The Sledding Hill

The Sledding Hill

A Story by OilsandSyntax
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short story. Please ignore grammar and comment on content.

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The Sledding Hill
                They cascade over the countryside like traffic at a greenly lit intersection, frantically trying to use their arms as rudders to steer their soaring saucers clear of collision. They’re exhilarated and drunk on their youth by hill’s bottom and for a whooping moment they all forget they have parents watching them from atop.  Their victory is short lived because they soon realize the return uphill trudge is not nearly as exhilarating. Nevertheless, the only way to sled down the hill again is to trudge back up, so step over step they trudge. And it’s in the trudge that their characters emerge.
                Donnie Rivals looks over his shoulder about every four steps. He’s wearing the hand-me-down snow pants and coat outgrown by his older brothers. He’s a stout lad with thick red hair and crooked teeth. He rushes up the hill because the idea of another boy reaching the top before him makes him crazy. You can see him pushing himself on. Driving himself like a Husky tied to a sled. Must win. Must win. Life is a competition, a race among rats. Halfway up the hill I can see Donnie’s breathing getting heavy. He’s tiring out already but guys like Donnie Rivals can’t admit to being tired so he turns around and waves his arms in the air.
                “C’mon guys. What’s the matter? Are you all a bunch of tired girls? C’mon.” He slowly shakes his head in mocking paternal disapproval. He takes a deep breath and turns back around to face the top of the hill. He narrows his eyes and yells “Last one to the top has to sled down on his bare a*s.” And then he’s off. Step over step he trudges on. The other guys think Donnie turned around to give them a hard time, but I knew the truth. Donnie was tired and wanted a break. My mother says it’s the writer in me. I notice things.
                LeRoy Daisical seems not to hear what Donnie says. He continues in his own carefree stride. He stops to pick at something in the snow.  He scoops up a handful of the white wonder and eats it as he walks. He doesn’t look to be the least bit concerned about Donnie’s challenge. If his constant grin is any indication, he’s very much enjoying his leisurely stroll up the hill.
                Donnie reaches the top before LeRoy is even half way up. Mrs. Rivals tells her son he’d better watch his mouth. One by one Harry Minor, Everett Follows, Justin Vaines, and Edgar Punkston reach the top. The masculine ritual of high fiving and shoulder slapping precedes the forming of a huddle at Donnie’s decree.  Each of the boys takes a turn looking down the hill at LeRoy and then popping their head back into the huddle. Laughter erupts.
                “Hurry up LeRoy, you Wuss” Edgar yells down the hill. All the other boys try hard to restrain their snickers. Edgar is the tallest of the boys. His greasy hair is dark and his narrow eyes are darker still. He’s wearing a very popular brand name coat that Mrs. Punkston found at the Thrift Store on East Main Street.
 Mrs. Punkston tells her son he’d better watch his mouth. She doesn’t see him roll his eyes at her because she’s asking Mrs. Vaines questions about the new kitchen cabinetry she just had installed.  “I’m sure they must look lovely.” Mrs. Punkston remarks with glazed-over eyes.
                LeRoy shifts his saucer into his other hand and quickens his pace just slightly. “I’m comin’, guys.” He yells back. I don’t understand why he can’t hear them laughing, or perhaps he hears them and thinks it innocent.
                “They’re made from Tiger Maple and the inlay is exquisite.” Mrs. Vaines was still describing her new cabinets. Mrs. Minor and Mrs. Follows joined the conversation.
                “I had considered Tiger Maple when we got our cabinets last year, but it didn’t coordinate with our bamboo floors. I decided on a lighter oak and ordered beautiful granite countertops.” Mrs Minor smiled while she talked. 
                LeRoy reached the top of the hill, set his saucer down, and started to brush off his hundred dollar professional ski pants when Justin Vaines strode up and locked left arms with him. “Well, LeRoy,” he said “today’s your big day.”
                Harry Minor rushed forward and locked right arms with LeRoy. Harry is an average boy of slight frame. He wears glasses and has acne.  Mrs. Daisical had been sitting at the picnic table at the top of the sledding hill reading. She closes the novel around her finger so as not to lose her place and stands up. LeRoy is still grinning so she sits back down and resumes her book.
                Edgar Punkston pulls out his switchblade and slices the button off LeRoy’s trousers. Harry and Justin let themselves laugh a little.
                “Last one up the hill has to ride down on his bare a*s.” Donnie says. “Didn’t you hear me?”
                “I thought it was a joke.” LeRoy whines and tries to wriggle free.
                “No joke.” Says Donnie and he motions for Edgar to situate himself behind LeRoy. Edgar does so smiling with his yellow teeth. “A deal’s a deal.”
                “But I didn’t agree to any deal.” LeRoy pleads. “I just want to go sledding.”
                “And so you shall” Edgar sneers.
                Donnie holds up one finger, then two, then three. “Ready boys?”
                Barely able to contain their laughter, Harry, Justin, Edgar, and Donnie proclaim the chorus “For He’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow,” Donnie and Edgar rip down his pants.
                Mrs. Daisical stands up again, closing her book around her finger so as not to lose her place.
“Boys will be boys” Mrs. Punkston sighs and shakes her head.
“Such competition among them,” Mrs. Minor observes.
“It’s all very healthy” adds Mrs. Rivals.
“We were once young too.” States Mrs. Vaines
“I suppose he does need to toughen up a little,” Mrs. Daisical says and moves closer to the conversation.
“It’s really a shame about his father.” Comments Mrs. Rivals
“Do you prefer granite countertops?” Mrs. Vaines asks her and Mrs. Daisical lights up at being spoken to directly.
The Boys muscle LeRoy onto his belly and give his saucer a grand shove-off. He flies and spins, screaming down the hill. The bare white of his bum shining brighter than the snow he’s sliding on.
“I do,” Mrs. Daisical replies. “and bamboo floors.” She does not see that her son is crying and she thinks to herself how nice it is that he’s finally playing with other boys.

© 2009 OilsandSyntax


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Added on January 27, 2009
Last Updated on February 4, 2009

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OilsandSyntax
OilsandSyntax

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Hello. I love art as well as writing, though I'm a novice at both. I have five senses, four children, three dogs, two dimples, one husband, and a garden. Most of my time is dedicated to domestic engi.. more..

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