The Truth About "Billy's" Summer Vacation
Rod Serling, if he Were Here,
would stand completely-still--without batting an eyelash, and letting go one of his noted introductions that he was famous for in his perfect baritone voice, "Imagine for a moment . . ." and the rest would follow and another memorable "Twilight Zone" would hit the airways and into our memory banks.
Was it Serling's intro that kept us unmoved until the last of the "TZ" credits were given or was it Serling's natural grasp of the Sci-Fi/Horror Arena that gave him such a style of writing that no one dare turn the channel (in Pre-TV Remote Days) to see if "Wagon Train" had made another mile? Right here I think we have what you call a Complex Controversy.
"In this week's episode named, "School Days! School Days," we look at one child, "Billy Haskins," 12, a resident of "Wolf Creek, Nebraska," there with his dad, "John," his mom, "Cherry," and sister, "Carole," also 12, and a very accomplished speller. This family seems the normal American family, even little "Billy," but today he is maturing as he is hearing the stark and cold chiming of Time's Clock as it ticks and tock's "Billy's" last day of school before the summer vacation, the two and a half month school vacation that he and his classmates secretly pray for with each passing moment."
I Think That
I gave Rod and "Billy" some pretty good play in this piece that I wish now that I had published two weeks ago--but with my wife wanting to visit her little sister in Panama City, Fla., and me wondering what I could have to eat in her absence, well, I have met Chaos and have conquered it. All I had to do was follow her easy-to-understand, hand-written memo's she has all over my kitchen counter. Thank God that I did learn to read in 1961 for if I hadn't learned that one skill, my butt would be in big trouble right about now.
Fact: "Billy," his classmates, as well as you and I, only hear Time's Clock at the ending of each school term and the beginning of the new school term. The chiming gets bolder, louder, and even scarier than if we were going to walk home in the dark and some troll-like creature with three heads and sharp claws were hiding to ambush us because to him, one less school student means one less innocent child that he has to worry about. Tick . . .Tock
During the school term, Time's Clock is ticking and tocking, but in a lower decibel so only dogs can hear it, but on and during the last day of school, the clapper is deafening. Then the students rage like wild animals in Tarzan's jungle to enjoy summer away from school, then the clapping of Time's Clock gets louder and louder until each student, no matter where they are or what they are doing, stand paralyzed gazing into the eastern sky with drool running down their chins. Tick . . .Tock.
Today is "Billy's" Birthday
and the last day of Sixth Grade. Next year, he will be 13 and into Junior High. Grrrrr! But for now, the Time Clock is chiming, ticking and tocking at that low decibel that crowds have learned to live with and now "Billy," who is now enjoying himself with his friends on Summer School Vacation, but life's good. Time Clock's clapping doesn't bother anyone.
"Billy," gazes innocently at the beautiful three-layer vanilla flavored cake (with coconut icing) because he is 13. Not everyone, just him. But that low decibel clapping is still hung into the back of his head. His best girlfriend, "Margaret," watches "Billy" and see sees how his hands sweat more than usual. She is very inquisitive, but never lets on. "Margaret's" dad is an acclaimed surgeon and her mom is an award-winning homemaker, so we can understand why "Margaret" is so quiet and refined--being raised by two of the most-intelligent and skillful parents in town.
Like that of a caged Siberian Tiger, "Billy" paces around the room without running into those who his mom invited to his party because he knows what is waiting at the first week of August: New School Term plus loud clapping by Time's Clock--"Billy's" cotton shirt is sticking to him due to the sweat which is now rolling onto the several throw rugs that his mom wove when she isn't cooking or sewing her husband's Dickey work pants. Ahhh, no rest for the female, "Billy's" mom chants to herself she she is by herself because she isn't a boat rocker and her husband works hard to "bring home the fat back," so there is more to be considered than just dragging one's self up the eating table.
