Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dawn on Jefferson: Chapter Eight; So It Began on Constitution Hill

Waking up at Mom's house is very straight forward. There's no Goobeface to get me up. There it is my brother. He's not a goober face, but he gets the job done.

Ha! Just kidding!

He is harder to get out of bed than to peel a super glued quarter off the ground! I some times help get him out of bed, but most of the time, Mom does the job. She is very sweet to him and entices him out of bed. I think she tries to be nice to him so he's a sweeter person than many of the men that are in our family. They often grow up to be grouchy people or soldiers. And when they become soldiers, they are fun, but solemn a lot.

Dad's brother Fred is like that. He rotated out to Jefferson as part of the small company of soldiers on Jefferson. He took leave to come visit us in Shadwell. He was fun, but you could see in his eyes somewhere, something was broken or hurt. He was fun with us, gruff with my Dad, and polite, but stand off-ish to my Mom. he was a little too rough to my brother, but my brother got over it and wanted more. That was before my parents got a divorce.

Fred went off once and sat there quietly. He watched the sunset and seemed sad. I asked him about it and he said it was a topic for when I was older. Much older. Maybe. He looked really sad then and said something that was meant for him alone. Something about Djibouti. He didn't explain.

I don't want to be like that and I don't want my brother to be either. He might. People in my Dad's family seem to become soldiers a lot. I hope he doesn't. At least not unless he really has to. I don't know. It seems scary.

We had our usual breakfast and we left. My brother and I walk to school together. We always check out each other's outer clothing. We always make sure we have all our stuff packed. We're actually really close despite our age differences. He's four and a half years younger and only in the first grade. Back on Earth, we might be in different schools already, but Shadwell is a really, really small town compared almost any back on Earth in the United States. So its one school and we like it that way.

He went to his classes and I went to mine. We have different schedules and he gets out earlier. Lucky duck. Our lunches don't match either, so the soonest we see each other after the morning walk is back at Mom's house. Or Dad's if we're staying there.

At lunch, my friends and I talked excitedly. Tonight, we were getting to go out after dark on our own to Constitution Hill. It was more like a big escarpment of stone, a rock some angry giant thrust up from under the ground and into the air. Sixth graders were allowed to go there at night alone to watch the Red Arrows. These were one of the annual meteor showers that Jefferson sees. All of the showers are named after the aerobatic teams back home: the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, Red Arrows, Black Knights and Silver Eagles.

It seems like a very American thing to name them that way.

However! There is actually a good reason, except the Black Knights: that was someone being punny because they are so small and feint, its really hard to see them if the Moons are up. The Thunderbirds were named that way because they often have largish fireballs and we hear cracks and booms from them. They're the most dangerous. However, the other meteors burn up with the colors of their names. The Red Arrows burn and they appear red. The Blue Angels appear to be blue. The Silver Eagles are a silver color. That's because the different elements in the meteors burn different colors. The Red Arrows have a lot of lithium and some mercury. The Blue Angels have a lot of selenium. Finally, the Silver Eagles have a lot of titanium. Look up the flame test from chemistry on your local pedia. You will get why they do that when you do.

Anyways The Red Arrows were tonight. We were getting to go the first time by ourselves. We were excited and planned all our snacks and even out taxito bubble. That way we could take off our leathers safely. Rosa was bringing her recording equipment so she could do an Immie later using the meteor shower as the starting point. Veena was bringing a notebook and snacks so she could record her thoughts on paper and keep us at bay from tickling her with food. Smart girl, Veena. Tom was bringing stuff to drink and he pellet gun. He said just in case. We all had hand needlers to shoot things that take too much of a interest in chewing on us, but he wanted to bring something a bit bigger. "Just in case." Silly. Jackie had the taxito bubble and sleeping bags. Well, we all had sleeping bags, but Jackie had overbags just in case we got cold.

After school, we would go from house to house and then to Constitution Hill. We wanted to get there first before the other twenty kids showed up. We wanted the best spot. The best spot actually was not at the highest point. There was actually a largish ledge down from the top. Only one tent could fit there. It was a small hike from the bottom or a hike to the top from the other side and then down again. Everyone knew about the second way. We were pretty sure we were the only ones to know about the first.

We wanted that best spot so we could to watch everything. WITHOUT THE OTHER KIDS GETTING IN THE WAY! DARN THOSE KIDS AND THEIR PESKY MUTTS!

We did get to watch and we watched everything.

Oh, did we ever.

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