Hopefully I managed to keep people’s attention for two chapters so now we can begin the fun part. And ( Hopefully) I will have cleaned up some of the grammar problems. But this is a “clean as you go” kind of thing. Meaning I probably still miss some of the subtle stuff. Anyway, Chapter three….Enjoy!
Tracy got up with a groan and stretched. She turned off the alarm before the second snooze went off. She was awake! And there was not much sense in trying to fall back asleep now. Besides, she wanted to get into the shower before the kids stole all the hot water. David was already sleeping. His booming snores were a testament to his fatigue. He only snored if he was extremely exhausted, otherwise he was a rather light sleeper who rarely uttered a decibel above breathing.
She showered quickly as the hot water abruptly ended before she could completely rinse her hair. The kids might have to wait for the water to heat up as they took theirs. She toweled off and dresses in the warm glow of morning as the sun now shone brightly through the bedroom window. The ritual had been repeated many times before. She would get breakfast going before waking the kids and getting them ready for school. Sam, the oldest one, would be heading off to high school and could eat in the cafeteria. Even though she constantly complained about the food being too fattening and full of dangerous additives, Tracy knew that she secretly wanted more money so she could eat at McDonalds or some other fast food joint with her friends.
The younger two, Whitney and Daniel, would need lunches. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a little Debbie Swiss roll and a banana was usually all they would need. The school supplied the milk. Tracy fed the cat and poured herself a steaming cup of coffee before heading to the bedrooms to announce to the kids that they had to get up soon. Groans could be heard from behind each door.
“Hurry up, breakfast is getting cold.” She called as she walked back to the kitchen. Sam was the first to get up as she had to make herself presentable for the boys she always talked about. David was like a bear when it came to her “boyfriends” . Most likely he did not want to think of her as grown up yet.
Tracy heard the shower pop on and the bathroom door close. She had thought to warn Sam of the eminent doom that was about to befall her, then decided that her morning solitude and coffee were just too important to disturb.
“Mom! The Hot water’s GONE! “ Samantha Screamed as if she had just seen a spider. “Aaaaaaaa!”
Tracy grinned at the vengeful thought. Sam never had a problem using ever drop of the hot water and leaving the entire family to suffer with cold showers. Giving her a taste of her own medicine was poetic justice and even thought it was early in the morning, the thought gave Tracy a wonderful shot of satisfaction. She took another sip of her warm beverage and glanced over at the paper.
The press only delivered the paper in the morning on the weekends. For this reason, Tracy saved the paper from the day before so she could enjoy it for the first time at breakfast. She did not like listening or watching morning shows on radio or the television. She would much rather enjoy reading the events, even if they were a 24 hours old, in the paper. She flipped thru the headlines scanning for an article that interested her.
The other two kids came slowly into the kitchen and sat at the table. They both looked like they had just rolled out of bed and put on yesterdays clothes.
“My, aren’t you both dressed to kill.” Tracy observed. They were still young and dressing up to a high standard was not high on their priorities yet. A couple more years and Tracy would not have to bother them about how they dressed. The high standard of high school would dictate their fashion choices. Sam was a testament that.
“Aren’t you two even going to take a shower? “ Pushing down the hair that stood on Daniel’s head.
“Sam says all the hot water is gone.” Whitney observed. “ I’m not going to freeze my butt off this morning. Besides I took one last night. And I’ll wear a hat. “
Daniel batted his mother’s hand away and matted down his own hair. It bounced back to attention, sticking straight up. Tracy sighed. There was no use in trying to talk them out of it. Besides, the bus would be here soon and Sam would most likely monopolize the bathroom for the remainder of the morning.
“Who wants some eggs?” Tracy motioned as she picked up the frying pan and moved to the stove. Daniel raised his hand in acceptance. Whitney smiled waved as she took a gulp of her orange juice.
Tracy cracked several eggs and beat them in a bowl as she let the heat of the burner spread through out the frying pan. Tracy only knew how to make one type of egg. Scrambled. Why change something you are good at was her motto. The kids accepted this and Daniel thought that this was the only way eggs could be cooked. A few minutes later, the kids were gobbling down the steaming light and fluffy gold. Along with their toast and cereal.
Tracy sat down and began to skim her paper again. The paper was filled with all the death and destruction that the news and radio always reported. The difference was that Tracy could filter out the bad news and scan for something less depressing. The headlines were everywhere this morning. Everywhere from a drug bust by the border, to a flood out in the west. Numerous murders and robberies all over the state. From the sounds of it, they lived in the most dangerous state in America. Tracy flipped back to the local gardening section and upcoming event page. At least she could escape the violence there. They only topic of murderous genocide was when the Japanese beetle had invaded the local flower shops and gardens.
