I sneaked out a side door when the service was over – I just wanted out, no slowpoke conga line past the pastor, certainly no handshake or other discourse with the pastor himself.
What I really wanted to do was to run off and find Bethany, hoping she’d sort all this better than I could, but there wasn’t much likelihood of that happening, at least not today.
So I went, with my confusion, my sore shoulder and remains of my hangover, to Uncle Roddy’s car, hoping to elude, if only momentarily, any criticism from Dad or Mum for being so disagreeable and aloof.
Uncle Roddy had told me during the drive to church to keep the handkerchief, and I occupied myself, whilst waiting at the car for him and Auntie Gene, by removing the handkerchief and carefully placing the sand and jewels inside it. Then, making certain that its contents were secure, I painstakingly arranged the handkerchief inside my front coat pocket, providing at once a touch of elegance and easy egress to a new hiding place once I returned home. \
At least at Uncle Roddy’s car I’d be spared any further souvenirs of last night’s dream.
Or so I thought.
Uncle Roddy saw me and ran to the car, looking very relieved to find me. He handed me a dark glass cylinder, 10 centimeters long, two in diameter.\
“Meant t’give this t’ye last night and forgot, wot with everything else going on. S’a new glue I’m working on at the lab. Not the final product, but nearly – y’might say it’s sort of a super glue, binds anything together – includin’ y’fingers, so wear rubber gloves when usin’ it. Thought y’could use it on models an’ such.”
I made appreciative noises, having neither the heart nor the guts to tell him I hadn’t worked on model airplanes, cars or anything else since before last St. George’s Day. Then I remembered that Ian and his model spacecraft, with all their separate delicate parts, might need a Q-tip’s worth of the stuff from time to time. It was certainly a good turn I could do him.
But Uncle Roddy must have read my mind, for right then he amended his answer. “Careful, though, not t’use the stuff with cotton balls, cotton tips – even cotton handkerchiefs. Anything made of cotton’ll go up at once in flames, Reggie – and since it’ll be stuck to the model, you’ll yav a puddle of polymers. Fair warning, alright?”
I nodded and smiled, until insight of where I’d seen this before bounced into my memory like a tennis ball, rebounding off various portions of grey matter, to be sure I got the message.
© 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) and Walking Backward for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall are each now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is expected to be available shortly. The next novel of the series, By Good Angels Tenanted, will be available later in 2018.