13 A non-operating 1978 Olds on the lawn

Aunt Kar picked up baby Andrew under his little shoulders and bore him out of the crib.
“Time for a walk, baby. This place is dis-Guss-ting.”
There was a little bit of steam between her ears, a little bit of anger, a little bit of despair, but Aunt Kar still made sure there was room for a bit of laughter.
Drew understood puns, even at age two years, ten months. He laughed so gaily and bounced so much on the sacred six feet of carpet that Granny Guss snuffled awake and groggily told him to send a message to the ubiquitous “’em.”
Little Drew mimicked George Wallace’s cracker accents in response. “The only good hippie is a dead hippie.” Good, he stressed. Dead, he stressed. But it was pronounced in a manner befitting an infant. As he uttered, “‘y g’ ‘ie d’d ‘ie,” Aunt Kar didn’t understand. She held his little hand and marched to the porch.
“Beautiful Yolanda Drive,” she said. “Beautiful shade trees, beautiful wide street, beautiful respectable homes, and the beauty of being off the over-traveled path. We’re so lucky to live here, our rotten situation notwithstanding. So close to the schools, yet some significant steps away from the sidewalks en route on which the pseudo-ragamuffins scrape their soles to and fro.”
“G’b’g’g’g’g’.” Baby Drew agreed. In light of existential authenticity as he understood it from a C-Span lecture concommitant to a Granny Guss jackknife over the remote, he wasn’t comfortable seeing children of millionaires dressed daily like gutter rats.
“Someday you can go to Drake High, too!”
“G’g’g’g’g’g’!” He thought of vast playing fields.
“Step carefully, baby Drew!” The front steps were crumbling, as ever.
“There’s Uncle Joe!”
Uncle Joe was in his non-operating 1978 Oldsmobile, parked on the front lawn i.e. parched grass, thistles, cigarette butts, and bare spots where an architect’s plans must at one time have indicated an affable green expanse. The forlorn vehicle and its forlorn occupant reminded Drew of the House of Usher. (The Biography Channel/Granny Guss enflopped full length.)
“Say hi to your Uncle Joe, little Drew!”
Uncle Joe nodded back, grudgingly. He muttered, as was his wont – in truth, it was a compulsion – “I wish my name was Drew.”
Drew screeched. Aunt Kar’s first thought was Joe had made an unbecoming gesture. Then she saw.
“Motherf______!” Joe kicked open the passenger door, as necessary due to rust, and emerged to the full extent of his stature. His chest swelled. His knuckles manifested fury and a tattoo per: H I W A Y 2 H E L L
Baby Drew bounced up and down like a West Point ring knocker seeing his first fire fight.
Exceptions Aunt Kar had taken to Uncle Joe were for the moment suspended. “F______ louses! Vermin! Ferets! Bourgeois slime. Nothing from nothing!”
“G-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g’!” Bellicose was baby’s stuttering. The situation in the oak shade was not an idyll.
A few bicyclists strayed off Saunders Avenue, something of a thoroughfare. They pedalled along Yolanda Drive in the charmed circle it made with Alder Avenue. Although perhaps a mistake, they had no right.
The view from the front lawn, as it were, was pointed: bicyclists had no right to exist.


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