Sam entered the kitchen with her hair still slightly damp and he face glamorously made up as if she were going to a model shoot. She wore the latest jeans that rode dangerously low on her hips. David hated them.
“School pictures today?” Tracy asked not looking up from her paper.
“No! why? “ Sam reached over and poured herself a glass of juice.
“No reason. “ Tracy responded still reading her paper. “ you have some eggs in the frying pan help yourself.”
“She’s trying to impress Andy Jaltima. “ Whitney giggled
“Shut up! We are just friends.” She glared at Whitney. “Mom tell her to stop.”
“Quiet both of you “ Tracy shushed, “ Your dad had a late night and is sleeping. Hurry and eat your breakfast or you’ll miss the bus.”
“I’ll say, you can hear dad snoring from my room. “ Sam scooped out a bite size potion of scrambled egg onto her plate. She loaded the toaster with one single slice and set the timer.
“Well, If you don’t want him grumpy tonight, you better keep it down. And you better either introduce this Andy what’s-his-name to your Dad before he gets suspicious. “
“Mom, Dad will go all psycho on him and he will never talk to me again. Everyone in school already has me blacklisted from all the parties because of him. My reputation is the girl with the psycho Dad. All the boys already avoid me.”
“That’s the idea. Tracy smiled as she sipped her coffee. Aren’t you going to eat anything else?” She noted Sam taking out the single slice of toast. “You’re going to be famished before lunch time.”
“You’re right, I should get a couple more dollars for lunch then.” Sam picked at her eggs as she positioned them on the toast.
“So you can go to Macs. No! You have enough for lunch. And the cafeteria food is just fine.”
Sam grunted. The exchange went on like this every morning with neither of her parents giving in.
The remainder of the morning continued in its usual way. The kids finished breakfast and gathered up their books, binders and backpacks. The school buses came and they ran out to greet them. Tracy at last had the house to herself. Well, herself and the cat. David would most likely sleep until the kids came home and even then, judging from the way he was snoring, he might continue to sleep ‘till dinner time. Tracy poured herself another cup of coffee and glanced at her paper once more. Stroking the cat as it sat on the table eating the remaining morsels of food the kids had abandoned.
A missing persons add caught Tracy’s eye. Normally she would skip over it but this one caught her attention. The person had lived only a few blocks away from them. No one she knew but still nothing ever really happened around here. She read on. The story was vague, noting that the person was missing and the police did not know if it was a run away or an abduction.
Tracy glanced over to another section. An armed robbery of a armored car had police baffled. The event happened down by the Indiana/Michigan border. Both state law officials along with the FBI were investigating. How exciting it would be to unravel a mystery like that. Tracy’s life as a home maker could get rather dull at times. Luckily the kids and a husband with a dangerous job had their moments of adrenaline. In her off time Tracy liked to read books. Books were better than Opra and mid day soaps. She could really immerse herself in the mystery or romance as the words stimulated her imagination. She loved mysteries but often found that she could solve them before the book was half over. She often fantasizes of being a Scotland yard investigator in a previous life.
Her cup empty and the paper failing to offer any other interesting stories, Tracy folded it up and set it aside as she cleaned up the morning mess. The cat brushed up against her ankles as she washed the dishes and put everything back the way it was. She glanced out the window noticing it was turning out to be a nice day. The sun felt warm and the air was cool but not chill. Perhaps she would work out in the yard this morning, planting the spring tulips and crocuses that needed planting in the fall. She finished up in the kitchen and went downstairs to put on her work clothes for gardening.
Tracy grabbed her gloves, hat and overalls along with her special garden shoes. It was like getting ready for a date, only the date was the sun and sky and the dance was her own little garden. She turned to climb back up the stairs when she noticed the pile of dirty clothes on the floor. David no doubt. Obviously he was trying to “help “ her by throwing his clothes down the stairs to the basement where the washer and dryer were located. Unfortunately for him. The washer and dryer were located on the far end of the basement around one corner. His little attempt at help had fallen about 30 feet short of their intended target. “My hero. “ she sighed. She bent down to pick them up and noticed that it was his fireman duty uniform and it was covered with sand and dirt. She shook it slightly and sand fell to the floor as if she were sifting sugar. She held it briefly to her nose and gave it a smell. Whew! David had been working hard she guessed. He usually didn’t smell this bad after working at the department. She trotted over to the washer and dropped them in the dirty clothes basket to be added with the other clothes later.
