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Kevin`s Point of View - Chapter 1

by  Colonist

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2004
Word Count: 1875
Summary: Next installment of the story. See Prologue for story description.

Kevin's Point of View
By Del Shannon

Chapter 1

The boy’s dream ended slowly. The gold and silver chariot twisted and shrank into the corner of the room where it withered back into a battered bed. The gladiator, who a moment earlier was charging toward a quick death at the hands of his smaller but smarter foe, stepped back to the corner of the bed shedding his brightly polished armor as he retreated. The once mighty warrior was now nothing more than a worn bedpost, not worthy of the one, fierce swing that would cut him neatly in two. The crowd in the coliseum clamored toward the old wooden toy chest, aglow in the morning sun. The oval arena boxed in on itself, evolving into four perfect corners, wood floor, white ceiling, two doors and a double-paned window. Posters of racing cars and football players came into focus on the white walls.

Twelve-year-old Kevin Tobin squinted into the sunlight and frowned. He was the third shortest kid in his 6th grade class, a fact Betsy – his 15-year-old, ugly, redheaded sister – would never let him forget. But still he stuck out his chest and snarled as largely as he dared, “Next time there won’t be a stupid sunbeam to save you, Tonyous the Smellious.” Slowly he unclenched his hands from the pillow held above his head, ready to strike and pushed a tangle of shaggy brown hair up off his forehead. Seconds earlier the pillow had been a large and dangerously sharp sword, given as a gift for tricking the evil witch, Mrs. Schmitus, into entering the Swamp of No Return.

But the memory of Mapleonius quickly faded with the thump from Betsy’s room – the race for the bathroom had begun.
Kevin kicked his legs over the bed and felt around with his feet on the cold, wood floor for his red, blue and green plaid slippers. His mother thought the wood floors were romantic and Victorian. Kevin hated them because they froze his feet on cold mornings and he complained to his mother about his frostbitten toes for months. For his birthday he got slippers. Finding the slippers, he crammed his feet into them and lunged for his bathrobe hanging from the door. Throwing open the door and jabbing his arms into the sleeves he slid into the hallway and...

...was slammed into the wall by Ivan Rednisevich, the most feared defenseman for the Russian National Hockey Team. Kevin, skating with a red, white and blue USA on his chest, a red number eight on his back, four missing teeth, and a menacing skull and cross-bones tattoo on his left forearm, immediately spun around. He watched in horror as Ivan skated six yards ahead of him toward his empty goal with the puck seemingly glued to his stick and his skates gleaming in the light.

Quickly calculating his options, which were few and mostly hopeless, he reached back with his right skate, found the wall, and pushed with a force that could only be generated by his thick, muscular thigh, hurling his body at the hulking Ivan.

Ivan smirked confidently. He was sure he had smashed Kevin into the first row of seats. But in a desperate lunge, with only six inches separating Ivan from the open net, Kevin caught the ugly defenseman, reached around his huge body, and slapped the puck away.

“You little creep!” Betsy screamed, banging on the bathroom door. “That’s the third time this week you’ve pushed me out of the way to get to the bathroom. If you ever come out, and I hope you don’t, it’s going to take five people fourteen days to find all of the teeth I’m going to knock out of your stupid little mouth.”

The crowd roared its approval, except for Ivan who crashed his fists against the side of the rink, screaming and cursing in Russian.

Kevin undressed and jumped into the bathtub while Betsy rattled the door and continued to yell outside. Reaching down he turned on the water and watched it splash over his toes. He found the perfect temperature and turned on the shower just as Betsy kicked the door a final time and stomped to the kitchen to complain to their mother.

A massive depth charge exploded 300 yards above the U.S.S. Fathom, the largest and quietest nuclear powered submarine in the United States Navy. The explosion opened a crack in a small water pipe over Captain Tobin spraying water onto him and the bridge.

“Where did that come from? How did they find us?” demanded Tobin, his face shiny from the spray, his eyes darting frantically through the control room.

“I don’t know, sir,” the sonarman quickly shot back. “We’re running on ultra-quiet mode. A Peruvian fruit bat couldn’t have heard us five feet away.”

Sabotage, thought Tobin immediately. There must be a homing signal directing the attacking ships to their location, and now they were about to send his boat in pieces to the ocean floor. Tobin’s chiseled and unshaven jaw clenched as he tried to think of who the traitor might be. He had over 200 crewmembers to pick from.

Without warning, more depth charges began to explode, one every five seconds. The submarine pitched violently with each blast and reports of heavy damage began to flood the control room almost as fast as the water. There had been no time to load and arm the torpedoes and now the weapons room was damaged beyond use. Another explosion crippled their engines. Tobin was running out of options.

