The Childhood Bucket List, Part II

Continued from Part I.

The butler didn’t reply to this, although I could swear that I saw his chest puff up a little more.  “And how was this item from the list?” he asked instead.  “As enjoyable as sir may have imagined?”

I shook my head back and forth as I pulled myself up into the open Jeep’s passenger seat.  “Nah, there’s way too much wind,” I said.  “It stings a bit.  Chafes the skin.”

“Then perhaps it would be unwise to next tackle #41, “swimming in a pool of Jell-O,” sir,” Tompkins offered.  His voice was perfectly neutral, a skill that must have taken years to perfect.

As we rumbled back towards civilization, I glanced sidelong at Tompkins.  His eyes were on the lack of road before us; I momentarily imagined seeing through his eyes and viewing a perfect two-lane path ahead of us.  I often wondered what it was like inside Tompkins’ head.  Or really, inside anyone’s head beyond my own.  Was I the crazy one?

“Tompkins, be honest with me,” I said, half-yelling to be heard above the sounds of the engine and the rubble beneath the wheels.  “Is this a stupid thing that I’m doing?”

The butler didn’t look at me.  “You will do a number on the pool filter, yes,” he nodded, “but they aren’t too expensive, and we actually received quite a reasonable deal on the bulk order of gelatin.  Apparently you are not the only one with such an esoteric desire.”

I shook my head.  “No, not just the pool full of Jell-O,” I clarified.  “The whole thing.  The bucket list.  I mean, I was only nine when I wrote it all out!  I didn’t know about being an adult?  How could I have known back then what would make me happy now?”

The question was surprisingly deep, and I saw that the butler was caught off guard.  For just a moment, his white-gloved hands slipped ever so slightly on the wheel.  Nobody else would have caught that reaction, but I had been watching for it.  That was akin to a gasp of shock from anyone else.

“I think that many people do not know what will make them happy, sir,” he ventured after a minute.  “And they are willing to try many different things to capture the happiness that they had when they were a child.”

I nodded.  Sage words as always.  Tompkins must have taken some sort of class at Butler School on how to counsel concerned clients.  “I suppose,” I nodded.  “But shouldn’t I be donating some of this money to charity or something?  Helping the world?”

To be concluded!

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