Sunday, November 13, 2011

Short story: Winter Jokes

Winter jokes
By, Amy Lim Su Yen

“Hey Mary, hurry up” yelled Alice and Bob across the street. I waved to them and smiled. Alice, Bob and Mary, we are referred as the three musketeers. Sometimes people do ask if we ever get tired of seeing each other all the time and our answer will always be the same, no. “Hey Mary, day dreaming again?” asked Bob while Alice is just right behind him.
            I yanked him on the shoulder and he pinched my cheeks. That is how we always greeted each other. “Look at the both of you, never changed”, said Alice. “When will my friends ever grow up”, she continued. Both Bob and I then pinched her as well. “Your turn, Alice” we laughed out loud. Something was rather odd because Alice looked more annoyed than usual and she changed the topic right away. “Do you guys want to go to school or not? It is starting to snow heavily so we better get going”, she said in annoyance. We dare not say anything else and off we went to school.

                School passed by rather fast during the winter maybe because everything is so cool. Even the most boring and dull subjects felt cool. I giggled at my own lame joke. “So what is the joke?” asked Bob distracted by me. “Nothing, just an inside joke of mine which will sound rather lame to you and it would be better not to tell you” I said as a matter of fact because Bob always laughed at my jokes and claims that they are lame. Al right maybe he is partially right, they are kind of lame but I would not say all the time.

                He looked at me with an eyebrow tilted up. “Spill it”, he said. Just then, Alice came and joined in the conversation while Mrs. Potter taught us the history behind World War II in front not realizing the three of us are being distracted. “So what is going on with you two chatter box?” she asked, interested to know what was going on behind here. “Alright, here is the joke. You know how all the subjects we have especially World History is so utterly boring and dull? Well, I was just telling myself everything is so cool during winter including History. You get it? Cool?” I said followed by a slight laughter.

                Both of them looked at each other and they just shook their heads as though to say there is nothing they can do about this friend of theirs already. “Alright, it is lame. I know” I said rather embarrassed at myself too.  “Anyway, let us ignore our good friend’s lame joke and talk about something interesting. There is a new café down the road, about three blocks from here. You girls want to go there this evening to chill out? It will be cool. Get it? Chill out, cool?” said Bob in a funny tone which did sound funny. I laughed.

                It is always easy to make me laugh but I have no idea why I cannot do the same. On the other hand, Alice remained silent and deep in her own thoughts. I observed her for a while. Something is particular wrong with Alice these few days. She lost her usual bubbly personality. It was easier to make her laugh instead of me but both Bob and I have not heard any of her laughter for the longest time. Well, a few days are awfully long for us. “Alice, is anything the matter?” Bob asked before I did. So he noticed too. “No, I am fine. I cannot make it tonight so the both of you just go on without me” she said and we saw that she tried to force a smile.  

                The wind was blowing and it was ice cold on our face. Our jokes will now go from cool to freezing. “So it is just the both of us this evening. What do you feel like doing?” Bob asked after I managed to get myself out from my coat. I immediately ordered a cup of hot chocolate before answering him. “Actually, Bob I was thinking of something and it has been bugging me like an annoying bug or something” I told him frankly. He raised an eyebrow. Bob is always raising an eyebrow.

                “You mean about Alice?” he asked suddenly being very serious. Alright, so he is not just good at jokes but good at guessing as well or maybe it was so obvious that Alice has been behaving so weird lately that any five year old kid would have guessed it as well. I nodded. “Me too, she has been behaving very odd lately. Something is going on and she is not telling us about it” said Bob while the waitress placed two cup of hot chocolate in front of us.

                We took a sip at the rich and hot liquid and I felt my entire body being filled with warmth and happiness. I smiled and told Bob, “I can feel happiness entering my intestine”. He looked at me with his face painted red. I think he was preventing himself from bursting out in laughter. He swallowed it into his stomach and said calmly, “That is by far the lamest thing I have ever heard from you in this ten years”. I ignored his statement and resumed back to our original topic. “About Alice, what do you think is going on with her? I am worried, Bob” I said and it was the truth.

