Dave was out in the tall grass every afternoon after school. Gloria hated it because of the grass stains permanently settled into the knees of every pair of jeans he could fit. However, it was easier cleaning jeans than cleaning the house after rainy days when Dave was forced to play inside. She preferred him outside, she picked her battles carefully.
Alongside the field there were several downed trees, Dave and his friends from school played by these logs every afternoon. Dave called Jim over as he picked up one of the older mossy logs. Jim grabbed a stick and squished an innocent juicy green caterpillar. Dave wanted to fuss but wasn’t interested in the jokes that came along with protesting bug life. Jim laughed and pushed the guts on the end of the stick in Dave’s face. Dave screamed, dropped the log and ran away. As Jim chased Dave through the field clouds crowded the sky. A short time later the sky was engulfed in grey and began to crack with sounds of roaring thunder. Dave ran back towards the log to grab his backpack. He knew his mom wouldn’t tolerate him being out during a storm.
“You scared of a lil thunder?” Jim teased still waving the guts of the lifeless caterpillar.
“No! But we should go. It’ll rain soon and last time I stayed out during the storm I couldn’t play outside for a week!” Dave began to walk toward the road that led to the neighborhood they both lived in.
Jim sat on the log by the field and stuck his tongue out anticipating the salty taste of a rain drop, he reported “No rain yet!”
“C’mon Jimmy! It’s time and the game’ll be on soon” Dave protested and began to walk away continuously checking over his shoulder expecting Jim to get up and follow him.
Dave was on the road heading home. He could see Jim in the distance as the rain began, he was still on the log playing with the stick. The rain grew more intense by the moment. Dave yelled again, “Let’s go Jimmy!”
His calls through the rain were all in vain. A moment later as Jim sat stubbornly on the log lightening struck and his body glowed in a hue Dave never knew. Dave cried out to his friend as thunder shook the ground chasing closely after the life ceasing lightening. Dave ran home bursting in the back door sobbing incoherently. Gloria wiped her flour covered hands on her apron and unsuccessfully attempted to console her son.
“Jimmy…. lightening…. “ was all Gloria could gather between the tears. With her big boy on her hip she raced for the phone and made three of the quickest calls of her life. Her longwinded nature was put in place by the urgency of the situation. First she called 911, next Donna Jimmy’s mother, and finally her husband a local sheriff’s deputy currently out on duty.
During the second call Dave had had enough of her rehashing his erratic behavior and the report of Jimmy’s accident. Dave pushed his way away from his mother and hit the ground running towards his room. Still wet from the rain Dave grabbed his blanket and headed for his only indoor comfort zone. His closet. Once he felt safe and sound inside he cried and cried and cried. He cried incessantly like a starving baby. He cried like a scorned lover alone in the dark. He cried as if he was the remorseful strike of lightening that took the life of a child.
It rained. It rained and rained and rained until it began to pour. The sky fell out and it seemed to be no end to the tears falling from the heavens above. The rain drops were the size of Dave’s tear drops and neither would let up.