1965-06-22 - SkeeBall Kings
Summary: Doug introduces Jebediah to the wonders of Coney Island.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
jebediah douglas 


One morning, on a bright and hot day, Doug came downstairs. He was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, and shoes for walking. "Take the day off, Jeb," he said, "And go change. We're going out today." He put his hands on his hips, and raised his eyebrows. "Well, hurry up, or we'll miss the train."

"Take the day off? But who will clean the bar? Jay leave any of his clothes with you that Ah can steal?" He easily agrees to anything Doug tells him to do, hasn't Jebediah always? Jeb adores Doug. He's excited to see where Doug is kidnapping him to, he even hops a little in place.

"The place is already spotless." Doug says, before he puts his hands on his hips, "You've gotta have something to wear here. Come on, chop-chop, I'll be waiting outside." He is indeed waiting outside the bar when Jeb finally emerges, and he takes him on the subway.

Jeb is quick to change, joining Doug outside, practically vibrating with excitement. He reaches for Doug's arm, wrapping his own around it for a time unless Doug pushes him away. "Where are you takin' me?" He asks, giddy with excitement.

"It's a surprise." Doug says, with a shrug. He shakes out the newspaper, to read it on the train. Does he know this is going to drive Jebediah up the walls? Of course he does. That's why he's doing this to him. The torture will be worth the payoff.

"You are going to be the death of me with that, Doug!" Jebediah keeps moving next to Doug the entire ride, trying to figure out where they are stopping. He keeps asking if this is their stop. Or this one, or this one. He is so much energy next to Doug, and like with his brothers, he nearly sits on Doug, he's so close to him.

Doug hands Jebediah the funny pages from the paper, and then says, archly, "Relax." He goes back to reading. "We'll get there when we get there, Bean — and I promise you, it'll be worth it."

Jeb takes the paper from Doug and smiles. "Hey Doug? Do you think you could help me study for my entrance exam for college? Ah wasn't really a bad student, Ah just skipped a whole lot so Ah struggle with a lot of stuff, like readin' for example and you're the smartest guy in the whole entire world, so do you think you could help me?" He asks.

Doug turns the page in the newspaper. "Sure." He says, "Did you graduate from high school? If not, in New York, first you shouldd earn a G.E.D." He sets the paper in his lap to read an article, "But yeah, of course I'll help you study to get into college."

"Ah did, but kinda just barely and maybe because my teachers ain't wanna deal with me another year, so Ah do got a diploma, but that stuff, it ain't fresh in my head at all." He admits, watching Doug turn the paper and study the article. "Ah struggle with a lot, but most of it is reading and spelling phonetically, the math ain't too hard. Ah was thinkin' Ah might ask Elmo about it, Ah mean, he and Ah don't like each other much, but he's /really/ smart too, especially with the math part of his brain because he builds stuff with those gears of his and buildin' stuff always comes with math."

"I'll teach you more about reading, that's fine. Really the trick to reading is finding things you want to read," Doug says, "So you'll be willing to work at it. What sorts of stories do you like?" He looks up, as the train comes to a stop. "This is our stop." he says, as he gets up, and leads the way out of the station. He looks up, and points at the Wonder Wheel. "We're going that way."

"Adventures, with heroes, villains and dragons, that kind of stuff. Ah also do like readin' about art, Ah did a lot of it on Greek artists for Mister Morbius, because Ah wanted to make him some recreations." He stands up, handing the funnies back to Doug when he tells them they're getting off. His eyes widen at the Wonder Wheel. "There?!" He squeezes Doug's wrist excitedly. "Well, come on! This is goin' to be so much fun!"

"I know just the book." Doug says. "You can read my copy of it, it's on the shelf in my library —" Which is most of Doug's apartment. "It's called 'The Hobbit'." Then he looks up, and says, "Well yeah, that's why we're going to Coney Island, bean. You earned it."

Jeb tugs Doug forward by the hand. "Me? What did Ah do? If anythin' you deserve to Coney Island, you're the one workin' so hard all the time." He seems shocked by the idea that he deserves anything. "Is this because Ah didn't burn down the club why you were on your camping trip? Ah think Sam wanted to burn /me/ down."

Doug raises his eyebrows at this and then looks up. He considers the idea that he might be a little OLD for an amusement park… but someone whose inner child is really more of an outer child like Jeb might not be, despite their ages being on par. He lets Jeb pull him along, "It's because you're a hard worker and you need to be reminded to relax, kid."