                I am awfully worried for Alice. Bob looked at me for a while and then he whispered to me slowly and carefully, “I think she is dating the principal’s son and both of them have been spending the entire winter together every evening”. I was taken aback by what he has just said. “Alice has been doing what? How did you find out?” I asked him, puzzled and confused. He adjusted his sitting position and leaned back slightly. “Well, I heard the principal has a son and I have been seeing her walking to the principal’s house quite often” Bob explained but I had a feeling he was spying on her.

                “You were spying on Alice were you not?” I questioned. He immediately had guilt plastered across his face. “Fine, I was spying on her but would you not spy on your best friend who has been acting like she lost her soul or something? Al right, here is the thing. I followed her that day while she was walking home from school and guess where she went? Yes, that is right she went all the way to the principal’s house, rang the doorbell and she went in. So how odd is that?” Bob said everything in such an instant, asked a question that I did not even answer and left me agog.

                I gathered everything he just said and recalled all the pieces of information I just gathered in my head. “You are rather slow, Mary” Bob teased. I threw him a glare. “Wait a minute, Bob. So are you trying to say our dear Alice is ditching us after she started dating the principal’s son whom I never knew existed? Oh my goodness” I said. I finally understood what he just told me. He slammed his hand on his head. “You are by far the slowest person I have ever met”, he said. “Fine, Bob you can laugh at me later but can we please go and check on Alice now? What if something goes wrong while the both of them is at home? What if they are at home alone?” I said, nervous.

                Bob stared at me wide eyed. “You thought what?” he asked in amazement. I blushed, “You can laugh at me again later but it is a possibility you know. An innocent young and absolutely gorgeous girl with a guy in his house is dangerous. It spells danger, Bob. Danger” I emphasized on the word danger. Bob looked at me for a while but I can read it in his expression that he is now worried as well so we agreed to be spies tonight and we are going to spy on our friend, Alice.

                It must be at least three degrees out here and I cannot help but to worry about my ear falling off. Bob and I stood behind a pine tree big enough to hide us from Alice’s sight. Here she is. She walked straight to the principal’s front door. I tried to see who opened the door for her to enter but this pine tree did more than it was supposed to do. “Bob, did you see who let her in the house?” I asked Bob, hoping he had seen this mysterious guy. “Nope, this pine tree is way too big” he said truthfully. “Well, it was your idea to find refugee behind this pine tree was it not?” I retorted, annoyed that neither of us saw that guy.

                “Come on” Bob said. “Do what?” I asked him. “Ring the bell, see whom she is with and get some questions answered and if the guy annoys us then give him two black rings on each eye” Bob said pulling me with him. I tried to resist him and prevent us from doing anything rash but it was too late, we were already at the front door. The doorbell sounds very weird. The door swung open immediately after Bob released his finger from the doorbell. A middle-aged woman was standing right in front of us. “Good evening children, may I help you?” she greeted us politely.

                We were puzzled but I managed to speak up. “Good evening, madam. Is Alice here?” I asked her politely. Bob remained silent, coward. The lady smiled and told us to wait for a while. Alice came running and her eyes were almost popping out when she saw the both of us standing at the front door. “Bob? Mary? What are you doing here?” she asked. I pointed to Bob and he pointed back to me. Bob then said, “Well, I was spying on you and saw you coming here every evening and I told Mary about it and Mary was afraid you are being tricked by the principal’s son and she was afraid that something dangerous could have happened to you and so we decided to come here tonight and find some answers to this whole puzzle of ours” he finished everything in one single breath and I do not know how he managed it.

                Alice remained silent for a while. Bob and I just stood there, still puzzled and confused. “My dear Mary and Bob the principal has a son but he is five years old. I am their baby sitter and that is why I cannot spend my evening the past few weeks with the both of you”, she said. Wait a minute. What did I just hear from her? “How about the change in behavior, you have not been laughing like you always did for the past few weeks”, asked Bob. “That is right. You behaved very weirdly” I chipped in. Alice hesitated for a while then she opened her mouth opened as wide as possible, baring her teeth to us which was the answer to all our questions, bright pink braces. I cannot believe my eyes and I turned to Bob. We looked at each other and burst into laughter.

1953 words

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