Our Great Summer Novel — Chapter 10: The Roses Are Lovely
“Whoa,” Boots let out a long breath as he surveyed the scene. The gallery owner was now doing some kind of shimmy between sets of Rockette kicks. “So I don’t want to get whatever they’ve got. But in a bizarre way, it kind of looks fun?”
“The air smells funny,” Tater said as Davis pulled the truck to the side of the road and Bisbee flew out the window to perch on the hood.
“It should, look at the smoke still coming from the store,” Davis said, then slammed a palm down on the steering wheel. “That’s it. Lina must have used the explosion to disperse whatever Kuai concocted into the air. The vial in the trunk was just the start. We need gas masks.”
“OK, I’ll just pull that out of my BACK POCKET! Who just has gas masks?” Boots voice was getting more and more animated. He bounced in his seat and pointed at the man standing on top of the fire truck. “And that guy over there is really making sense to me right now. We are all kings! Kings of the world!”
In exaggerated movements, Boots threw open the truck door, got out and began running toward the fire truck.
“MeeeeeooooOW!” Tater wiggled out of his seat belt, raised himself on his back legs and put his front paws on the dashboard so he could watch Boots’ mad run. As Boots began climbing the fire truck, Tater turned to Davis, who was, amazingly, wearing a gas mask.
“I heard your mind say you had a couple of those under the seat with the duct tape, but I didn’t believe it,” Tater shook his head, then turned back to watching the carnival scene. “How do you feel?”
“A little tipsy, and given everything that has happened today, far from normal,” Davis said.
“Well, I’m hungry. But enough about me. We need reinforcements, an animal army, to handle this. We’re way more rational at this point. Leave it to me and Bisbee,” Tater drawled, but in a take-control way. He patted Davis with a paw — Davis’ posture had become lackadaisical — and jumped out of the truck.
Davis could hear the sound of Tater’s and Bisbee’s voices, but not what they were saying. That would take more effort than he could expend right now. Besides, those muffins the bakery manager was juggling did look good despite the fact that they had all fallen on the ground several times.
“What am I thinking?” Davis muttered. “I’ve got to snap out of this. Snap. Snap. Snap.”
He moved his left arm up to open the door, but it flopped back into his lap. He tried again and this time, his arm and hand cooperated and the door opened. He slid out and looked around for Tater and Bisbee, but they were gone.
Davis felt loopy, sort of happy, he wanted to drink in the scent of those lovely yellow roses in front of that house over there. No, he was mad. At Lina and her Phony Monk, his brother. At his dad, who had a life Davis didn’t know about. His dad should have smelled more roses like those over there. He would have liked them.
Davis pulled the gas mask over his head and dropped it on the ground. He suddenly felt like singing. “Feelings, nothing but those feeeelings,” and then he had to stop because he couldn’t remember the rest of the song.
He wanted to go home. He was tired. After smelling at least eight yellow roses, Davis began walking toward home, stopping here and there to smell roses. He knew he was forgetting something, but what? He needed to plant roses or take a nap. What was he forgetting?
Oh, who cares, he thought as he turned the doorknob of his back door. It was unlocked. “That’s convenient,” he said, as the door opened to reveal Lina and Kuai, seated at the kitchen table stuffing peach slices into their mouths.
“How many of these…” the words died in Lina’s throat with Davis’ appearance.
“So nice of you to join us, brother,” Kuai snarled. Lina was already standing and reaching.
“You! You’re what I forgot, or I tried to forget,” Davis said, a little too loudly.
Lina began slowly sliding toward Davis.
“You’ll never forget me, Davis,” Lina smirked and moved closer. “Would you like a slice of peach?”
Her hand was outstretched, but she was holding something in her other hand. Davis didn’t care. He smiled. “Lina, you need some roses.”
And then he couldn’t move. Pain. Deep pain. He was so tired. Black.