Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4189)

Sitting Forty

Macklin Harrisonburg took a moment to catch his breath from the climb up the hill. While he was puffing out some air to keep from hyperventilating, the voice from inside the Port-a-john spoke again—more emphatically. “Who is it?”

“It’s the ice cream man,” answered Macklin, mustering some cheer. “What flavor would you like?”

A pause—a long, thoughtful delay. “No!” came the voice again. “Who is it really?”

Harrisonburg grabbed another large breath of air and inquired, “Have you ever heard of Mackie’s Ice Cream?”

There was what seemed to be a little giggle as the door was quickly opened and Iz appeared, staring at the man in yellow. “Where’s the ice cream?” he asked. Iz was standing next to Pal inside the toilet, each of them holding a small pink stick.

Macklin sized them up for a quick moment, peering at their little pink sticks. “Hmmm,” he began. “I sure hope that isn’t your preference in ice cream flavor. If you want my opinion, those are pretty pitiful looking cones.”

“It’s poison!” spat Pal. “We are not going to let them take us!”

Iz gave Pal a small punch in the arm as they gazed at one another and nodded their heads. Pal reached over to shut the door, but the big ball of Yellow Wonder stepped in the way. “I don’t know why you’d want to eat poison when you can come to my ranch, where I have barns and barns of ice cream. You see, my name is Macklin Harrisonburg—but most people know me as the Ice Cream Man, and they call me Mackie.”

With this, the portly gentleman removed his hat, made a short bow and continued. “I have come here to rescue you and take you back to meet the sweetest woman the world ever made—my dear wife, Marguerite. I tell you gentlemen—she cooks meals that make children screech in delight, and I make ice cream that causes them to smile until their ears slide to the back of their heads.”

Iz and Pal laughed. They didn’t want to—the man was corny. But he sure seemed fun. They had been wondering if they would ever see fun again, so they chose to invite him into their little enclosure. Once inside, Pal looked down at the toilet and said, “Mr. Ice Cream, that’s the only seat we have. But we didn’t do anything on it.”

“Or in it,” Iz added.

“Thank you, fellows,” said Macklin, easing down onto the small space. Iz and Pal did their best to wiggle and shift to make room for the large man to spread out.

“Now listen, my friends,” Mackie explained. “Here’s my plan. Why don’t we go ahead and get out of here? If you don’t mind leaving your homes here in the Middle East, I’d love to have you come and live at my ranch. I’ve already adopted ten other children from all over the world. I guess you could say we’ve got every flavor of them, too.”

Macklin grinned at the boys, who peered at him in disbelief. He shifted his bottom on the seat and resumed. “In a minute, they’re going to come and pick up this little building and carry you away. Don’t be afraid. Just hang on the best you can—and we’ll take you to safety, far away from this crowd. Once you’re there, you can decide what you want to do.” He paused. “Do you have any questions?”

Iz glanced over at Pal and replied, “That’s your plan?”

Macklin couldn’t help himself. He burst into laughter. “Well,” he said, “that’s the shortened version. Maybe we can call it the traveling version since you’re gonna be moving out of here real soon.”

“Listen,” Pal interrupted, “I don’t want to be mean, but why are you doing this?”

“Because I can,” said Macklin. “Because someone should. Maybe just because I will. But mostly because I can always use two new friends.”

Iz shook his head. “Well, what’s in it for you? Nobody does nothin’ for nothin’ for nobody.”

Macklin took a long moment to make eye contact with Iz, in search of the young man’s heart and soul. He wiped some sweat from his brow. “I don’t think about that anymore, young sir,” he replied. “I guess I’ve got so much in my life that I don’t have to get something out of everything. I mean, money or fame. Here’s what I believe: when God blesses you with more than you need and you don’t have to worry about cash anymore, then there’s only one thing left for you to do…”

Macklin paused so long that Pal asked, “What’s that?”

“Well, that’s easy,” Macklin smiled. “Have fun, love everybody you can, and get rid of your last dollar by the day you die.”

He laughed again, and Iz and Pal decided to join in with him. After all, even if the old man was crazy, crazy sure sounded better than where they were.

“Now,” Mackie said, “are you ready, boys?”

“We’re ready, Mr. Harrisonburger…large-burger,” said Iz, giggling.

Pal stared at him. “That’s not right.”

Harrisonburg pulled himself up, using a piece of nearby wall and stood. “You can just call me Mackie,” he replied.

“Alright, Mr. Mackie,” Iz said. “We’re ready.”

Mackie looked down at Iz and Pal. “Before I leave,” he said, “would you do me a favor and take those little stinky pink sticks you’ve got in your hands and throw them in that toilet?”

Pal glanced at Iz nervously. “No, no,” Macklin continued. “It’ll be alright, son.”

The two boys carefully threw their suicide sticks into the toilet. Pal was relieved. So was Iz, but he tried to act reluctant. This accomplished, the ice cream giant stepped out of the Port-a-john and descended the hill.

And the worker bees came a-buzzing.

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