The Square Peg - Bongo Bob
© S. Bradley Stoner
Well, it’s been quite a week so far, with Halloween and all... and there are still three days to go, so it still could get real interesting. Out for my daily walk and on my way home this morning, I saw Bob sitting in an easy chair with his leg propped up out in his garage, watching some reality show on TV. Heck, I didn’t even know they had reality shows on at this hour. You learn something new every day. Oh, the wonders of cable and satellite TV. Now I was planning on just waving at Bob and bopping on my way. No such luck. As I drew abreast of his driveway, Bob hailed me from his throne.
“Yo, Brad! Come up and visit for a spell,” he hollered. It sounded like a mix of Jersey and Duck Dynasty.
I sighed. I really wanted to head home, but I was raised not to be overly rude, so I stopped, turned, and trudged up his driveway. “How’s the leg, Bob?”
“Better. Doesn’t bother me too much what with the pain killers the Doc got me.” Bob reached for a beer. “Want one?”
“It’s a little early for me. Should you be drinking alcohol with those pain killers?” I asked.
Bob looked hurt. “It’s just beer. It’s not like it’s hard liquor. Besides, I’m not drivin’ or operatin’ heavy machinery.”
‘Thank God,” I thought to myself. “Why are you out in the garage? Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in the house? It’s going to get damp later today.”
Bob picked up a remote. “I’ll just shut the garage door. ‘sides, it’s kinda nice out right now.”
I knew Bob. The garage and big screen TV were pretty much reserved for sports nights when he had his buddies over. The rest of the time, things were shifted so his wife could park her car in there. “You get booted out of the house?” I inquired.
“Kind of,” Bob admitted. “Our cousin is crashed on the couch and I couldn’t make any noise.”
About that time, a lanky, disheveled nineteen or twenty something kid wandered out in t-shirt, shorts, and sandals, yawning and scratching his butt. How’s that for a pretty picture?
Bob glanced up. “Well praise the Lord! The dead are risen! Brad, meet Bob.”
Oh no... not another one!
“I know what yer thinkin’,” Bob said, “and stop it. He’s family.”
I nodded. “I can tell.”
Young Bob grunted and grabbed a beer out of the cooler before flopping down on the other easy chair.
“So, what brings you to Texas? “ I asked innocently.
“Nowhere else to be.”
That was terse. “How long are you going to be here?”
“Hard to tell.” He took a long pull on the beer, let out a loud belch, and tried to smooth the rat’s nest on his head.
Then it hit me. “Are you Sylvester’s boy?”
“Nobody calls Slick ‘Sylvester.’ and who you callin’ boy?” he growled.
“Mind yer manners,” Bob shot at him.
“Mind yer own,” the kid shot back.
Bob shrugged and groaned, “He really got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”
Young Bob returned, “Like that’s possible on a couch... there’s only one side to get up from.”
I could tell this was going to go downhill if it continued. “So, what do you do?” I asked the lad.
“I’m a percussionist.”
That was really the first spark of life I’d noticed in the kid. “Ah, the drums...”
“Not persactly,” he managed between gulps.
“Tympani?” I asked hopefully.
He screwed up his face and shook his head ‘no’ vehemently. “Garbage cans.”
I blinked. “Garbage cans?”
“Yeah... and bongos.”
“Don’t say it,” Bob said.
But you know I did, don’t you? Yep... “Oh, that works. Bingo Bob and Bongo Bob.”
“I thought you’d never ask!”