The Way Home From Mars

In the ways of steve, bad is the key of cowards...

I liked the tin music from my flat speakers, it sounded like rolling fuzz on a fat sleeve. My record player was as old as my oldest sister and as orange as a plastic sock. It was on my desk beside the bowl of shells and the odd bits of glass that I found in the field behind our school. No one ever liked being inside as much as I did but if they did it must have been '66 and they were reading, The Way Home from Mars.
They were lost. They needed to make a difference and Buzz the Johnson was going to set them straight. "This is a democracy for leaders Mary," his eyes glinted. "There's no lip gloss where we're going."
My ball glove was on the bed beside me. The leather smelled warm and fragrant like it had been hiding under cornflower. It rained during the day so dad called our usual game early.
There was a Gainsborough hanging over my desk, it was all tobacco and cool silk that made me hate horses and spindly ankles for a life time. Mom liked that stuff, it's how she met my dad. "But it won't be easy Mary. There was a knock,  followed by my Mom saying, Dinner.
Now where's that button?
Oh the button just has to be here Buzz. It just has to. Clifford Humson was 42 when he wrote that. He lived in Saratoga Springs, in a cottage at the edge end of a short gravel road. He shared most of his talking parts with an old dog named Walter and a Ford truck that he had named Susan. I bought truck from his nephew but Walter the dog died in '78.
This bed's too yellow Susan.
But it's only just yellow.
Casserole with cream cheese again Mom... Monday's are our macaroni something nights. There's wine in a jug and cold beer in the fridge. Dad brought us ice cream.
I dogeared my page and tucked the book under my pillow. The old cotton sheets were cool and worn. My brothers and sisters each had their own rooms in our big house at the end of the street. Dad was a chronic plumber and master of lawns. My Mom made curtains and watched neighborhood kids during the day. All of the babies stayed over on rainy days when we was in school.


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