Apologies to those of you who like the Foy stories, but get disappointed when I post them in parts. This one will be two or three parts. And I don’t have a title for it. If you prefer to wait, hopefully it will be done by the end of the weekend. When it’s finished I’ll decide on a title and move it over to FoyDavis.com.
This scene from Foy’s life will make more sense if you read “Bearing Witness.”
Fort Davis Texas
On Monday morning Foy cut across his block, through the neighbors’ yards, past Fort Street, to Davis Street, where Mickey lived. The Wallace family lived in a sagging home on a double lot. Buddy Wallace had erected a ramshackle metal building that served as his workshop and garage. Two small sheds about the size of outhouses were attached like hermitages to one side of the workshop. Indeed, they may at one time have been outhouses. Cars in various states of disrepair filled the workshop and spilled out into the yard, where their rust was slowly bringing them into harmony with the colors of the rocks, the earth, the washtubs, and the old tractor engine that also lay in the yard. On the Wallace property, things sat in the yard until they became part of the landscape, sinking into the ground and changing colors slowly over the years. Above these things flew the colorful flags of the Wallace laundry, flapping in the West Texas wind on two parallel lines that ran from the side of the workshop to a laundry pole set into concrete near the only tree on the property, a scrubby juniper that Alice Wallace watered and cared for as if it was the only thing of beauty in her life.
A caliche driveway ran from Buddy’s workshop to the street. On it sat Buddy’s pride and joy, a 1969 stretch limousine with a blown engine that he had acquired at an auction in Van Horn. “The interior is perfect,” Buddy often said. “Like no one ever rode in it.” When he had it running again, there was talk of starting a limousine service. “What kills the limousine business is the car payments,” Buddy told his buddies who hung around the shop. “That’s what they call overhead, and without overhead there’s no limit to what a man can make. It’s all profit.”
Foy knocked on the front door. He never rang the bell in the morning before school because once he rang the bell and awakened Buddy, who roared his displeasure so loudly from his bedroom that Foy heard it on the front porch. One of Mickey’s older brothers came and looked through the screen. When he saw Foy, he opened the door without a word and headed back into the dark interior of the Wallace home. Foy turned left instead of following him and went through two rooms crammed with furniture and debris into the kitchen, where he found Mickey sitting at the table finishing a bowl of Captain Crunch.
“Hey,” Foy said.
Foy looked at the back of the cereal box while Mickey finished eating and put his bowl by the sink.
“Was there a prize in it?”
“Nope. Sugar Pops has a parachute army man. Did you get that one?”
“No,” Foy said sadly. “My mother doesn’t allow us to eat sugar cereals.”
“But you put sugar on your Rice Krispies, don’t you.”
“Yeah. Five spoonfuls if she’s not looking.”
Mickey grabbed a paper bag off the counter, looked around, and opened the pantry door. He put several items in the bag and rolled down the top. They went out the front door and headed down the street toward Dirk’s Anderson Elementary School.
“Watcha got for lunch?” Foy asked.
“A ketchup sandwich and five candy bars.”
Mickey Wallace had been making his own lunch since he was in kindergarten.
“You wanna trade one of your candy bars for some fruit cocktail?”
“Yuck. No. But I’ll give you one. I packed one for you cause your mom’s desserts are crummy.”
Foy smiled. “Thanks.”
They walked the block in silence. Mickey was immersed in his attempts to avoid stepping on the cracks in the parched dirt road. Foy noticed this and fell in step with him. After a few minutes he worked up his courage to speak.
“Mickey, do you think you’re going to heaven?”
Mickey didn’t respond so Foy continued.
“My dad says you’re going to heaven, so I thought I would tell you that. You don’t have to worry or anything.”
“I’m going to heaven? Your dad says so?”
“Yes. And he’s the preacher. So he knows about this stuff.”
“Neat-o. I’m going to heaven.”
They walked a block in silence. Mickey picked up a stick and began whacking it on a chain link fence as they walked by. He wore the bark off it. He looked closely at the frayed end and began picking at it.
“You’re going to heaven for now anyway. If you died as a kid. Have you heard about the age of countability?”
“I hadn’t heard of it either. But my dad told me about it. There’s this age that you get to. And if you get to it, you know more things about God because you’re older. I think it’s maybe 14 but it can be different for different people. And once you get to that age, you’re not going to heaven unless you accept Jesus as your personal savior. You know about that, right? About asking Jesus into your heart and getting saved? They talked about it at vacation Bible school. Remember when you went with me that time? They talked about it. You remember that, right?”
“No, I don’t remember any of that. So I’m going to heaven if I die right now? But if I get older and learn stuff about God I have to do that stuff with Jesus? That seems weird.”
To be continued…