A Time When It All Went Wrong by Colin Kelly

They say everyone has a double, a doppelganger, someone who’s their mirror image. What if you just met your double? What if you were a thirteen-year-old kid who’s gay and you just met your double?


Chapter 40: Every Game Counts     Story Index >>

I looked at Tom and laughed. “What do you mean when you say you’re starting to work on having a boyfriend? Are you talking about me?”

“Sure. Why not? I’ve scanned all of the gay guys here and I’m not interested.”

“How come?”

“They’re either buried in the closet, or they’re already in a relationship, or they’re too girlie, or they’re flamers or emo. Or my gaydar was wrong.”

“Which way was it wrong?”

“It said yes when it was a no.”

“I suppose that’s the usual way it’s wrong. If you’d get a no you’d never check any further.”

We heard a bell, like we’d heard several times during my tour. Tom stood then so did I.

“That’s the end of third period,” Tom said. “Time to head back to Mrs. Harrington’s office.”

We started walking in that direction, then Tom stopped. “Hang on a minute. There’s Coach Moreno. I want you to meet him. He’s the varsity football coach.”

Tom ran over to a tall young-looking man and they talked for a few seconds. Then Tom waved for me to join them.

“Coach, this is Tony McKinley. He’s moving to Davis this summer and will be a sophomore in the fall. He’s on the freshman team at Wilson High in Hillview. Tony, this is Coach Moreno.”

We shook hands.

“What position do you play, Tony?”

“Mostly running back or end, and sometimes I’m a linebacker on defense.”

Tom said you guys are undefeated so far this year. Who do you play?”

I walked through our schedule and our scores so far, then the final three teams we’d meet to end our season.

“Tony’s on the first string, Coach. I told him that he should come to our summer tryouts.”

“I agree. Who’s your coach at Wilson, Tony?”

“Jake Kavanaugh.”

“I’ve met him. If it’s okay with you, Tony, I’d like to give him a call. Can I assume that he knows you’re moving to Davis?”

“Yes, but he’s the only one who knows. I’m not going to tell the guys on the team or anyone else at school until the season is over. I don’t want my teammates to have something else to think about other than football.”

“I have to get to my next class. Nice meeting you, Tony. I’ll look for you at our summer tryouts.”

“Okay. Nice meeting you too, Coach.”

As we walked to the Admin building I bumped shoulders with Tom.

“What’s Coach Moreno’s first name?”

“Phil. Not Phillip, it’s actually just Phil. He doesn’t have a nickname.”

“That’s cool. I’ll tell Coach Kavanaugh that he might get a call from him. Hey, I was wondering, how did you get out of your classes to give me this very excellent campus tour?”

“My block classes are all this afternoon, and then I have after school football practice. Mrs. Harrington is my guidance counselor so she asked me if I’d do it.”

“That’s weird. I’m going to have to find out how the block classes thing works. We don’t have anything like that at Wilson.”