“Take us to communications depth,” barked Tobin. “We’re going to put out a distress call, then abandon ship and take our chances on the surface.” Surrender was not an option.

“Aye-aye, sir.”

The Fathom responded sluggishly at first to the command but then rose steadily. It leveled off just below the unfriendly surface, quickly sent a distress call on all emergency channels, then crashed through the foreign waves.

Tobin directed the removal of the entire crew, and only once all were safely in the lifeboats, did he begin his own escape. Just as he stepped onto the ladder leading out of the empty control room something caught his attention.

“Mom,” Betsy whined reaching the kitchen. “That dork brother of mine is doing that thing again. This time he thinks he’s a hockey player, or something.”

Ellen Tobin took in a long breath and sighed. She looked at the last bite of her English muffin on the kitchen table, folded her half-read newspaper, rose and grabbed the bathroom key from a drawer. “A hockey player?” she asked Betsy as she trudged down the hall to the bathroom.

“How am I supposed to know?” Betsy continued to whine as she followed. “He shoved me out of the way, again, and started jabbering like an idiot about hockey pucks, or something. I think we should have him checked out again.”

Ellen ignored Betsy’s diagnosis. Thump, thump, thump. “Kevin? Kevin, honey, why did you push your sister out of the way again to get the bathroom first?” Ellen asked evenly. “I thought we agreed during our talk yesterday that we were going to be courteous and share things in this house?”

Captain Tobin whirled around and spotted the ship’s counselor, barely visible, hiding around a corner and reaching for the large, coal-black gun sticking out of his belt. With no time to draw his own weapon, he jumped up the ladder, swinging himself out of the space that was suddenly filled with a spray of bullets.

“Kevin? Kevin, answer me,” Ellen pleaded, her voice rising slightly. She waited five more seconds, then pushed the key into the lock. She swung open the door just in time to see Kevin’s wet, naked body leap out of the bathroom window and into the backyard.

Captain Tobin thought furiously as he battled the large swells of the north Atlantic. How could it have been the counselor? He looked back at his rapidly sinking submarine and saw the outline of the counselor screaming at him from the deck. In the distance he spotted an enemy helicopter, no doubt sent to pluck their man from the Fathom. It would be headed in his direction next.

“We’ll meet again,” hissed Tobin under his breath. “But next time you’ll be the one swimming home.”

“Kevin Alexander Tobin, you get back into this house this instant,” Ellen boomed, hanging halfway out the bathroom window. Her face was sunburn red and her eyes bugged out like she’d been slugged in the stomach. She watched her naked son run from the big maple tree, to the rose bushes, to the garden, back to the rose bushes, and then to the edge of the deck.

Ellen snatched a towel from the rack, leaped over Betsy - who was laughing uncontrollably on the hallway floor - and ran to the back door. “Why am I being punished?” she muttered as she reached the door. She screamed again for her delusional son to get back in the house before the neighbors called the police, or human services, or the dogcatcher for all she knew.

Captain Tobin barely kept his chin above the waves. He only had a few minutes before either the icy water slid his body beneath the surface, or the rapidly closing helicopter captured him. He didn’t want to die in these waters, becoming tuna food, but he also dreaded becoming a prisoner of war, which meant unimaginable torture for months, possibly years. In desperation he decided to fake unconsciousness and let himself be captured. When taken aboard the helicopter he would ambush the crew and fly to the nearest friendly ship, which should be no more than 20 minutes away. It was a long shot but one he had to take. He leaned his head back and spread his arms out and for the first time in four months saw a vibrant blue sky. The April sun warmed his face.

“Gotcha,” Ellen shouted as she snuck up on Kevin. He was lying on his back staring into the morning sky. She threw the towel over his wet, naked body, picked him up around the waist, and wrestled him into the house.

“What in God’s name possessed you to jump out of the bathroom window without any clothes on?” she asked in her my-life-is-too-hard voice. “What will our neighbors think? I’ll tell you what they’ll think. They’ll think I let my children run around naked in the backyard before school because I’m two sandwiches short of a picnic. Then they’ll cart me off to the asylum, which might not be that bad, because then I may actually get some time to myself. I won’t have to run after you all day making sure you’re not performing surgery on Sprinkles the Cat, or seeing how long it takes oatmeal to dry on the wall. Sure, call the loony bin and take me away right now, I’m ready. Are you listening to me, Kevin?”

“I’ll neber talkph,” struggled Captain Tobin through the gag. “You’b bebber be a bebber torphurer than yoth are a counthelor ifff yoth wanph eben my therial nubber.”

Ellen sighed and staggered inside with Kevin in tow.

End Chapter 1