His name was Eddy.
Summers in Fresno as a kid were long and generally quite hot.
In those days the heat was dry.
Once the giant walking sprinklers began to creep the valley,
humidity set in and wrecked everything.
But this was one of the gloriously hot days that made you feel good,
as if wrapped in a secure electric blanket.
Gregory had to run errands with his mother.
I was left alone to my own devices.
I tried to get Sam to play...
our tri-color basset hound...
but he lay on his side and only briefly lifted his head to look at me...
closed his eyes and blocked me out.
Mom wouldn't let me swim in the pool until after lunch and the required hour of rest.
The pool was hers in the morning.
Behind me she lay on the air mattress tanning
and only occasionally moved to ladle
water over her exposed skin.
Mom "me time".
I wandered over to the grapes and ate a few.
Sweet wasn't what I wanted.
I grazed onward to the cherry tomato vine that hung over the rear fence
of the trash yard.
"What are you doing in there Rebecca?"
Super sonic mommy powers!
"I'm looking at a big bug."
She didn't answer.
She was used to my critter curiosity.
A big, fat, green, and yellow tomato worm.
A monster in the bug kingdom.
He was on my plant... okay, technically it was the neighbor's crazy tomato plant but the branches on my side of the fence were mine.
I named him Eddy.
"I don't like you playing in there."
she said in her you cannot ignore me voice.
The trash yard held no trash.
It held junk... old bikes, ladders, etc.
I made my way carefully out to the regular back yard nearer to the pool.
rode atop my finger.
I giggled at the way his feet stuck to my skin
as he lumbered from first finger to first finger.
He was very soft and very warm from the sun.
Sam, the lazy basset lifted his head and sniffed.
He got up and mozied over to look up at what I had in my hand.
I told him and held my fingers a few inches above his nose.
Sam wagged his tail.
I decided to see how far I could separate my fingers to test Eddy's
ability to cross.
One inch... two inch... three...
Sam's mouth closed..
It was a short life.
I'm certain that neither Eddy or Sam ever forgave me.