“There’s some information about it in the course catalog you got. You can go online and download our bell schedule; that makes it easier to understand.”

~~~<<>>~~~

When we got back to Mrs. Harrington’s office Mom stood up and smiled.

“Did you enjoy the campus tour, Tony?”

“Yes, I did. I learned a lot about Davis High. I also learned something really funny. Tom’s folks own the house that we bought.”

“You’re kidding! How did you find out about that?”

“Tom looked sort of familiar, but I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen him. He asked about us moving here, and I told him about all the bedrooms and bathroom in the house we bought. Then he asked me if the house is at 2745 Alder Court and I said yes, then I remembered where I’d seen him. He’s in one of the pictures of kids above the fireplace. I think it’s very funny that he’s the one who gave me the tour of Davis High. I mean, what’s the chance of that happening?”

I looked at Mrs. Harrington and raised my eyebrows.

“I didn’t plan it to happen, Tony. I didn’t even know Tom’s family will be moving.”

She stood there just looking at me and then at Tom, and then she started shaking her head. That made me and Tom both laugh, and finally Mom and Mrs. Harrington joined in.

“That is an amazing coincidence,” Mrs. Harrington said.

“Even funnier is that our new house is just two blocks down the street from our current house, the one you bought,” Tom said.

“Well, it’s good that you two know each other,” Mom said. She turned and looked at me. “When you move in with us after school is over in June you’ll already know someone.”

That made me smile! Move in with them after the school year is over. Fan-tas-tic!

“Not only do I know Tom, we’ve become friends.”

I turned and looked at Tom. We both smiled. “True that,” he said.

“Tony, we’d better get going so you’ll be back in time for your Biology class.”

“Okay.” I shook hands with Tom. “Thanks for the tour. I’m looking forward to getting together with you when I move here in June. And I will go to the tryouts for the football team, too.”

Tom put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “I’m looking forward to it, Tony.”He left for his fourth period class.

I said goodbye to Mrs. Harrington and Mom and I walked to the car.

“I got a lot of pix of the campus. I can show them to you tonight.”

“You should send them to your dad, too.”

“Sure. I’m going to make a PowerPoint slide show and add narration. Then I’ll send it to him.”

“When you do that you can show your friends at school what Davis High is like.”

“I’ll show Todd and Scott, but none of the other kids. I don’t want the team to find out I’m moving because it might become an issue. I want them to continue focusing on our last three games. After the season is over I’ll tell them. Hey, I know when I can tell them. At the joint birthday party for me and Todd. Our birthdays are on the November eleventh and that’s a Tuesday. We’ll have the party on the following Saturday, that’s the fifteenth. That’s when I’ll show the Davis High slideshow.”

We got in the car and pulled out of the parking lot and headed to the freeway.

Mom glanced over at me and grinned. “So you think you and Todd deserve a birthday party, huh?”

“Absolutely. Me and Todd. Just like we do every year. Nothing fancy. Not a huge number of kids. Just our friends and the freshman football team”

“And where do you think you’re going to have this extravaganza? It sounds like you’re talking about a hundred kids.”

“It won’t be that many. There’s… let me count….” After a few seconds I continued, “I think there are twenty-eight guys on the team including the student manager. Then our friends, that’ll be another fifteen or twenty . So max is forty eight plus me and Todd. Fifty. That’s a nice round number.”

“Let me repeat, where do you think you’re going to find a place where you can have a party with fifty teenagers?”

“The garage at our old house. That way it’ll be easy to clean and nothing in the house will get dirty. Except they’d have to come in the house to go to the bathroom.”

“What if it’s cold or if it rains?”

“We’d be inside the garage. The rental center advertises those blower type heaters on TV. They can come in through the house or through the side door in the garage. If it rains we could rent one of those tent-like walkway things that would shelter people as they walked to and from the house.”

“I think we’d better sit down with Nora and Dennis and see what they have to say. And you and Todd should get together and make up a list of everyone you want to invite.”

“Yeah, both of those are good ideas.”

“I guess you figured out that Julia Harrington convinced me that you need to complete your freshman year at Wilson High.”

“Yes. And you’ll notice that I didn’t go into a little ‘happy dance’ to celebrate the decision.”

“I noticed and I appreciate that, Tony.”

“I knew that’s how it would turn out.”

“How did you know?”

“The things Mrs. Harrington talked about right from the beginning. In her first sentence she said that I’d be transferring from Wilson High to Davis High. Then she listed all of the problems if I transferred at the end of this semester to a junior high instead of the end of the school year to Davis High.”

“Yes, I noticed that.”

“Just curious, when I was on my campus tour what did you and Mrs. Harrington talk about?”

“We talked about the experiences the high school has had when there have been transfers at the end of the first semester. She said that they typically involved having to take parts of some classes over again using tutors. Or when a student never completed their semester at the high school they transferred from, and Davis High was already in their spring semester. She convinced me that waiting until the end of the school year was the best option.

“I also had a tour of the campus. Not as extensive as yours, but very interesting. Based on what I saw, I think you’ll like Davis High.”

“I hate leaving my friends, especially Scott and Todd. But if I had to go to another school it’s best that it would be a school like Davis High that would never play Wilson in football. Otherwise I’d be torn because I’d know a lot of the guys on the Wilson team. I’d be worse if I was on the Davis High football team and we played Wilson. That would be bad karma.”

Mom laughed. “Where did you hear that ‘bad karma’ saying?”

“Lisa says it when she’s describing something that’s not going to work. You’ve met her. She’s the real tall girl who’s on the girl’s varsity basketball team.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever met her.”

“I thought you had. Anyway, you’ll like her when you meet her. She’s real nice.”

I sat thinking and I got an idea.

“Say, you know what would be good karma? I’d like to invite Tom Croyden to our birthday party. He could ride here with you, then ride back to Davis with you. He could spend the night with me at Todd’s. We have that blow-up mattress in our garage he could use.”

“That’s a nice idea, Tony. Do you think he’d be interested?”

“There’s only one way to find out. I’ll call and ask him.”

I didn’t tell Mom that Tom is gay. I didn’t want to out him.

