Counting Roses

“Butch, hold on.” Annie walked toward where the rotund teen stood, clothed fully in fencing practice equipment owned by the Bark Bay High School athletic department. She commanded Butch to lift his right arm, then reached to his armpit and poked two fingers through a large hole in his fencing jacket.

Coach Dan approached the two teens. “Good eye, Annie. Butch, that jacket’s not safe, go put a different one on.” He waved in the direction of the canvas sacks that housed their equipment.

“Aw man.” Butch sounded genuinely disappointed. “This is the only one that fits me good.”

Coach Dan shook his head. “Sorry, safety first. There’s a couple other extra larges in there.” He walked in the direction of the sakes, taking Butch lightly by the arm.

“Think we can get this one repaired?” Butch sounded to Coach Dan like a toddler asking a parent to buy an ice cream to replace the one he had just dropped.

“I’ll see if I have time one evening this week.” They had reached the sacks, Coach Dan searching through the one containing the team’s jackets. “Can’t send it out for mending. No room in the budget.”

Annie was now beside them, as Butch began taking off his torn jacket. “Shame. Would be nice to get some respect.”

“It’s not about respect, my friend, it’s about money.” Coach Dan’s voice was cool, analytical. “Economy’s weak, school budget’s tight. Everybody’s feeling the pinch. Heck, I’m glad we still have money to send our equipment out for laundry once a month.”

“Huh.” Butch sounded impressed. “I guess we should count our roses.”

Coach Dan and Annie turned toward Butch with confused expressions. Butch stooped down, retrieved a new jacket from the sack, stood and looked quickly back and forth between them. “You know — stop, and count the roses.”

Annie shook the confusion from her face. “Smell. Smell the roses.”

“And count your blessings,” Coach Dan added.

Butch nodded, as he put his right leg through the jacket’s crotch strap. “Exactly. It’s a finger of speech. It means that when you start thinking the world’s so bad, you have to stop and count the roses.”

“You mean smell them,” Annie insisted.

“Of course.” Butch now sounded almost offended. “But how can you smell your roses unless you count them first?”

Soap Gets In Your Eye

This is the first in an occassional series of malaprops that are the signature of Butch, a good-hearted boy who treats his friends far better than he does the language

KA-KLATCH. Annie and Kassie turned to the sound of the metal cafeteria door opening, its sound echoing largely off the tiled floor. Annie smiled broadly, “Butch!”, her brown pony-tail bouncing behind her head.

Butch walked towards the two teen girls, his rotund body fitting ucomfortably in overly tight clothes, no son of The Reverend Goodman ever being seen in public without a collared shirt and clean slacks. Annie was relieved to see him carrying his small blue duffel bag, in which he routinely carried sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt.

She sensed something was unusual, but didn’t realize what it was, until Kassie asked Butch what he was singing.

“It’s this song, heard it in a store over the weekend. It’s beautiful.” He stopped several feet in front of the girls, and cleared his throat.

You asked me how I knew
Why my love was through

Butch nearly shouted the last line, his eyes closing at the same time Annie and Kassie’s eyes widened, the two girls drawing back as Butch continued.

I of course reply
Cannot tell a lie —
Soap gets in your eye

Butch opened his eyes, smiled at Annie. She shook the surprised look off her face. “That’s — it?”

Butch nodded. “It’s all I’ve got mesmerized so far.” He thenwalked past the girls in the direction of the bathroom.

Kassie said it’s smoke, not, but silenced herself when she saw Annie shaking her head, mouthing the word no.