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My Turn

Muffin jumps on my dresser and runs across, almost knocking all of my cologne into the floor. That cat is nearly as old as me, and she's had it out for me ever since elementary school. One morning, I slid my arm into my coat sleeve in a mad dash to catch the bus, and something felt strange. A prompt investigation revealed that my kitty plopped a number two in the pit area, and my hand pushed her surprise all the way up my arm. With the school bus approaching quickly, the entire house declared code red. Dad ran outside to stall the bus driver while Mom hunted down another jacket, cleaned my arm, and replaced my shirt. She rushed me out the door, I boarded, and no one had a clue. Nobody wants to be the stinky kid, and I barely dodged that bullet.

I think about my old buddy Jeff a lot when I get ready for church every Sunday morning. Idaho, he up and moved to Idaho of all places. We lost touch quickly because those long-distance bills are expensive, and writing takes a lot of time and effort. He introduced me to comics, ping pong, and Pleasant View Baptist. Jeff was a good friend, and I'm glad I knew him, even if it was for just a little while.

The van swings by to pick me up every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday for church. The white van doesn't go in reverse, so whoever is driving that day has to be careful and a little creative sometimes. It hardly gets used. Thankfully we have the blue van we take on long trips to baseball games, mission trips, and picnics.

This morning I woke up earlier than usual, so I've got a little time to kill. Television isn't much fun, so that's no option. It's a good thing every morning isn't like Saturday because I'd never get anything accomplished. No one could drag me away from Super Friends or Tom and Jerry. Hmm, maybe that's why cartoons aren't on during church because kids would never show up for service.

Lately, my niece Jaime has been tagging along with me on Sundays. She lives with Mom and me, and I'm more like her big brother, I guess. She's only seven, and I'm twice her age, so surely that qualifies me to keep an eye out on her behalf. We have had our share of disagreements, though. She almost bit my big toe off once, and I threw a rock and hit her in the head, so I guess that makes us even. I don't always show it, but I love her even when she drives me nuts.

I've carefully aligned my various colognes across my dresser from my favorite to my least favorite. Most would call me a Brut man because it's my go-to scent of choice. Way past the Old Spice and English Leather, you'll find a mysterious odor locked away in a bottle shaped like an old car. It gets the coolest container award, but it smells like the pet store section in Kmart. It comes in handy as a mosquito repellent when I'm outside all day.

(Listen to the story here)

Today is an excellent day to experiment. Like a mad scientist, I begin with a little Brut behind the ears, a bit of Aqua Velva on one wrist, and a dash of Old Spice on the other. Working my way down the row, I find a different location for every bottle except for the Pontiac pesticide perfume. I'll be the manliest-smelling fourteen-year-old at PVBC today. All that's left is to grab a clean shirt from the closet and meet Jaime outside.

"What's that smell?" was the first comment to slip from my niece's mouth as we sat under the Oak waiting on our ride. Oblivious about what she was referring to, I told her that the van was coming down the road and it was time to go. The giant metal doors slid open, and Mr. Jimmy said good morning as usual. Chrissy was sitting in the front seat and delivered a little deja vu when she busted out with, "what is that terrible smell?" I ignored the comment as Jaime and I took a seat.

Each time Chrissy turned around to face me, I noticed her gradually getting red, and her eyes began to water. Her reactions gave rise to suspicion. We stopped to pick up Mike and his brother Paul. As soon as the door opened, they were both smacked in the face by a disgusting aroma that couldn't wait to escape the poorly ventilated van. In sync, they both shouted, "Something in here stinks," as we left their driveway. Folks piled in after every stop, and each reaction was similar to the two brothers before. Poor Chrissy was about to flatline from the fragrance, and I was about to faint in fear of being exposed.

Once we arrived, everyone escaped the vehicle as if we were running from a burning building. After pushing Jaime in the right direction, I made a break to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. Flinging my shirt off, I frantically pumped the soap dispenser only to find it was empty. Brother James knocked on the door, asking if I was alright. Sighing, I looked up to the ceiling and asked God why. Jesus refused to answer me this time, so I could only assume it was my turn to be the stinky kid.

**I thought I'd lighten things up a little this time after the last story. Thank you all for reading my stuff! I enjoy the comments and connections. A good story can bring us all together, no matter how we lean in this crazy world. I had a good discussion about that with a close friend today during lunch.

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