“After school today, we’re heading to the park, right, Alder?”
“Right. I can do my homework there.”
“Alder, we’re not going to the park to do homework. We’re going to the park to meet the park boys.”
Dusk was falling when Redbud and Alder arrived. But there were still kids there, three boys, just like we thought. The Park Boys.
“Ok, you guys,” Redbud said, “Let’s get this straight right from the start. I’m not going to marry any of you when I grow up, ok? I’m not going to get married. Or if I do, I’ll marry a mailman, got it?”
“Uh, got it,” said Clarence, sitting next to Red on the bench.
“I’m not agreeing to anything,” said Jamie.
“Watch out!” cried Paris from the crow’s nest. “It’s a band of evil monkeys! They’re swoomping in from the black castle! Everybody’s gonna die!”
Alder stood outside the circle, listening as his sister shared stories and secrets with the three park boys.
“My mom has a dragon inside of her,” Red said. “You’d never know it. Usually she’s Angel Mom. Like vanilla. You know how you feel after eating vanilla ice cream? Like that. Only warm.”
“Oh,” said Jamie, “Vanilla ice cream is the best. And I wish ice cream could be warm. It would make me feel all cupcake-like inside.”
“But all of a sudden,” Red continued. “Out comes the dragon! No warning. You could be doing anything: moving your bishop to the e file, taking a bite of cereal, doing your homework. ROAR! Fire! Duck! It’s the dragon!”
“That sounds awesome,” said Paris.
“It’s not,” said Red. “It’s a curse. It’s the Random Curse. And there’s no cure.”
The next day, the Park Boys came to Cradle Rock after school.
“We’re here!” Jamie said. “Let’s play!”
Paris felt mopey–that long line of tombstones at the edge of the property. So many Sims, so many visits from Grim.
For Alder, being loner makes it a little harder to make friends. It’s just so easy to say something foolish or to misunderstand somebody’s joke. It would be a lot better if they could just talk on the computer.
“You got a nice house,” Clarence said. And I must admit that Clarence, a cheerful Sim, and Jamie, a bookworm, are friendly and agreeable kids.
Little Paris, on the other hand, happens to look a lot like Mr. Two. And he’s evil like him, as well.
“Might I meet the Dragon Seed?” he asked.
“Mom’s at work,” Red answered.
Red and Paris joined onezero and their neighbor Preston in the courtyard.
“It’s like this,” Red said. “There’s what we know, and what we don’t know. And the rest, we make up.”
“Well,” Preston said, “It’s not that simple. You can’t just make up things to fill in the gaps.”
“I don’t see why not,” Red said. “I come from a long line of writers, and that’s just what writers do!”
“I’ve got this story I’m working on right now, matter of fact,” Red said. “It has something to do with tombstones, ghosts, and ancient curses!”
“Speaking of curses,” said Preston, “Do you know that the average ghost will be around for approximately 84 days before it gets culled?”
“Oh, that’s tragic,” onezero replied. “Even if we don’t leave the home lot?”
For Red, who, as a natural born storyteller, loved an audience, playing cards with the Park Boys was the most fun. They made up a game where you told a story about the cards you were dealt, and if you could incorporate the other players’ cards, you got extra points.
At sunset, Paris and Jamie both had to leave. “We’ll come by tomorrow, ok? It’s Saturday!”
“Oh, I’ll be skilling all day tomorrow,” Red said. “But you can come over and hang out anyway.”
Clarence stuck around for a while.
“I like your star story, Red!” he said. “It’s like this robot story I heard. This robot went for a really long walk. I mean, really long. All the way down to the corner. Then he stopped. ‘What are you doing there, Little Bot?’ this guy asked. ‘Stuck,’ said the bot. ‘My four corner code lookup-character method only includes three corners. I don’t know the character for “home.”‘”
“That’s a good story, Clarence,” Red said. “But it doesn’t really make any sense. Nobody knows the ‘four corner code lookup-character method.’ So nobody is going to get the point of the story.”
“See, here’s a good story! Once there was this boy whose favorite color was orange. (Everybody knows orange, right?) So he always walked around in an orange vest. And once some mean lady said to him, ‘What? Do you think you’re a fruit? Are you asking to be pealed? What’s with that orange vest all the time?’ And the boy just whistled and smiled until the mean lady blew a fuse and blew up! Kabooie! Just like that!”
“That’s wild,” said Clarence.
“But it’s exciting, right? That’s a good story!”
As it was getting dark, Alder joined them.
“What’re you laughing about?” he asked Clarence.
“It’s nothing,” said Red.
“I was just–”
“Just nothing,” repeated Red.
“No, I was just–”
“Never mind,” said Red.
“I was just asking what color dress Red planned to wear at her wedding! I was wondering if maybe it might be orange! So that it would have real a-peal!”