flame, load the mix, and lower the flame.
“Then you understand that there is no arbitrary latitude of right or longitude of wrong, strictly imposed upon anyone within the temporal sphere,” he continues. “Everything’s tempered by its own individual set of circumstances – particularly when we’re dealing with children.
“Besides, we can’t control circumstances – much less create them – as much as people think we can. You needed an easy way to the exploits you had shortly after that night.
“By ‘going easy on you’ and letting you and your friends get away with sneaking in to the concert, we were also able to set up the way you’d access the adventures and lessons essential to your training’s next stage. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to set up these challenges any other way. And, you meant well – that counts a great deal.”
My companion lets go of my shoulder in time for me to lift the cast iron skillet off the flames. I pour the cooked veggie-sausage into a colander, drain the excess oil and butter, spoon the contents into a quartet of serving dishes, which my companion and I then carry into the living room and place alongside the plates piled high with blackberry pancakes.
I can’t help noticing that, to get necessary floor space, my living room furniture’s upside down on the ceiling, dangling like stalactites, planted in the same way it had formerly been resting on the floor. I can only hope whoever did this remembers to put it back on the floor – gently – when breakfast is over.
The tables are in a “T” formation, with my companion and me seated in places of honor at the crux of the “T.”
I turn over the task of finding a grace acceptable to everyone to my companion; I then offer them a toast, thanking them for coming and being there for me. I sit down, sinking into blackberry pancakes, veggie-sausage, tea and reverie.
© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is expected to be out early next year. The next book of the Reggie Stone series, By Good Angels Tenanted, will be available later in 2018.
Walking Backward for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall is now available from Amazon Books. So is The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One). Click on the links and check them out further.