"You need to be reminded to relax too you know? This might be good for you too." Jeb says, wrapping his hand around Doug's own to drag him into Coney Island. "Is this where the cyclone is? I've heard about it. It's like the coolest ride in New York, right?"

Doug lets himself be pulled along, and then he says "Well I mean I like cotton candy as much as anyone, but I guess the life I've lived, roller coasters just don't do it for me anymore." He grins, and laughs, and says, "Lead the way, Jeb — it's on me, okay?"

"Alright, but next time Ah'm gonna take you somewhere, okay?" Jeb says, agreeing easily to allowing Doug to foot the bill. He's really like a little kid in a candy shop, head swiveling everywhere, trying to decide where the hell they should go first, time managing already, forming a list of all the places they need to go, hand still firmly wrapped around Doug's. "Can we go on that first?" He points to the Wonder Wheel as they gets closer to it. "That's so high! We could see so much! It'll be like we're Jay for a little while, being up that high, we could see the way he does."

Doug laughs at that, and then says, "Sure. Come on, there isn't a line yet." He says. "They say it's especially cool at night, you can see all the lights in the city." He beckons to Jeb to get in line with him. He muses over where exactly Jebediah would take him, and is kind of amused at the idea.

Jeb smiles, wide and bright, maybe unlike Doug has ever seen him as he joins Doug in line for the Wonder Wheel. "Well, then we have to hang around until night time, then, and go on it again." Jeb insists as they wait in line. "We could get some of those Coney Dogs, they're supposed to be famous or somethin'. And really messy."

Doug laughs, and maybe one could get the impression that the reason he's here is to enjoy Jeb's reaction to everything around him? He relaxes, in line, and waits to get on the ride, before he says, "Whatever you want, buddy. …Whatever you want. Today is all about you."

"And you, because you here with me, aren't you?" Jeb says, innocently, sweetly, rocking in place when they get to the front of the line. "Ah used to go on the Ferris Wheels whenever the country fair came roung with my sisters, but when Ah was small and they were smaller, Ah'd always shake it to scare them." He admits, a little fond and mischievous smile on his face as he recites the memory. "Jay, Sam and Mama got on me for that plenty of times."

Doug raises an eyebrow, and then says, "You're the middle son. Making mischief got you attention. It didn't really matter if the attention was good or bad, just as long as you got it." Doug says, with a shrug. "Well, that's why I'm paying attention to you today, kid, to remind you that you deserve attention from people in your life." He shrugs his shoulders, and climbs onto the ferris wheel, before he leans back, in his laconic way.

"Don't diagnose me, Doug, Ah was tellin' you a funny story." Jeb teases, pushing Doug's arm lightly before he follows Doug into the compartment, sitting across from Doug. "Whoa," He says as he stumbles, rocking back. "Ah do appreciate though, that you take me out and spend time with me, that Ah matter to you not just as Jay's brother. Ah matter to you as Jebediah. Ah always liked that best about you. It's not like that very often to people who met me after they met Jay. Makes me feel good."

"That's not really fair to you, Jeb—" But Doug takes the hint, and kills the diagnosis. he sits in the ferris wheel, looking out over the water as the wheel turns. "You deserve it, kiddo."

"What's not really fair to me? The story wasn't? Ah'm sorry Ah cut you off, you can read all my body language and stuff, can you know more about me than Ah do?" He leans back as the ride begins to pull them up, he presses his face against the bars to look out, smiling when the air hits his skin. "What do you think Jay likes most about flyin'?"

"Yes… and no. It's all there, it's just that people don't think about it sometimes. And I don't know EVERYTHING. I just make really good guesses, that's all." He thinks about it, and says "I think that the thing he likes about it most is that for a little while he can forget, and leave it all on the ground. Your brother is a very troubled guy."

"Mmm, Ah dunno about that, Ah think you do know everything. You're really smart, Doug, you're always teachin' me somethin' new." Jeb says, looking at Doug out of the corner of his eye and smiling in that big Guthrie affectionate way, with all the adoration in the world for Doug. He frowns when Doug says Jay is really troubled. He reaches across to squeeze Doug's knee. "Ah think you are too."

Doug looks down, and gives Jeb's hand a pat, before he says "I am." He says, looking back up. "In a different way than Jay. I'm like Sam, Jeb. I'm always looking for something I don't have, always looking out past the horizon, always wondering when I'm going to find my place—and it's awfully hard to connect with people when your eyes are always on the horizon. I love Jay… I think he could find someone better for him than me — but he's picked me, at least for this part of his life."

