“Up and at ‘em,” Carter’s dad said, walking into his room the next morning and pulling up the blackout shades on the two basement windows.
“It’s Saturday,” Carter groaned, yanking the sheet up over his head.
“Very good,” his dad said. “Remember, you agreed to help Mr. Stalnaker with his project today.”
“You agreed,” Carter mumbled through the blankets over his head. “And I thought he said he didn’t want any help.”
“He didn’t until I called his son and told him what his father was up to. Garry came over last night and took the chainsaw. Now he has no choice but to accept your help. Let’s go!”
When Carter got to Mr. Stalnaker’s yard it was 6:15 am. “What took you so long?” Mr. Stalnaker asked. “We’re burning daylight.”
Carter rubbed his eyes trying to focus. “What do you need me to do?”
“Apparently my son thinks I did terrible job on the lawn and it needs to be redone. Not that that was the point. I wanted it loud, not perfect.”
“Mowing it is,” Carter said, running his hand through his hair to get it out of his eyes. As he started the mower, he braced himself for the inevitable angry neighbours and not just the partiers. No one was going to happy with him mowing the lawn at 6 in the morning on a Saturday.
Sure enough, by the time he finished and shut the mower off he heard shouting. As he turned to look in the direction of the noise, Mr. Stalnaker caught his eye. He was sitting on his front porch with binoculars pressed against his eyes as he peered at the windows of the party house.
“Subtle,” Carter muttered as he turned to look at the house with the shouting. He couldn’t make out what they were upset about, but it didn’t seem to be directed at him for which he was relieved.
Suddenly, a head popped out one of the second story window. It was the Brockett’s eldest son Robbie. He glared at them. “Mind your own business, old man!” he shouted, before slamming the window shut.
“Friendly,” Carter said, raising his eyebrows at Mr. Stalnaker.
“Very,” he gruffly responded.
Two seconds latter Robbie came stomping out the front door, slamming that behind him as well.
Mr. Stalnaker hopped up and ambled down the steps of his porch to get a better look. He still had one arm up holding the binoculars up to his face giving him an even odder gait since he couldn’t actually see what was right in front of him.. “Now where does he think he’s going.”
Carter shrugged. “Out?”
Robbie stalked down the street and hopped into a blue Honda parked just around the corner of the cul de sac almost out of view.
“That’s not his car.” Mr. Stalnaker pressed his binoculars up to his face.
Carter raised his eyebrows. “Maybe it’s a new car.”
“Then why is it parked down the street? Besides, his car is the silver Mercedes in the driveway. It’s 10 years newer and a lot more expensive. Why would he buy that rusted out beater?”
Carter shrugged. He didn’t really care.
“It’s fishy,” Mr. Stalnaker mused. “Definitely fishy.”
Carter pushed the mower back into the shed in Mr. Stalnaker’s backyard and grabbed the weed whacker. The sooner he got everything done, the sooner he could go back to bed.