~~~<<>>~~~

I got to school by twelve thirty-five. Lunch period was over, but I had a campus pass and at least twenty minutes to grab something from the snack bar instead of showing up near the end of my Spanish 3 class. They had microwave chimichangas so I got two and a bottle of water and sat outside in the quad munching my late lunch. I finished just as the bell ending fifth period rang. I got up and went to Biology and the “It’s too important to miss” lab experiment.

After Biology — and I’d nailed the experiment — I went to PE and my Football 1A class. Today we were having a team practice to fine tune some new plays that the coaches had come up with. Coach Kavanaugh had said we were a target because of our record, so for our next three opponents we’d have our usual play book plus a few new plays to confuse their defenses.

After practice I showered and dressed then stopped by Coach Kavanaugh’s office.

“Hey, Tony. How was your trip to Davis High School?” He grinned.

I must have looked surprised because I hadn’t told him I was going to visit Davis High. He started laughing, then I realized how he knew.

“A guy who’s going to transfer to another school and play football for them next year just can’t keep anything secret anymore. When did Coach Moreno call you?”

“During lunch. You’re going to get a call from him this evening. I sent him the stats for all of our games so far. I hope that’s okay.”

“Sure, why not? If I’m going to make their team I’ll sure as heck need all of the PR I can get.” Now I grinned.

 “What do you think about the new plays we devised for the Clayton Valley game?”

“I’m going to study them tonight, then when we have practice on Thursday I’ll be ready to use them in practice and in our game Friday afternoon.”

“Good. So, tell me about Davis High’s athletic facilities.”

So I did. I described what I’d seen, and he would nod or ask a question. All of a sudden I realized that I hadn’t heard any bells. I twisted around to look at the clock on the wall behind where I sat.

“What happened to the bell for the end of seventh period? And the one for the start of eighth period?”

“Good questions, I don’t know. Eighth period starts at two fifty-one and it’s after three o’clock now. Let me call.”

He was on the phone for about fifteen seconds.

“The school engineer said they just found a problem with the bells in the gyms. I’ll write you a pass for your eighth period class.”

I got to Creative Writing almost twenty minutes late. I wasn’t the only one, as kids from other buildings were arriving even later than me. Obviously the bell problem wasn’t limited to the gyms.

Our after school practice sessions for the Clayton Valley game, including the new plays, were a big success. Coach Kavanaugh was all smiles, and he and Coach Lenning went around and grabbed each of us by our shoulder pads and told us we were winners. Everyone was excited about the upcoming game. We watched a film of the Clayton Valley freshmen playing a non-league scrimmage against Long Beach Poly on September twelfth. Both were very good teams, closely matched. Clayton Valley won the game 24 to 20. I focused on Clayton Valley’s defense. What surprised me is how much bigger their guys were than ours. This could be a difficult game for us to win.

I kept thinking about Davis High and their JV and varsity football teams. Maybe they’d pick me for the JV team since I’d be a sophomore and still sort of short compared to the guys on the Wilson varsity. On the other hand, I was about to turn fourteen and I should have a growth spurt and maybe by the Davis High summer tryouts I’d be enough taller and bulkier to make their varsity team.

Mostly, though, I kept thinking about our game with Clayton Valley. They were good, maybe even better than us, and like us they had five wins and no losses so far. Well, we’d have to do our best to win the game. As usual, Jacob Rummel kept us on our toes, having us shout stuff before and after every practice session and even when we were taking our showers.

I walked home with Todd. He’d stuck around to watch our practice.

“You guys really looked hyped, Tony.”

“Yeah. We are. I hope we can carry that into the game on Friday.”

“Come on! You guys are the best freshman football team in Northern California. Get with the script. I predict that you’re gonna win on Friday.”

“You going to come to the game?”

“No. I would except I don’t have any way to get there and back.”

“Say, thinking about getting home reminds me. I talked to my mom about our birthday party. She thinks we’re going to invite too many kids. So, we’re supposed to make our invite list so my folks and your folks can figure out where to have it.”

“Why are there going to be too many kids?”

“Well, I’m planning on inviting the freshman football team.”

“You’re what?