"See, and he thinks all the time that you're going to find someone better than him too. You both have that in common and it ain't true for neither of you. You're both the two best men Ah have ever met. Jay is the sweetest, kindest man Ah ever met, there ain't a bad bone in his body. You're the smartest and also most caring man Ah've ever met too, you sure seem to think that you've got all the bad bones in your body, but you don't. You are a good man and that's precisely why my brother picked you." Jeb chastises, turning his hand to catch Doug's fingers.

"I guess we both can't get over ourselves." Doug mutters, before he shakes his head, and sighs. "I'm fucked-up in the head, Jeb. I just hide it really well. Sometimes there's just so much… and I just… I lose it, or I disconneect. And now I'm starting to read things wrong, completely wrong. It's getting worse, a little bit at a time. Someday I might be completely crippled if I can't figure it out."

Jeb looks extremely concerned at that statement. "Like, is your mutation on the fritz? Kinda like you're short circuiting? Are there mutant doctors for that? Maybe you should try to think on it too hard, that could just be making it worse trying to figure it all out, you know? Tryin' to reason with somethin' that ain't got any reason." Jeb rubs Doug's hand with his thumb.

"That's just it, there's nobody who this has happened to before where I could find answers." Doug says, "Just me. Maybe there is no answer, maybe this is just something that's going to happen and there's nothing I can do about it." He pats Jeb's hand. "Don't worry about me, kid. I'll be okay. It might just go away on its own, even."

"Jay got a friend, he's in the mafia but he is a really good guy, he can heal other humans. Maybe he could try and take a crack at you? Maybe he could tell you what it feels like to him?" Jeb offers, biting his lower lip. "Ah ain't gonna just not worry about you, Dougie. You're my friend, you're like a brother to me, Ah'm always going to worry about you."

Doug quirks his mouth, and then says, "Jeb, you act like a troublemaker, but you are one of the kindest little guys I know." He shakes his head and leans back, before he bites one knuckle. "Maybe. Maybe. Let's forget about it for now, OK? Today, you just focus on having a good time."

"Ah am a troublemaker, but Ah am also kind. You can be more than one thing at a time, you know. Personality is made up of many factors, right? And maybe Ah got most of the trouble out already, when Ah was young." He says with a smile, winking at Doug. He points out the compartment. "We're at the top, this is what the world looks like to Jay always." He offers as means of distraction.

Doug looks out at the city, and then says, "Yeah, it's pretty beautiful, isn't it?" He rests his chin in his hand, and takes it all in. "I'm not comfortable getting in bed with the mob, I think. Somebody suggested I cut them in on the club and pay them kickbacks so we wouldn't be bothered… I'm not a crook."

"No wonder he loves flyin' so much. It really is so beautiful. Just like he is." Jeb says looking out at the boardwalk with a small smile on his face. The smile is replaced with a frown. "This guy is the Don's son, he ain't really had a choice in his place in the mafia, you know, he just got sucked into it because his parents tumbled in the hay. He's a good guy, Doug, Jay trusts him."

"Jay trusts a lot of people I'm not sure have his best interests at heart, Bean." Doug says, his eyes half-lidded, and his chin in his hand. "But let's not talk about that anymore, okay?" He looks up, as the ride comes to an end, and one by one, they're off-loaded from the ferris wheel. "Come on, let's go get some caramel corn."

"/Only/, if we can go play the games while we eat caramel corn. Bet Ah could best you at skeeball. Ah'm a professional after all, don't feel too bad about it if Ah kick yer butt. Ah'll think about goin' easy on you if you ask nicely." He teases, bumping his hip against Doug's own.

"You're talking to the kid who was thrown out of every pinball arcade in Salem Center and banned from the Westchester County fair." Doug says, raising his eyebrows at Jeb. Kiddo, you're in for a rude awakening."

"That sounds a lot like a challenge, Doug." Jeb says, releasing Doug's hand to walk in front of him but backwards so he can use both of his hands to pull the fingers back, a 'come hither' gesture, with a raised eyebrow, a cocky half smile. "Come on then, Ramsey."

Doug raises his eyebrows, and comes walking after Jeb. "You're more like your brothers than you realize," He says, under his breath.

