So, I continued to get letters. Too, buried deep in Noodle news were the chicken monster dreams. They wouldn’t go away. Yet, school ended. Summer began. As it did, Noodle told me about his best story which involved picking holes, running with rabbits with Woodja at his side. But Noodle got lost that day.
“Help!” he yelled.
Thick, in new territory, even Woodja was confused.
“Where am I? Is anyone near?”
It grew dark. Rain set in.
“Br.” A cold September day, he shivered. Walking, “Whap,” he was thumped.
He’d fallen and hit his head. The strangest thing, he woke hours later.
(Image of Noodle in woods hunting rabbits with Woodja, lost, rain, fallen)
“You know what Jeb?” he wrote me. “I was noodle-brained. Spinning from the fall, dreaming, yet on my feet, in the dead of night, the chicken monster chased me. Too, eerie, he saved me for I ran straight home. I had a Miami Hurricane headache and a Colorado Buffalo cold the next day. But chicken noodle soup and a nap did wonders. In forty-eight hours, I was at school and Delma Gunn had her pistols pointed my way.”
(Image of Noodle running home in night)
In a telephone call that September I’d asked Noodle, “How are you doing? What’s your football status, how’s your dad, and…”
“I’m okay,” Noodle interrupted. “Mom wants me to hold up on football. You know I’m not brilliant with books. She said, “You need to study hard, settle in a new place. College is important. You’ll slide into football next year.”
“Well, that makes book sense, Ma,” I followed. “And…”
“And Pa’s with the Pack and doing great. Play-by-play, he’s a golden warbler for any deep drop or up-the-middle, block and tackle Wolfpack game,” Mrs. KaNuckle gabbed to Jimmy.
I scratched my nose. “Well, that’ super,” I said. “What about your mom, Noodle?”
“She’s still rabbit-fast,” he replied. “Fleet-afoot we bagged two bunnies for the fryer, yesterday.”
Mrs. KaNuckle was a wonder. She was always helpful, smiling, and served up plenty of Noodle’s favorite foods: sausage links, collards, moon pie, and coon stew.
(Image of Noodle on the phone with best friend, about football)