Out from the Attic


Doc dumped a crate of junk out on his desk. Stuff scattered everywhere. Goose dodged an avalanche of computer parts as they cascaded off the edge of the desk.
"What the hell is all this?" he asked as he picked up a handful of computer keys.
"My mom cleaned out my old room," Doc explained. "This is the stuff she refused to store in the attic."
Goose held out his handful of keys. "A bunch of computer junk?"
"That, my Gooseman, is my very first computer. Treat her kindly."
"I don't think I can treat it any worse than you have." Goose dropped the keys back on the desk, and started shifting through the rest. A piece of paper fluttered to the floor, catching his eye.
It turned out to be a photograph. On the back was written, "Wally, age 5". On the front...Goose flipped it over, and burst out laughing.
"What, what?" Doc leaned over and looked at the photo. His eyes went wide, and he tried to snatch it away. Goose yanked it back.
"Uh-uh, Hartford. I wanna hear the story behind *this*."
"Aw, no you don't. There's really nothing to it..."
"Don't give me that. This is you in a *dress*. Now give."
Doc winced. "I suppose you won't give me that back if I don't tell you?"
"You're right."
Doc grimaced. "All right. That was back when I started school. Sister Mary Katherine's class. She scared the hell out of me. Every day, I got the ruler across the knuckles. I was miserable, but they wouldn't let me quit, or even just switch classes."
Doc sighed. "Dad is an old film buff, and he was watching this old show with me. And this guy, who was stuck in the military against his will, dressed in drag, trying to get kicked out."
"And you decided to try it," Goose chuckled.
Doc grinned weakly. "I 'borrowed' my sister's uniform the next day. Sister Mary Katherine fainted."
Goose snickered again. "Did it work?"
"Kind of...I was expelled for a year. I had to go to public school. Dad had a fit."
"I'll bet. So who took the photo?"
"Mom. She thought I looked cute." Doc reached for the photo. Goose pulled it away again, an evil glint in his eye.
"I think I'll tape this to the inside of my locker."
"Hey! You said you'd give it back if I told you..." Doc trailed off as realization hit him.
"Nooo...I just said I'd never give it back if you didn't tell." Goose tapped the photo calmly. "But if you *really* want it back, there is something you could do..."
Back in the lounge, Zach and Niko slowly put their mugs down, staring at the apparition that walked in the door. As Doc, dressed in Scarlett O'Hara garb, sashayed past, Zach dumped his coffee out. Shaking his head, he walked away, muttering "I don't wanna know..."