The incessant banging on the front door was enough to rouse anyone from a coma, let alone someone napping on the couch in the living room.
Given the unexpected intrusion, it took a minute before Tommy realized the knocking was coming from the front door in real life, instead of the 10-foot squirrel dressed as a lumberjack hurling rocks at Redwoods in his dream.
Still stuck in a mental fog, he ambled toward the door, only to find his cousin standing in the doorway with a wide, toothy grin and tired eyes.
“Let’s get to the beach,” Nathaniel said, as his substitute for pleasantries.
The flight from London had been a long one and Nathaniel was ready to lay in one spot and soak up the California sun.
“Uh, yeah… sure thing,” Tommy said, patting his pockets and looking around.
“Let me just grab my things…and I can introduce you to someone.”
Nathaniel shoved his luggage into the foyer and followed his younger cousin out the door.
The excitement Tommy felt for sharing his big news was waking him up. He was proud of his new car.
He’d saved up from the jobs he’d worked during the past couple of summers just to make sure he would have his own set of wheels for senior year. He was proud of himself.
As they rounded the corner of the garage Tommy beamed, Nathaniel stopped short and stared in disbelief.
“This is it,” Nathaniel said, feeling as if he’d walked into a joke. “Are you serious?”
Nathaniel cracked up laughing.
“This is a classic,” Tommy defended, placing his hand gently on the car as if to protect it from his cousin’s insults. “Don’t listen to him, P! He has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Tommy stroked the hood tenderly.
“You named this piece of flivver, Pea, after the vegetable?!” Nathaniel shook his head and scoffed.
“Hey! Don’t talk about her like that! She’s precious to me!”Tommy was getting offended now.
“And no, I named her Princess, but I call her P for short.”
Nathaniel shook his head in disbelief. He didn’t understand the connection his cousin had with this car, but he was going to leave it alone.
“Let’s just get to the beach and rest in the sun,” Nathaniel said, stifling his laughter.
Tommy shook his head.
“You’ll see, P is a sweetie.”
Tommy inserted the key into the ignition and started the car. P purred to life producing a huge grin on Tommy’s face.
The two rode off in the heat of the midday toward the beach, the wind whipping through their hair, the sun warming their arms.