“I’m planning on….” I stopped when Todd yelled, “STOP! I heard you. That’s what, maybe fifty guys?”

“No, it’s twenty-eight guys, but some probably woldn’t be able to come. So maybe fifteen.”

“So, with our friends that’s what, about forty?”

“Or fifty.”

“And where are we going to hold this forty or fifty person event?”

“The garage at my house.”

“Oh. Damn, that’s a good idea. What if it rains?”

“That could be a problem. We’d need a way to keep people dry as they go from the garage to the house to go to the bathroom. I suggested that we rent one of those covered walkway tent things between the side door in the garage to the back door of the house. Everyone could use the bathroom near the back door. I don’t know how much it’d cost, but we could Google it.”

“I suggest that we trim the invitation list,” Todd said.

“Well, let’s sit down tonight and see what we can come up with. Then we can talk to your folks and then I can call my folks and ask them.”

“Hmm… I just had an idea. I remember reading somewhere that Wilson rents out the cafeteria for events on the weekends. Let’s figure two different invitation lists, one with the entire freshman football team and all our other friends, then a trimmed down list. Tomorrow I’ll go to the admin office and see what it would cost to rent the cafeteria. Then assuming I find out how much it would cost and that it sounds reasonable, we’ll talk to our folks tomorrow night.”

“Great idea, Todd!”

I spent time Tuesday night coming up with two lists and I gave a copy to Todd. Then I created a PowerPoint slide show with the best pictures I’d taken during my tour of Davis High. I added descriptions with each image, and wrote some dialog that I’d use when I was ready to add audio to the slide show.

Then I got a call from Coach Moreno.

“Hi, Tony. I assume Jake Kavanaugh told you that I called him.”

“Yes, he did.”

“He convinced me that I would be inheriting his best player.”

“That’s overstating it. I’m successful because our team is successful. We work together and make sure we’re all successful.”

“He’s sending me a video of one of your games. I’m looking forward to viewing it.”

“That video’s from our first game, we played Campo and won 42 to 7. That might sound impressive, but Campo has won only one game and lost five so far.”

“I think you’re a little too modest, Tony. I think modesty is a good thing, but you need to accept your team’s successes and your personal successes as well.”

“Oh, I accept my team’s success. The thing is, Coach Kavanaugh stresses that football is a team sport, not an individual sport. Everyone on our team really believes in that idea. That’s how we play our games, always depending on each other and having each other’s backs.”

“You’re an impressive young man, especially for someone who’s thirteen years old.”

“I’ll be fourteen on November eleventh.”

I think he could hear my grin, because he laughed and so did I.

“I’m looking forward to having you try out for Davis High football this summer. Tom Croyden will keep you updated about when our summer practice starts.”

“Yeah. He said he’d drag me to the first practice if necessary, and he’s bigger than me so he should be able to do the dragging.”

“Good for Tom. Tony, if you have any questions I can answer between now and summer practice, don’t hesitate to call me, okay?” He gave me his cellphone number, and I wrote it down.

“Thanks, Coach. I’m glad we met and I’ve enjoyed talking with you.”

“That’s the same for me, too, Tony. I’m looking forward to having you join the Davis High football program. I have to run now, but remember you can call me at any time.”

“Okay. So long for now, Coach,” I said to close the conversation.

I finished my homework and walked across to Todd’s room

“You finish your invite list?” I asked.

“Yes. Lemme print a copy for you.”

“Okay,” I said, after he handed me his list, “let’s match up the non-football lists.”

We did that and it worked out to twenty-two including me and Todd.

“How many guys on the team will you want to invite?”

“I counted it and there are twenty-eight guys on the team.”

“Whoa! That’s fifty kids, Tony. I don’t think our folks would go for a party that big.”

“I know. My mom’s been grousing about how big it was getting.”

“This is our fourteenth birthdays, not a big birthday like when we turn sixteen.”

“Yeah, that’s true. But how can I invite a few guys from the team and not all of them? We’re all real close.”

“Let’s try and figure out some other way for your football team. You know, without the football team that would be twenty-two including you and me, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, that’s not too huge. Maybe there should be two birthday parties, one for you with the freshman football team, then another for you and me and our friends.”

“That’s an interesting idea. That might work.”

“How about football team laser tag?”

“Man, Todd, that’s a great idea. There’s a laser tag place in Clayton. I’ll Google it and see what it costs.”

