Monday, April 10, 2017

Diorama-lama-bo-bama (Or: Scenes From a Growing Boy)

Greetings, WYMOP readers.
So, this happened:
“Here, I wanted to show you this,” said Handsome, striding into the dining room with bounce in his step and a box in his hands. “It oughta look familiar to you.”
He put the box on the table in front of me, and I saw that though it had started life as the container for his most recent pair of sneakers (size sasquatch, and still growing), the lid had been cut off and there was something other than shoes inside. The bottom was now lined with gray and white marble-patterned paper which looked a lot like ice. Skirting the ice along one side of the box was a white paper snowbank, mounding high and sloping toward the water as lake shores often do. Out in the middle of the box were two little paper men, cut from a printed picture, dressed for the weather and working a miniscule auger through the frozen lake.
“Never seen it before,” I said. “Ice fishing diorama?”
“We had to make a diorama for school,” he said. “A scene from a book we like.”
“Okay,” I said. I knew he really liked the Shadowmagic Trilogy, but I couldn’t remember any ice fishing in it. I sat there wracking my brain, trying to remember anything I knew he’d read recently—hell, at all—that might have had a scene like this.
I finally gave in. “And I should know this?”
“Yeah, you ought to know the book. Well, the story.”
My mind flew to a story I’d written a long time ago for Dead of Winter, called “Fishing Hole,” that was all about ice fishing. But so far as I knew he’d never read Dead of Winter. And there were four guys in that story, not two. And—but wait. Even longer ago than that, I’d written—
“Is this my Christmas story? ‘Fishing Buddy?’ ”
“The one where two guys go ice fishing on Christmas Eve, and one of them turns out to be Santa?” he said with a grin. “Yeah. I like that story.”
“Me, too,” I said, looking at the diorama again. He’s going to be fifteen in a few months, and he was just ten years old when that story was published, but there they were: two guys ice fishing on Christmas Eve. “This is really cool. Thank you.”
“I thought you’d like it,” he said over a shoulder, heading back into the kitchen.
I sat there checking out the diorama again, and though I will neither confirm nor deny that I wiped away a tear once he wasn’t looking, yes, I liked it.
I liked it very much.
Talk to you later.

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