Leveling with Labels
Conventions Pt 2: The Art Show
August 2006; Water
Heraldry, Pt 4: Charges
Bubba's First Snowby Crystal Charee
Bubba Edwards, pool boy for the Hotel Higginbotham, was outside checking the chemicals in the pool water when it started raining. He sighed and looked up. Not a light drizzle, either. Within a few seconds, he was soaked. He grimaced. The pH balance had been a perfect 7.0. Now he'd have to check it again when the rain stopped. As he packed up his kit, he realized for the first time that day how cold it was. A steaming mug of hot cocoa filled his thoughts and he headed inside as the rain turned hard.
Puzzled, Bubba stared at the ground. What were these white balls decorating the patio? He realized they were falling from the sky and looked up to make sure. Yep. It was raining hard little balls of ice. He gasped. He knew what this was! Snow! He was five years old and he had seen the stuff in pictures. It was supposed to be white and soft-looking. It hurt more than he'd expected. Excited, he danced in the hard rain, trying to catch the ice drops on his tongue. When the hail pounded his beak instead, he'd duck his head to shake off the sting, and then raise it to try again.
Annoyed at the wrongness of his first snow, he plopped down onto his heavily-feathered backside and pouted. Ninety-eight degrees of body heat melted the ice below, which seeped through the polyester of his gaudy Bermuda shorts. The oil on his bottom-feathers repelled the melted water, which ended up as a puddle surrounding him. Being the hotel pool-boy, Bubba was accustomed to being in, on, and around water, so he paid the growing pond no mind. How was he supposed to make a snowman with this? He glared up at the sharp ice that was pouring from the sky. "Snow sucks," the duckling decided bitterly, as yet another ball of ice bounced off his beak.
The vision of ice through his squinted eyes became obstructed by blue clouds and silver spokes. Blinking at the apparition, Bubba cocked his head and looked around for the source of this new development. It was his boss, Ping. She was wearing a hat, and gloves and was holding a cloud-patterned umbrella. She invaded his moat with her giant rubber boots, and her smile shone down on him. Cheered by the sight of his tall friend, he beamed his own formidable amount of wattage up at her.
Ping juggled an armful of gear as she knelt so that she was eye level with Bubba. She handed him the umbrella, then tugged a knitted cap over his head. "Bubba," she laughed. "Dancing around in the freezing cold in shorts is a great way to catch pneumonia."
Bubba suddenly had the impression that the ice bouncing off the umbrella suddenly seemed softer. He considered. It made sense. Playing jacks was better with a friend. Ice cream was better with a friend. Just about everything was better with a friend. Except for checking the water balance. That, he liked to do by himself.
"It never snowed before," Bubba replied, his former glee at this anomalous weather event returning, as Ping fitted a rainbow mitten onto one of his hands. He paused, wriggling his fingers in the too-large glove, and realized that it must have snowed some time, or else he wouldn't have seen pictures of it.
Ping laughed at his suddenly puzzled expression. She helped him switch his grip on the umbrella to his other hand and ensconced his hand into a tighter fitting blue and grey mitten. "It doesn't snow here very often," she said, and held one boot ready for him to place a bare foot into. It was a bright green cowboy boot that came up past his knees. "Not since before you were born, probably," she continued, catching the umbrella that he suddenly let go of in order to grab the second boot and jam his webbed toes into it.
Ping helped him stand, and wrapped a red coat with white fur lining around the duckling's shoulders with one hand. Bubba realized that he'd seen all of these items before. In the lost and found. He was glad that it was found now; he felt bad for stuff that was lost. After he'd stuck each hand through a matching armhole, Ping bent over and kissed him on the forehead.
She stepped back, taking the umbrella with her, and allowed the elements to attack his newly weather-armored self. Bubba looked around in amazement. The snow was soft and white and fluffy. A giant flake landed on his beak and he turned back to his friend. He looked up at her with admiration shining in his eyes. "That's Ping," he thought to himself. "She always makes things the way it's supposed to be."
Crystal Charee is a short, fat, and happy chick with a lot of attitude. She is previously unpublished and thinks that you should dig this story so that she can get published again.
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