“Hey, maybe we can have have one birthday party with everyone at once for laser tag. What d’ya think?”

“This is sounding better and better.”

~~~<<>>~~~

We’d skipped weight training on Wednesday so we could have an additional practice session, then we had our weight training on Thursday. I felt great, ready to go. The rest of the team seemed to be the same. So by the time we got to seventh period on Friday and got on the bus we were really hyped.

Clayton Valley High was a larger school than Wilson with just over two thousand students compared to our fifteen hundred. Their campus was newer, too, including the changing room we were assigned to use in their boys gym. We put on our uniforms and Jeff checked that everything was on the right way including our Checklight™ caps under our helmets to help determine if anyone on our team got hit in a way that might cause a concussion.

When we ran out onto the field for our warmups we’d been surprised by the were the large number of spectators. Of course, it was the Clayton Valley homecoming. With a record of five wins and no losses for both freshman teams the game must have been hyped on their campus. Almost all of the spectators were Clayton Valley fans, of course.

The game started with each team doing a three-and-out, feeling out the competition. Clayton Valley must have thought they could pass against us because their first play of their second set of downs was a long pass that Darryl Chiu intercepted and ran back for a touchdown. That seemed to shock the Clayton Valley team because after receiving the kickoff their quarterback fumbled the ball on their own 21 yard line and we took over. Mark Wicks was at quarterback and I was a running back behind Jeff Post our left end. They paid more attention to Jeff and I was able to break free and Mark threw a perfect pass that I caught as I crossed the goal line. Before either team had made a first down, and after just four possessions, we were ahead 14 to 0. We found that their line wasn’t as big as they’d looked in the video of their scrimmage with Long Beach Poly.

Clayton Valley seemed to regroup and on their next series made two first downs, moving to their 47 yard line. We held and they had to punt. Pete Ross returned the punt to our 34 yard line. We moved the ball downfield making five first downs, and Jeff ran it in for a touchdown. That ended the scoring in the first quarter, and we were ahead 21 to 0. The second and third quarters were strictly a defensive battle. After a punt at the start of the fourth quarter we moved the ball from our 20 yard line to score another touchdown, increasing our lead to 28 to 0. Clayton Valley finally scored a touchdown, and near the end of the game Marjory Stakker kicked a field goal and the game ended with Wilson winning 31 to 7.

At the end of the game we did the usual hand-tap thing with our guys running past their team. When I got to the Clayton Valley quarterback he said, “You guys are good!” when he and I tapped hands. That made me feel great.

Our varsity won their game 38 to 7. I didn’t see the game because those of us who didn’t have a ride had to take the bus back to Wilson immediately after we showered and dressed.

When I got home Mom told me Lisa called. I wondered why she didn’t call my cell, but then maybe she did. I went to my room where I’d left it, and found a text message from her.

Guys, my uncle died and I have to go to the funeral on Saturday. If it’s okay let’s have our Saturday Movie Double Header on November first.

I sent her a return text that I was sorry about her uncle and November first was fine.

~~~<<>>~~~

Saturday morning I got together with Scott, Todd, and Brian and we rode our bikes downtown. I needed to spend some quality time with Scott this weekend. I wanted to tell him about my visit to Davis High, and that I’d be at Wilson through the end of the year. That was the good news. The other side of that coin was that I’d have to move to Davis right after the end of the school year. I wanted it to be just the two of us and somewhere private when I talked to him about these things.

Scott grabbed my arm and we stopped walking. “Hey, you guys,” he called out to Todd and Brian, “Tony and I will catch up with you in a minute.” He wiggled his eyebrows at them and they laughed.

“Okay, let’s meet at the frozen yogurt place,” Todd said, and he and Brian continued up the street.

We sat down on a bench next to the fountain at the entrance of Nordstrom’s department store.

“Okay, what’s making you so quiet today, Tony?” Scott asked. It was almost like he’d read my mind.

“Stress, I guess. Lots of things on my mind. We have semester finals coming up. We have our last two games coming up. I’ve got things I want to talk to you about when we’re alone. I know it sounds too middle school, but can have a sleepover tonight?”

“At Todd’s house?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t see why not. As long as it’s okay with Todd’s folks. Or we could have the sleepover at my house.”

“Would your folks go along with that?”

“Don’t know. We’ve never done that. If I asked they’d know what would end up happening with the two of us in bed together.” Now he wiggled his eyebrows at me, and I laughed.

