This is the third in a series of stories about chance interactions on local transit.
“Let’s play the game,” 8-year-old Floyd begs his dad, Scott, on a mild spring evening, as they await transport to Leschi Elementary School.
“Goldilocks is eating her porridge,” begins Floyd, clad in a blue, #11 Rainiers baseball shirt over plaid shorts. “Unfortunately, it spills all over her and catches fire.”
“Fortunately, she is wearing a Kevlar vest and she isn’t burned,” notes Scott, sporting a buzzcut and dark, thick-framed glasses.
“A wolf knocks at the door,” Floyd interjects.
“Hey,” retorts Scott, “Isn’t that from another story?”
“It’s OK,” I assure Floyd. “It’s his story. He can tell it any way he likes.”
“Unfortunately,” Floyd continues, “the wolf gets her Achilles heel.” Only Floyd pronounces it, A-cheel.
Scott corrects him. “That’s what happens when you read something and don’t hear it,” I tell Floyd, figuring that no one’s dishing on Greeks warriors during recess.
The tale takes a dark twist when Goldilocks boards a plane to visit a sick friend. But, “unfortunately, an explosion destroys the world,” Floyd notes.
“Fortunately,” Scott counters, “it sets off the evolution of a new species that is perfected, so it doesn’t make any more hydrogen bombs.”
With the Earth non-existent, father and son turn to less worldly matters — the event at Leschi School. “Are you going to dance tonight, or run around with your buddies?” Scott asks Floyd, whose sandy hair juts out at odd angles. His son’s noncommittal, but it’s clear he prefers climbing trees and reading — including Lemony Snicket’s "A Series of Unfortunate Events" — to socializing with girls.
Still, Floyd’s a keen observer of third-grade mating rituals. “Otis kissed Rebecca on the cheek. That’s how I know he likes her,” Floyd offers. “Jesse likes Flynn,” he adds. “She likes the way his hair looks.”
“That’s kind of shallow, but it’s a great place to start,” his dad responds. “If you don’t like the way someone looks, you can’t look at them.”
And with that, the bus door snaps open, and Floyd’s sandals take the first steps toward the dance — where he will not dance.