Durand stood at the edge of the drive, his eyes vacant. He felt in his pockets, sure he was forgetting something. He had his maps, compass and handkerchief. He switched his mug of coffee from one hand to the other careful not to spill any from the wedge missing in the lip. His other pockets held the extra gears, bands of rubber, and patch glue.
It all seemed to be there. If he wasted any for time, he’d be late to the field again. Master Podger swore it’d be Durand’s hide blowing from the flag pole the next time he was late. But if he forgot something, the rest of the Appies would flog him when the Podge wasn’t looking. And the Podge always finds a reason not to look.
Durand scratched his head underneath the crushed bowler hat. The hat wasn’t much, but it was his father’s and without proper head-gear, it would be better than going bare-haired.
His hand slid down wiping sweat across his cheek and froze. He shot back up under his bowler and down.
He bolted back up the drive. How could he have forgotten his goggles? An Appie without his goggle was as good a blind at anything faster than a sprint. He could all but hear the other Appies now, “Where’s your gog’s Dur? Durrrrr… I don’t know.”
Coffee sloshed from the wedged crack in his mug as slowed at the front door. He rummaged through the gears and band for the key to his house. Okay, a shack really. But the shack had a door that not only shut tight; it had a lock as well. A lock that had a single key that he had lost between here and the end of the drive.
He ran back down the drive hunched over scanning at the gravel leaving a trail of coffee in his wake. Durand circled the drive once and ended at the door. There in the keyhole of the door the tarnished little key stared at him with a mocking glint from the morning sun.
Inside he put his mug down now little more than half full to better run around in search of his goggles. He knocked aged leather-bound books off the chair and cushions off the desk. He wrapped the model dirigible with his knuckles not because he thought the goggles were there, but because he liked to set it swaying whenever he got close. He left the dishes in the sink, the pillow in the tub, and the mending kit on the table. He leaned against the iron stove still a bit warm from this morning oats.
Across the room hanging from the bent nail in the wall. His goggles. His cracked brown leather, tied strap, wonderfully smudged goggles.
A loud crack came from the clock by the door. His father couldn’t afford metal for bells. So Durand had to make do rigging the clock’s gears to crank the tension on the hammer and every twelve hours (or so) releasing it to smack the wall.
“Cogs damn it!”
He grabbed the goggles and rushed out the door. He remembered the key before tearing down the drive and off to the fields.
Before Durand could even see the other Appies lined up awaiting the Podge’s approval, in his mind he saw his chipped mug of coffee growing cold still on the table.
This work by S. C. Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License