The boys found a desk and chair while rummaging through the junk yard (at least I hope that’s where they found it.) When they brought them home and presented them to me for Father’s Day, they looked like new. They said they had taken them to the woodworking shop at school. Their teacher gave permission for them to fix them up in the shop and even gave them extra credit for doing so.
I’ve long been wanting to get a workspace in the nectary, and now that they provided a nice work surface, I felt obligated to get the computer I have long been putting off.
Smoky really had a knack for fixing things; anything; whether it was plumbing, mechanical, electrical, whatever. He had a natural talent.
He also proved invaluable in the nectar. He showed up one day and began making nectar on his own. It was astonishing to me that he knew how. I can’t recall him ever watching and he never asked any questions. I watched his every action; everything was done perfectly.
He placed the fruit in the tub, and went to change into his swim suit.
Don’t get me wrong, the other boys are just as helpful. Dusty is invaluable with the keeping the books. The other boys help out in the garden mostly, but without all of their help, we wouldn’t be doing as well as we are.
I really don’t want to play favorites, but I must say, I admire Smoky the most. He’s a real go-getter. Always delving into something new; he’s taking to putzing around at the workbench in the nectar, build odd devices.
He’s had his share of accidents, like the time his pants caught on fire. For the life of me, I still can’t figure out how he caught the seat of his pants on fire while facing the workbench.
I was finishing up a batch of nectar, retrieving the bottles from the bottling chamber, when I looked over and saw the pained looked on his face. It took a minute to realize what had happened.
I grabbed one of the extinguishers we kept in the nectar, and proceed to spray the flames.
He threw his arms up in protest, “You don’t need to spray so high!”
I explained that the foam from the extinguisher wouldn’t be very effective it I got any closer. He covered his head and crouched down and let me do my thing. I’ve had my share of extinguishing fires. Lord knows, the local fire department is staffed with the most inept Berries in Sugar Valley.
After he was extinguished, he sure looked a sight. Singed from head to toe; still trying to figure that one out as well. I couldn’t help but snicker to myself, but from the look on his face, I wasn’t concealing it too well.
When we began to fix up the nectar, there was a small room off to the back where we had place a rudimentary shower. After enough slipping while crushing berries, you can become sticky and more colorful. El refused to let us traipse through the house to get to the shower, insisting we use the garden hose or a sprinkler. The shower turned out to be the best addition to the nectar.
Smoky proceeded to the shower, shucking what little clothing remained along the way. Thank the Berries up above, his skin was not affected, just his clothing.
It was nearing the end of the school year of the first year the triplets started in junior high. I guess I wasn’t in the best of moods, as I saw the bus drive off with Smoky still standing in the yard, and I snapped. I ran over and began screaming at him for missing the bus.
He didn’t take too kindly to my assault and returned the favor. I must say, I was stunned at his retaliation, that I was speechless and just watched as he stormed off.
I watched, dumbstruck, as he ran down the street to school. Set on dealing with the situation when he got home, I returned to the nectar and began working. I realized all of my shorts were in the wash and was either going to have to wear my kilt or go au naturale.
Past experience has taught me that some type of clothing on the nether regions was warranted, or you would be picking fruit pieces from … well, never mind … I think you get the picture.
So I opted to wear the kilt. I may as well have been naked. As usual, I slipped on the fruit skin that sank to the bottom of the tub and, well, let’s just say it took a while to remove all the fruit peels after I was finished. No sense getting a shower until I was done, in case I slipped again.
When I finished, I just wanted to go rinse down. I could feel the fruit peels drying to me under the kilt; not a comfortable feeling, let me tell you.
I was unable to get the machine started right away. Trying to troubleshoot the problem, I found I must have forgotten to remove the nectar from the machine last time I made it. After placing empty bottles, I was able to get it started and it ran smoothly.
Smoky’s point of view
After I was out of sight of the house, I watched and waited for Dad to move out of sight. I saw him head into the nectar, so I snuck back in the house and grabbed my swim trunks. I don’t what kind of bug crawled into his craw, but I was angry with the outburst about missing the bus. I mean, this wasn’t the first time.
There was a secluded spot on the beach where I would go hang out when I needed to get away. I changed into my swim suit when I got there. There’s never anyone around, so I wasn’t worried that anyone would see changing – not that I really cared. I mean, I’m sure they’ve seen something similar in their life!
I had gathered some wood and built a fire pit a ways from the water. The waves crashed farther up the beach ever so often and I didn’t want it to go out.
