Wednesday 25 January 2023

Davy’s Prediction by Daniel P. Douglas, a tall lime soda

 Clouds fascinate Davy. He’s old enough to understand the shapes and their relationship to temperature, pressure, and humidity. In fact, watch him read isobars on a weather map. Always makes me think of our pastor in church. Just a glance at a page in the Bible and you’ll hear a sermon. In Davey’s case, he sees lines of equal pressure and turns them into meteorological revelations.

            ‘Science,’ he says, after making a five-minute weather forecast on a Tuesday morning in our sixth-grade class. ‘It’s all science.’

            He gathers his clear sheets from the overhead projector and bows. A few of us clap. I offer two thumbs up, holding them just in front of my chubby belly.

Davy walks down the aisle and sits at the desk in front of mine. Middle row, dead center of Miss Cawley’s classroom. Before he turns around, I see what I always see. Unkempt wavy brown hair sits on a head with a big brain. Ears like flaps on a weathervane stick out above a long, thin neck. Short legs dangle his tan Wallabies an inch or two above the room’s green and gray carpet.  He turns to look at me through smudged eyeglasses and bends thin lips into a crooked smile.

            ‘I have a new barometer to show you,’ Davy says. ‘I made it with spare parts.’

            ‘Uh-huh.’ I’m still unclear why Davy chose me as his friend. I do know why I am his only friend. In our school, soccer and baseball players make friends, space cadets don’t. I’m a fullback on the soccer team.

            ‘I can show you this weekend,’ he adds, leaning toward me. Maybe to study the pattern of my new plaid shirt?

            ‘Not sure that’ll work.’ To avoid trouble with Miss Cawley, I whisper, ‘Gonna try to see that new movie, Star Wars. Looks cool. The theater next to the mall has eight showings a day, ten on Saturdays.’ Nervous, I rub the top of my thighs with the edges of my thumbs. I like to feel the grooves of my blue corduroy pants. It calms me down.

            ‘Super long lines, I hear. They sell out of tickets fast.’ Davy checks his newest digital watch, points it at me. ‘What do you think? Purple numbers, metal watch and expandable wristband. Futuristic, like living in Tomorrowland.’

            I nod. Miss Cawley puts up a transparency on thunderstorms. I write some more in my workbook. ‘You can come with us to the movie, if you want,’ I whisper, squinting at the overhead’s projection. The screen’s stuck, so she’s using the blackboard. ‘It’s for my birthday, so I can invite whoever I want.’

            Davy furrows his pale brow, aims his blue eyes at the ceiling tiles, and tightens his lips into two blades, like Dad’s razor. A spit wad lands just under his nose, so he picks it off, turns around and opens his workbook. Later, he slips me a note: Forecast for the movie looks best for the two-thirty show on Saturday.

            Behold, a meteorological revelation, I think. I decide to trust Davy’s prediction. I thank him at lunch. Easy to do since he sits right next to me, close enough I have to keep my elbow tucked against my side. We finish the school day. He walks home alone. I ride the bus and tell Mike and Todd about seeing Star Wars on Saturday afternoon.

            ‘Should boogey on down there early,’ Todd says. ‘Need to get good seats.’

            That night, I make plans with Mom and Dad.

            ‘Be sure your friends are here just after lunch,’ Mom explains. ‘I’ll drive the station wagon so that leaves room for you and five friends. Anyone else will have to meet us there.’

            Saturday arrives. I turn twelve years old. A gang of us swim in the neighbor’s pool and eat grilled hot dogs. Some clouds and light rain move in, so we pack up. A little later, me, Mike, Todd, Rob, and Kimmy pile into my parents’ car.

            ‘Guess Davy’s not gonna make it,’ I say from the front passenger seat.

‘He’s on Martian time,’ Rob says, in a robotic voice.

While my friends laugh, I say, ‘Let’s just go.’

            We arrive an hour before showtime, just as those clouds and light rain turn into a crazy thunderstorm. Mom inches the car through the parking lot and stops.

            ‘Is that Davy? Just standing there, out in the storm?’ Mom asks, pointing at a short boy in a fluttering poncho.

            I recognize his wet Wallabies just as he pulls the hood back from his big head.

            The loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard cuts off a bunch of insults about Davy from Mike and Todd. I wave at Davy, mouthing the words, ‘Get in here!’

            He waves back and shows me a folded poncho.

            ‘Out in the storm,’ Kimmy sighs. ‘What a dork.’

            ‘Mom,’ I say, whispering in her ear, ‘I only want to go the movie with Davy.’

            I bail out of the car, race over to Davy, and put on the poncho. In the middle of this storm, we march to the box office and see just a few other customers.

            ‘Now I get it,’ I say, starting to chuckle. ‘Your prediction was right. This is the best time to see the movie today. How did you know?’

            ‘It’s all science.’

After we buy tickets, the ushers bring us right inside since there’s no line for the two-thirty show. Almost all the seats are empty in the theater, so we sit dead center in the middle row. Perfection.

Seated right next to me, Davy says, ‘See, most people are afraid of storms. They are afraid of what they don’t understand. They’re quick to judge, but don’t take time to understand. I think storms are cool. I try to understand them, not judge. I don’t understand a lot of things, but I’m not afraid of them.’ The lights dim and Davy taps my arm. ‘Happy birthday!’

            ‘Thanks,’ I say. ‘I sure wish I had guts like you.’

            ‘You do.’ Davy laughs. ‘You don’t see Mike or Kimmy or Todd sitting here, do you?’

            ‘Nope.’ As a movie preview plays, all I see around us is a bunch of empty seats.

Between turning twelve and seeing Star Wars that day, I walk out of the theater a different person, I think. I know Davy says I’m brave, so maybe that’s what I notice. Not saying I’m ready to attack the Death Star in some X-Wing fighter, but I am ready to start understanding myself better and not to worry so much about being judged.

            Sixth grade ends a few weeks later. In late-July, Davy tells me he’s building a high-altitude weather laboratory that’ll be carried along by a huge balloon. Some friends egg and teepee his house in August while I am with my parents on vacation in Florida.

            Davy is gone when I get home and he never returns to school. So, I search the sky thinking and hoping I’ll see him floating up there in his lab. Along the way, I learn a lot about the weather and scientific balloons. I might even become a meteorologist when I grow up, but I still haven’t ruled out Jedi Knight.

About the author

 Daniel P. Douglas is the pen name for identical twins Phillip and Paul Garver. They write sci-fi and supernatural thriller stories and screenplays, and have earned accolades from Foreword Reviews,, and Readers Favorite. A sci-fi short, 'The Crooked Holo,' appears on Learn more at their website,
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