Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chapter 4: Home and Howard

I sighed in sweet relief as the bus pulled away from its last stop. I was finally home. The day had proved to be a long, difficult, and disastrous day. After my meeting with Principal Evan’s, my mind seemed to be too cluttered to think clearly. It took me half an hour to find where I had left my bag, get it, and then find my next class. I shuttered at the memory of how the rest of the day had gone, and decided to try to forget everything. I was home, that was all that mattered. It was here that Herbert the clown and klutz became Mr. Herbert Young: scientist, inventor, and… just almost normal!
The house that rose before me was a two story, colonial style mansion. I had moved in with my brother 2 years ago when my parents had their midlife crisis and decided to be free lance journalists. They travelled from place to place came home every six months or so, and sent post cards from their current location on a weekly basis. It had taken me a while to get used their absence, but we had always been a peculiar family, so this was just another thing to add to the list.
The large house that I now shared with my brother was financed by his successful writing career. Howard began writing suspense novels while he was still in high school. To date: he has written 24 books; 22 of which were best sellers. Whenever Howard is writing a book he becomes so involved in it, that he seems to forget that I live with him, or that I’m even around. I don’t mind so much. Howard’s business means that I can make changes around the house and he doesn’t throw a fit or even notice sometimes. For instance, Howard didn’t notice when I replaced the lock and key on the front door with a retina and thumb print scanner. Howard had yet to visit my room which I had turned into a secure, high-tech laboratory. Thankfully this also meant that he hadn’t yet seen my newest project which currently kept my lab in an organized disarray.
As I made my way up the front steps I puzzled over why things seemed so much easier at home. There had been several times I had considered the possibility of homeschooling, but when I suggested it to Howard he told me that he believed school would strengthen my social skills. What are brothers for?
It isn’t that I don’t like school. Quite the contrary. I enjoy the academic exercise that it affords, but something about it throws my reflexes off kilter. Scratch that. There’s just something about the real world that seems to throw my mind out of whack. I could tell you stories all day to illustrate my point, but my policy is that it is best to dwell in the present… especially when I’m at home. Sigh.

“Good to see you made it home, Old Chap. Care for a spot ‘o tea?” My brother Howard was sitting at the kitchen table when I entered. Books and papers were piled around him haphazardly. His heavy English accent still threw me through a loop, considering last week he had been speaking with a Japanese accent. You see, Howard just began researching for his newest book “In London’s Fog.” Howard never does anything half heartedly. First he begins by studying the history of the setting for his book. Then he takes a month or two to investigate the present condition of his setting. And of course, what better way to do that than to go there and get hands on experience. Somewhere in this mix of research Howard tends to pick up the accent of the people he is studying. His British accent was actually a huge relief to me considering how much easier it was to understand than his Japanese accent. “Twilight Over Tokyo” may have been a good book, but the writing period had been painful for me.
“No. No tea for me. I’ve got some studying I need to do.
“Capitol! Capitol! I have some studying to do myself. No time to dillydally. Got to keep a tight schedule.”
“Right, Captain!” I figured if I couldn’t beat him I might as well join him. “Gotta keep the ship in tip-top condition!”
Howard chuckled. “Herbert, old man. I don’t know where you got the idea that I’m a captain. Never been on the sea in my life. Actually, in this book I’m a famous cricket player, running for my life, unable to trust friend or stranger. Jolly good plot, no?”
“Tip-top of the mast, Captain!” I managed to dodge the book Howard tossed at me as I headed up the stairway.
“Supper’s in an hour, old man.” Howard called after me.
“Wouldn’t miss out on the grub for the world, Captain. I’ll be there.” As I headed up the stairs I let out a sigh of pleasure. Boy, it’s good to be home.