I had forgotten to do my homework last night, so I sat down near the fire and got that out of the way. It’s not hard or anything, it’s just that I get side-tracked rather easily. I like working with my hands more than with pen and paper; that’s Dusty bailiwick.
He has a penchant for numbers and computer code. The only numbers I’m concerned with are the ones that determine the size and shape of a project I’m building. I guess you could say we complement each other.
With my homework all caught up, I decided to do a little fishing. There were some great catches in this area. Grey and Onyx come here quite a bit as well; so much so, that the three of us hid some fishing rods in the rocks at the base of the cliff here.
I’d lost myself in my fishing that I completely lost track of time. It wasn’t until I saw Onyx lumbering through the sand towards me that I realized how long I had been there. He had already changed his clothes before I saw him.
He retrieved his rod and joined me at the water’s edge.
“You look pissed! What happened?” I asked.
“Would you believe I got grounded for skipping school? I didn’t even skip school. I was marked absent from homeroom because I volunteered to help fix the boiler. They called Dad and told him I skipped. He grounded me for two days.”
“Grounded,” I mused, “So he sentenced you to fishing at the beach?” I taunted.
“Don’t be such a Berry-brain! I snuck out after he went back to the nectary. He’ll never know I left.”
A short time later, Grey showed up. We fished for a while, then got dressed as a chill came off the water. Onyx set himself up by the fire to finish his homework.
“You won’t catch one of these babies in the classroom,” I quipped.
“Sure won’t,” Grey agreed.
I’m not sure what was going through his head, but he kept wielding that rod all over the place. I’m surprised Onyx and I aren’t pierced full of holes from his lure.
After Onyx finished his homework, I told them a ghost story. It was pretty ominous with just the fire pit and a flashlight for light. Onyx jumped and cringed a couple times.
We lost all track of time, because before we knew it, the Sugar Valley “Sweet Police” as they were affectionately known, came swooping down on the beach and dragged us home after curfew.
Dad was already standing outside when they dropped us off at home, ready to pounce. There would be a price to pay for this outing. Mom always left the discipline up to Dad, which, in a way, I’m glad for. I think Mom would be much harsher with her punishments. It may be because Dad was once a teen boy himself and knew what kind of mischief we would get into. Perhaps his lenient punishments were just a show for Mom. Perhaps we’ll never know.
In turn; like he couldn’t scold us all at once; he tore into each of us, starting with Onyx.
Then Grey’s turn…
He had been standing patiently; shifting from one foot to the other; more out of annoyance than fear..
I didn’t wait around for my turn, instead opting to find my bed. That decision may cost me dearly. Dad came in and turned on the light, waking Dusty. He didn’t look too angry.
He didn’t ask Dusty to leave before he gave me the third degree. He wasn’t as angry as he had been that morning, which surprised me as I had already received his wrath then.
All that yelling and his punishment was no television for a week. I just don’t understand parents sometimes.
Talking with Grey and Onyx later, I found out they had gotten grounded for two weeks. I didn’t dare tell them my punishment, lest they start to hate me. I went back to Dad and told him everything and begged for his forgiveness. To my surprise, he dropped the punishment and just said to be more responsible in the future. Dusty in the room, may have worked to my advantage.
Even if he hadn’t changed his mind, I would have still been able to get out and see Cotton. So it wasn’t so bad.
I coaxed Grey and Onyx into do the same, but Onyx was too afraid of getting a longer punishment. Grey, however, asked and got his sentence commuted, too.
While Onyx served his sentence, he took up playing the guitar. He was quite good at it, too. He and Coal inherited Dad’s love of music, that’s for sure. The rest of us were as tone deaf as a broken tuning fork.
Jag’s point of view
I really don’t want to hand down punishments, but the boys need to learn some responsibility and think before they act. I really can’t fault them, because I was once their age and did a few questionable things as well.
On one of our family outings to Peppermint Point, Onyx and Coal pulled out their guitars and started playing. The two of them just keep getting better. There was a set of drums and a keyboard on the terrace already. Grey strolled over and sat at the drums, and began hitting the skins as he knew exactly which ones to hit. They sounded great together. Coal urged me to take up the keyboard, which I reluctantly did.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Our music and the crashing of the waves against the beach seemed to be in perfect harmony. We even made a few simoleans in tips from a few pass pleased Berries, Coal and Onyx having left their guitar cases open on the ground.
Later on Onyx jokingly suggested the triplets form a group. Coal took to the idea right off; Grey was less enthusiastic.