Pulling a Tom and Huck
Shirtless, barefoot, a fishing rod in one hand and a pail of fishing bait in the other was all the signs of a perfect summer day in Vin's mind.
The summer heat was baring down on Vin as he walked towards the old Victorian house that his nephew, Ezra was residing within', Ez's words not Vin's.
Ezra had only been there for half a year and yet Vin found it strange that he had trouble remembering life without the other boy. It became a family joke, that Vin could find trouble a mile away and that trouble usually referred to Ezra.
Josiah had moved his sons, Nathan and Ezra across the country to be closer to his family and to let the two boys get to know his parents and his own brothers. Ezra and Nathan were half brothers and lived most of their lives with their mothers. If you ignored the obvious difference between the two, a person wouldn't had known they lived apart. They fought like brothers, they encouraged each other like brothers and they looked after each other as brothers would. Some days, Nathan would play the big brother role a little too far and some days, Ezra needed that a little more.
Josiah was Vin's eldest brother. With the huge age difference, Vin was younger than his nephew Nathan but just a few months older than his nephew Ezra. Naturally, Vin was closer to Ezra than to Nathan and not just because of their ages but the personalities. There was just something that drew Vin towards Ezra.
This afternoon they were going to go fishing. Vin was a little surprised that Ezra enjoyed fishing at all since Ezra didn't seem to like bugs, worms, the smell of fish, the high scratchy grass, ticks (well who did there) or even the long walk to their favorite fishing spot.
Vin wasn't entirely wrong, Ezra did dislike all those things. He did however, love the slow, lazy summer days with the sun heating his skin, the smell of the heat rising from the earth, the sound of the stream pushing against the rocks and when they gave up catching anything, they ended up in the water themselves.
Vin had a sneaky feeling that Ezra really never did 'bait' his hook, only cast the line into the water, propping the rod against a 'Y' stick and settling back with an apple and a book in his hand while Vin did the catch and release of his fish. Sure, Ezra would put on a good show, 'acting' all frustrated that he could never catch anything at all. Vin would just grin and let him do his stage performing thing.
Ezra also secretly enjoyed their long walks as well. It was nice to have someone to talk to about anything or nothing at all. They both talked about girls, music, video games and what they would do if they were zillionaries because a million wouldn't get them half of what they wanted. With sly youthful grins, Buck's so-called secret magazine stash would be brought into their conversation as well.
Some days, Vin would talk about growing up and how he would embarrass Buck and Chris whenever they had a new girlfriend or trying to ignore him while being 'cool' with their friends. Vin would question Ezra about his own childhood but Ezra would change topics. But Vin figured, one day at a time.
Vin walked onto the lawn of Josiah's home and when he reached the old outhouse that had been turned into a garden tool shed, he shook his head.
Ezra loathed it. The outhouse was always brought up. Ezra claimed to have a list on how it destroy it. He called it tacky, disgrace to their lawn, an eye sore, a pile of rotten planks held with rusty nails designed to keep years of ungodly odor from leaking into the public's air and should be torn down, burnt a thousand times over and concreted into a landmine. Josiah would just smile at the small shed, and say it had character.
At the moment though, Ezra stood before the tiny shed, with it's door open and pure disgust written all over his face.
Vin placed the worm pail down with his fishing rod and leaned against the tool shed, his arms folded in front of him as he watch Ezra for a moment. The other's eyes turned to him briefly before turning back towards the out house that was full of character.
"You look as if you walk in there, you wouldn't be coming back out." Vin joked, raising his brows to wait for the witty reply he knew would come from the Southern's mouth.
"Worse than that." Ezra drawled. "I fear I may be seen going inside."
Vin rolled his body slightly to the side and peered inside the tiny room before rolling back to his formal position. "It's small enough, you wouldn't really need to walk in. Doesn't stink either like you keep going on about."
Ezra widen his eyes and pointed inside. "Have you taken noticed to the inhabitants? How am I to know if I would make it out alive if one of those would send down upon me while I am reaching for that can of gasoline?"
"You mean the spiders?" Vin looked up at a large, thin legged spider dangling from a corner. "Just cellar dwellers. They don't hurt none. More afraid of you than you are of them."
"The possibility of mutation is always among us." Ezra made a face at the spider.
Vin just chuckled, shaking his head as he snaked his arm inside and pulled out the can of gasoline. "What do you need gas for anyways?"
