Max was in his study, door open, typing his memoirs on the computer. Every once in a while, a deep sigh or a chuckle.
I went to the door and looked in. “How’s it going?”
His fingers tapped on the keyboard. “I’m writing about my high school breakthrough.”
I sat on the chair in front of his desk. “Read it to me?”
Max sat back and read:
‘I wanted to join the Home Economics Class where I could work with food but boys were barred. The other choices were sports or shop. I would have flunked sports but stood a chance in shop.
How pedestrian to hammer a pitched roof onto a cigar box and call it a birdhouse!
Our first assignment was to build a birdhouse from a cigar box. The other boys wheedled boxes from their fathers and uncles. My father didn’t smoke. How pedestrian to hammer a pitched roof onto a cigar box and call it a birdhouse!
I was good at carving and whittling since I’d long practiced on vegetables so I built a small Georgian mansion birdhouse out of pine. A staircase led to the front door that opened onto a large salon. Two towers flanked either side, true to Georgian balance, and allowed birds three floors of perch enjoyment.
The rear of the bird palace featured a greenhouse with of lots berries and cut fruit. The birds had a great time.’
“Good story?” He looked at me, arching his eyebrows.
“What grade did you get?” I asked.
“I was the only boy who got an A+ +. Of course the other boys despised me.”
“Artistic jealousy, no doubt. What then?”
“The principal allowed me to join Home Economics.”
“How did that go?”
“The girls despised me too after I outshone them in cake decorating and vegetable carving.” He sighed. “It’s not easy being exceptional.”
I crossed my arms. “You’re full of baloney!”
“Never baloney, darling, maybe Andouille.” He rubbed his eyes and shut off the computer. “I’m ready for a break.”
I fanned myself with my hand. “Whew! It’s hot today. Let’s go somewhere cool.”
“Not cool enough. The mall with the skating rink?”
“Isn’t that comparable to ‘ baloney ‘?”
“Not the one with the ice rink. It’s the Andouille of malls.”
“Let’s go for lunch!”
At the ice rink mall, we studied the menu at the Italian restaurant. Appetizing smells of baking bread, tomato sauce and roasting chicken wafted from the kitchen.
“Look at this new dish,” Max said, eyes bright, pointing at the menu, “pasta with seafood and olives.”
I wagged my finger. “Tummy, tummy.”
Max groaned. “Okay.”
I said to the waiter, indicating the minestrone and salad special, “Dos por favor.”
Max gave me a dark look.
After lunch, we strolled. The hallways twisted and turned. Skylights hovered throwing unnatural luminescence. Neon signs glared. Banging from pinball machines and loud music attacked us as we passed the movie theaters. The smell of fried food assaulted us as we walked by the food court. But the chilly temperature of the mall cooled us to the core.
“I get confused at the mall,” Max said. “It’s like being on board the Enterprise without a map.”
We stopped at a men’s shoe store and Max pointed. “Those look comfortable.” He gasped at the price. “For that, they should be able to dance by themselves!”
We stopped at a women’s store with animal print clothes in the window.
“You’d look great in that!” Max said nodding toward a leopard design sheath dress.
“You know I never try on clothes after eating!”
“Then let’s have coffee at the new coffee shop. We could try their filled cookies.”
I wagged my finger, “Tummy, tummy! Let’s go to the coffee shop with the free butter cookie.”
“But the free butter cookie is tiny.”
We settled for the coffee shop with the tiny free butter cookie.
When Max had slurped the last of his coffee, he said, “Let’s look at puppies!”
I wiped tiny free butter cookie crumbs from my chin.
“No puppies. Salsa is too old for a puppy.”
“Okay, how about an ice cream?”
Max crossed his arms. “Enough of the ‘ tummy, tummy!’ You’d make a great prison warden!”
“When we get home you can start breaking rocks. It’s good exercise. You’ll thank me later.”
“I don’t break rocks. I dice rocks! How about a drink at the bar before we go home?”
We ordered two glasses of wine. The TVs displayed a football game with bright green grass.
“You know, Sylvia, the mall reminds me of something. I can’t put my finger on it.”
I took a sip. “Your birdhouse?”
His eyes lit up. “That’s it! A birdhouse for people.”
After the wine came my favorite part of the day. We got into a taxi and said, “Take us home!”
Hello Readers! Hope you enjoyed this week’s journal entry. Please make me very happy and comment. You can subscribe and get announcements of new Sylvia postings every week right in your mailbox and you will be doing a good deed by making Sylvia more visible in the publishing field. Pass the news of Sylvia on to friends, family and colleagues. They will thank you forever and fabulous things will happen to you!