Josh and... Who?
(
Part II)
A short story about one of Danny's slightly older brothers.
written by S. Rodgers


It's a clear, October day as Josh walk's across the wheat field toward his neighbor, Cora's house. He wore a simple pair of jeans and a gray t-shirt.  It was Saturday, the day after the accident at the river, and Josh was eager to see how Cora was doing. He walk's up onto the porch and knock's on the door. It's opened by a short, tan cat, looking to be about in her late forties. She wore a long-skirted, calico dress with no sleeves. 

Cat: Can I help you?

Josh: (hesitant) Uh, yeah. I hope so, um...is Cora here?

The cat smiles, then she turns.

Cat: (calling inside) Cora, it's for you.

After a moment, Cora, wearing blue-jean overall's and a white, button up t-shirt, comes to the door and, seeing Josh, she smiles.

Cora: Oh, hi!

Josh: Hi!

Cora turns to the older cat.

Cora: Mother?

Her mother nod's, and Cora steppes through the door, outside.

Mother: But be sure to be home for supper.

Cora: Ok.

After Cora's mother closes the door, Josh turns to Cora.

Josh: So how have you been?

Cora: Good.

They begin to walk.

Cora: I figured on getting sick from yesterday, with the cold weather commin' an all. But I didn't.

Josh: That's good.

There is a short silence as they walk onto the road.

Josh: So...um....are you gonna visit any relatives on the holiday's?

Cora: No, probably not. I don't have any other family other than my grandparent's. But they live all the way down somewhere in the Carolina's. I haven't seen them since I was a little kitten. What about you?

Josh: Oh, I don't know. My folk's are always nit-pickin' on whether or not to go and visit anybody. They think if they visit one person, then they hafta go visit the other too, and everybody lives so far away from everybody else, well, it's hard to go to so many places at once.

Cora: Oh, I see.

There was another pause.

Josh: Say, I was wonderin', is yer family goin' to the town picnic next weekend?

Cora: I didn't know there was one.

Josh: Oh yeah, they have one every year. They have a big hay ride and games and all kind's a'stuff.

Cora: (grin's) I'll have to tell my family about it so we can plan on it.  I'd sure like to go!

Josh: (Looking at Cora) I hope you do.

Cora look's at Josh for a moment, then smiles. Just then, Ben, Breezy, and Danny ride up to them on their bike's. Danny wear's a blue t-shirt and brown pant's, Breezy wear's her normal light pink dress with white rim's at the sleeves, and Ben wear's overall's with a tan t-shirt.

Ben: Hey, guy's! We're goin' t'the soda shop, wanna come?

Josh and Cora look at each other, then back at the group.

Cora: I don't have a bike.

Danny: Oh, no problem! Breezy can ride with me on mine, and you guy's can ride on hers. Unless you wanna go back to the house and get yours, Josh.

Josh: Mine's got a flat.

Danny: Oh yeah. Well, come on, Breezy.

Breezy hops off her bike, puts the kick-stand down, and climbs on with Danny. Josh hops onto the bike, but Cora hesitates for a moment before climbing on behind him.

Ben: You guy's ready?

Josh: Yeah.

Ben: Ok.

Josh: (To Cora) Hold on.

Cora wraps her arm's around his waist, as if holding on for dear life, and he begins to peddle along with the other's.

Josh: Watch your tail.

Cora quickly reaches back and grabs her tail, tucking it underneath her, then she hold's onto Josh with both arm's again. Josh felt a strange tension at her touch, and got the knowledge that something was wrong.

Josh: You ok?

Cora: Uh....Yeah..I just....I'm just not all that...comfortable with bikes.....Are we almost there?

Josh: Yeah, It's just down the street here.

Josh said this at the realization that they were now further into Kokomo, and there were more building's around them now. After a minute, the three bike's came to a stop in front of Smith's Soda Shoppe.

Cora: Is this it?

Danny: Yep, this is the place!

