11,041 vagabonds plus:
The father finally got the boy to eat breakfast before bustin' out the screen door each morning for school. Now there was that aggravating spoon scraping against the breakfast bowl of corn flakes resembling a muffled blacksmith nailing shoes. The dog didn't mind the sound. It was a welcome call to sit and unblinkingly stare up at the boy by his kitchen chair waiting for soggy leftovers in yellow milk.
The father sat down opposite. A handwritten note before him from a teacher detailed a lack of seriousness in the boy's performance. The blacksmith fell silent when he saw the letter and the father's sorrowful eyes gazed at him. The dog stood on all fours as the boy lowered the leftovers.
'Let me tell you, son', he started in lecture mode. He stopped and hunched his shoulders, leaned back and spoke softly instead.
'There is a wholeheartedness that we all must possess to get by in this life, my boy. Suppose Washington had fidgeted about The Crossing and claimed "Yeah I was gonna do that yesterday but", or if Revere had tacked a handbill on a cork board at a ladies auxiliary arts and crafts meeting mentioning three paragraphs down a foe is approaching, or you've heard of great actors phoning it in, suppose Olivier had recited flowing Shakespeare in a cracking voice from his friendly local gas station phone booth, or a yawning Van Gogh lopping on a streak-less night sky with a roller'.
A yellow school bus squeaked to a stop outside. The boy shifted in his chair.
'Or Amelia Earhart. Suppose she only daydreamed of flight as she arched paper airplanes across the classroom that dropped into floor vents forever lost'.
The boy stood. He looked forward to school now. No airplanes, rather spitballs to be launched and adorning a vaulted ceiling, something he did wholeheartedly. And Tatyana, the girl in overalls, hair the color of straw rubber-banded to a ponytail, large birthmark on right cheek making her a target for torment, would smile at him, a fellow misfit.
He looked back once at the front door as the bus gear-striping grudgingly pulled away. The father waved four fingers like a talking sock puppet without the benefit of a sock with two black eyes painted on. The dog sighed deeply, still so hungry.
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