Some of Tim's Stories Read online

  Some of Tim's Stories

  S.E. Hinton


  Diversion Books

  A Division of Diversion Publishing Corp.

  443 Park Avenue South, Suite 1004

  New York, New York 10016

  Copyright © 2007 by S.E. Hinton

  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

  For more information, email [email protected]

  First Diversion Books edition April 2013.

  ISBN: 978-1-626810-11-2

  To David

  Who never seemed to mind

  when Tim dropped by

  I want to thank my friend Teresa Miller

  for all her hard work

  in making this book possible


  The Missed Trip

  “Not till you’re twelve. That’s the rule,” Uncle TJ said.

  “That’s a dumb rule,” Terry said. “That’s two more years.”

  Mike didn’t say anything, knowing it was useless, but Terry never took a “no” he didn’t have to.

  “At least you guys will get to go together.” Mike’s dad loaded the last of the camping gear and guns into the car. “Think how poor TJ felt, getting left behind for four years, seeing me and Grandpa and Great-uncle Jack go off without him. He even stowed away in the trunk one year. When Grandpa found him, we were a hundred miles out, and he turned right around and brought him home.”

  “And he blistered my butt besides,” Uncle TJ said. He rubbed Terry’s head. “Two more years, pal.”

  “Well, you two ready to go live off the land?” Mom and her sister, Aunt Jelly, came out of the house.

  When the men left, the moms would joke for days about them “living off the land.”

  “They stop at Safeway, the meat market, and the liquor store before they leave city limits,” they laughed.

  The boys knew better. Still, there were probably secrets to this trip their dads made every year, sometimes for a long weekend, sometimes for a week. They never missed it. The men had gone deer hunting in October every year since they were twelve years old. Only missed the years Mike’s dad was off to war.

  The boys knew they were supposed to continue this, and someday bring their kids, too. When those kids were twelve.

  The trip was supposed to mean something. Mark something. It wasn’t just the deer hunting, or the first driving lessons Terry was so crazy for…

  Mike’s dad kneeled down and said, “Don’t be too anxious for this, Michael. It’s the beginning of the end of childhood. That’s exciting, but a little sad.”

  Mike was ashamed to think he didn’t want to grow up too fast, not like Terry who was always grabbing at things out of reach.

  This childhood seemed perfect to him: the two families mixed together, two brothers who had married two sisters, his cousin who was more his twin.

  It was like having two dads, two men who didn’t just give them balls and bats but played along with them, who preferred the boys to fishing buddies on long trips to the lake, who taught them to water ski and handle guns and helped them mow the yards.

  But each boy loved his own dad best. Mike couldn’t understand how you could talk about anything serious with Uncle TJ, who had a joke for anything…

  Terry couldn’t see the pleasure Mike found in silent hours with his father, sitting in a boat or in a duck blind.

  “Me and Terry can sometimes feel what the other one is thinking,” Mike told his dad once.

  His dad said, “Yes. We could see that even when you were babies.”

  Uncle TJ would have started his long story about the moms wanting twins but not wanting to be pregnant with them, so they divided the set … It was a funny story and Mike and Terry still rolled with laughter even after they no longer believed it.

  But still, Mike liked his dad’s answer best.

  “Come on in, boys, you’re going to freeze,” the moms said after their hugs good-bye.

  But Mike and Terry stayed to watch the car drive off.

  “I can’t wait,” Terry said.

  “It’ll be better if we’re ready.”

  In his search to find something to blame for what happened after, Mike even hoped Uncle TJ had been driving—he was a careless driver, everyone knew that. But no, there was nothing to blame except God or bad weather, and that was so useless Mike gave it up after a few years.

  But in later years, when he tried to think of reasons for other things, Mike often thought if he and Terry had had this trip, things would have turned out different. This trip that was to start the end of childhood.

  Maybe they wouldn’t have wrecked and wasted all the gifts they had been given, like kids who couldn’t understand what some things cost.

  The moms had done the best they could—no blame there—Mike’s step-father’s resentment probably no more damaging than Terry’s mom’s indulgence.

  But by the time the boys were twenty-five, good memories grew tainted with a sad relief that the dads never saw the sorry mess made of their hopes and cares and dreams…

  In the darkest part of the darkest nights…

  When Mike woke sweat-drenched, still half-drunk and more than half hungover…

  And Terry lay listening to the snores of his cellmate, concentrating on the snores of his cellmate so he wouldn’t hear the other sounds…

  When even across two hundred miles they could feel each other’s mind, trying to find something to lay blame to:

  Bad company, little money, less thought

  Luck and fate and choice

  Reckless, careless, stupid

  Remorse, regret—the only feelings left sometimes…

  They mostly blamed themselves, and only rarely blamed each other.

  They never took that easy out, the one you heard a lot these days.

  They’d had a happy childhood. It was more than most people got.

  Full Moon Birthday

  “Just think,” Terry said. “It’s Friday the thirteenth, a full moon, and your twenty-first birthday. Anything could happen, man, just about anything.”

  “I know what’s going to happen if you don’t behave,” Mike said.

  Terry had been playing eye-tag with one of the four young ladies seated behind them. There were four men sitting there, too.

  “Now just who is buying you your first legal drink here?”

  “I haven’t seen you fork over the money.”

  “What are you looking at, kid?” said a voice from behind them. Big guy in a hunting cap.

  Mike choked on his drink when Terry answered: “Just admiring your lovely granddaughter, sir.”

  Surely Terry’s famous luck had run out with that one…

  But the guy just said, “She’s had enough of your admiration. And she’s not my granddaughter.”

  Terry shrugged apologetically and turned back to the bar.

  “Full moon, anything’s likely to happen,” he repeated. “And you got to admit this was a good idea.”

  He set his drink down and wandered off in the direction of the john.

  Mike agreed with him there. Coming to Colorado to fish was a good idea. Different scenery, different weather. They had caught their limit and then some.

  The ones you ate on the spot didn’t count, Terry said.

  Mike was going to start a new job in a week, on a street crew. It was nice to get a little vacation in first.