Sitting Eleven

Everything’s Coming Up

It was raining.

Not pelting–more a determined drizzle that booked the atmosphere for the day.

Christopher Timmons had invited Shelley to lunch. She requested they first stop off at Fenswick Park to look at a parcel of land she was considering for shooting a commercial, employing Charrleen and The Jubilators. They were to meet at 10:45.

So Christopher was sitting on a park bench with an umbrella protecting him from the rain.

He felt droopy.

He wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was the downpour, or the fact that Shelley was late.

So he stared off at a point in the distance, trying to escape the dreariness which was creeping into his soul. A little girl came and sat down on the other end of the bench. When she cleared her throat and coughed, he was shaken out of his trance and peered over at the little lady, who was completely encased, head to toe, in a polyurethane rain suit, accentuated with pink flowers and yellow trees.

He nodded to her, and she peeked at him, then turned away. They sat in silence as the rain persisted. Christopher felt uneasy with the stillness, so he spoke up.

“What are you doing out in the rain?” he asked.

“Waiting,” she replied.

“Me, too,” he said.

More silence.

“What are you waiting for?” she asked.

“My girlfriend,” he answered. “Well, not exactly my girlfriend. She’s a friend who’s a girl, and we’re dating, and I like the way it’s going, but I’m not sure she does, so I’m not certain what to call our relationship, so … well, anyway, my girlfriend. Kind of.”

The little girl nodded in disinterest.

“Aren’t you going to ask me what I’m waiting for?” she said.

“Sure,” Christopher replied, turning in her direction. “What brings you out in the rain today?”

“I have a meeting,” she answered.

“With a family of ducks?” he joked. She didn’t understand. Christopher considered explaining, but decided to distance himself from the lame duck joke

“No, they are not ducks,” she answered politely. “It’s two of my friends. We are planning things.”

“Planning things?” repeated Christopher. “What things?”

The little girl turned to him as if energized by an electrical current and replied with great animation, “Do you believe in dreams?”

“I have dreams,” cited Christopher.

“I know that,” she said. “But do you believe they have hidden messages? Do you believe that God is speaking through them? Or maybe not God…because you could be an atheist. Are you an atheist?”

“No… not really,” said Christopher, a little nervous.

“Do you know the song, Everything’s Coming Up Roses by Ethel Merman?” asked the girl excitedly.

“Not well,” said Christopher. “I mean, I think I have heard it at some time or another.”

“I love Ethel Merman,” said the little lady. “By the way, my name is Golda.”

She held out her hand.

“Christopher,” he replied, shaking her hand..

“Golda Linski. Now, I’m not Jewish, not that there’s anything wrong with being Jewish,” she added. “My daddy’s Polish, and he came over from Poland for new opportunity in this new land.”

A well-rehearsed speech.

“Christopher Timmons,” he said. “I don’t know what nationality my father was. I did eat a lot of sausage growing up.”

“Polish sausage?” asked Golda intently. “I bet it was! I bet it was!”

“Probably,” said Christopher, adjusting the grip on his umbrella.

“Anyway,” continued Golda, “in the song, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, it starts off with, ‘I had a dream.’ It’s so perfect for what’s going on with me right now. Because I had a dream, too, and by the way, in the last part of the song…I bet you didn’t know this…she sings, ‘Everything’s coming up sunshine and Santa Claus…'”

Christopher listened carefully, though he thought he might have stumbled upon a miniature wacko. She kept going. “You see? That’s my dream! I have a dream to write a Broadway musical about the North Pole, which will bring the sunshine of Santa Claus to the whole world! Do you believe in Santa Claus?”

“Well,” said Christopher, “I not only believe in Santa Claus, I also play the part of Santa Claus during the holiday season.”

“You??” she squealed.

“Yeah, me,” he said, a bit offended. “Why? Don’t you think I could be a good Santa Claus?”

“You’re fat enough. But you’re too old, right?” Golda partially asked, but also concluded.

“How old do you think I am?” he queried.

“Thirty?” said Golda.

“Close,” said Christopher. “I’m 35.”

“That’s even older!” Golda inserted.