“Todd’s folks would be the same way, I think.”

“Have Todd and Brian ever had a sleepover?”

“Not since I’ve been living at their house.”

“Hey, your house is still sitting there with all of your stuff in it, isn’t it?”

“Yes. But I think it would be a worse idea for me to suggest to my aunt and uncle that you and I will be sleeping there. Then they’d call my mom and make sure it was okay with her.”

“I haven’t finished what I’m going to suggest. You guys are going to be moving sometime, and you probably have a ton of stuff that’s gotta be boxed up, right?”

“Yeah… so?”

“You and I will collect a bunch of the boxes in our garage. They’re from when moved here from Chicago, annd they’re just taking up space. Then we’ll take them to your house. We’ll say we’re going to start packing your stuff. And we will really pack your stuff. Then, tomorrow night when it’s getting late, I’ll call my folks and you’ll call your aunt and uncle, and we’ll tell them that we’re exhausted and we’re going to crash at your house. If there are any questions we’ll say we’re using your sleeping bags. I assume you have sleeping bags?” I nodded. “Then Monday morning we’ll clean up at your house, walk to my house so I can change to clean clothes, and then we’ll take the bus to school.”

I grinned. “That is a very evil plan. I love it. I think it will work. Of course, Todd will never believe it was so innocent or unplanned, and he’s going to razz us about it. I have one question. How do we move the boxes from your garage to my house?”

“We’ll get my dad to help. He’s been grousing about the stacks of boxes taking up room in the garage. He’ll be glad to move them out tomorrow. In fact, why don’t we do it this afternoon? He and Josh are at home today watching the University of Minnesota football game on TV. That’ll give us more time to do the packing.”

“I like that idea even better. When will the game be over?”

“I’m not sure. Why?”

“So we don’t interrupt him from watching the game.”

“Oh. Good idea. Lemme Google it.”

The broadcast of the game was scheduled to be over at four p.m. Central time. That would be two p.m. Pacific time. That was perfect. Scott called his dad and asked if I could have the moving boxes and could he bring them to my house after the game, and he said yes.

That gave us plenty of time to hang with Todd and Brian and have lunch. Scott and I rode our bikes back to his house, and arrived at exactly two p.m. We were ready to go to work loading the boxes into their SUV.

The job was actually easy. Scott lowered the third row of seats making a lot more room. There were some tall hanger boxes — they’re for clothes on hangers — that Mr. Sanderson and Josh tied to the top of the SUV. Scott and I schlepped the other packing boxes and stacked them on edge in the back of the SUV. By the time we’d jammed as many as we could in the back of the SUV Mr. Sanderson and Josh had finished tying down the hanger boxes on top.

“We still have more boxes if you need them, Tony,” Mr. Sanderson offered. “Like those larger ones for bulky things like bedspreads, and the special boxes with inserts for dishes and glasses and fragile things. We even have some thin boxes for pictures.”

“Thanks. I’ll let my folks know about those. What I want to concentrate on now is the stuff in my bedroom. We’ve got a lot of bubble pack and styroform peanuts, and three extra rolls of packing tape and two full tape dispensers. So I think we’re good to go right now.”

Josh sat in the front and Scott and I sat in the second row. It took less than five minutes to drive to my house. I unlocked the door and shut off the alarm, and Scott and I started unloading the boxes from the back. Mr. Sanderson and Josh untied the boxes from the top and brought them inside.

“Where would you like these, Tony?”

“How about right here. Scott and I will bring them up one at a time as I need to pack my clothes.”

“That’s a good idea,” Scott said. “Did we get the metal hanger bars for these?”

“Oops!” Josh said. “No, I completely forgot about them. I hope we still have them.”

“We do, I saw them the other day,” Mr. Sanderson said. “They’re in a box, so they’d be easy to miss. We’ll go pick them up and Josh will bring them to you.”

While we waited for Josh, I phoned Aunt Nora and told her what we were doing. I called my folk’s apartment in Davis. and They weren’t home, so I left a message with the same story about what we were doing. Of course, neither message said anything about a sleepover. That would come later.

When Josh got back I let him in.

“Here you go, Tony. This box is pretty heavy. The hanger bars are made out of metal. I’ll give a hand and we’ll bring it upstairs.”

It was harder than it looked. That box was heavy! When we finally got it upstairs I pointed to the guest bedroom and we dragged it in there.

“This is a good spot for this box. There isn’t much to pack in this room. Thanks for helping to bring it upstairs.”