With he already famous poker face, Ezra didn't miss a beat while taking the can of gas from Vin's hand. "To burn this latrine down till there isn't anything left but ashes."
Vin jerked the can out of Ezra's grasp. "Seriously? You are going to burn it down?"
"I was merely being sarcastic." Ezra mumbled, yanking the can back. "Josiah demanded that I have the lawn mowed before I am allowed to go on our fishing escapade."
"Well I notice that sometimes you are awful truthful in your sarcasm." Vin followed Ezra to the push mower that was already pulled out of the garage.
Ezra knelt down at the pushing mower and then up at Vin. "I believe I should admit that I never used one of these before."
"Hell, Ez." Vin knelt down as well and pulled the gas cap off the mower. "It would had surprised me if you did."
"I am aware you are meaning for that to be an insult but I can't help but find it relieving." Ezra watched as Vin replaced the lid, placing the gas can down. As if having second thoughts, he picked up the can and returned it to the shed before jogging back towards Ezra. "Dad says your like a match burning too close to a powder keg."
"I am not temperamental." Ezra frowned. "Christopher on the other hand..."
"Dad says Chris is the powder keg." Vin walked up to the mower's hand bars. "Here let me show you how this is going to start and you can try."
Not only did Vin show Ezra how to start the mower, he had to show him how to mow the lawn. After the second pass, Vin realized Ezra was setting him up on asking for a one more show around the house. Vin was ready to confront him when Jack, a boy in their year, showed up squinting his beady eyes at them.
Jack's mother was head of the PTA at school and his father was the town's mayor and Jack liked to remind people of that, especially while he was bullying them into doing what he wanted.
"What are you two doing?" Jack asked. "Because I seen two year olds mow a lawn better than you two!"
Vin raised his eyebrows at the childish remark but Ezra stepped forward as if he had a secret to tell him.
"Vin and I are doing a little side bet." Ezra voice was smooth and hushed as if he didn't want to be over head even though it was only the three of them.
"You're not suppose to be doing bets!" Jack shook a finger at Ezra, having been a party to Ezra's scheme that landed them both in detention once before.
Ezra made a motion with his hands to indicate that Jack was speaking too loud. "It's just a little wager between myself and Vin. We are seeing which of us can mow faster, is all."
"Ez you haven't even..." Vin started but with a wave of Ezra's hand, he raised both hands and allowed Ezra to continue his little game.
"It had taken Vin four minutes and fifty-five seconds to make one lap around the house." Ezra shook his head in defeat. "Unfortunately, it had taken me six minutes and five seconds." Ezra snapped his fingers together. "Maybe I can out win him by going counter clockwise!"
Ezra headed eagerly to the mower and was ready to power it up, or attempt to figure out how Vin had started it in the first place when Jack called out.
Ezra gave Vin a fake confused look and a shrug as he slowly walked over to Jack. Vin grin, shaking his head on knowing that Jack just took Ezra's bait.
Jack looked around before leaning closer to Ezra. "It really took you two that long just for one lap around the house with the mower."
Ezra appeared a little offended. "Well, there is the flower beds and lighting post and rocks. A lot of rocks."
"Still," Jack looked at the yard. He figured he could walk around it in less than five minutes and he was no athlete. "How much are you two betting?"
"Well were family so..." Ezra shrugged. "Just five dollars. Winner takes all. Of course if you are interested, there is a small fee as well but I am sure I can convince Vin to waver that if you may know of any other's that would like to take part in our little naturally the rules would have to change so the house gets a little fee from the winning party, you understand?"
"Oh. Hey, yeah! Because the more people the more money!" Jack exclaimed as if he just caught on.
"Precisely." Ezra gave him a wink.
In the evening hours, Josiah was sitting on his front porch with a tall glass of fresh home-made lemonade that Emma Dubonnet had brought over that afternoon. It was the best glass of lemonade he had ever tasted. It was also a beautiful evening with the fireflies lighting up his freshly cut lawn. He was surprised when he had came home to find that Ezra had actually mowed the grass and that he did a really good job at it as well. He had prepared himself for battle, figuring his teenage son would had 'forgotten' to mow the grass. That was Ezra however. He was unpredictable at times. Just as Josiah figured he would do one thing, his son would do another.
