Down By the Stream on Sunday Afternoon
Maddie and Essie walked down to the store to get film for the camera, and then realized that it didn’t matter if the camera had film or not. But, finally, Maddie remembered that it wouldn’t even act like it was taking pictures without film in it, and they needed batteries for the flash. Essie also needed some food and things for the evening.
They wandered around the store gathering items. Maddie still had some of the twenty since Debbie had not asked for change. She bought some cheese and crackers and apple juice to add to the pasta salad and ham and plastic utensils that Essie bought.
“We can stash these in my fridge at home and take them to your room to eat later,” Maddie said twirling around Essie on the sidewalk outside of the store.
“Yes all of dat ees fine, but we steel do not know how we are goin’ to get to the ranch tomorrow.”
“Oh, we have to go to Rick’s and ask him if we can borrow his car for 10 bucks,” Maddie said as if it were already done.
Essie stopped and gave Maddie a “Why don’t we do that now” look.
“Oh, he doesn’t get off work until 5 today. That was him in the store checking us out. He won’t talk business while he’s at work. He gets super grumpy and uncooperative. Believe me I’ve tested the theory,” Maddie finished with a shrug of her shoulders as if to say, some people! “But I did ask him if he would be home after work and he said he would.” She said all of this rapid fire almost without taking a breath.
“So the plan ees to go to Rick’s after 5 and ask about the car.”
“That’s the plan,” Maddie shouted joyfully and spread her arms to the sky and smiled big at Essie.
“Your nuts,” Essie said quietly looking around to see if anyone was watching. The streets were pretty much empty.
They went back to Maddie’s house and put away the food. Debbie and Matt were still on the couch, the football game turned up loud. There were more beer bottles on the table.
“Did ya’ see that asshole!” Matt leaped up and motioned disgust and horror at the TV.
“Ahh, They shoulda traded him last year. I can’t believe their hanging on to that garbage,” Debbie said with less passion but sufficient emphasis to show that she knew what she was talking about.
“Hey Deb, Essie’s gonna show me how to use that camera Dad got me last year so we’ll be out for a while.’
“Djou finish your homework, liddle girl,” Debbie leaned her head back on the top of couch back and looked at Maddie lazily.
“Pretty much, I can finish up tonight after dinner.”
“Oh yeah, Matt and I are goin’ out, didja get stuff for you with the twenty I gave ya.”
“Yeah, I got stuff,” Maddie said sarcastically, “The way you take care of me jus’make my head spin right off.”
If Debbie heard she did not react, she was back into the game, Matt’s hand on her neck.
Maddie sighed and said, “Let’s get outta here.”
Outside Maddie looked up at the sky and yelled, “I hate fucking football! I hate pick-up truck driving assholes who fuck my mother!”
Essie put her hand on Maddie’s shoulder.
“Oh, I’m OK. I’m better’n Ok. I gotta place to sleep an food, right.’ She spit on the ground, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
And, Essie knew she would be just as surely as she knew that Debbie was making wrong choices.
They walked around and Maddie took pictures to get a feel for the camera. Maddie made Essie her model and had her climb a tree and gaze out at the horizon. She told Essie to walk toward her looking mean and sexy all the while saying things like:
“Yeah, baby make love to the camera, show me what you got, Ooh, baby make me want you.”
Essie would hold the look for a few seconds and then burst out in shrieks of laughter.
“You are the strangest girl. Really Iyam worried about you.”
“Don’t worry about this girl. I am the sanest person on the planet.” Maddie replied.
They walked down the creek and skipped rocks for a while. Maddie was very good at it and showed Essie.
“Din’t you have no rocks on the Orinoco when you was growin’ up.”
“I don’ remember. I remember making leetle boats from beets of wood and leaves and having races.”
“Ooh, that sounds like fun.”
So they hunted around for sticks that would work but were unsuccessful. Finally they sat down on a big rock. And looked at the sky. Which was mostly grey with a few blue lines and pools.
“What’s the time, Essie?” Maddie asked rolling over and propping herself up on her elbows.
“Four tirty, almost time to go.”
“We could wander up that way and catch him on his way home.”
“Alright, lez go,” Essie sat up with a little grunt. Maddie popped up and ran to the water and threw one more perfect skip. It skipped 7 times. She counted each one carefully.
“Hey, 7 that’s my record for this spot, swee’eet!”