A Song for Kenny Novel (Part 4)
A POOR LOSER
Kenny and Troy came to this special spot for some serious fishing. Saturday fun time was their reward for surviving a whole week of school.
Troy called Kenny over, "Look!"
Kenny tried to see below the surface. There were six or seven 'Brookies.' "Wow," he breathed. Trout silhouettes swam in nervous confusion. They shot around the stream, as if fired from a cannon.
"Look at that big fellow." It darted off, startled by Kenny's quick pointing.
Both boys searched through their jars of earth. Fat juicy looking dew worms seemed to scramble away from reaching fingers.
It had been Kenny's idea to come here to Cook's Brook. He was crazy about trout fishing.
"Got one," Troy whooped. It swung back and forth as he tried to get it into shore.
Kenny sprang into action. He picked out a perfect. Well, at least if he was a trout it would have been exactly what he'd want for a meal. Then he wound it around his #6 hook.
Troy couldn't have all the fun. He had to show him. After all, Kenny was the better fisherman.
He picked out a spot near Troy and prepared himself for the right-on-target cast. Arm back, checking to make sure his golden spinner wasn't tangled, he whipped his arm forward.
Kenny's spinner and worm disappeared below the surface. A current carried his bait close to the bank. Any nearby trout were invited to lunch.
"Nice cast," Troy said.
"A real nice cast," echoed Kenny. Sure felt good. Practice paid off. And his reward was a fighting nine-inch trout that attacked as if it had received lessons from a shark.
The boys began to get tired after each managing to catch three. These were good 'keepers' around seven to eight inches in length.
The largest one was caught by Kenny. He kept bragging it up, not noticing Troy was getting hot under the collar, big time.
Troy enjoyed competition. But he was a poor loser.
Kenny checked his creel. His catch lay unmoving. He added a few more handfuls of ferns, carefully placing the fish in the middle.
Then he dipped the bottom half of the creel into the pond, alongside the beaver dam. The damp ferns would provide enough coolness to keep his fish firm and fresh.
Larry had taught him that.
"Let's go for a swim!" piped in Troy. "Come on."
"I don't know. I didn't bring any swim trunks," Kenny said.
"Don't be a wimp," Troy taunted. You got underwear, right? What a baby!" Troy mocked, as he slipped out of his jeans. "Last one in is a rotten egg."
Kenny hated being called any names. He quickly splashed water on his wrists, belly, heart, shoulders and face. Then he dived in.
Troy was upset Kenny had beat him in. While he was busy gabbing, Kenny beat him to the punch. Troy was suckered. He dove into the water not checking for rocks or anything. Then he swam directly under Kenny.
"Hey, Let Go! What are you doing?" Kenny could barely yell before he was raised up and flipped headfirst back into the water.
For a few minutes both boys splashed around. Both friends wrestled in earnest. Their shouts of horseplay echoed loudly from shore to shore. Sounds traveled noisily up a ravine and startled a nearby deer.
Then they lay on the shore, resting from their energy draining activity. Both boys stared up at the sky, arms folded behind their heads.
Clouds formed twisting patterns in the blue sky.
"Hey, is you there man?" Troy asked.
"Why?" Kenny shot back.
"Don't be such a dope. Listen, I want to talk to you. It's kind of private." He turned and looked at Kenny. "Dope."
"Stop calling me that! You know I don't like it!" Kenny yelled out. He raised himself on one elbow and glared at his friend.
"Dope. Dope," Troy teased over and over.
"Cool it!" Kenny was getting angry.
"Dope…Dope. Boy, did I touch a nerve. What's the matter, Kenny? Can't take it?"
"OK, I give up. You win. A guy can't even think with your racket. Listen to how quiet it is. For once in your life," Kenny added under his breath.
"You're always thinking. You're weird man." Troy said.
"Alright what is it? I'm listening." Kenny wondered what his friend was going to say.
"I'm mad at old man Montgomery," Troy said.
"Why?" Kenny asked, astonished.
"He’s just an old fart!"
Kenny turned once more on his side and furrowed his brow. His friend was serious.
"Well..." Troy hesitated.
"Come on, spill it out," encouraged Kenny.
"I don't like him talking to people about me. He said I was a juvenile delinquent. And why did they let me out of the Residential Center in Truro?"
Hey this is awesome, thought Kenny. "Why would he tell anyone that? Are you sure that's what he said?"
"Just because I threw snowballs at his house last winter," Troy said smugly. "Every time I walked by his old shack."
"Why would you do that?"
