Pynesapp Home | jack-red | Chapter-17

The Adventures of Jack and Red.


This is the seventeenth in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]

Part XVII: The rest of the story

[Last night I did some research on the milk trains in the 40's and discovered that milk trains were never used exactly like Jack and JJ (and Billy) described them. This bothered me for a while. Then I realized why Billy was holding back some of the details of his ride on this particular milk train (until his nature got the best of him - or his mother. )]

"Listen Red - James," Jack said, "let us tell the rest of the story before you jump to conclusions."

"Too late." Jimmy snorted; "I've already jumped - you're all nuts."

"Shh," Red scolded, "let's hear the rest of this."

"I've already heard it." Jimmy said under his breath.

"Then just leave." Red whispered. "Or else shut up and listen."

Jack continued; "As soon as we got back home with Billy, Margie called Billy's Mom to tell her that he was safe."

Marge hung up the phone and said; "Billy, your mom is on her way over."

"Awe Mrs P." Billy whined, "I can't believe she's coming here. It'll only take me a few minutes to ride home on my bike. Why's she coming here?"

"She's been awful worried and she just wants to see for herself that you're alright. You gave us all quite a scare, you know."

[ I'm beginning to doubt this return to the flashback. I don't think it's worth introducing Billy's Mom into the conversation. Can Jack and JJ just continue relating the story? I'm sure Jimmy will be glad to contribute.]

"Billy's Mom got there about the time Billy had finished re-telling the story for your Grandma." Jack continued.

"Yeah, and was she ever mad." JJ added; "She stormed into the house and gave Dad and me a good lecture on leaving a teenager alone to walk the railroad tracks."

"Yes, she was pretty upset at us. " Jack agreed; "But she was really mad at Billy for pulling such a stunt."

"And for leaving without telling her where he was going - I guess - too."

 "Anyway, " Jack continued, "After she settled down, she made Billy tell the whole story again."

"But we started to notice that every time he re-told the story, it was a little different." JJ said.

"It was obvious that he had talked to that old guy for a lot longer than he first said."

"We pressed him on this and he admitted that he and the old guy seemed to hit it off and they chatted all the way into the city."

"Well what did they talk about?" Red asked.

"The insane asylum he escaped from." Jimmy laughed.

"No, not exactly." Jack said. "But Billy finally did tell us."

"With some 'encouragement' from his Mom." JJ added.

Jack smiled and continued;" ....

[Maybe it would be better for Billy to be telling this himself... ]

"Okay, Mom, " Billy sighed, "I haven't been telling everything the guy told me because -- well, because it's a little crazy."

"I'll be the judge of that, Billy. Just tell us what he said."

The whole business with the train had been nearly more than Mrs. T could handle but she seemed resigned to hear the complete story - if that is what it was - as long as she'd listened this far.

[Another flash back to hear Billy and the old guy talk? No - that would be too much.]

Billy continued; "I told you that this was 1948 and he was a veteran of the war - on disability, right? He told me all about how he was wounded when his ship was hit by a kamikaze
bomber somewhere in the Pacific. He said he couldn't tell me any more about the location because it was classified."

"That's strange that it would still be secret so long after the war was over." Jack said.

"That's not the strange part, Mr P." Billy continued, "The strange part is the time. He said he had been wounded only a year ago."

"What?" Mrs T exclaimed.

"Yeah, and he said he couldn't tell me more because the war is still going on."

"In 1948!" JJ laughed. " This guy was really crazy. The war had been over for three years by then. Even I know that."

"That's the thing." Billy continued. "I don't think he was crazy because nobody else did."

"What do you mean?"; Marge asked.

"Well, everyone could hear what we were talking about and nobody seemed to give it a second thought. And when I told him that the war had been over for 3 years, he looked at me like I was crazy. Then I asked him about dropping the A-bomb on Japan and about D-Day in Europe, he really thought I was crazy. He hadn't heard of either of these things happening. And when I looked around and asked the people near me, they all agreed with the guy and when I laughed they all started looking at me like I was some sort of traitor. You know?"

"Wow." JJ said; "So what did you do then?"

"Well," Billy continued, "by now the train was nearly at the city and everyone was like gathering up their stuff to get off - or something - you know - like everyone was avoiding me, sort of."

"How about the old guy?"

"Well, he had a peg leg so he got up and started moving towards the front so he could get off."

"Didn't he say anything else - goodbye or anything?"

"Yeah, he said goodbye and said he hoped I was alright and all - you know - like to a little kid."

"But you stayed on the train, right?" JJ said. "Did everyone else get off?"

"Yeah, of course. Except for a couple ladies who got on at the last stop. They were going the other way and had been early so they caught the train to go back."

"Did you talk to them?"

"No, they were all involved talking about something or other and I couldn't have gotten a word in if I wanted."

"That sounds right." Jack laughed.

"Jack!" Marge scowled Jack. And then to Billy; " So, did you learn anything more on the trip back?"

"I'd learned my lesson by now so I kept my trap shut on the way back - mostly."

"Mostly?"

"Yeah, I mainly just watched people and listened in on their conversations - when I could hear them over the train. It sounded like most people were headed to Mayville to work the second shift in the munitions plant."

"What munitions plant? There was never a munitions plant in Mayville, was there?" Mrs T asked.

"Not that I've ever heard of." Jack said.

"Well that's what they were talking about." Billy insisted; "You asked what I'd learned - I'm just telling what I heard."

"Okay, this is getting stranger by the minute." Marge said.

"As if it wasn't off the charts strange already." Mrs T agree.

[So, that's pretty much all I have for the story so far. I might look up more about life during the war. But then again, maybe I really don't need to know anymore. Maybe we've heard enough.]


[ Click here to continue to part XVIII ]