"Come see the will-o-the-wisp," Chauncey's mother called from where she sat in front of a computer with her foot propped up on a stool. She had an ugly bunion on her toe and was drinking sweet tea with vodka and lemon in it to deaden the pain. She called the drink an ice pick.
His mother looked back at the computer screen where he saw the words "Bat Segundo." She typed in "Galley Cat" and went somewhere else to read about writers. He thought how cool it'd be to write a good story and have her find it on the internet. She said something about a snark on the computer that would steal all her private information.
He looked out the window and saw a pale light over the marsh. It called him out. He needed some private time to think of words and begin composing a story. He kept thinking the words that described that strange light wrong, "Will of the wisp, will of the wisp," because there was a skinny girl named Irene whom he loved that everyone called "The Wisp" and she stubbornly refused to kiss him. His friends told him it was time he got a piece, but he just wanted to kiss her.
A piece. Everything sounded like something else. He took some lettuce from the fridge and gave it to his diamondback terrapin turtle. He stepped out with a notebook and headed toward the marsh with his dog, Jazz, following, thinking of the yellow tom cat that kept sneaking up under the house at night and wailing, and of the importance of a good batting order.
The pale light was way out there over the marsh, like the future. One day he'd be at a Braves game. He could sense the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.
Luke came up out of some trees and ruined his concentration. "What you dreaming about now? You should be working on building up your muscles."
"Oh piss," Chauncey said. "What do you want, Luke?"
The storm had taken out Luke's house and he lived with his family in a tent. "We'll muddle through," Luke's mother was always saying. "It'll take a while, but we'll get there."
Luke thought he'd survived the storm to become every boy's coach.
"Drop down and give me ten..." He frowned, "Books? What books you got there?"
"I'm going to write a story for my mother."
"A story for your mother? Are you kidding me?"
"I don't feel like explaining myself to a boy who wants to marry his mother."
"Shut up. That was a long time ago when I was little."
"Sick is what it was."
"Shut up. Your mother wears Army boots."
"So what if she does?"
He was imagining a story for Jazz. In it were promenading poodles with pretty banana and apple colored bows in their silver curls. They were out there under that light in the marsh, waiting for Jazz to come along and dance.
Miss Snark retires to the kitchen to compose an ice pick!
Score to come.