“No problem, Tony. Where’s Scott?”

“In my bedroom, I guess. Let’s go see.”

Scott was in my bedroom with a pad of paper and a pen.

“Hey, bro, taking inventory?” Josh asked.

“Just listing the things that we have to pack. I brought some markers we can use to mark the boxes.”

“If you guys don’t need a hand I’ll head home.”

“Hey, Josh, thanks for your help.”

“Anytime, Tony. See you later. Scott, are you and Tony going to come home for dinner?”

“I don’t know. Tony?”

“Might be nice to have a break.”

“You know what we’re having?” Scott asked Josh.

“It’s pizza night.”

“Then Tony and I are definitely coming home for dinner.”

“Okay, I’ll let Mom know. Anything you don’t like on your pizza, Tony?” Josh asked.

“Anchovies.”

“Don’t worry about it then. Scott and I don’t like them either. Scott, plan on being home by six thirty.”

“Sounds good. Thanks, Josh.”

“Yeah, thanks again for all your help, Josh,” I added.

He left and Scott and I got started.

“What should we do first?” I asked.

“The hanger boxes. That’s because they’re big and sort of complicated to put together. Then they become clumsy to move around when they are full of clothes. Let’s go downstairs and bring one of them up here and get it set up.”

When we got it upstairs and started to assemble it I saw what Scott meant when he said they were complicated to put together.

“It’s not going to work trying to assemble it in my room. There’s not enough space. Let’s take it to my folk’s room. They already moved most of the furniture out so we’ll have a lot larger space to work.”

Setting up the first hanger box taught us how to do the others. The second box took us about a quarter as long to assemble. We also discovered that leaving the hanger box in the hall and bringing my clothes from my closet to the hanger box was a lot easier. When the first box was full we used a marker pen to scratch out Josh’s name and write mine in its place. Then we dragged it to the guest bedroom and pushed it against the wall. We continued filling hanger boxes until the fourth one was three quarters full.

“Do we just close up this one that’s partly full?” I asked.

“We could do that, but you might have other things that we could put on hangers. You can put your shoes in the bottom of this one. Let’s do that now.”

Packing for a move wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. By the time the hanger boxes and four boxes with the clothes from my dresser were packed I looked at my alarm clock. It was six fifteen.

“Time to walk back to your house for dinner, Scott.”

“Okay, let’s go.”

As we were walking I remembered my reason for getting with him privately.

“Scott, I want to make sure to tell you some things. First, the best news is I’m going to be going to Wilson until school is over in June. Then, unfortunately, I’ll have to move to Davis.”

“I figured that you’d be moving to Davis sometime, Tony. It’s good news that it won’t be until this school year is over. How long will it be until your folks buy a house?”

“My folks just bought a house in Davis. It’s cool, a big house with five bedrooms and a great pool. When you come to visit during the summer we can swim every day. Also, my folks sold our house here in Hillview. We have to be out by the end of the year. The people who bought it are going to move in after the first of January.”

“Do they have any kids?”

“Yeah, two I think. My mom said they’re in elementary school.”

As we walked up to Scott’s front door I was starting to tell him about Davis High School and their football teams.

“Why don’t you tell me while we’re eating? My folks and Josh will be interested, I think.”

“Okay. Sounds like a good idea.”

They were interested, and Josh said he’d like to see my pix. I told him I was going to turn it into a PowerPoint presentation with narration. He laughed and suggested I sell it to Davis High School. That made me laugh.

After dinner Scott and I returned to my house and we finished packing my clothes and were able to pack all of my books, CDs, and DVDs. Then I emptied the contents of my desk into a box. There wasn’t much, but I added my clock and desk lamp, then stuffed some leftover socks, along with some PJs that I never wore, and that filled the box and kept the stuff from rattling around loose.

Scott and I sat on my bed, leaning against the headboard. I looked around the room.

“Man, I can’t believe that we actually finished packing everything in my room and my closet.”

“Well, it’s not quite everything, fortunately,” Scott said.

“What do you mean?”

“The bed is all set for us to get undressed and climb in.” Scott grinned.

“Oh. You don’t want to use those sleeping bags I schlepped all the way in here from the garage?” I grinned and wiggled my eyebrows.

“No fucking way. We’re going to sleep together and mess around until we’re too tired to do anything other than go to sleep.”

“Sounds like a plan. But first we have to call home to let them know. By the way, what time is it?”

