Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 15 - Sgt. Who?

“Try it again, Surprise, Frogs, Like, Little, Girls, Boys, and Where” Vern sounded out each word clearly and distinctly as he watched for Sinclair’s response.

“Sur rise, Fro s, Li e, Little, irls, Boys, and here.”

“That’s better but you’re still missing the letters P, K, G, and W. Can you send me those letters in that order?”

“ P, K, G, W.”

“Much better; now let’s see if you’re up to the challenge. Try this; What are little girls made of? What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of. What are little boys made of? What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy dog’s tails, that’s what little boys are made of.” Many times as he was growing up Sinclair had heard his mother sing that nursery rhyme to him. The silvery letters jumped across the orange screen of the computer.

“What are little *irls made of? What are little *irls made of? Su*ar and s^ice and everythin* nice, that’s what little *irls are made of. What are little boys made of? What are little boys made of? Sni^s and snails and ^u^^y do*'s tails, that’s what little boys are made of. How’d I do?”

Vern studied the alterations that dotted the verse and marveled at the speed with which Sinclair was able to respond. “That’s interesting, you’re still dropping the G and P and in their places you’ve inserted the * and ^ key.” Vern took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he typed in the same letters in lower case for Sinclair to get a good look at them, g p .

“g p. I’m getting tired, how about a rest for a while?”

“Well, okay; but that time you got them perfect. I hate to stop until you have them firmly established as patterns. Why don’t you send me some random thoughts that use those letters.” Vern leaned just a little in his chair.

“Sgt. Who? I’m sorry; but that makes no sense at all. Please explain your last message.”

“Ha ha ha, just an old line that one of my old partners would say when ever he farted. You did fart, didn’t you?”

“Okay, so you still have a high regard for supervisors in general. Next time I’ll leave the room and come back.”

“Don’t get upset, It’s just an expression; like, Bless you or Gesundheit. Once I was in Traffic Court, sitting on one of those solid wood benches with a room full of people. I let out a real rafter ripper. One of the lawyers up front whipped, “Who fired that shot?” Before I could be embarrassed my partner began to blush and they all figured he’d done it. By the way; how are my letters coming across?”

“Loud and Clear; time to give it a rest. I need to get back to work. They all think I’m at lunch. I’ll come by later on and we can review some.” Vern folded the monitor screen down he turned off the portable computer. “I wish I could stay with you a while
longer. I’ve talked with Bev. She wanted to buy one of these little lap tops; but I convinced her that she could borrow mine for as long as you were here. They don’t give these things away.” Vern didn’t say it; but somewhere deep inside he had found out what human compassion and love really meant. He wanted to tell Sinclair that he loved him. It was more of an admiration, a desire to serve far beyond the limits of what most would consider as “expected”. Vern had become Sinclair’s closest friend; that is, next to Bev.

Sinclair was once again locked away. He knew that as soon as Vern turned off the computer that he was alone. Oh, he could listen; but he could not participate. He wondered if being in outer space was similar to the lack of feeling that he had. He had always heard that it was so very cold out in space; but here he felt nothing but the sound hitting his ears.

“Sinclair. . .”, Vern hesitated as he tried to make the words come out, “I . . .”, clearing his throat, “. . .I’ll see you later.” He could not say it. He had wanted to; but when it came time they just would not come out. Vern would talk with his own father on the telephone and at the end of each conversation he would have the same hidden fear of saying, “I love you too Dad.” All his life he wondered how to let his father know how much he loved him. He had been taught that, “Actions speak louder than words”, and that men don’t get all mushy around other men. When his father had died a few years ago; he’d died never having heard his son tell him that he loved him. There had never been a hug upon first meeting, just a business like hand shake; maybe a bit warmer and with a firmer grip. He respected his father and tried in many ways to pattern his own life in much the same way. Vern knew that he was missing out; that the warm feelings that he held should be shared. He promised himself that he would not let the opportunity pass him by again.