She climbed back up the stairs and burst out into the sunlight greeting the warm air and fresh smell or autumn. Tracy surveyed the yard with a critical eye and mapped out in her mind where the tulips should be planted to maximize their spring entrance. The birds chirped wildly and the sounds of traffic filled the air with noise and sounds of activity. There were not going to be many days like this left this year and she wanted to drink in all that she could.
After several minutes of planning, she decided that the tulips should be planted along the driveway evenly spaced. And far away from the sidewalk so no one would accidentally park or step on them. She opened each back and placed the precious bulb next to its eventual destination, careful to keep them as accurately spaced as possible. Now all she had to do was bury them approximately 6 inches below the ground and water them heavily. Not many leaves had fallen but she planned on raking up what she could to use as insulation.
She walked back to the house and let the cat out figuring that it was just too nice a day to enjoy it alone. The cat trotted out and began to roll around in the cement of the sidewalk as if rolling in catnip. Tracy smiled at the sight. Leave it to a cat to display exactly how she felt.
She moved over to the partially covered shed that protected the yard tools from the rain. The cat followed her, eager for the next adventure. Tracy had the perfect tool for the job of digging the holes for the tulips . Her favorite shovel. A short square tip shovel that was small enough for her to handle. The blade was thin and narrow and she could easily control the depth of the slice with a step of her foot. She used it often, choosing it over the numerous long handled, round shovels that littered her shed. Those shovels were too heavy and unwieldy for any delicate or precision work.
Tracy looked over at the shovel rack. Five shovels neatly hung along the wall of the house. With one conspicuous slot vacant. Tracy glanced at the ground making sure that the choice tool had not fallen. Nothing. She moved and jostled the remaining shovels to ensure that they were not covering the smaller shovel.
“hmpff!” Tracy noted in that there were few places the shovel could hide. She began looking around the usual spots were she might have left it. Even though she thought she distinctly remembered putting it back on the hanger just the other day. She looked in the garden. The back of the truck. Even along side the rest of the house. The shovel was no where to be found. She headed for the basement.
She looked where she usually kept her outside work clothes and moved several items to make sure it was not there. Then she saw the small pile of dirt and sand that marked the place David had thrown his work clothes.
David would never use that shovel. In all the years they had been married, he had used it only once to dig a hole for a birdfeeder. He hated that shovel. Why would he suddenly use it now? And for what purpose?
If David had used the shovel, that would explain it’s absence. He rarely put things back where he found them. The alternative was that someone else, perhaps one of the kids, had used it and failed to put it back. Since David was the only suspect home at this time and with Tracy eager to get he precisely placed bulbs into the ground, she chose to ask him if he knew the shovels whereabouts.
She climbed the steps and followed the sounds of the loud snored emanating from their bedroom. She would quickly ask him if he knew and hopefully solve the mystery. She didn’t want to wake him up completely or keep him awake any longer than required. David could be downright hostile if his sleep was interrupted. And grumpy the rest of the day. This was a delicate matter.
Tracy cracked open the door quietly and creaked into the bedroom. David was laying on his back with his arms and legs draped over each side. He breathed in with a hissing snort then billowed out with an earsplitting rasp. Tracy shook the bed gently
“David, can I ask you something?”
David jerked up suddenly! “I want chicken!” David blurted. Answering an anticipated question
Tracy waved her hand to get his attention. He was obviously not awake fully yet. “David, do you know where my shovel is?”
David rubbed his eye and paused a moment. “Under the shed probably.” He looked around in confusion. Gathering this bearings.
“No it’s not there, I looked already I looked all over.”
“Oh that one, I used it last night.” He flopped back down on the bed grabbing a pillow and folding it under his head.
“Where is it ?” She pressed
“I don’t know I think I left it.”
“Left it where?”
“Yankee springs some where.”
“Yankee springs?” Tracy exclaimed “What were you doing there?”
“Digging a hole. Oh! And by the way that shovel is crap! I should have used one of the other ones. It would have gone faster.” David responded groggily.
Tracy sat back not knowing what he was talking about but was now pretty sure he had something to do with the shovel’s disappearance.
“Why were you digging a hole in Yankee springs last night David?”
“Why all these questions? Trace?” David whined, “ Why don’t you use one of the other shovels. We’ve got like, 5 others.”
“Those shovels are too big for me, That little one was just right, not too big or long or heavy.”
“Well, I don’t have it now and I need to sleep. Ask me when I’m awake.” David picked up the pillow and covered his head in protest.
“Fine, but this is not finished.” Tracy sat up and stormed out choosing to engage David later when the battle field favored her. David waved his hand as if signaling a flag, willing to pick up the war later.