"It was fun. I like to hear him cuss me out. Then I stick my tongue out at him and he really gets mad. Boy, you should see those white hairs on the 'old geezer' quiver."
"No wonder he talks about you. I don't blame him at all." Kenny just shook his head.
"I said no wonder he thinks you're a delinquent."
"Don't get smart with me."
"Come on Troy, you take everything so personal. That's the problem with you , you know. You've got a short fuse."
"No Kidding," Troy shot back. His lips were trembling. There was a mean scowl on his square face.
"It's true..." Kenny started to say more but then stopped.
"Bug off, man. Get off my case, I'm warning you." Troy got up and walked around. He looked like he was ready to tackle a bear.
"Don't have a cow, Troy. Let's call it a day, okay? Like, hit the road or something."
"You got it." Without another word Troy pulled on his jeans and T-shirt and headed to their parked bikes. He whipped his running shoes ahead through the air.
"Now I'm in for it." Kenny was really worried. "Can't a friend say something without getting stomped on?" he said.
There was no response from Troy. By now, he was jogging down the trail.
Kenny liked Mr. Montgomery. He always gave good tips. Maybe next time he collected, he'd warn Mr. Montgomery to be careful. Troy could be a mean customer.
Would Mr. Montgomery take advice from a kid? He wondered. There was only one way to find out.
Today taught him his friend Troy could hold a grudge. And blow his cool over nothing. And he, Kenny Mitchell was going to have to do something about it.
THE DEED IS DONE
"Knock-Knock-Knock" sounded loudly on Mr. Montgomery's front door. "Who's there? Who is it?" a man's voice asked.
"It's me, Kenny."
"I'm sorry to bother you but I had to come. I'll only be a few minutes. I know it's late." Kenny could hardly get the words out quickly enough.
"Oh, the newsboy."
Mr. Montgomery flung open the door.
"Come in! Come in! Don't just stand there, boy! Want to give the mosquitoes a chance to have a new address? Will you hurry up and get in?"
Kenny jumped inside. This wasn't going to be easy.
"Would you like a hot chocolate?" Mr. Montgomery asked, watching the boy standing there like a scared rabbit.
"Come on in the kitchen and sit down. We'll get that hot chocolate."
Kenny sat at the kitchen table.
"There now. Do you feel better?" Mr. Montgomery asked. "I bet you'll like these cookies too. They call them Fiddle-Faddles."
Kenny stretched his legs and tried not to stare at the man's wrinkled hands folded on the table.
Each time Kenny moved his chair the floor squeaked. It was kind of spooky. But he was determined.
"Mr. Montgomery. You're always nice to me..." he began.
"Yes, it’s true. And ... well I want to..."
"Spit it out, boy."
"I think someone might try to do something ... to you."
"Well now..." the older man started to say.
But Kenny interrupted him. "I have to go now. Thanks for the cookies and the drink, Mr. Montgomery. Please be careful."
There was a scared expression in his eyes.
Mr. Montgomery reached out and laid his hand on Kenny's shoulder. "Now don't worry son, I mean you no harm. Are you warning me about something? Is that it? If you know anything you have to tell me. What is it?"
Kenny felt like a trapped fawn. He wished his mother, or Larry was here. He sure needed a boost of encouragement right now. "Someone I know doesn't like you and..."
"And?" Mr. Montgomery interrupted.
Suddenly a terrific crash exploded a few feet away.
Shards of glass flew inward, piercing skin. Blood dotted Kenny's left forearm before he even had time to think.
Fear shot through him as he lay on the floor where Mr. Montgomery had pushed him. He was trying hard to ignore the hammer-beat of his heart.
Mr. Montgomery also lay on top of pieces of glass.
"My window!" he shouted.
Kenny started to rise.
"Keep down!" Mr. Montgomery shouted again. "Who's out there? "Who threw something at my window?"
Kenny looked around. It was unreal. Did Troy do this? He had to get out, to get away.
"Hold on a moment," Mr. Montgomery said.
Kenny wasn't listening. He was now looking outside. He peered into the blackness of the trees. And the outline of a familiar face stared back.
"Troy!" his thoughts shouted. "It is he!" Why did he do it? It didn't make sense. Mr. Montgomery doesn't deserve this. He's just a harmless old man, Kenny told himself.
He sat down on the kitchen chair and rubbed sweaty hands on his legs. Then he placed his elbows on his knees, face resting on his hands. His normally neatly combed hair was limp with moisture.
Kenny began to sob, not caring as Mr. Montgomery watched.