A Song for Kenny Novel (Part Two)
SORRY FOR BEING RUDE
Morning was wet and dreary. June was supposed to be mild, warm and sunny. What a bummer. Felt more like September.
Kenny and his best friend Troy shivered in their light jackets. "Should have worn my raincoat today," Troy said.
My books are getting soaked," Kenny answered.
"Didja ask her?" mumbled Troy.
"Well what?" Kenny yelled back.
"Is your mom still going to marry James? What's the matter with you? You're acting like a jerk."
"Sorry, Troy. It's just that..."
"Awright, Awright, I understand. Okay? But you know what I mean."
"No, I don't...let me guess."
"Come on Kenny. This is your friend. You know... your buddy. Remember?"
"It's a pain Troy. I'm really upset. I don't want James as a father. Even his breath stinks."
"He smokes, that's why. Give him a break!" Troy said, rolling his eyes.
"I know. Guess I'm just picking on him. I feel terrible today. Didn't get much sleep," Kenny said, shrugging his shoulders.
"Take it easy," Troy scolded. "Can't be that bad," he added.
"Well it is," Kenny responded.
He remembered his mom coming into his room last night and then crying. Kenny couldn't understand why. Just the memory of her snuffling made him feel uncomfortable. Why couldn't James just get out of his life? Kenny thought.
"Hey look, Todd and the others are ahead of us. Hurry Up! There’s the bus!!" screamed Troy as he led Kenny in a chase up the street.
Everyone climbed aboard. Their ten-kilometer ride to the Junior High in Onslow was noisy as usual.
Kenny stared from the back of the bus. He saw old Mr. Peek-a-boo on the side of the road. He felt sorry for Mr. Montgomery. It's too bad no one likes the old grouch, he thought.
He should suggest the Scout troop get together and do something nice for his neighbour. A good deed for a lonely man should help towards their community badge. Maybe Troy had some other good ideas.
But then he remembered Troy didn’t like Mr. Montgomery.
Sudden pain cut into Kenny’s thoughts. "OW! ... OW" he cried out. Turning, he spotted Jason's giggling features. His left hand was balled up ready for another couple of punches at Kenny's shoulder.
"Hey bug off! I mean it, meatball!" Kenny was tired of being pushed around by the morning bully. Every day he had to put up with this ... fool.
Angry eyes flared back at his so-called friends. Only Troy was willing to help. The others seemed amused at the commotion. But then they weren’t being the victim.
"Come on Nutso. Try me on for size." Before Kenny could move, Troy whacked a good one across the side of Jason’s face.
"Cool it Troy," Kenny said. "It's okay."
"Yer right, it's not worth it." Troy settled back in his place beside Kenny and glowered at the other boy.
Jason was happy to get Troy off his back. He was one dude you didn't try to tackle.
The bus driver heard the commotion at the back. By the time she pulled over to the side of the road, it was all over.
Troy and Kenny began to relax. The rest of the kids were buzzing with chitchat. They had fresh news to gossip about at school...
Supper was kind of 'Naggie' for Kenny.
"Do I have to repeat myself?" his mom asked. "Son I'm speaking to you! James asked you to pass the butter. He said it politely and you insist on ignoring him. What is it with you?"
"Mom? Why can't he get his own butter? He's closer to it. Besides, how come you're always on my case? So I'm a little late for supper..."
"Again. Say it. Again," his mother insisted.
"Again," Kenny mumbled.
"I'm sick of this badgering too, son. We have a strict house rule. It reads, all of us eat together,” she said firmly. “And in peace," she added.
"Al ... right mom," Kenny snarled, dragging the word out.
"What? What did you say? Speak up."
"Mom, can't I say anything? Am I in prison?"
"Not if it's a negative thought. And no."
"OK. OK. I'll rip off my lips then." Kenny looked down at his plate. What's the matter with me? Why am I doing this? So, James is eating with us again. What's the big deal? He asked himself.
Questions scrambled like spaghetti on his plate.
"Kenny? Do you mind if I say something?" James asked.
"Sure. If mom lets."
"Would you feel better if I left the table?" James continued.
"No," Kenny answered.
"I’m prepared to let my plate sit here and come back later. I'd rather not do it. But if it helps you settle down, I will."
Silence followed. Kenny struggled with his emotions.
Now what do I do? Ok, smart guy. You're in a spot. Now fix it. "I don't want you to leave the table, Mr. Kearns."
"My name is James to you Kenny. We already agreed to that between the three of us. Am I correct, Edna?"
His mother nodded in agreement.
Kenny began again. "I’m sorry for being rude. Instead, I'll leave the table." Then Kenny stood up prepared to follow through.
"No you won't," interrupted his mother. "Sit down!"
"Don't but mom, me. I’m putting my foot down. Now, I want you to eat with both of us. Please." Her upraised eyebrows asked for a truce.
"Alright mom. I’m sorry." Kenny wanted to scream. He regained control of himself. He was also getting weary of saying he was sorry.
"Me too Kenny," James spoke up.
"No, it's my fault. I'm Kinda out of it lately. I don't know what's wrong. The flu or something." Kenny hoped he sounded convincing. He looked at his mom. She didn't buy any of it, not at all.
The meal continued. Somehow they made it past the dessert; dishes washed and put away.
James bumped Kenny's shoulder playfully during the dish drying. Kenny reacted with disbelief. James did that on purpose. 'You owe me one,' he said to himself.
He thought he saw a little smile on James' lips. The man was looking for trouble and he'll get it too, Kenny promised himself.