Saturday, March 1, 2014


   Peter’s father was gazing from the window when Justin and Peter left. “I don’t know what those two are really up to, but I don’t think they’re just gatherin’ signatures,” he stated.
   “I’m tellin’ you, I think the old man’s gay or something,” Chuck sneered.
   “Oh, dear, why would you say such a thing!” Peter’s mother exclaimed.
   “Why else would an old man hang out with someone like Peter?” Chuck replied.
   Peter’s father continued, “He’s got a good point. If there’s ‘funny bidness’ going on, we need to stop it now. I have this funny feeling we’ve waited too long already.”
   “What do you suggest?” the mother asked.
   Chuck answered, “We could break in to the old guy’s apartment and see if he has anything perverted in there.”
   “What are you saying? I didn’t raise my son to be a common criminal!”
Take this path.
Take a different path.
   “Now hold on, Evelyn. Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little to protect the family. We could go over there and pick the lock. Then we could search the place while they’re gone. We ain’t gonna take nothing.”
   “These locks around here are easy to pick!” Chuck exclaimed.
   “How would you know?” his mother inquired.
   “My friend showed me. We was just messin’ ‘round,” Chuck responded.
   “What on earth!” his mother cried.
   “Now, now, Evelyn, the boy’s got to learn the how to survive on the street, ya’ know. You can’t be weak in this world. Playin’ around a little never hurt no one, right, son?”
   “I can’t believe that you’re condoning this behavior!”
   “You know that no one in this family would steal nothing unless we absolutely had to. The boy’s just suggesting that we take a look around. I think he’s got a good point.”
   She looked them both over carefully. “Oh, all right, but if you take anything, I’ll turn you in myself.”
   “All right, all right, that’s the spirit,” both of the men were nodding and smiling. “Let’s do it!”
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   While Chuck was picking the lock, his parents positioned themselves strategically to warn him if anyone was coming or looking out the window; the curtains in the apartment complex were invariably closed. After a minute or so of cursing under his breath and fiddling with the lock, Chuck quietly opened the door. The other two quickly slipped in after him.
   Justin’s apartment was dingy. “Turn on the light,” Chuck hissed.
   “Just don’t forget to turn it back off when we leave, and if you pick something up, put it back exactly where you found it,” his mother whispered.
   Chuck and his father looked at each other. “Don’t worry. We ain’t gonna do nothing stupid.”
   After a few minutes of searching the front room and kitchen, they all looked at each other as if the same idea had occurred to each of them at the same time. “We should be searching the bedroom,” Chuck stated. All three of them quietly filed into the bedroom, and each one stopped when they saw the altar.
   “What on earth is that?” the mother inquired.
   “I don’t know, but don’t them jewels look real?” Chuck mused.
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
  “Now step back, both of you, and let me look at it.” The father leaned down to examine the Tree of Life and almost involuntarily his hand shot out toward the sapphire. As he fondled it, he felt a warmth flowing into his hand. Suddenly in his mind’s eye he envisioned a king seated on a throne. He stepped back and shook his head. “There’s something maybe a little weird about this thing!”
   “Let me look at it,” Chuck demanded, leaning forward to grab the emerald. 
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   “Step back, both of you,” the father snarled. “I make the rules around here. Stay back until we figure out what this thing is!”
   Chuck, however, was rubbing the emerald with his fingers. Suddenly in his mind’s eye he envisioned a beautiful, naked woman in a forest. He closed his eyes and a figure, part man and part horse, flashed across the screen of his mind. He reached for the emerald again, but his father slapped his hand away.
   “I said step back!”
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   The mother quickly stepped forward. “Now, what’s the crime in touching it?” she asked as she reached for the yellow diamond in the center of the Tree. She held the jewel for several seconds and felt a great warmth flowing up her arm. She envisioned a mummy with a green face on a throne. He was surrounded by clear, pink light, and a brilliant sun was rising behind his head.
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   “Now, Evelyn, how am I ever goin' to get the boy to obey me if you don’t listen to what I say? I said step back before we’re all contaminated!”
   She reluctantly let go of the yellow diamond and stepped away from the altar. They all stood staring at the Tree, as though mesmerized, for a minute or so. “So this is their big secret,” she whispered.
   Suddenly the father felt an almost overwhelming desire to take the Tree back to the apartment. “I don’t know what it is, but I just get this feeling that we could live like kings if we had this thing,” the father muttered to himself as though oblivious to what his wife had just said.
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   “I know I could have some fun with it,” Chuck murmured.
   “No wonder Peter never talks about it,” the mother said. “You two resemble a couple of criminals. We’ve seen enough. Now go see if the coast is clear so that we can get the ‘flake’ out of here!”
They all looked longingly at it for a moment and then quietly stepped out of Justin’s apartment after turning off the lights. “I could really live like a king,” Peter’s father muttered to himself as they headed back to their apartment. “I bet Cashing is just too stupid to know what to do with it!”
   “Don’t you dare mention it! If you do I’ll tell Peter and his friend what you just did!”
   The two men grunted but didn’t mention it again.

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