I passed this place on the way to a conference once, she said,
and then this morning it just popped back into my head. I got up
and I said, Jared, were going to see that fascinating bubble on the
hill today. And were going to learn something from it.
I looked at Jared again. His magnified green eyes were like
Heres admission for both of us, she said, and handed me a
twenty. Are you the tour guide, Sebastian?
Oh, no, I said, my Nana will be happy to . . .
I stopped at that point and realized that she wasnt there. Usually,
Nana was outside in her special tour pantsuit at the slightest
sound of a muffl er. I gave Janice her change. Shell be out in sixty
seconds, I said. Give or take.
She looked toward the dome then, studying it anew. I wanted to
ask her more about Jared. But I sensed that he had turned down the
volume on his music and was listening and observing now. His eyes
were locked on the photograph of the dome, sitting in the display
window. He seemed to consider it deeply. I watched his eyes scan
every room, moving up from the living room.
Janice took a deep breath and shivered a little. Probably the last
of the real fall days, she said.
Is that a fucking sock in there? asked Jared.
His voice was grating, high-pitched. Janice and I both turned to
look at him.
What did you just say? she asked.
I see a sock in that picture, Jared said. Thats all Im saying.
Jared! said his mother. Whats the matter with you? Dont
you have any sense of . . .
But Janice was not given time to finish her question. Because, at
that moment, Nana burst out of the house dressed completely in her
pantsuit, waving her arms over her head, as if signaling for a rescue.
Welcome, visitors! she said. Greetings. Greetings.
Nanas hair was a bit out of place. But she carried two stickers on
her fingertips. They were black-and-white, with a cartoon of Buckminster
Fullers bespectacled head in the center, a wry grin on his
face. Nana fastened one on Janices wool lapel. She pressed the other
one on Jareds T-shirt, directly on his left nipple.
Well start inside right away, said Nana, immediately shepherding
us over the lawn. Welcome to the future.
I already told them, I said.
Oh, she said, and laughed a little too long.
Nana, I said when she was finished, maybe you should slow
down a little, I . . .
She interrupted me with a pinch on the side. Then she gave me
a confident grin and tromped ahead of me. We proceeded right
into the dome, past the NordicTrack, into the very center of the
living room. There was something wrong with Nanas appearance
that I couldnt put my finger on. As she cleared her throat to begin
her speech, I looked down at her arch-supported dress shoes and
discovered what it was.
They were on the wrong feet.
In his famous book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth,
said Nana, looking up, R. Buckminster Fuller, the greatest mind of
our age, states that in order for mankind to progress, We must first
discover where we are now; that is, what our present navigational
position in the universal scheme of evolution is.
She paused a moment and caught me looking down. She glanced
at her feet, and then her eyes met mine. It only took a second, but
her face changed entirely. Her eyes unfocused. Her teeth found her
bottom lip. The Whitcombs were still gazing skyward.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...