At least the repair of the Bonneville went smoothly. But something happened immediately afterward.
We drove home and Dad went to work installing the new gasket.
I briefly offered to do the job. But we both knew how that would have gone.
“Better let me do it, son,” he said.
I didn’t argue. “Yes, Dad, maybe you’d better.”
My dad, his tee shirt stained with grease and oil, slid out from under the car.
I had helped him, for what it was worth, as best I could. I handed him tools when he asked for them.
Only once did I inadvertently hand him the wrong tool.
“You shouldn’t have any more oil leaks,” Dad said, now that the job was finished.
“Thanks,” I said. I had already thanked him multiple times, but I was sincerely grateful.
“Next time, don’t let a problem go on like that. Ask for my help when you need it.”
“Sure thing, Dad. Thanks again.”
We were just about to take the car down from the jacks. My dad was putting his tools away, hanging them on the pegboard above the workbench.
I had the sense of someone watching me. In recent days this feeling had come to me when I was near the woods at night.
I had also felt it while alone in my room.
But now I was standing in our open garage, in the company of my father, in broad daylight, in the middle of a bright summer afternoon.
The most un-spooky setting you could possibly imagine.
Above the sound of my dad clanging tools against the pegboard, I heard the sound of someone whistling.
I looked in the direction of the sound. Standing at the end of our driveway was Banny. Now he was wearing a pair of jeans and a tee shirt; but he also wore his now usual smirk.
He looked at me and waved his hand in a beckoning gesture.
“Come on, you bugger, if you’re up to it!”
“Steve?” my dad asked. “Could you help me pull the big toolbox out from underneath the workbench?”
I turned toward my dad. “Sure, Dad. I’ll be right there.”
He saw me hesitating.
“Anything wrong, son?”
“No, Dad. Nothing’s wrong,” I lied.
I looked back at Banny.
But Banny was gone.
Just as I had half-expected would be the case.