Vignettes 5 and 6 are short, transitional scenes. Clay is an actual person, but I either don't remember his last name or never found it out to begin with. I can till visualize him in that cowboy hat. Vignette 7 introduces the only fictional character in the whole story, Wile E. Coyote. I watched a lot of cartoons, can you tell? Enjoy.
Jake stood among a dozen boxes in various states of being filled. His mother, brothers and sisters rushed around him and he covered his ears for a moment to block the noise.
“Jake, get the rest of your toys packed,” said his mother. “The movers will be here any minute!”
Jake sighed. “Why do we have to move anyway?”
“Because this house isn't big enough for all of us. You know that. Besides the new house is much nicer than this!”
“I'll still be sharing a room with Jerry. So it won't be any different!”
“You never listen to me when I tell you what he does!”
His mother rushed off in another direction. Jake sighed and began to empty his toy chest. When he had packed everything he could, he stepped outside and saw Clay standing by himself. He went over to him. “I'm sorry, we gotta move.”
Clay just nodded and tipped his cowboy hat. Jake felt a little awkward standing there and nodded back at Clay. He went back inside and tried to hide from the chaos that ensued.
They hadn't been in the new house very long. Jake felt like his situation hadn't improved much with the new house. Yeah, they had a bigger front yard. The house stood on a corner so the yard seemed to go on forever. But grass made Jake sneeze, like everything else, so he preferred to stay indoors.
His ride to kindergarten took longer, and waiting for the van was starting to be a pain, because the weather was turning colder.
With the new house came a maid, something he wasn't used to. Winnie was a big woman, and when Jake came back from kindergarten, he would find her watching soap operas. She would quickly turn to work once his mother got home from work, but that was the only time he could remember seeing her in action.
At kindergarten he had started to relax a little, but as Thanksgiving approached he learned that his class would be required to put on a holiday play. That filled him with anxiety, even though all he had to do was hold up a snowman cut-out and say a line. He practiced the line when he was alone because if he tried it around his brothers he'd wind up with a sore arm from the punches.
As the day approached to present their play, he grew even more anxious. His mother and her boyfriend would be there, along with his brothers and sisters. Before the play started his teacher tried to give him some confidence, but as soon as he took the stage and picked up his snowman cover, he tried to hide behind it. He said his lines quickly and without emotion and only then did he relax. But he felt better once he ran off the stage.
Amanda tried to encourage him afterward, but the rest of the siblings poked fun at him. He went to his room after dinner, pulled the covers over his head and tried to block it all out.
Kindergarten finally came to an end and Jake sighed a happy sigh since he would have a whole summer to himself to recuperate. That was short-lived when his mother announced one day that she was going to marry her boyfriend, Frank. He wanted his mother to be happy, and she definitely was when Frank was around, but Jake never thought of him as a father-figure. He never played with Jake, not that Jake ever asked him to, but he felt it would have been nice of the man to offer to toss a ball with him, like he always imagined his father would do.
Instead, Frank avoided him and never talked directly to him. Jake had gotten used to that as long as Frank wasn't there very often, but now that they were getting married, Jake realized that Frank would be there all the time. It didn't sit well with him. Plus the man only took him for a ride in his Corvette once, and never offered again.
As a way of celebrating the news, Frank took them all to a local carnival. As they drove in the family station wagon to the carnival, Jake watched the street signs pass. He realized the carnival was pretty much a straight shot down the road from where they lived.
The carnival was fun enough, Jake supposed, but he didn't ride the rides very much. Most of them made him sick to his stomach. But he watched while his brothers and sisters had fun and shot a BB-gun at a target or two, and watched the monkeys climb the pole when you shot water in their mouths. The lights and noise soon got to him, though and he wandered off to find someplace quiet.
After he recovered, he looked for his mother and siblings and couldn't find them. He started to panic and then realized he knew the way home and it wasn't far. He began to walk back home, taking care to wait for the lights to change to cross the street. Soon, he drifted off in his own little world, to help the time pass.
Jake looked to his side and gaped at what he saw. Wile E. Coyote walked alongside him.
“W-what are you doing here?” Jake stopped walking, rubbed his eyes and looked again. Wile. E. was gone. He took a deep breath and then started walking again.
“You can't get rid of me that quickly.”
Jake turned and saw the coyote again. It appeared as a cartoon, walking with him. He ignored it.
“You're not real.”
“Of course I'm not real. I'm in your head. But that doesn't mean you should ignore me! Now that's plain impolite.”
“You're a figment of my imagination and I'll ignore you if I want!”
Jake passed a street sign. He recognized it and kept going forward.
Wile E. walked with him. “Your mother will be mad when you get home.”
Jake stopped for a moment and then continued walking. “I know. But it's not my fault I got lost.” He walked a few steps. “She's not a bad mother. If she only stopped smoking.”
“Your whole family is against you.”
Jake stopped short and watched in anger as an anvil dropped on Wile E's head. “That's for being mean.” He resumed walking as Wile E. waddled after him, the anvil slipping off after a moment. “My family loves me. It's just that they're all so busy, and I'm not. Besides, I like walking by myself.”
“Then why am I here?”
Jake stopped again. “I don't know, Mr. Big Shot. Why are you here?”
“Because you need someone to talk to and no one else will do it.”
“I don't need you to be able to talk to myself.” He began walking again. “Go away!”
Wile E. began to run after him and ran into a street pole. He vanished before Jake's eyes. “And don't come back!”
Jake sighed and began to move his arms to the rhythm of a song that he had heard. About an hour passed, with what felt like a hundred songs passing through his mind, when he found the turn he was looking for, and knew he was almost home. He made the turn and felt his feet suddenly grow tired and sore. He caught his breath and walked slower.
A few minutes later he saw his house, and Amanda outside. He waved to her and heard her shriek. She ran into the house and a moment later his mother came running out. He ran into her arms.
“Where have you been, Jake?” Her voice sounded frantic, something he had never heard before.
“I got lost! And since I knew the way back, I walked. My feet are tired, though.”
“You had us so worried. I almost called the police. I thought someone snatched you!”
“I'm all right, really.”
She dragged him into the house amid cries and hugs from his sisters. She took him straight to the bathroom, started the bath water for him and undressed him. She looked at his feet, which had started to form blisters and she rubbed them, fussing at him the whole time.
“Don't EVER do that again, do you hear? You had us so worried!”
“I won't!” Just the fussing over him alone was enough to keep him from doing it again. She finally left him alone to soak in the tub, in cool water, and he felt more relaxed than he had ever felt as he dunked his head under the water. He relished the silence.