Write about: a friend of the family.
The clocks went ahead by an hour here today. Somehow, now that I have a toddler around, this feels less disruptive than when the clocks go back in the fall. Probably something to do with the expectation of losing sleep regardless of what else is going on.
I'm pretty sure mine is going long, if what was running through my head while I did the dishes is any indication, so I'll just get to it.
"You find Reed at the back door," Kelly told me. "You tell him you're a friend of the family."
"He'll break my neck!"
"He'll do no such thing," Kelly said with a smile that was anything but reassuring. "Reed will ask you what a scrawny, ugly little kid like you knows about the family."
"He'll say that?" I'd seen Reed around. I was pretty sure that wasn't how he talked.
"Well, he'll toss in a few words your mother don't want to hear coming outta yer mouth," Kelly said, laughing. "But that'll be the general message."
"So what am I supposed to say to that?"
"You say, Who? Me? I don't know nothing about the family."
"What, that's it?" I realized I was getting dangerously close to shouting and forced myself to speak more calmly. "That'll get me in?"
"That will get you in the door. You'll do great. Yer a smart kid, it won't take them long to figure that out."
"You're sure? Wouldn't it be easier to just say that you sent me?"
"Things don't work like that, kiddo." I'd learn later - much later - that he didn't want his name on my lips in case I didn't work out. Just a precaution, nothing personal. I've often wondered since whether he would have told me to use his name if he'd been more sure about me. Probably not, I suppose.
"So what do I do if he wants some kind of proof?" I asked, still unconvinced. "Is there a secret handshake? Maybe a code word? A phone number I can give him to call?"
"That's always been your biggest problem," Kelly said, patting me on the cheek before fishing a packet of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket. He tapped one out, stuck it between his lips, and lit it with a match with practiced ease. He turned to walk away, calling over his shoulder, "You think too much."
That only made me think even more.