Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Sky by Bob Krech

Greg carefully braked the car to a slow stop behind the high school. He cut the engine and the lights. They were tucked safe away from the street.
Pez opened the passenger door and got out. One smooth motion. Greg followed suit. They gently closed their doors. Greg decided not to lock it. It might save them a second when they got back if they didn't have to unlock the door. Pez would be proud of him for thinking of that. Details like that were important Pez said. They added up.
The parking lot was empty except for a beat up old pickup. The school maintenance truck.
Pez was striding purposefully across the gravel, small crunching sounds from under her sneakers.
Greg hustled alongside, looking left and right into the darkness. The lights that were usually on back here were out. Like Pez said they would be. All black back here. Tonight.
They moved around the corner of the building. They hadn't said a thing since Greg had picked Pez up from the 7-11. They had talked all afternoon about it, but when Pez got in the car back at the store all she did was nod.
Greg could feel his throat tightening. He wanted to talk. To talk over things one more time. Like the details. Not so much why and all that. That was done and talked through. But the details. So there'd be no mistakes. No miscues was how Pez said it sometimes.
 It was a soft night. That's how his father used to say it. Soft. Not cold, not warm. Soft. But there was sweat under his shirt. In the small of his back. He was hurrying along when Pez halted.
Greg froze in response. Was someone there? He listened. He waited for Pez to make the next move, but she was just standing there looking up. Greg swiveled his head in every direction. What if someone was there? They were screwed. That's what. Screwed royally. Or maybe not. They hadn't done anything. They could still just go back to the car and drive away.
He looked at Pez for guidance.
Pez had her head back, her delicate chin tilted up. She just stood with her dark eyes gazing up. Her long dark hair hanging straight back. Motionless. "The sky,"she said quietly.
Greg wasn't sure he heard right. "What?" he whispered.
Af first Pez said nothing and he hoped she wasn't mad. "The sky," Pez repeated in the low, soft tone she had.
Greg let his eyes wander up too.
"Everything's okay?" Greg asked. His voice was thin, strained.
Pez let her head rotate slowly still with her gaze fixed above. "More than okay. Look."
Greg allowed himself to look. Dark swirls and patches of silvery blue spread thin. The half moon was out now and had bathed everything in a soft sheen. Like a velvet. A velvet edge on everything. But Greg couldn't get any of this into words. He was not great with words. "Yeah," was all he could manage.
"Exactly," Pez was looking at him now and nodding. She understood what he meant. His one word. She understood him. She really did. A small smile. Small white teeth in the dark. "Exactly."
Pez looked up at that sky once more. "You know what that means?"
Greg only knew it was beautiful in a way. He had no idea what it might mean. He also knew if he waited, Pez would answer her own question. And she did. She reached out and lightly touched Greg's elbow. Electricity sang through his body.
Not that Pez noticed. She was scanning the big sweep of sky once more. "It's telling us that this is an excellent night to do this. You can feel that, right?"
Greg began nodding. "Yeah. Sure. I..."He tried to think of more to say.
But Pez had released his arm and was suddenly moving toward the back doors of the building.
Greg looked up one more time at the swirling October sky. He could see small stars and purples now. Deep stains of purple. He reached his right hand in his jacket pocket. He let his fingers wrap around the dark, hard shape. It was an excellent night to do this. Pez had said so. The sky had said so.
He hurried after her.


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