Disclaimer: Things I was going to do this summer: Go fishing; check. Clean the garage; check. Buy Phil of the Future - darn! Knew I forgot something.

Summer's Almost Over

Out by Frayed-Rope-Bridge, the fellows are giving Phil a hard time again. Bad enough the last few days of summer vacation, did he have to be taunted by his 21st-Century chums on top of everything else?

"So let me get this straight, Phil," the former bully Myron pressed, Keely makes you go shopping for more than just shoes. (snicker) Is that right?"

"And you own how many halter tops?" chimed in Owen, barely able to get that out without giggling like a girl.

"Yeah yeah, laugh all you want," retorted Phil. "But I did spend time with the most fantastic girl in the 11th grade, Miss Keely Teslow. You guys are just jealous - sad, really. I feel sorry for you losers."

"Us? Losers?" Bruno Longfellow begged for an explanation, possibly interested in a play not in the H. G. Wells Astronauts' football playbook.

Phil was feeling righteous, "That's right, you heard me. What do you know about making a girl feel happy and special?"

"The O-dog knows all, Diffster. Ask anyone here."

Owen look Phil right in the eye. Phil scanned the faces belonging to his fellow taunters, and found them looking everywhere - everywhere but in his direction, even Roger Nutichie, Phil's unofficial rival from the Invention Expo, wasn't about to back such an unfounded wild claim as this. Oh, when will Owen take a reality pill, Phil pondered. Phil let it slide.

"Look, Guys, all I'm saying is this. No matter how much your girl tells you that she loves the trinket you just gave her, it passes and like what? Three seconds? They are just things, and any guy could have bought them for her. But, when you're there for, even for–no, especially for the little things, like holding her purse at the mall, or buying the other blouse she wanted, but couldn't afford because the sale was ending today, then she really likes you. Guys, trust me, less is more." Phil's father taught him that.

"Yeah, Diffy. 'Likes' you. Big deal, Loser. When I'm with a girl, I don't wanna hold her purse, I want to be touching her - better yet, she should be touch my-" Bruno's bragging was cut off by the sudden materialization of Phil's girlfriend, Keely Teslow.

Keely often wondered why boys stopped talking when she entered a room. She had questioned Phil about it before, but he just blushed. Nevertheless, a new school year was about to begin and she had more clothes shopping to do.

"Phil, did you forget again? We have more shopping to do today."

Bruno mocked, "Hey, Keely, will you pick out Philly's clothes for him for school? The loser doesn't know what to wear."

Keely noticed that Bruno's socks didn't match; however, she refused to sink to his level, and instead asked, "Phil, do you want to stay with your friends, or …?"

"I'm more than ready, Keels, believe me. Later, Guys," Phil throws them a grin and a wave before grabbing his backpack and joining Keely. Sharing smiles of "thanks" and "you're welcome" come naturally to the couple before the puzzled Phil asks his only real 21st Century pal, "So, what's left on your list? I thought your wardrobe was complete for the fall."

"Oh, Phil. One is never really ever done shopping for clothes. Colors come in and out of fashion, seasons change, styles, too, and some of my clothes don't fit me any longer -" Keely cut herself short, hoping Phil won't picture her again in one of her ninth grade pullovers. She should have stuck to using footwear as an example.

"Gee, really? I hadn't noticed," Phil lied; Keely knew it. He had noticed. It was summer and Keely had worn some of her favorite old outfits that she barely fit into anymore. Her mother wouldn't let her go to school in them, and she wouldn't pass the "No Midriffs" school policy her favorite Lady X t-shirt any longer, but the smallish outfits exposing her belly button were perfect for summer vacation. At least, Phil thought so; maybe not with words, but a girlfriend picks up lingering signals that a friendgirl is clueless about.

"Anyway … it's not for my fall wardrobe."

"Keely, Keely, don't tell me we're shopping for winter already."

"Off-season is the best time to find the bargains, Phil."

"But -" Phil stopped when he saw her pulling out her puppy dog eyes. If there was one thing Phil Diffy had learned this century, it was when he was better off giving up. "So, what's on our shopping list today, Master Shopper? Mittens? Earmuffs? Maybe missewn mukluks?" Phil was almost laughing. Having surrendered to the inevitable, the peer pressure was off of him. Keely was in her natural element, the shopping zone, and he was happy to be with Keely. That was enough, right?

Keely blurted out a little victory squeal, "Eeee! Don't be silly, Phil. Those don't go on sale until spring. We have to hurry to get the summer close-outs before they're all gone."

"Summer? You don't mean-" For the first time, Phil noticed the advert Keely clutched in her hand. Had it been there the entire time? Had the guys back at the bridge failed to notice it as well?

"What's the matter, Mr. Diffy? Haven't you ever held a young lady's purse while she tries on last season's bikinis before?"

No, 22nd Century Phil hadn't, but when one is left stranded in the 21st Century …

Phil joked, "No, I never have, so I'll probably have to practice all winter with you to get it right," but he was serious, serious as third year French.