Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Papers of Victoria Frankenstein, Part II: 17

Blue Boils Over in Lamb

Pancras: Talented running back/linebacker Blue Boyle once again dominated this week as Southern Ohio Prep toyed with Lamb Middle School, disposing of them easily, 63–9. Lamb’s gifted placekicker, James Marshall, accounting for all of his team’s points. Boyle rushed for 232 yards and, again, made many crushing tackles against the overmatched Lamb running backs ….[i]

“Hello, Harriet,” I said into the phone.
“It’s Gil,” said Gil.
Whenever a phone call was for me, it was always my best friend, Harriet Eastbrook. And so I had gotten into the habit of just saying “Hello, Harriet” when Father called me to the phone.
“Who’s Harriet?” Gil asked.
“Harriet Eastbrook. Do you know her?”
“That cheerleader?”
“Yes. But don’t hold that against her,” I added quickly. “She’s just going through a phase.”
“A cheerleader phase?”
“Never heard of that one.”
“Well, it’s real.  I mean, think about it … how many adults have you seen walking around in cheerleader outfits?”
“Not too many.”
“See? It’s a phase. For everyone. But especially for Harriet.”
“I see.”
“You do?”
“No. But the more you explain it, the more confused I get, so I just decided to lie,” laughed Gil.
I laughed, too … but then realized I was talking to Gil on the phone! No one except Harriet had called me in years. And now I was talking to Gil Whatever, just as if talking to him was the most normal thing in the world. It wasn’t.
Gil noticed the silence. “Victoria?”
“I’m here. And why do you call me ‘Victoria’?”
“It’s your name, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but everyone calls me ‘Vickie.’”
“Is that what you want me to do? Call you what everyone else calls you?”
I thought about that a moment. “Forget it. ‘Victoria’ is fine.”
“Okay … Victoria.”
“But now it’s your turn,” I said. “Your name is Gil, right?”
“Is that short for ‘Gilbert’?”
“Yes, but don’t call me that.”
“Why not?  ‘Gilbert’ is a nice name.”
“No. It rhymes with ‘filbert.’”
“Don’t you know what a filbert is?”
“It’s another name for a hazelnut.”
“How would you like to be named ‘Hazelnut’?”
I laughed. “Gil, you’re not named ‘Hazelnut.’ You’re not even named ‘Filbert.’”
“I know … but rhymes count.”
“Well,” I went on, “rhymes aren’t the only thing that count. Think about me, for example.  Think about Victoria’s Secret?”
“Think what about it?” Gil’s voice sounded so suddenly weird—so small and tight and hushed—that I was surprised. But just for a minute. For then I knew that he was embarrassed that I’d mentioned underwear. It was the first time I’d ever heard a blush!
“Gil,” I teased, “do you sneak around and peek at the merchandise at Victoria’s Secret?”
Gil hung up.

[i] Once again, Vickie annoys, awarding names from Mary Shelley’s life to characters and places in her story. Charles and Mary Lamb were good friends of her father, William Godwin—as was James Marshall. Need I say that there is no “Lamb Middle School” in the state of Ohio?

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