“Yeah, but how old do you think Santa Claus is?”

“Silly,” she smiled. “Santa Claus doesn’t have an age. He’s a spirit. He lives forever.”

“My mistake,” apologized Christopher. “I guess because I’m fat enough they overlooked the fact that I’m too old. Anyway, I have the pleasure of getting to play Santa Claus for all the boys and girls each year.”

“So you might get it,” Golda said. “You might be able to understand why we’re meeting.”

“First of all,” said Christopher slowly, “who is we? Because right now, all I see is you.”

“Yeah,” said Golda. “But I’m willing to believe you have a girlfriend even though I don’t see one.”

“Good point,” said Christopher. “I guess what I mean is, who are these two other people you’re speaking of. Is it two?”

“Yes, it’s two. One is a boy who had a dream about a race and saving the reindeer. And the other is another little girl about my age who wants to have a gigantic board game tournament, with the winner getting a special lunch at the North Pole with Santa Claus.”

“So,” said Christopher, “let me get this straight. The three of you are meeting here in the park to discuss your dreams and…” He paused. “And what?”

“How to make them come true,” said Golda with the seriousness of a funeral director. “You see, the dreams haven’t stopped. They keep coming. They keep filling our minds with more ideas. Every night I can hardly wait to get to my bed and close my eyes to see and hear the notions from the spirit world, telling me how I can make…well, make something great.”

Christopher was intrigued. Part of him was completely disinterested in the conversation, frustrated that Shelley had left him out in the rain, ready to launch into a tizzy fit. But another portion of his being was entertained by the little girl and was curious if he had perhaps been brought to this bench to hear her story.

Yet a silence settled in. Maybe the little girl felt that he was just another grown-up who was too busy to think about dreams. Or maybe she thought she had shared.

Christopher realized it was up to him to continue the conversation.

“I remember Ethel Merman,” he said. “She had a real big voice.”

Golda looked over at him with a big smile. “Yes. It was a real big voice. ‘Everything’s coming up roses,’” she sang, “‘for me and for you.‘”

Christopher joined in. She moved an inch closer to him.

The rain continued to fall without mercy.

“So… what are you planning to do about your dreams?” asked Christopher.

“Well, that’s the problem,” said Golda sadly. “No matter how much we plan, no matter how much we get excited, we’re just kids. Who will listen to us?”

“I’m listening.”

“That’s because you’re a lonely grown-up sitting in the rain waiting for a girl and you don’t even know whether she’s your friend or not–who plays Santa Claus in a world that doesn’t believe in him.”

Christopher was startled. This young lady was either wise beyond her years, or a witch. But she had pretty well summed up his condition. He was mostly adult, but with just enough child to annoy his counterparts, and just adult enough to look like a pedophile when he hung around children.

“I don’t think my friends are coming,” said Golda.

“Why do you say that?” asked Christopher.

“Because they’re not here and it’s raining, and their moms probably didn’t let them come out, and they probably don’t have a cool rain suit like me.”

“It is a cool rain suit,” admired Christopher.

“I like your umbrella, too,” shared Golda. “Maybe your friend that’s a girl decided not to come out in the rain, too, and figured you would know not to show up.”

Christopher suddenly realized that Golda could be right. He grabbed his phone and called Shelley, who answered on the second ring. Christopher put it on speaker phone so he could hear better.

“Where are you?” Shelley shouted through the phone.

“I am in the park–where we agreed to meet,” said Christopher with a touch of petulance.

“It’s raining,” shouted Shelley.

“I know that,” replied Christopher.

“I just figured you would know not to meet me in the park in the middle of a rain storm,” Shelley said matter-of-factly.

Golda leaned over. “Told ya’.”

Christopher waved her off. “Well, it would have been nice if you had called.”

“Called and said what?” posed Shelley. “‘It’s raining?‘”

“No,” said Christopher, frustrated. “Just told me that you weren’t going to come out to the park today in the rain, so I would not be sitting here on the bench, clutching an umbrella.”

“Well, thank God. At least you have an umbrella,” said Shelley, relieved.

