I'm sure it will come as a shock to you that I lay out The Pony's clothes every morning. Okay. So maybe it doesn't. I can't leave him to his own devices. Not since this winter when he showed up for our weekly grocery trip wearing a t-shirt, tan slacks, and his black Adidas slides. Without socks. Let the record show that there was snow on the ground, and piled higher than an elephant's eye on the Walmart parking lot.
He has been chomping at the bit to forsake the slacks for shorts. Even though it was 31 degrees here yesterday morning, I let him stick with his summer wardrobe. Today I put out his new gray shirt, and a pair of charcoal-gray-and-white plaid shorts. And SOCKS to wear in his shoes. It's not creepy, like laying them across the foot of his bed while he sleeps. I dig them out of the dryer and drape them on the back of the couch where he can grab them on his way to brush his teeth just before we leave.
This afternoon, I came back from parking lot duty to find him sitting in my classroom facing the far wall, at one of the two desks where I keep the box of Puffs With Lotion that one class uses up every week, and the current day's assignments. His back was to me as he fiddled with his phone, most likely texting his paramour. I went about my business, getting things ready for Monday, and tying up loose ends like late assignments turned in yesterday when I was absent.
"Oh, Mom. I have chocolate ice cream all over my shirt. I just wanted you to know that I didn't do it."
I don't know why he made a big deal about confessing that it wasn't HIM
who made the stain. It's not like I buy him designer clothing. It was a
knit shirt off the rack from Walmart. Like he has a preference for
slacks, The Pony has a preference for lightweight knit shirts with no
pocket and a button placket that he fastens all the way to the top.
The mystery remained as to how this stain happened. I don't pack chocolate ice cream in The Pony's lunch. The cafeteria certainly doesn't serve chocolate ice cream. The Pony is not a slopper. His brother Genius was always getting foodstuffs all over himself. He was like Pigpen with dirt. There was generally a cloud of crumbs or stains swirling around him. The minute he'd get up out of T-Hoe's shotgun seat, a pile of fries would appear. "Hey! Where did THOSE come from?" Yeah. He was totally oblivious. I used to accuse him of having a hole in his chin, until he fell flat on his face swinging on his arms between the kitchen counter and cutting block, and put his bottom teeth through his lip, leaving a saliva-leaking second mouth.
I knew better than to interrogate The Pony. He talks when he's good and ready. Forcing the issue results in monosyllabic curt responses.
"Let's see. Oh. Well. It will wash."
"It wasn't my fault. Twin was eating chocolate ice cream, and threw his spoon at the trash can, and missed."
My curiosity was rising. Which twin? Where did he get the ice cream? I counted to ten.
"It hit me and got all over the front of my shirt."
Yes. From the collar, diagonal to the button placket, was a swath of dark, interconnected stain blobs. Quite noticeable on a light gray shirt. Since The Pony was talking, I jumped in.
"Did you tell him that was a new shirt?"
"It's not a big deal. It will come out. Where did he get the ice cream?"
"Loverboy had it. He shared it with us. Twin 2 was done and threw away his spoon."
Let the record show that I know Twin 2. I had Twin 2 in class. And Twin 2 doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's a well-mannered boy, the son of two teachers from two other school districts.
"So Loverboy brought ice cream for his lunch."
"No! It was left over from his Chem II experiment! They are trying to see if they can make Dippin' Dots with dry ice. They can't. It came out in big blobs. But he had some ice cream left."
"Oh, and he brought it to the cafeteria."
"No! We weren't in the cafeteria! I was in Trig."
"Wait. You got ice cream all over you in Trig?"
"It wasn't my fault. I told you that."
"I MEAN...what were you doing with ice cream in Trig?"
"It's after Chem II. And the ice cream was left over, and Miss Cardiac said we could have it."
"So Twin 2 threw his spoon at the wastebasket, and you were in the way."
"No! I wasn't in the way!"
"Then how did it hit you?"
"That's what I'M trying to figure out!"
"So you were standing by the wastebasket."
"No! I was standing in front of Miss Cardiac's desk, talking to her."
"And the wastebasket is..."
"Way over at the END of her desk! Look. I was standing HERE, and the wastebasket was over HERE, and Twin threw it from HERE. How is that so hard for you to understand?"
"Well, I'm also trying to understand how the stain is on the front of your shirt, if Twin 2 was behind you."
"No! He wasn't behind me, he was beside me."
"How could that spoon curve and hit you in the chest on the way to the wastebasket?"
"It's a SPOON! It doesn't fly straight."
Sometimes it's smarter NOT to interrogate The Pony. This was one of those times.