Copyright© 2020 by Lazlo Zalezac
Under the insistent and irritating prodding of his little sister, Sean was up bright and early. After a breakfast of cereal, he went out to the garage to finish cleaning it up. His plan for the day was to finish the garage and then search for a job. He opened the garage door and stared at what he found inside. The garage was spotless. Someone had cleaned up the workbench, swept the floor, and dusted all of the test equipment. Sean muttered, “I hope the job hunt goes this well.”
Rather than head back into the house, he puttered around the garage checking out the little storage bins. Even the contents of the bins had been organized with little dividers between different nuts, bolts, and screws. It was too nice and he was sure that no one would believe that he did it. He wondered how he would explain it.
With no one around, Sean decided that it would be interesting to try one more little experiment with his magic powers. He picked up one of the cleaning rags from the neat stack on the workbench and went over to one of the pieces of test equipment. He looked down at the rag and ordered it to move the piece of equipment a quarter inch away from the wall. The rag flew up and around to the back of the piece of equipment. A few seconds later the piece of equipment had moved out a quarter of an inch.
Sean grinned on seeing the equipment move. He ordered the rag to move the piece of equipment back to where it had been. The rag quickly accomplished the task. Sean raised a fist in the air and shouted, “Yes!”
He ordered the rag to fly back to the stack where he had found it. Sitting on the piece of equipment, Sean considered all of the things that he had discovered about his magic gift. He could launch marbles like bullets, flatten cans to aluminum foil thickness, move things around with string, and push heavy objects with a rag. He said, “Maybe this magic is a little more useful than I had been thinking.”
Looking around the garage, Sean realized that there were a lot of lightweight things in it that could be very useful in an emergency. He went over to the little storage bins and removed a small collection of nails and screws. He wasn’t sure why he had selected them, but figured that they might come in useful at some point in time.
He looked at the nuts and realized that he could launch them with the same effectiveness as the marbles. He grabbed a few of them while he was there. The big bolts were too heavy for him to control, but he took one along anyway.
He went over to the rag and picked it up. He looked at it and realized that he could probably use a couple of them. He went through the stack and picked out another one that was light enough to control. He figured that he could probably lift something flexible by using a couple of the rags at a time to provide several points of support.
He looked around the workbench and spotted a couple of spindles with wire. He cut off some sections of wire and wound them into a coil thinking that wire would probably be able to resist stresses better than string. He knew that he could order the wire to tie a knot around something and then by controlling the wire that he would be able to control whatever item to which it was attached.
He noticed a small container with razor blades in it. He took one of the razor blades and ordered it to cut a small notch into a scrap of wood. He grinned at the result and added the small container to his collection of stuff. His pile was getting rather substantial.
Deciding that he had found enough stuff, he started putting it into his pockets. When he had managed to shove the last item in his pocket, he looked down and said, “I need more pockets.”
He had just finished puttering around the garage when his mother came out. She looked at it and said, “Wow. You’ve really been hard at work.”
“I can’t take all of the credit,” Sean said thinking that the Brownies must have cleaned up the garage overnight.
“Who helped you?” she asked.
“I’m not sure,” Sean answered not wanting to tell her what he suspected. He figured that was a good way to end up in the hospital with Max. Just thinking about Max made him feel a little guilty.
His mother gave him a little love tap against the bag of his head and said, “Don’t go all modest on me now. I taught you to boast and brag better than that.”
“Yes, Mother,” Sean said. He looked down at the ground as if ashamed of his behavior and said, “I’ll try harder to be an obnoxious braggart.”
“That’s better.” She looked over the garage one more time and then asked, “What are you going to do now?”
“I figured I’d get cleaned up and change into some good clothes. I’ll head into town and see if there are any jobs around,” Sean answered.
“You’re really serious about getting a job,” his mother said.
“That’s right,” Sean said. He looked at his mother’s car and said, “I’d really like to get a car so that I can take Suzie on real dates. The nearest movie theatre is over in Bigton.”
“I understand,” his mother said understanding what he really wanted with a car. She grinned and said, “Of course it is all about going to the movie theater. The idea of parking some big old car in an out of the way place and necking for hours at a time never crossed your mind.”
“Never,” Sean said innocently.
“I’m sure of that. You even hate the idea of getting poor innocent Suzie alone where her mother or I can’t protect her from your evil male lustful urges,” she said.
“You’re right. That is a most despicable idea. I really and truly hate the idea of my evil male lustful urges being unleashed in her direction,” Sean said looking away.
“Quite despicable,” his mother said watching him squirm. She added, “You’ve even forgotten all about that box of rubbers in the drawer by your bed.”
“Oh, is that where I put them?” Sean asked scratching his cheek. He knew exactly where the box of condoms was located.
“Right,” his mother said.
Thinking that it was a good time to change the subject, Sean said, “I had better get ready to find a job.”
Watching him leave the garage, his mother thought about what the future held for him. Calling out to him, she said, “Oh, Sean.”
He stopped and turned to look at his mother. He asked, “What?”
His mother said, “Make sure that her first time is nice. Don’t do it in the backseat of a car or out in the woods.”
“Yes, Mom,” Sean said rather surprised by what she said. In none of his fantasies had he considered where Suzie and he did the deed.
“Go find a job,” his mother said while making a shooing gesture towards the house. It was so hard to believe that he was growing up to be a man. One more year of high school and he’d be headed off to college. She sighed and watched him make his way to the house.