“Damned if I know. Where’s your clock?”

“I packed it. But I have my cell and it tells time.”

“But it’s in your pocket. It’s going to take effort to pull it out and turn it on and look at the time on the login screen. Way too much work, in my honest opinion.”

I poked him with my elbow, then pulled my cell out of my pocket. “It’s almost ten fifteen. Let’s watch the news until eleven, then we can make our call.”

“Your cable still works?”

“Yup.”

“Where’s the remote?”

“On top of my dresser. Since I looked up the time, you should get up and get the remote.”

Scott returned with the remote and powered on the TV then keyed in channel 902 for the ten o’clock news. By the time the weather news and the sports were over we were both yawning.

“Did you notice there’s a chance of rain on Monday?” Scott asked.

“Yeah. They’ve been promising rain for the past month with zip results. I’ll believe it when it actually rains on me.”

“Time to call your aunt and uncle, Tony. I’ll walk down to the guest bedroom and call my folks.”

Our subterfuge worked. I told Aunt Nora I’d ride my bike to their house in the morning. When I told her we’d packed everything in my bedroom except the sleeping bags, she said she was sure my folks would be very happy when I called to tell them. I agreed. It would probably make my mom especially happy. It would prove to her that I wouldn’t put up any argument about moving after this school year was over. Unfortunately that part was true.

“I talked to my dad,” Scott said as he entered my bedroom, “and he congratulated us on getting everything packed.”

Then I got a call on my cell. It was Todd.

“You two gonna do the nasty?”

“No. We really did pack everything in my room except the furniture. Clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, the stuff in my desk, shoes, everything.” I yawned loudly. “We’re really exhausted, Todd.”

“Okay, I still don’t believe you’re going to go to sleep immediately. But when you do, sleep well. What are you doing tomorrow?”

“I’m going to ride my bike to your house.”

“Oh. Okay. You really did finish?”

“Why don’t you climb on your bike and ride over here in the morning and I can show you what we accomplished.”

“How about I ask my mom to drive me over so we can see what you did, then you can ride back with us. We can put your bike in the back of her SUV. That way you won’t have to peddle all the way to my house.”

“I like that idea. Can you ask her now?”

Aunt Nora got on the call.

“Todd suggests that I drive him to your folk’s house tomorrow morning so we can see what you accomplished, then we’ll drive you and your bike back here. Is that okay?”

“Sure. Don’t get here too early, we’re really tired. How about nine thirty?”

“Okay, Tony. We’ll see you at nine thirty. Bye.”

“Bye.” I ended the call.

“What was that all about?” Scott asked.

“Todd thinks we’re going to do the nasty. I think he thought we didn’t actually get everything packed. They’re going to be here at nine thirty tomorrow morning to see what we did, then they’ll drive me to Todd’s house. My bike will fit in the back of my aunt’s SUV. That’s actually a good idea instead of my having to ride all the way over there on my bike.”

“How about we shower… oh… are there towels and soap and stuff in the bathroom?”

“Yeah. We’ll use the shower in my folk’s bathroom. It’s huge.” I grinned and wiggled my eyebrows. “It’ll be more fun that way. Oh, one other thing, in the morning I want to pack the sheets and blanket and bedspread that are on my bed, then rumple up the sleeping bags so it looks like we actually slept in them.”

Scott grinned. “You have a dirty mind, Tony. That’s one of the things I love about you.”

 

Continued


Thanks to Cole Parker for editing A Time When It All Went Wrong


<< Chapter 39 | Story Index | Chapter 41 >>

There are a lot of American football terms in this story. Not everyone, especially those of you who don’t live in North America, will understand them. Fortunately, the internet can come to your rescue.

There’s a quick introduction to American football with pictures at https://myfootballmentor.com/category/football-basics/.

Wikipedia has a glossary of American football terms at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_American_football and I recommend it as a source to reduce confusion.

There’s an image of a American high school football field with dimensions at http://www.sportsknowhow.com/football/field-dimensions/high-school-football-field-dimensions.html.

If you're not interested in football, you can skim over those sections of the story. Tony would understand, and Todd might even agree with you.


If you enjoyed reading this story, please let me know! Authors thrive by the feedback they receive from readers. It's easy: just click on the email link at the bottom of this page to send me a message. Say “Hi” and tell me what you think about ‘A Time When It All Went Wrong’. Thanks.


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