Spotting the familiar headlights of his father's trooper jeep pulling up the drive, Josiah poured another glass of lemonade from the pitcher that sat on a small circle table between two chairs. His father climbed out of the jeep and up the stairs towards Josiah, who nodded to the empty seat. John didn't hesitate, he sat heavily down on the chair and taking a long drink of the ice lemonade. The only thing off was a distant smell of a skunk. Josiah was hoping it would stay distant.
"It was a hot day." Josiah leaned back on his chair watching his father. "The boys aren't back yet. I'm sure they ditched the fishing poles and took to the water."
John eyed his son's lawn, "I thought I caught a glimpse of them in near. Lawn looks good."
Josiah smiled, "It does. I had asked Ezra to mow the lawn before I left. I was taking Nate to look at some colleges he was thinking about."
"It's going to be nice having a doctor in the family." John turned slightly so he could face Josiah. "He's a good boy."
"They both are." Josiah did believe that but for some reason, he was bracing himself.
"I'm off duty of now. Came to pick up Vin is all but I thought I'd let you know that there is a few complaining parents that wanted me to speak to you about Ezra." John put up his hand to stop Josiah from getting worked up. "Seems they had to speak to me as well about Vin. Apparently Vin and Ezra pulled a Tom and Huck on some of the local boys."
"A Tom and Huck?" Josiah asked with interest.
"Hmm..." John took another drink from his glass before continuing. "That's what the boys at the station are calling it. No parents are stepping forward exactly but strongly hinting that children were scammed into mowing...your lawn." John pointed outward with is glass. "No! No. They paid Ezra and Vin to mow your lawn."
"What?" Josiah was taken back. "No one is that...no. Who would pay the boys to mow my grass?"
"I don't know all the details either. I don't think the parents actually want to admit that their kid was stupid enough to do it but one of the troopers did see a bunch off boys here. He had thought they were just pitching in. Helping the new kid out and all." John looked around suspiciously. "Do you smell a skunk?"
"Ezra got them to pay him to do his chore." Josiah shook his head dump founded. "Not sure if I should be horrified for him or scared for the future of our county."
"Son, I think that smell is getting stronger." John sniffed at the air again.
John and Josiah looked out into the darkness on recognizing the laughter of their sons.
"I told him to see the lawn gets mowed." Josiah snorted. "Never told him to actually do it himself."
"Well, he watched it get mowed and profited from it as well." John stood up and only took one step towards the edge of the porch when he looked over at Josiah. "Do you smell that?"
Josiah nodded his head and stood up to stand next to his father. "Smell is getting stronger."
"Damn it. I am not taking him home!" John covered his face as Ezra and Vin appeared under the street light. "Vin!"
"Dad!" Vin stopped and gave a wide arm wave to his father. "We got sprayed by a skunk!"
"Perhaps it is punishment for the corrupt way the lawn was mowed?" Josiah grinned, from a safe distance.
"The price was ill receiv..." Ezra had started but quickly stopped and looked up at Josiah and John. Realizing that Josiah knew about the mowing business.
"Wasn't our fault." Vin shrugged. "They get the same education as we do."
"We stink, Vin." Ezra muttered more distressed about the horrible smell than what Josiah may put on him for betting on the lawn.
Vin leaned over to smell Ezra. "I think you got the worse of it."
"I wasn't in it's direct path!"
"Hey." Josiah yelled down. "You both smell. You both get to camp in the back yard too!"
Ezra gave a side glance at the tool shed. "How about the basement?"
"It has spiders too." Vin laughed.
John looked over at Josiah. "You still got that old tin tub? I have some dog shampoo the last time Bud found a skunk."
"Dog shampoo?" Ezra's eyes grew wide.
"Kid," John looked down at him. "You have a better idea, we will be glad to hear it."
"Go around back." Josiah nodded to the back of the house. "Nate and I will pull the old tub out and you two can do some soaking."
"With dog shampoo." Ezra crinkled his nose. "Is it even safe for humans?"
"Come on Ez." Vin pulled at his sleeve. "Think of it as one of those fancy spas under the stars."
"It's dog shampoo, Vin." Ezra allowed Vin to pull him to the rear of the house.
A/N: So I had been wanting to type this up since I started mowing my own lawn this year. Hope you all enjoyed. This story won't have a set time on up dates. Just whenever something Vin and Ezra would do comes to mind.