Traveling: Chapter 21 / 22
The group collectively stares at the five large piles of clothes and two dryers, looking intimidated and overwhelmed. Hunched over one of the dryers, Blackhawk scribbles away on a piece of paper. It turns out Blackhawk not only looks like an accountant, he actually is an accountant.
He mumbles to himself.
“Game ends about 9 p.m.,” he says, his pencil working furiously. He looks up at me.
“Did your son help you at all?”
I scoff. “What do you think?” I say.
Devlin’s voice echoes overhead.
Great game, dad. One game apiece now. Have fun doing the laundry. I’m going to bed.
I shrug at the ethereal voice.
“Like father, like son,” Stache says, smirking.
Blackhawk continues calculating. “Five loads, two dryers, 50 minutes per load…folding… delivery …,” Blackhawk checks his numbers, circles the answer, and looks up at me. “2:30 a.m.,” he declares.
“More like 2:32,” I say.
Blackhawk appears to have expected this.
“Standard deviation of two minutes,” he says.
The piles of laundry have now disappeared.
And my Celtics hat is back.
But God am I tired.
all the pretty flowers
Like a kid returning home past curfew, I try to unzip the tent slowly so it won’t make noise. This makes no difference. Shannon is awake, and stares at me by the light of her cell phone.
“It’s 2:30,” she says, showing me the tiny screen.
“2:32,” I say, squinting at the numbers.
“Devlin told me you had to do laundry,” she says. “What the hell?”
“The dryers messed up the TV,” I say, sliding into our double-wide sleeping bag. “To watch the game, I had to make deals to do some people’s laundry.”
“How many loads?” she says.
“Five,” I say.
“You did laundry for five different people?” she says.
“Well, more like three people,” I say. “Two of them had separate whites and colors.”
“You don’t even do laundry at home,” she says.
“That’s because at home, laundry isn’t tied to TV watching,” I say.
“Well maybe now it will be,” Shannon says.
“Wonderful,” I say.
“So I suppose your offer to do all the driving is off the table now,” Shannon says.
“No,” I mumble. “I can do it.”
“How?” she says.
“I have my ways,” I say.
As I’m drifting to sleep, I notice a silhouette against the moonlit tent fabric – ten yellow flowers, each individually placed in its own tiny, colorful bottle.
I sit up on my elbow. “What the-”
“Yeah,” Shannon says into my ear. “While you were gone, Fiona got into your stuff. She thought the 5-hour energy bottles were pretty, so she poured them out and used them as flower holders. Sorry honey.”
Shannon’s apology rings of insincerity. She rolls over and goes to sleep as I stare emptily at the flowers. I feel like a drug addict who’s had his stash flushed down the toilet.
Tomorrow is going to be a long, long day.
Travelling: Intro / Book Jacket, Chapter 1: Cribbagegate, Chapter 2: Two e-mails, Chapter 3: Pattern, Chapter 4: Shattered, Chapter 5: Hilarious Pee, Chapter 6: Suicide, Chapter 7/8: Coaching High school, Shark attacks and appetizers, Chapter 9: June, Chapter 10: 18 and oh no, Chapter 11: DNA, Chapter 12: Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Chapter 13: Tom Brady and the McGuffin, Chapter 14: Game 1, Chapter 15: Who the H is John Havlicek?, Chapters 16 – 17, Chapter 18: Game 2: Great White, Chapter 19: Pickle, Chapter 20: Marty McFly, Chapter 21 / 22: standard deviation, all the pretty flowers