5:31am, part 15

“Yes, ma’am!” Zeke said, saluting Mrs. B after squirting more soap into the sudsy dish pile. Everything was humming like clockwork on that magical Sunday afternoon. Tommy tried to hide his happiness from the group. Lamarr was keeping herself occupied with a set of blocks, gurgling strangely but still content. Dad hid behind his exquisite wooden sculptures. He was enjoying a bout of confidence because a very affluent person had purchased an angel statue after receiving a splinter. The buyer said “it was a sign.” Apparently, his dad had two very influential fans. One heavenly, the other, a desperate mortal. Meanwhile, Tommy’s mom was on the phone with her accounting firm. Both of his parents had the entrepreneurial mindset, but in different ways.

Something was definitely up with Lamarr, though. Her gurgles seemed otherworldly, and she was a bit more detached than usual. Did the experience at the cemetery embed itself into her psyche? Tommy was scrutinizing her carefully. She looked at him sporadically, giving him an animalistic, almost cognizant look.

Zeke was glancing at him too, making sure that he wasn’t too disgruntled after being deceived.

Despite some of the underlying tension, it was a brilliant sunny day and a tenuous peace reigned. Commercials were in the background too, pumping a stream of color and ambition into them without anyone perceiving a malicious or destructive force. Everyone had their things, both in hand and in the future, and those things provided a warm blanket that allowed for a constant hazy bliss. Tommy realized then that he was willing to fight for a peace that was eternally ready to burst at the seams. He had taken it for granted before, but those lazy summer days seemed like they would never get here again. And even if they did, someone was trying to infuse chaos into everything.

But Tommy wasn’t ready, and after looking over at Zeke, he was sure that his friend wasn’t either. In fact, everyone was sensing a cruel change and wanted to seize this era with a strength that prior to the last couple of weeks seemed like it didn’t need to exist. Tommy even tried bargaining to some higher power. “I’ll take these slightly depressing changes if that means things won’t get worse.”


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