Sean left the path and stopped next to the convenience store while debating where to go first. Although it had only been two days since he had visited the place, it felt much longer than that. He shrugged his shoulders and went in to get a soda.
Sam looked up from the car magazine he was reading and said, “Oh, it is you. I thought you were dead or something.”
“Sorry to disappoint you, but you’re not that lucky,” Sean answered while making his way to where the cold soft drinks were held.
“You can say that again. I’ve got this miserable job that has me working ten hours a day four days a week. At least it beats cooking fries over at the Dairy King,” Sam said. He had done that for one week the previous summer and hated the job. He had quit after nearly passing out from the heat.
“I’m looking for a job,” Sean called out while grabbing a cold can of soda.
“Good luck. There aren’t many jobs around except at the Dairy King,” Sam said.
The Dairy King was basically a kitchen with windows where people ordered their food and ate at the picnic tables scattered under some trees. It was the only fast food place in town and a lot of the local kids hung out there during the heat of the day during summer. It wasn’t exactly cool, but the ice cream and drinks were cold. Sean said, “I’ll check it out.”
Sam said, “Don’t bother going there unless you’re a masochist. It is a real hell hole. The kitchen is not air conditioned. You’ll burn up in there.”
Sean shrugged his shoulders and said, “I really need a job.”
“Look everywhere else first,” Sam said.
“I’ll do that,” Sean said handing over his bill to pay for the soft drink.
Sam rang up the sale and gave Sean his change. Sean opened the drink and asked, “Do you need anyone to work here?”
“No. The owner has all of the shifts covered,” Sam answered leaning against the counter and crossing his arm. He said, “He’s got seven people working here and he covers when someone is sick or on vacation.”
“I guess I knew that,” Sean said. He knew everyone who worked in the store.
“I’m sure you know it as often as you used to come in,” Sam said with a grin.
“I guess those days are over,” Sean said.
Sean answered, “My mom started shopping again.”
“She was sending you here all those times?” Sam asked secretly pleased to discover the motivation behind all of those frequent trips to the store. He had no idea that he could have just asked and Sean would have told him.
“Yeah,” Sean answered. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It was her way of keeping me out of trouble.”
“There are better ways to do that,” Sam said with a laugh. He grinned and said, “My mother used to give me a ton of errands every week, had me work a part-time job, and enrolled me in all kinds of sports programs.”
“That’s too much work. It was easier to send me to the store to get one item at a time,” Sean said. He took a sip of his soft drink.
“You’re probably right,” Sam said. He looked over a Sean and said, “Someone was telling me that you were named after 007.”
“That’s right,” Sean said.
“I hate to ask the obvious question, but shouldn’t your name be James?” Sam asked. He had been curious about it ever since a couple of kids were talking about Sean and calling him Double O Zero.
“My mother says that Sean Connery was 007. It is her opinion that James Bond was nothing more than an alias he used because it sounded so suave to say, James ... James Bond. Sean ... Sean Connery, doesn’t have the same pizzazz. I tend to agree. I’ve tried it and it fell rather flat,” Sean said. He posed and said, “Sean ... Sean Connery Michaels at your service.”
“You’re right,” Sam said.
“I’ve thought about adopting the alias, Jack Stone. Now that sounds really cool when you introduce yourself,” Sean said, “Jack ... Jack Stone — man of action at your service.”
“Man of action?” Sam asked with raised eyebrows.
“That sounds a whole lot better than man of indecision,” Sean answered.
“You can say that again,” Sam said chuckling.
Sean shrugged and said, “I can’t adopt the alias until I become a secret agent. Right now, I’m just plain old Sean Connery Michaels, Double O Zero.”
“What did your dad think of you getting named after the actor?”
“My dad didn’t object to the Sean Connery name. He agreed that the other actors who played the role were pretenders. Like I said, Mom thinks that Sean Connery was Double O Seven,” Sean said.
“What does your mother think of the new Bond film?” Sam asked.
“She hasn’t seen the newest one yet. We have to wait for the DVD to come out,” Sean answered.
“She got thrown out of the theatre while watching the previous one because she making comments about the actor and throwing pop corn at the screen. She’s been banned from watching Bond films at the theater,” Sean said. He would have been embarrassed, but he tended to agree with her opinion on the matter.
Sam chuckled and said, “Your mother sounds like a real piece of work.”
“She’s something else again,” Sean said with a grin. It seemed that the whole town agreed that the only one stranger than the Michaels boy was the Michaels woman. Not that there was any official contest or anything, but there was something comforting about knowing that you were in the top two of something. He said, “I guess I better get out there and look for a job.”
Sean took another sip of his drink. Sam said, “If you do take a job over at the Dairy King, try to get the late shift. It is a little cooler. You might be able to last a week.”
“I’ll take what I can get,” Sean said finishing his drink. He paused and asked, “Or should that be I’ll get what I can take?”
Sam said, “Would you like some job hunting advice?”
“Sure,” Sean said.
“Don’t start any weird conversations during the interview,” Sam said.
Sean frowned and asked, “What kind of weird conversations?”
“You know, talking about things like spending all your spare time studying your navel,” Sam answered.
“How else should one spend their spare time? Studying their toes?” Sean asked with a grin. When Sam snorted, Sean added, “Did you know that scientists actually think that people are going to evolve so that they lose their little toe? I figure if that is true, then the next toe will be the little toe and we’ll lose that one too. Before you know it, people will be toeless and no one will be able to count to twenty. Civilization will collapse.”
“That’s exactly what I mean,” Sam said shaking his head.