Sitting in the dark, Johnny Dippostini wore his SpongeBob pajamas and his father’s green fishing boots. Rufus, his elderly Chocolate Lab, sniffed at the boots catching the whiff of grunion from some long ago venture to the seaside. The fact that Johnny was holding a wooden paddle and wore an orange life vest didn’t seem odd to Rufus who wagged his tail and climbed slowly, thanks to his hip arthritis, up onto the Johnny’s bed and into the rubber raft where he plumped himself with a humpf!. “Labs are good swimmers,” said Johnny patting the dog’s head. “So don’t worry.”
Johnny’s little sister Anne-Marie appeared in the bedroom doorway and flicked on the light. She took one look then called, “Mom, Johnny’s doing it again!” She stayed in the doorway shaking her head. “It’s not going to happen. Just because you had that silly dream again.”
Johnny looked at her without saying a word. He held up the paddle.
“No, I will not get on the bed and paddle to Patagonia with you!” grumped his sister, her blond braids flipping back and forth as she shook her head in indignation. Just then the nine-year old’s mother Mrs. Sandra Dippostini appeared beside her daughter. She had matching braids, except they were a bit gray around the edges. She took one look at her son and began shaking her head in much the same way as did her daughter. Johnny watched the two sets of braids whipping back and forth and smiled. Rufus watched them, each eye following a different set of braids until he whined and covered his eyes with his paws.
“Young man, please remove that raft from your bed and put it back in the garage along with the paddle before you father gets home. He doesn’t like you digging into his fishing gear. Remember when he stepped on all those hooks you had dropped on the garage floor. That wasn’t a pretty picture, now was it? So put it all away…this very minute.”
“Momma, come sit on the raft. Anne-Marie, you, too. There’s room for everyone,” said Johnny, scooching over to the front of the raft. Rufus scooched, too. “See, plenty of room.”
Now both his mother and sister had their hands on their hips. “It’s about that silly dream, isn’t it?” said his Mom.
“Not silly,” said Johnny. “Noah said tonight’s the night. He also said taking Rufus was a good idea since Labradors are swimming dogs.”
“Rufus was in the dream?” said his mother. “Rufus wasn’t in the last dream.”
“Noah mentioned him this time,” said Johnny. Just then a gust of wind blew open the window, the drapes swirling around. “Not much time, now,” said Johnny.
His mother went to the window to close it when suddenly the sky flashed with lightning and a great crash of thunder rattled the window pane. Anne-Marie squealed in fright and jumped into the boat. Her mother looked out the open window, squinting up against the night sky.
“Better get in the raft, Mom. It’s coming real soon.”
“Like I said before… the Moon-soon.” said Johnny.
“Do you mean the monsoon, the rains?” said his Mom turning away from the window and tsk-tsked, saying, “We don’t have monsoons in Southern California. We hardly have any rain at all. We’re lucky to get…”
“No, I mean Moon-soon,” said Johnny. “It’s a gravity thing. A big surge.”
“Big sure of what…?” Her words were drowned out by the wave of water that splashed through the window soaking her from head to foot. She gasped and sputtered in amazement. Outside the winds began to howl.
Johnny held up a paddle. “Noah said head for Patagonia. Which way is that?”
Mrs. Sandra Dippostini grabbed the paddle, scrambled onto the bed and into the raft. She was sitting there when Mr. Dippostini walked into the bedroom carrying his umbrella and briefcase. He just stood there with his mouth open. Rufus wagged his very wet tail.
(c) Paul Garson