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Entry date: 9-4-2023 – Happy Labor Day version of The Bet – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Here is some more of the story…enjoy this day off if you have the chance to relax.


Paul’s walked to the school to pick up Winny and Billy so he could clear his head. Jonathan’s sudden death had thrown him for a loop, but he there was also the fact that it had been a really weird couple of weeks for his family. The walk would do them all good, he thought.

Billy noticed Paul standing out front first and walked over to his dad. Father and son looked at each other as if they hadn’t seen one another for some time. Billy spoke first.

“What’s wrong, Dad?”

“Hey, kid. Am I that transparent?”

Billy gave his Dad a quizzical look.

“Can you see right through me?” Paul asked.

“Yes, Dad. I can always see right through you,” Billy replied.

There was no smile on Billy’s face. Paul shifted uneasily and caught sight of Winny walking towards them.

“Win! We’re over here,” he shouted.

Winny said goodbye to one of her friends and walked over to where her father and brother were standing. There was a line of Callery trees in front of the school and this time of year they had the strangest smell. It wasn’t unpleasant, really, but it wasn’t the best smell, either. Some of the older kids called them “Cum trees” but Winny didn’t know what that meant.

“Hey, Dad. What’s wrong with him?” asked Winny as she motioned to her brother.

“Nothin’s wrong with me!” Billy said with a flat but angry tone.

“I thought today was a good day for a walk. You guys okay with that?” Said Paul.

“Do we have a choice?” Billy responded.

Paul was taken aback by Billy’s attitude.

“No, I guess not. There is something I want to talk to you about.”

“What’s that, daddy?” Winny asked.

She rarely called Paul “Daddy” any more, but it felt good to his ears. It was almost as if she knew he needed a little love. Before he had a chance to respond, Billy spoke.

“Jonathan died.”

Paul and Winny looked at Billy. The shock on each of their faces was apparent, but it was also different, too.

“No, he didn’t. Did he, Daddy?” Winny sounded on the verge of either anger or tears.

Paul stammered, “Um, Billy…uh..why would you say that?”

“I dreamt about him being in the hospital last night. I figured something must’ve happened because you took us over to Grammy and Pop’s house so early this morning and you looked so sad and worried. He died, didn’t he?” Billy was almost shouting as he said the last words.

Winny burst into tears. Paul hugged her tight and looked at Billy.

“I’m so sorry, you guys. I know how much you loved him.”

“We all loved him, Daddy. I’m sorry for you. He was your best friend,” said Winny, choking through her grief.

“Mom’s his best friend, idiot,” said Billy, before adding, “But Jonathan was all our friend. He’s with Jimmy now.”

Paul was struggling to make sense of what his son had just said. Finally he was able to formulate a few words.

“What did you say?”

Some of the other parents were starting to notice this small scene playing out in front of the school. Ms. Rodriguez, who had been Winny’s teacher the previous year, came over.

“Hey, family! Is everything okay? Winny? What’s wrong, my girl?” asked Ms. Rodriguez.

“We’re okay, Ms. Rodriguez,” said Paul. “Our neighbor…”

“And friend,” interjected Billy.

“Our neighbor and friend, Jonathan, died in his sleep last night,” finished Paul.

“I’m so sorry to hear it. Poor babies. All of you,” said Ms. Rodriguez.

“Thank you. Winny…um, I think Ms. Rodriguez wants a hug,” said Paul who didn’t know what to say. At that moment, he just wanted to be home with Marcy and the kids. He just wanted to hold them all tight.

Winny took a few steps and gave Ms. Rodriguez a hug. Paul looked at Billy closely. Something was off about him, but he couldn’t figure it out. Billy didn’t seem sad at all. He seemed annoyed.

“Let’s get going home, guys. Mom’s waiting for us,” Paul fibbed a bit. He was hoping Marcy was still asleep.

“I’ll be praying for you,” said Ms. Rodriguez. “You come see me, Winny, if you need anything.”

Winny reached out and grabbed Paul’s hand. The two of them walked slowly behind Billy who clearly didn’t need another prompt to head home. The three of them walked in silence for about a block before Paul couldn’t resist asking the question that was eating at him.

“Hey, Bill? What did you mean when you said Jonathan was with Jimmy?” Paul asked.

“He’s with Jimmy, Dad. I saw it in my dream last night. I was there, too. So was Mom and Winny and some other lady, too, that I didn’t know. Jimmy was there. He told me that he was with Jonathan when he died and that Jonathan was happy again,” said Billy as if it was common knowledge.

“Daddy?” said Winny.

“Yes, baby?”

“I dreamt about Jimmy last night, too. I was at the hospital with him, just like in the movie, but Jonathan wasn’t there.”

Paul didn’t know what to say so he went to his go to for situations like this one.

“Let’s see what Mommy has to say. We’re almost home.”


See you tomorrow.

These are the cum trees.

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