George chose a lovely bench near the small pond that they’d installed the previous year. “It was stocked with mature Koi fish hoping we’d have a pond full.” He said. “What we didn’t know is, that Koi eat their young. Luckily not all of them. Will you just look at those Koi Jan.” he smiled proudly. “They say they can live to be over 100 years old. Imagine that!” She glanced sweetly at George. “Yes, I know. We had quite a few at the Shaw. One, in particular, visited us every Summer for years then Wintered at home in a tank. I think he really liked his summer home.” “You were at The Shaw? Wow that’s interesting.” “The Shaw, yes” she responded hesitantly, not wanting to continue this line of questioning, Jan quickly changed the subject. “So, George aside from teaching your way into oblivion for the last 20 years, what else have you been up to….
“BUZZED YA!” came a call from behind, it was Carl yet again, bow flocking tie and all. “Shouldn’t you be in class Carl?” “Oh no,” he offered, my kids are all caught up for the day! Time for me to play.” I almost commented on his lousy attempt at poetry but that would have been kind. “You two should come along with us to see the puppet act across the park. They say it’s grand! We’ve got time!” he offered exuberantly. Jan quickly piped up “George! That would be lovely! Lets!” Well I guess, “Yes let’s” was all I could say. “Lead the way Carl!” I added, only because it was the polite thing to say. Jan happily, jumped up and grabbed Carl’s arm, an arm I wanted to remove permanently. “Let’s go see the magic!” I added, trying to pretend I was truly interested. “It’ll be great George!” she beamed. That’s all I needed from Jan. A little beam of radiant sunshine! he mused, isn’t life grand! He suddenly felt light. Lighter, younger and filled with hope. “Onward!” he commanded. Now is the time for all good men, something or other, he thought. He bolstered his wit, cleverly bowed, and added with a smile, “My Lady and Gent”, he offered with a dramatic jester. OH! Man, oh man. Cool it George! He felt a light blush coming on. Jan raised a brow and he winked.
A crowd had already gathered. Laughter was ringing through the air, the pre-school kids were giggling and laughing so hard tears were running down their cheeks. All seemed well with his world.
“Looking a tad dark over there!” commented a man from the lawn. “Don’t call for rain.” someone added. “Hasn’t rained in weeks and we’ve been needing some.” another quipped. Carl in his usual commanding way, suggested we might find some cover, just in case. “Nice big tree over there.” He pointed. “Carl! That’s the most ridiculous suggestion I’ve heard in, I dunno. Under a tree in a storm?” Carl cringed. Jan rolled her eyes.
“I said I heard a rumbling!” cried a disgruntled old codger. His wife looked over her too thick glasses, pursed her lips and hushed him up with a stare that could stop a lion in its tracks. Even I felt intimidated. “George?” Jan whispered. “Maybe we should go back to the school. I’m also sure I heard some rumbling. I think he’s right.” I looked around, Jan looked at me and Carl, well, Carl just looked. Decision time, I thought. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. “Oh heck!” he decided. “We can sit this out for a bit longer.” Didn’t seem to be bothering anyone else, as he checked the heavens once more. Beautiful day!
What’s that saying? Don’t count your chickens?
BOOM! All hell broke loose! Kids were screaming, puppets were flying, and the old man was cursing like the devil himself. Blankets and picnic baskets were rolling around like tumble weeds. “GEEZZ George!” shouted Carl, “Nice decision! I told ya we should a moved sooner!” Suddenly Carl sounded like he was going to cry. “Carl!” I said quietly trying to calm him, “It’s OK fella, just a little rain.” “Look! My suit! My bow tie! All ruined!” he wept. Jan gathered herself quickly as they hurried through the rain and thunder. “Carl?” I offered sincerely. “That fine suit and that first-class bow tie of yours never looked better.” Carl smiled.