Chapter Ten concerns the night. Interposed between Leo’s stories is an extra story referring to Douglas’ family. It begins without fanfare. We find Tom running to Mrs. Singer’s store to get ice cream at nine o’clock on the same night for himself and Douglas. However, by nine-thirty, Douglas has not returned. This causes his worried mother to go to the ravine with Tom. Tom, in spite of the darkness of the night, feels safe because he is holding his mother’s hand and because he has a little understanding of death. His sense of security, however, vanishes when he feels his mother’s hand tremble and realizes that she is afraid, like him. The ensuing revelation that apparently unfazed grown-ups feel loneliness and pain too unnerves him and makes him aware of the darkness surrounding them. Just before he feels overwhelmed, Douglas and his friends return, breaking the spell of aloneness. Tom later tells Douglas that the ravine would not belong in Leo’s Happiness Machine, thus contrasting the pleasures humans wish for with the realities they receive instead.
Published by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler is an award-winning writer and poet. Born in San Antonio, Texas, to a career military father and stay at home mother, he lived in six states and attended eight schools before graduating high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. His writing awards include the CIPA EVVY 2021 Bronze Winner in the Spiritual/Religion Category and the 2021 NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite for Christian Non-Fiction for Kissing Guilt Goodbye: Breaking Free from the Shackles of Shame (enLIVEn Devotional Series Book 3) for which he was a contributor and the East Texas Christian Writer’s Confernce best short story award. Before writing full time, he worked as a US Army officer for 8-years, religious educator for 18-years, and as an IT software application engineer for over 20-years. He is a widower. He lives in North Texas with his cat Lacey. View all posts by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. View all posts by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.