“I swear to goodness, Ezra, if you take Little E out in that boat and he so much as gets a crick in his neck I’m going to divorce you faster than the Chick-Fil-A cashiers can say my pleasure,” Julie said, a hand on each hip but the faint semblance of a smile playing with the corner of her mouth.
Ezra chuckled and rubbed the back of Little E’s head. Julie had six kids, but only Little E was his own flesh and blood. Ezra would let nothing happen to his only son. The other five kids were all old enough to reject any coddling Julie desired to dish out, so she had long since given up on babying them. But Little E was still under ten, and that also made him the baby of the family.
“Mom, we’ll be fine,” Little E said, his buck teeth adding icing to the cake of innocence his frail body created.
Julie sighed. Though she spoke in jest, her concern was with merit. Little E was daring, more so then any other of her children had been, and he had six broken bones in four years to show for it. The trailer park they lived in was a breeding ground for all forms of mischief, and Little E seemed to find everyone.
“Yeah, babe. We’ll be fine. Plus, you know if we get divorced the only thing you’re getting out of the whole thing is a headache.”
“That’s about all your worth,” Julie said, showing her missing tooth as she smiled bigger.
Ezra pushed his prized blue boat out a little further into Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, and Little E hopped into the passenger’s side. The jet boat had three seats, but none of the other kids were interested in riding with Dad. Jeremiah and Levi both had their own jet skis, and they were out on the lake already. Deborah stayed on the shore and played with the family dog, Kit. Samson and Samuel were both at home still, playing Call of Duty like they did every weekend.
The blue boat had been dubbed the Blue Bullet by the family.
Though they’d never taken it out racing, Ezra was convinced it would smoke any and all competition if it ever came down to it.
Shoving the boat out until he was knee deep in the water, Ezra climbed onto the hood and slid into the driver’s seat. He keyed the engine to a purr and steered it until it was facing out into open water. He let their momentum take them further out, and instead of blasting off from there he decided to show off a little. He left it in neutral and revved the engine, warming it up in the loudest possible way and smirking as Julie yelled at him from the shore.
“You’re going to blow the dang thing up!” she called, a look of worry on her face.
Little E was all giggles as Ezra continued to rev the engine. They drifted out further. The stale fishy smell of the lake at the end of the summer filled their nostrils. A light breeze coasted over the surface of the lake. The sun shone at full power without a cloud to block it, scattering twinkling diamonds across the blue water.
“And where’s your life jacket!” Julie yelled, cupping her hands to her mouth to ensure Ezra could hear her.
But the purr of the engine was too loud for him to make out what she was saying. He could hear that she was yelling something, but he pretended she was talking about how attractive he was with his shirt off. He had a bit of a base tan going, but most of it was concealed by the thick pelt of fur growing on his torso.
“Don’t tell your mother about this,” Ezra said, picking up the beer he had sequestered at his feet.
Little Ezra nodded but looked out over the water as Ezra continued to warm up the engine. The twin pipes situated up and over the rear spewed out puffs of white exhaust with every rev of the engine.
“You ready for this?” Ezra said with a grin to Little E. He set down his beer can.
Little E nodded and gripped his seat belt with both hands just like Ezra had shown him. Ezra revved the engine a little more before turning the boat so it would run parallel to the shore. The candy paint on the boat caught rays from the sun and gave it a brilliant twinkle. Taking a deep breath, Ezra gunned it.
Shooting forward like a bullet from a gun, the boat went airborne for a few seconds. Ezra glanced over his shoulder as his beer flew up and overboard. A thirty-foot spout of water shot up behind the boat and he smiled. Every other sound faded away as the engine roared.
The boat bounced along on the water and Ezra made sure Little E was doing okay. The ear-to-ear smile said he was having fun, and Ezra kept gunning it for a few more seconds before letting the boat even out. He drifted around before gunning it back, still running parallel to the shore.
Ezra eased the boat back toward the dock a bit faster than they had left.
“That was awesome!” Little Ezra said, tapping the side of the boat as they neared the shore. “Can we do it again? Please!” he finished, drawing out the last word.
“We’ll go for another pass after lunch.”
Back on the shore, Ezra helped Julie set up the food. She kept a slight grin on her face as they sat down to eat, nudging Little E when he had a mouth full of food.
“I don’t know, Ezra.” Julie started as Jeremiah and Levi brought their boats back and joined the rest of the family for food. “Little E looks like his head is crooked. He might have gotten injured.”
“No!” Little E said, mouth still full of food. He smiled big again and swallowed. “I feel great. We’re going out again as soon as we finish eating!”
Ezra smirked and shrugged. Julie shook her head but kept smiling as well, and the family ate with high spirits and good cheer.