Danny hops off his bike after holding it steady for Breezy to climb off, and puts the kickstand down. Cora climbs more than carefully off the bike and take's a step back, allowing room on the sidewalk for Josh to get off and move the bike next to Danny and Ben's, who were already inside and claiming a table. Josh and Cora talk as they head inside.

Josh: So what kindí a soda do you like?

Cora: I don't know, I've never had one.

Josh: Never!?

Cora shook her head, looking slightly ashamed. Josh pat's her shoulder reassuringly.

Josh: Don't you worry, I'll teach ya everything there is t'know about soda's!

Cora grin's as they sit down at the table. Starting from the window out sat Breezy, Danny, and Cora on the left, and Ben and Josh on the right.

Ben: What's that?

Josh: Cora's never had a soda.

Ben: Never had a soda!?

Cora: Nope.

Danny: Then you've made friend's with just the right people! We know everything there is t'know about soda's!

Josh: And Danny can teach every way there is to drink one!

Everyone laughs at that just as a young raccoon walk's up, wearing a pink waitress' dress and holding a pad and pencil.

Raccoon: Well, if it isn't my best customers!

Ben: Hi, Mimsie!

Mimsie: How have ya'll been? I haven't seen ya in a while.

Josh: Great!

Breezy: Just fine.

Mimsie: (smiling; referring to Cora) And who might this be?

Danny: This is Cora, she just moved here! Her dad work's at the orchard.

Mimsie: Oh, how nice! Well, my name's Mimsie Taylor.

Cora smiles and shakes Mimsies offered hand.

Mimsie: Have you met my daughter, Minnie?

Cora: No, I haven't.

Mimsie: Oh, I bet you aní her would make great friend's! Well, enough about me aní my daughter, what would you kid's like?

Ben: I'll have a cream soda, Mims.

Danny: And I'll have a chocolate.

Breezy: Make mine chocolate, too.

Josh: And I'll have strawberry.

Mimsie: (to Cora) And what would you like, honey?

Cora: Um....well....

Josh: She'll have a strawberry, too.

Mimsie: Ok, then. I'll be right back.

Mimsie left then.

Josh: You'll love the strawberry, it's the best!

Breezy: It is not. Chocolate's the best.

Danny: Yeah!

Ben: It's all the same, you guy's. Let Cora judge her favorite.

Cora: (interrupting) Do any of you guy's know Minnie?

Danny: Oh yeah, Minnie. Well.....Mimsie's nice enough, but Minnie....

Ben: She's a flirt.

Danny: Yeah....

Josh: And she's really hung up on herself-

Danny: She thinks she's perfect-

Ben: That's true.

Breezy: She's a snot, too. She always stick's her nose up at me and the other's.

Danny: She's nothin' like you!

Ben: Yeah, you're her total opposite.

Josh: In every good way-

Ben: I don't think there's a bad opposite to Minnie-

Danny: Yeah.

Josh: You two wouldn't get along at all. I mean, you're so much nicer and fun, ya know.

Cora begins to blush slightly.

Cora: Thanks. She's really that bad?

Danny: Well, she's not bad......she just need's to learn not to be a snob.

Josh: Yeah.

Cora: Oh, so I don't want to meet her?

Josh: No, but you probably will sooner or later.

Mimsie walks up then with a tray of different flavored soda's, and everyone fall's quiet.

Mimsie: Here ya go, kid's.

She gives them each their soda, then leave's. Breezy, Josh, and Ben immediately dive into theirs with a straw, but Cora eye's hers for a moment. Danny notices.

Danny: What's th' matter?

Cora: Nothing.

Josh: (looking up) Try it, it's good.

Cora cautiously sips a little bit, and Danny and Josh watch as she grin's slightly.

Josh: Ya like it?

Cora: Yeah!

Danny: Here, try mine!

He slide's his over to her, and she sips at it, smiling.

Cora: This is really good, too!

Danny: See, Josh, girls always go for the chocolate.

Josh: Sure, Dan, sure.

Cora: I like them both.

Cora passes the soda back to Danny, and they sit for a while in the Shoppe, just talking and sipping their soda's.

MOST DEFINITELY TO BE CONTINUED!...


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