This short story, a memory from my childhood, takes place when I was about 8, in the Northern California town I grew up in.
April In Pursuit
I had a friend named April who lived a few blocks away from me. April had a nice full head of auburn curls and a lovely Texas drawl. She and her mother were from Houston. Her mother was roadie for a band, and was often away.
When I went over to April’s house to play, most of the time we had the entire house to ourselves. There was a maid, but she minded her own business and I only saw April’s older half-sister that one time she scoffed at us for trying to make pudding out of cake mix.
I loved going over to April’s. Sometimes we’d play in the attic, among the fiber glass insulation. It was kind of hard to get up there, but we were small enough to squeeze through the boards in the roof.
Anyway, one day in particular comes to mind when April and I were actually playing in her bedroom, rather than in one of the other rooms of her empty house. We were bouncing on the bed and looking out the window.
We were pretending that her bed was a cop car and April and I were the cops. The window was the windshield of the cop car and we were looking out ahead at a stolen vehicle in which a little girl had been kidnapped by two strange men.
April was on the driver’s side and was pretending to phone in the details to a Police Station. She said:
“Hello, Sheriff? We’re in pursuit of a Toyota Tercel, white, with stolen plates.”
I told April what to tell the imaginary Sheriff as I dreamed up the scene.
“There’s a kidnapped girl in the back seat,” I said, as we bounced.
“Kidnapped girl, back seat,” April repeated into her imaginary phone.
“She’s throwing up,” I continued.
“Throwing up,” April repeated.
I stopped bouncing. “Wait, let’s not pretend she’s throwing up,” I said.
“Ex out the throwing up,” April told the imaginary Sheriff.
I continued, “Okay. The kidnapped girl has dark blonde hair and is wearing a gray dress with black flowers on it and one of the men is bald and has a tattoo of a–”
“Slow down! I can’t remember all that,” April said. Then she jumped down onto the floor.
“Let’s look at my tokens,” she said.
April had a huge bucket of gaming tokens from Reno that her mother had given her to play with. She spilled them all out onto the floor.
I gasped and marveled at the shiny gold rounds of metal. There must have been at least a hundred of them. (I should note that at the time, I was obsessed with coins. I had three Eisenhower Silver Dollars that I treasured.)
“Wow!” I said. “Can I have one?”
But she said no. I guess her mom didn’t want her giving them away. I was bummed, but she gave me a few pennies instead.
I was only friends with April for about six months, then she and her mom moved back to Houston. She was a Texas gal at heart, and I hope wherever she is today, she’s happy.
I’ll always recall everything we did together, but for some reason, I find the imaginary cop car chase scenario the funniest.
Then there was the time that we got chased by a cop car FOR REAL when April’s mother got pulled over …
But I’ll leave that story for another post. 😉
bed graphic from clipart-library