"Why you say that?" Jeb says, tongue in the corner of his mouth, smiling around it, cocky eyebrown still up and all, still walking backwards just to tease Doug. Cocky looks far more adorable on Jeb than it must on either of his older brothers.

Doug just shakes his head, and then keeps walking, to demonstrate to Jebediah that he is a skee-ball apocalypse.

"Okay, so best of three and loser has to do one thing the winner says, no questions asked." Jeb says, with enough innocence to suggest that certainly he wouldn't think of anything dastardly for Doug if he were the one who won. He holds out his hand to Doug. "Deal?" Because a true gentleman shakes on such things.

Doug raises his eyebrows, and then grips Jeb's hand, and then pauses, before he spits in his palm and offers his hand out. Spit and shake. It's an unbreakable bargain. "Deal."

"Douglas, that's real serious stuff right there. That's a step before being blood brothers. Maybe you do know a little bit about being a proper country boy." Jeb says nodding to Doug's spat upon hand. He spits in his own hand and shakes Doug's. Now the deal is properly sealed. "Ain't no skin off my nose, still gonna whoop your pretty behind."

"There are things that aren't only found in Cow Lick, Kentucky." Doug says, elbowing Jeb in the ribs, before he walks past him toward the skee-ball booth. "Okay bean, let's do this."

"First of all, Ah come from Chicken Coop, Kentucky, get your facts straight." Jeb teases, a hand going to cover his side where Doug elbows him. He pushes Doug's shoulder lightly with his other hand. "Ah think Ah got some quarters." He digs in his pocket and hands Doug one as they get in place. "Ground rules though: No playin' dirty. No pushin'. Trash talk is fine though. Like, telling you that you're going all the way down, Ramsey."

"Kid," Doug says, "I am the Skee-Ball Wizard." He gestures. "You just try and keep up with me." He turns, and puts some spin on that bad boy. Okay Jebediah… let's play.

"Skee-Ball wizard my left butt cheek. Maybe the skeeball gnome." Jeb says, dropping his quarter in and taking the first ball as they roll down to meet his hand. This first round has Jeb floundering though, not able to back up any of his big talk when he keeps sinking tens and fives.

Doug watches this, and then steps up — and try as he might… he just cannot seem to sink the big scores. He makes a big show of effort, and makes the game close… but Jeb comes out ahead. He never promised he wouldn't let Jeb win.

Jebediah doesn't seem to notice this round at least that Doug is being theatrical, acting as though he really is putting in a big effort to be good at this but is somehow failing. "That's alright, Doug, it was the first round, Ah didn't do great either. You got two more, right?" He adds encouragingly instead of mocking him like one might thought he would. He gives Doug another quarter after taking one himself and he tries again, and once again, Jebediah isn't doing fantastic, but he does manage to sink one of the high scores this time, which makes him hop up and cheer loudly, even if all of his other ones were low.

In the end, Jebediah comes out ahead, and Doug stands there, and says, "I guess when you get older, you lose the knack, kid. What can I say, I'm the skee-ball king no longer. So you win the bet." His eyebrows go up.

Jebediah wasn't honestly expecting to win with all of the big talk that Doug was giving him. He stands up and raises his eyebrows in surprise. "Now you have to do one thing that I can think of without question." He says, shocked, his hands on his hips as he racks his brain for that precise thing he wants from Doug.

Doug gives a little smirk, and crosses his arms, and leans against the side of the skee-ball stand. "Yeah." He says, "Yeah I do, bean. Whatever you want."

Jebediah watches the way Doug leans against the skee-ball stand with a less than innocent air about it before he catches himself and flushes. One thing that he wants more than anything else. One thing that he thinks Doug would question if he hadn't asked with this conditions may apply deal. "Ah want you to…" He begins, tapping a finger against his chin while he thinks. "Ah want you… Ah want you…" He lingers on that sentence, maybe on purpose. "Ah want you to go home after this and you kiss Jay like you ain't think he going to find anythin' better. Ah want you to go home and kiss Jay like you and him are the only two people in the world and like you know you was made for each other. Got it? And for the rest of the night you can't say anything bad about yourself, nothing."

Doug seems momentarily taken aback by this, but then he nods. "Okay, kid." He puts his hand over his mouth in thought. "…We spit and shook on it, so I guess that's what I'm gonna do. I promised. Come on," He says, gesturing, "Let's go hit the shooting gallery. We've got the whole day ahead of us."

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