Tuesday, October 3, 2017
See, the thing about Charlie is that he can never be made to fit the profile of a "teenager". He was only a couple of months into his 12th year. His choice of games, downloads and videos that he made himself were evidence enough of that... He was still just a little guy.
Even (or especially) his handwriting bore that out. He never learned cursive, let's just leave it at that. His Mom just came across a pile of Charlie's missives. Among them were his persistent and devoted free advertisements for (as in, on behalf of) Jimmy John's Subs.
There is a location within walking distance of the house, so it was kind of something he grew up with, and even the interiors of his Mom's car were plastered with their stickers: Subs So Fast You'll Freak. And there among the sheaf of papers she found were several of his own offerings to the world of restaurant marketing, in his pencil-printed child's scribe:
Subs So Fast You'll Freak.
Subs So Fast, You'll Freak.
Subs So Fast You Will Freak.
He wanted everyone to know. And to Charlie, the only thing better than walking down to Jimmy John's, or driving through at Jimmy John's, was having Jimmy John's delivered. My sister and her son would spend more than a fair amount of time in front of the computer screen, surveying the menu, deciding what to order. They would then place The Call.
Once the preliminary task was completed, they would start counting the minutes.
Considering the fact that a vehicle with no coolant in its system could motor up to her house (and back) with no problem, it never took the driver longer than maybe seven or eight minutes to make the trip. Charlie was always duly impressed, and he was happy to know that the driver got to keep the tip money that he got for being so freaking fast.
On one occasion, I was in the back part of the house, and heard them going through the ordering process, crafting it, in accordance with the menu and money aspects that they had already figured out beforehand. As I heard his Mom concluding the purchase order, I quietly exited through the back door.
I snuck down the walkway between the house and the garage, keeping the window air conditioner in between me and their view of the outside world - but they were watching the clock. For all they knew, I was still in the kitchen. It was a mild, pleasant afternoon, and the AC was not running, so I could hear what they were saying inside.
I heard Charlie, barely a minute after the phone call had concluded: "I wonder how long it will take them to get here?" That's when I stepped right up to the front door and knocked on it loudly.
The door opened, and Charlie's face went through a three-part morph, each expression more pronounced than the one before it. Frame One: He really thinks it's freaking Jimmy John's. Frame Two: It's only Uncle Paul, who clearly thinks this is funny. Frame Three... It's not funny.
Except that it was. That was the kind of thing that Charlie really liked. Goofy stuff. Silly stuff. Playful stuff. Kid stuff.
He was still a puppy.
Well, puppies don't always make it. They get hit in the road sometimes, or they get sick, or a bigger dog gets to them, or... And it's always sad. But that doesn't mean they didn't enjoy their run, the entirety of it. Oh, they did. Bounding along, never knowing, every day, through life.
Life so fast, you'll freak.
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