Jewel Beth Davis and
Jane Hulstrunk

Jane Hulstrunk
Inspiration piece

Round and Round
By Jewel Beth Davis


“Get that Gee-awful beanie off the counter,” my mother says.

We are at the Town Clerk’s office in the town of Rollinsford, New Hampshire. She is paying for the auto registration for her “Cerulean” blue Honda Fit and paying out that much money always puts her in a bad mood.

“Three checks! Three Gee-Dee checks I have to write out!” She doesn’t like to swear so she says Gee-Dee instead. Like everyone doesn’t know what that means. She moves the hair out of her eyes and it falls back immediately. She grabs a light blue bandana out of her bag and ties it around her head biker-style. She gives me the look that says, Don’t you dare make any comments about hippies, bikers or dogs. She tucks the strands of dyed hair under the bandana.

“No credit cards, no debit cards, just checks and cash. Did you know it’s still the Dark Ages here? One check goes to the Town of Rollinsford for the Gee-Dee town tax. Whatever that’s for,” my mother says to the ceiling. “Gee only knows what they spend that on.”  The ceiling must be interested because she continues addressing her comments to it. “The second to the Town of Rollinsford for the town portion of the registration fee. Two checks. You can’t even write out one.”

I can hear the ceiling now, Yeah, right. What the heck is their problem that they couldn’t just let you write one? That’s a waste of trees for Gee Dee’s sake.

I guess the ceiling doesn’t like to curse either.

“Everyone talks about going Green but the truth is no one gives a flip about the trees or this planet,” my mother says. I didn’t realize my mother cared. Seems like my mother and the ceiling think alike.

“And then another flipping check to the NH DMV with an extra $35 tacked on as a surcharge. A surcharge for what? We did fine all those years without the surcharge. Now we get it with no explanation. It’s plain theft, that’s what it is. They can charge us whatever they flipping want and we just have to pay it. We don’t have any power. Who the helicopter are we? Just the citizens of this fine state but we get no say. Live Free or Die, my gluteus maximus. More like, Live expensive and Die of Poverty, if you ask me.” My mother has puffed and blown like a whale and now she seems to have run out of steam. Or so I think.

“And I told you to get that Gee-awful beanie off that filthy counter. Your head could be crawling with germs or bugs the next time you put it on.” I scratch my head from the thought.

“I don’t know why your father bought you that thing. It makes you look bi-polar. Or schizophrenic. Or psychotic or something. Whatever the latest trendy whack-job is on Dr. Phil. Hey, maybe I should call Dr. Phil and put you on his show.”

That’s a nice thing for a mother to say to her kid, huh?  But I’m used to it so I ignore it. The head covering my mother is talking about is not Gee-awful or psychosis-producing. It is magic. It is the magic propeller beanie my father got me when he was down in Florida on business. It’s got red, blue, green and yellow triangles all sewn together. The pinwheel on top spins just like a real propeller on an old airplane. And when I need it to, it lifts me right out of difficult situations. Okay, I know you’re thinking that sounds crazy, that my mother is right. But it’s true. I can fly or time travel or something because I rise up to the ceiling and can see my body down below. That’s only been happening since I’ve been wearing the beanie.

Part of me is listening to my mother and part of me is listening to the man in front of my mother. He’s old like 79 or maybe he’s 70. I don’t know. He’s got a big head of wavy white hair and a big belly with a saggy face. And he’s talking and talking to the Town Clerk. She’s nice and she keeps nodding her head like she’s really interested in everything he’s saying but she doesn’t smile. Then I remember her from when my mom came to vote and she didn’t smile then either.

The old guy says, “My son-in-law is a big wig scientist-doctor. So he bought me this fancy car. A Mercedes-Benz Roadster. Costs around $125,000.”

The Town Clerk says, “You’ll need to come down and register it.”

He says, “Are you nuts? I’m not going to drive that thing out of my garage. Too afraid to wreck it. I’ve had it a year now and it sits in my garage.”

My mother is shifting from one foot to another and she’s no longer talking to the ceiling. She’s watching this guy talk and talk and I don’t think she’s any too happy with him. She makes a loud ahem sound a couple of times but he ignores it and goes on telling his story.

“He made all his money because he invented a blood test that tells whether you have a bunch of different diseases in ten minutes. Pretty smart fella, my son-in-law. But what do I need a car like that for? I’m never going to drive it on the road. So I’m not registering it.”

“Up to you,” the Town Clerk says.

“You’re darn right, it is,” the old guy says.

My mother’s face is turning purple and she raises her eyes to the ceiling and says, “Oh, well, I suppose I have all day to wait here in line. I have nothing better to do. Let’s all just tell stories around the campfire. Live Free, Wait in Line, and Die.”

The guy ignores her and keeps talking. Finally, he stops for a moment and starts writing out all three checks. Slowly. My mother looks like she’s going to explode so I just fly out of there through the two heavy gunmetal doors so I don’t have to hear what she says to the old guy and the Town Clerk. I can imagine all the Gee-dees and Gee- awfuls that will shoot out of her mouth like machine gun fire. I don’t need to be there to know that. I don’t know how the doors get open. Maybe some people come in then or I fly right through them but I’m outside. My beanie is working just fine and sets me down next to the Town Hall steps.

I look up and I see those green seed things from maple trees that look just like my beanie propeller twirling down from the big tree next to the building. Hundreds and hundreds of those little green propellers twirling down. I just stand there and watch them, hypnotized, and feeling really good for the first time today.