A Song for Kenny Novel (Part 3)
KENNY, ARE YOU AFRAID?
June provided sunshine and green grass for mowing. And summer holidays would soon follow. That meant sunny days at the beach.
It was also a chance for Kenny to make some spending money.
He was always on the lookout for a chance to earn some of his own. After all, mom had so little left after paying the bills.
Recently mom was paying for a pair of sneakers, when Kenny put $30.00 from his savings in her hand. "Mom, this is to help," he said.
She protested a little. Then a quiet "thanks" sneaked out. My little man is growing up, she thought…
Kenny and Troy were just hanging out at Troy's house. The yard was full of old tires, a washing machine and two ski-do frames. Parts from several lawnmowers were scattered everywhere.
It was a boy's dream junkyard.
Troy liked to tinker with motors and his mom never seemed to mind. That‘s why his fingernails were always grimy. At Kenny's place, everything was 'Spic and Span' and in proper order.
Kenny really liked Troy. He thought he was cool. Troy was a few years older. He wasn't stupid or slow, even if his school chums thought so. But, he was stubborn.
If you got Troy upset, he'd bop you one. A few trips to Shelburne training School had toughened him up.
Groans and grunts could be heard across the yard. It was a favorite activity, practicing new wrestling holds on each other. Kenny enjoyed testing his strength.
He was as tall as his friend and his longer arms were an advantage. But, Troy outweighed him by about twenty pounds. That more than made up for it.
"Hey man. Come on, try harder," Troy challenged. He waited, legs spread apart, watching for Kenny's next move.
Kenny ended on top with his arm firmly around Troy's neck. Could he throw his friend on his back without hurting him? But he didn't dare try. Maybe Troy was only pretending to lose this bout.
Kenny stopped suddenly and jumped to his feet.
"What's the matter?" Troy asked.
"Come on Kenny, spill it out. Are you afraid? Do you think I'd hurt you if you won?" Troy looked upset.
"I can't believe this, man."
"What if I did hurt you? What would you do to me?" Kenny asked.
"You hurt me?" An angry look came over Troy. "See this?" He flexed his biceps. "If you or anyone hurt me, I'd smash them one. But it wouldn't happen to you..." he quickly added.
"See what I mean," stammered Kenny. Now he knew why he didn't try to win physical games with his pal. "I never want us to fight. You're my best friend. I mean---well I just won't let it happen."
"Don't worry, you couldn't beat me anyway. Come on I'll treat you to a Coke. Race ya to the house."
Two good friends raced for the veranda. This was the first time Kenny was determined to win. And he did…
Kenny was really surprised when he got home. Mom and James didn't mind if he went to Melanie's birthday party. Sometimes they threw a fit if he went out on a school night.
She was having a few of her school chums over. Melanie kept giving him these looks in school. He knew from his friends she was too shy to say she liked him.
Finally, one of his friends asked if he'd come and he told Melanie, "Sure."
Kenny liked her. Maybe he could ask her out to the next school dance. His new jeans were cool. He wondered if she would think so too, when he wore them to the party.
His jacket covered his "Save The Beluga Whales" T-shirt. And a neat gift was cradled in his hand.
It was a sketch of a deer feeding at the back of his house. He knew how much Melanie enjoyed the outdoors. But, he was sure she didn’t like the woods as much as he did. After all, he went somewhere with Larry almost every weekend.
Kenny wondered why his mom gave him an extra size hug before he left the house.
James didn't have his usual cigarette hanging from his lip. Maybe he's reforming. Ha. Ha. What a joke, Kenny thought.
Maybe if James threw away his 'weeds' he could walk a little and get more exercise. "And try to copy Larry."
Whenever Kenny thought of Larry he wondered how his school chums felt. Did they feel sorry he didn't have a dad? And maybe their parents didn’t invite he and his mom places because they felt uncomfortable?
The neighborhood kids got together often for a family game of ball. Kenny enjoyed softball and even made the school team.
Except mom worked at Inglis Jewelry in the evening and he missed out on practices. So how could he play regularly for a team?
A few parents tried to give him a ride once in a while. But too often their cars were filled with their own families. Sometimes he got the impression it was a problem for them.
Or, maybe it was too inconvenient.
Kenny was thankful he got to go hiking and fishing with his Larry. That was enough to keep him happy.
So many thoughts flew around in his mind.
"I wonder what Melanie really thinks about me?" Kenny said as he tossed back his blond hair before climbing her front steps.