Chapter One, Page Eight

Henry Plays Along, Part One

Picking up the ball by one strand, Henry slapped it with the other hand, spinning it. Wind, wind, wind, wind. He released it and watch it slow, stop, return. Spin, spin, spin, spin. Torsional pendulum, he thought... equal times between maxima of potential energy. Some mantlepiece clocks still work that way. Clocks... how old are they? Charlemagne collected clocks... when was that?

"No limit on 'em today" Dad muttered. Looking up, Henry saw him studying the rear view mirror. Turning around, a huge antique gas-car was weaving about the lanes approaching them.

Henry felt the ball reverse in his hand again, and returned to it.

"Son of a..." my father continues. The car was approaching us on our right.

The motor squealed as he shifted and tried to accelerate. Compared to the... Buick Henry read in its grille, they were standing still. It easily reached them... and didn't pass.

"Carl..." Henry's mother disciplined his father for his speeding, adding a characteristic click of her tongue against her teeth to show her disapproval -- one of the many practiced antagonisms between them.

"Goddam I miss gasoline." he muttered.

The driver of the other car waved and smiled. His passenger stood up out of his open window and waved his baseball-gloved hand, slapping its center with his index finger. They shouted something lost in the roar. Henry unrolled his window and thought he caught "from Ikibomot!" Hm? Looking down, he noticed his uniform. Ah. And the yellow ball. Ahhh.

His father was preoccupied with the road and the other car's front. His mother was preoccupied with his father and his driving. Hm. Looking about finally... he tossed the thing. Lousy toss... the boy with the glove almost lost it getting it -- nice catch, though. They smiled, and the driver signalled a thumbs-up. Henry rolled up the window again -- his parents hadn't noticed this conspiracy. The other car sped on. Maybe he'd figure out the story behind this at school.

He looked to the side once more -- at the passing scenery.

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