"Margaret," now does something that might be considered out-of-candor. She tip, toes over to "Billy" and whispers about she is sorry for what he is worried about and the two grow even closer as they stand in the den that is adjacent to the guest room where "Billy's" party was going on. Before anything happens, the two teenagers quickly grab a forbidden kiss right on the lips. When they discover what is going on, they do it all over again. Now "Billy" feels like a young man--not a nervous boy. And "Margaret," who "is" more sexually-mature than "Billy," only smiles and lets their first kiss be burned into her memory.
does "Billy" sleep well these days? What do you think?
Is "Billy" nearing a mental break-down? He might be.
Will he ever confide in "Margaret" about Time's Clock? Sure. Just be patient.
Tick. . .Tock. I bet you a brand-new Bentley, show-room clean and ready-to roll that you hate me inserting those annoying Tick. . .Tock, don't you?
Why didn't "Billy" ever have a pet? I don't know. I can't think of everything about every character in my works.
Tick . . Tock: June is turning over to July, a mere five weeks of freedom and time enough to do something memorable, so what is "Billy" and "Margaret" to do?
I am going to have them sit down inside "Gruber's Cave," a deserted mining town just outside of "Wolf's Creek" so no one will be overhearing what "Billy" has to share with "Margaret."
Sunrises, sunsets. Moon rises and moon sets. Tick . . .tock. July is half over. "Billy" and his family really had a great time at the town's Annual Fourth of July Celebration. Even "Billy." At this gala celebration, he wasn't thinking about Tick. . .Tock as much as what lay in his way: Junior High. Sure, I told you about Junior High. I even mentioned it to "Billy" in the opening paragraphs, but now, he will have to muster-up all of his nerve and courage in order to make something of himself because after all, he is 13, a male teen and America expects a lot from boys like "Billy."
Tick . . .Tock. Louder and louder. "Billy" checks the calendar in his room every day and he now sees that he only has two weeks of summer vacation left before he sets back to school. Tick . . .Tock and the chiming is growing louder and " Billy" has the need to weep as a natural release of high tension.
This year the Tick . . .Tock is beginning to shake the earth where "Wolf's Creek" is sitting. "Billy" has now confided to "Margaret" about Time's Clock and the variable decibels that the clapping is heard and not heard. She thinks he is some sort of young genius. A 13-year-old Wonder Kid here in the Mid-West and here for her to love as her very own. Of course when that time comes along.
Tick . . .Tock. The rocks roll from "Henley's Mountain Ridge" just outside of town to the east. The townspeople of "Wolf's Creek" do not notice. They are used to strange things like rocks rolling down from high mountain ledges.
Tick . . .Tock. "Billy's" mom takes him School Shopping. "Billy's" dad, "Eustius," a lumber yard foreman, had to beg off from this family's annual family event. Don't think for a moment that he is cold-hearted. This is the first time that he has missed in 13 years--a doggone good record if you ask me.
Tick . . .Tock. Clapping louder now. The ravens and crows flush themselves from the tree tops and the sky is black with their swarms. Between their yakking and Time Clock's clapping, the townspeople are finally running for cover--their Civil Defense Shelter built for them prior to the Cold War is now at full-capacity of 400 people. No more people can enter.
Tick . . .Tock. Lightning crashes all over the sky. The crowds in "Wolf's Creek" are experiencing a harsh pandemonium of feet and shoes running wide-open at those who's hearts have failed them for fear. (Luke 21:26).
Tick . . .Tock. Complete silence. No ravens. No crows. No lightning or thunder. The sun is shining once again. "Billy" and his mom and sister climb from underneath a table in "Randy's Rags" a local clothier for the family in the center of town. They smile. And continue to shop.
"Ready for tomorrow, 'Margaret?" "Billy" asked nonchalantly while fondling a tee-shirt with "I Love Rock and Roll" on the front.
"Sure. Gonna be a ball, alright," she replied admiring "Billy's" hip tee-shirt.
Tick . . .Tock. (blasted Time Clock).
© 2018 Kenneth Avery