“What?” growled Christopher. “Do you think I’d be sitting here in the rain without an umbrella?”

“Well, honestly, Chris, you were dumb enough to sit in the rain. The absence of an umbrella wouldn’t be that shocking.”

Golda giggled. “She’s funny…”

“So…” continued Christopher. “What do you want to do?”

“Are you there with someone?” asked Shelley.

“Yes, I’m sitting here with a little girl.”

“My name is Golda!” She shouted towards the phone.

“Why are you with a little girl, Christopher?” challenged Shelley.

“I’m not with a little girl,” explained Christopher. “I was sitting on the bench and a little girl came and sat on the other end of the bench and we’ve been talking.”

“I had a dream!” Golda projected.

“Are you interpreting little girls’ dreams, Christopher?” said Shelley, feigning worry.

“Listen, you’re not going to turn this on me,” said Christopher. “You are the crazy one for not telling me that you were cancelling our park meeting.”

“Interesting,” observed Shelley. “I’m the crazy one? I am sitting in my dry apartment, and you are sitting in the park in the driving rain, menacing a little girl.”

“What does menacing mean?” Golda yelled at the phone.

“It means shut up!” said Christopher, completely annoyed.

“Did you tell that little girl to shut up?” Shelley challenged.

“No. I mean, yes. Kind of,” fumbled Christopher.

“Don’t worry!” called Golda. “I didn’t listen to him. I never shut up.”

“Good for you!” said Shelley, trying to match the volume.

Christopher took a deep breath. “What do you want me to do?”

“Well,” said Shelley, “I would like to have our lunch, but if you don’t mind, it has to be at the downtown Marriott, and we are going to have other people there… if you don’t get angry… because it needs to be a meeting… because Mr. Roger Dunleavy, one of my bosses…is bringing in the singer, Charrleen, to talk about the promotion we’re doing in the park–the one where you’re sitting–and I still want us to have lunch so we can be together, but…it kind of has to be this meeting, too. All right?”

Christopher paused. “Do I have a choice?”

“Not if you’re hungry and you want to see me,” Shelley replied. “By the way, what is the little girl like?”

“You realize she can hear you, right?” Christopher inserted.

“Oh, that’s right. You’ve got the phone on speaker,” Shelley said.

Christopher considered. “What is she like?” he repeated. “Well, she is either a reincarnated gypsy act from Old Vaudeville, or a midget.”

“O-h-h-h,” said Golda, rebuking him. “You don’t call them midgets! They’re ‘little people.'”

“She’s right,” said Shelley. “They’re ‘little people.'”

“Oh. My mistake,” said Christopher. What time should I meet you at the Marriott for this private luncheon which has now gone public?”

“You seem upset,” said Shelley innocently.

“No,” said Christopher. “I passed that long ago…”

One o’clock,” said Shelley. “See you there, sweetie.”

Shelley hung up before Christopher could say anything else.

“I think she likes you,” said Golda. “She called you sweetie. Of course, that’s what my grandma on my mother’s side calls me, and she’s usually pretty mean.”

“Listen,” Christopher interrupted, “I’m a weirdo. Not in the sense of chasing little girls or anything like that. I’m weird in the sense that I believe… Well, I believe in things. So answer me a question. When is your next meeting with your two friends?”

“We meet every day at 10:45 A. M., right here in the park.”

“Can I come to the next meeting?” asked Christopher.

“Why?” said Golda.

“Because you’re kids. And you might have something to say. And you just might need a grown-up to help you.”

“Do you know one?” asked Golda, wide-eyed.

“Well, Golda, I was thinking of me,” said Christopher dryly.

“Oh. You,” said Golda. “Well, I guess it’s a start.”

“Then it’s a date,” said Christopher.

“I’m not allowed to date,” shared Golda seriously.

“I’m sorry. Poor choice of words. I’ll meet you here tomorrow at 10:45. And tell all your friends to bring their dreams.”

“We always do,” said Golda, kicking her feet and splashing a puddle of water into the air.

Join us on Sundays for another sitting of this fun filled novel in the making!

Published by Jonathan Cring