The Air Vent

29 Jul

(This is fiction.)

I was 6, my brother was 10, and we had the whole house to ourselves. Grandma and Mom were at the restaurant getting it ready for the morning crowd. The crowd wasn’t very large, maybe 10 to 15 people at the most, but it was enough to keep the business alive. Those who came, came for the biscuits and gravy.  Grandma was known for her famous biscuits and gravy in at least a three county radius.

We would have about 4 hours in between being checked on through the day to fill with whatever adventures I would device for us to do. The restaurant was just a stone’s throw away from the house so we could not get to crazy.  My brother being the oldest was in charge of me, and I being of little attention span was in charge of figuring out what we were going to do that day. Luckily my brother was game for whatever I could come up with, even if that meant being Barbie’s best friend for an hour.

The house was old, with creaky wooden floors and yellowing wallpaper peeling at the corners. Grandma was frugal with the air conditioning, so the house would heat up slowly throughout the day. She seemed to have it down to a science when to pop the air conditioner on the give just enough relief to the dwellers as to not turn them into melted pools of human laziness. In the older houses the air vents were in the floors as oppose to the ceilings of modern structures. The air would kick on with a ticking noise, and then a grunt from the house as if it was so inconvenienced by the thought of cooling off it’s occupants.  Then with a strong whoosh the floor would blow sweet cooling relief strong enough (in a 6 year old’s mind) to float on to the heavens.

We would grab one of Grandma’s good top sheets from the bed whenever we hear the telltale ticking and run to the nearest vent. My brother and I would duck ourselves under the sheet, holding all four corners down between us as the air would start it’s travel from unknown origins of the inner house workings and into our sheet. The sheet would fill with air encasing us in some sort of air igloo. Our skin would goose bump with the cool air and I would watch the sheet rise as it filled. We had about 10 minutes to cool down and exchange stories in our air tent. My brother’s would always be about pirates or dragons or cars, typical boy stuff. Mine would be about princesses, my future jobs, and how to care and raise unicorns. We would listen to each other’s stories with faked interest if we had too. That was the number one rule of the air tent. No fighting. We couldn’t waste the time with fighting.

I loved the days of staying at my Grandma’s. It felt like we had a freedom there not afforded to most kids our age. I was allowed to let my imagination take over and fill our days with adventures and games.

When we got older, Grandma sold the restaurant when her old bones wouldn’t let her stir the batter to make those famous tri-county  biscuits anymore. My brother and I stopped playing in the air vents eventually. Now when we would visit Grandma we would sit at the dinning room table with the adults and listen to adult topics like changing car batteries, the weather, and stories of the restaurant regulars.

However, whenever the air would kick on in the house, I would look at my brother, and he at me, and we would smile.

43 Responses to “The Air Vent”

  1. RFL July 29, 2013 at 9:46 AM #

    This was really cool (pun not intended), Chris. Loved this phrase in particular, “melted pools of human laziness.”

  2. Kayla Lords July 29, 2013 at 10:12 AM #

    So I’m thinking you should write fiction like this more often… 🙂

    • Christopher De Voss July 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM #


      • Kayla Lords July 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM #

        Eh? Whatev. You’re good. Just accept it and move on. 🙂

      • Christopher De Voss July 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM #


      • Kayla Lords July 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM #

        See, isn’t life easier when everyone realizes I’m right and does what I tell them to do? /giggles

      • Christopher De Voss July 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM #

        You and my wife would get along really well.

      • Kayla Lords July 29, 2013 at 11:11 AM #

        LOL…yeah, you read my blog…you know I don’t want to be right most of the time… 🙂

      • Christopher De Voss July 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM #


  3. misskzebra July 29, 2013 at 10:49 AM #

    I could really have used an air tent in the past week…

    This was a really good story, but I find it hard to believe there are any brothers out there who are totally happy to be Barbie’s best friend for an hour. 😉

    • Christopher De Voss July 29, 2013 at 10:59 AM #

      This one was. It’s based on a story my wife told me of her childhood. I put my own spin on it, thus the fictional part.

  4. Cara Thereon July 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM #

    I enjoyed this story. 🙂

  5. G July 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM #

    Wow, this takes me back to a childhood I never had. Great imagery, that sanctuary of the air tent.

  6. myspokenheart July 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM #

    I loved this, being raised in BC, Canada we did not have very many summers that got hot enough for such luxuries as air conditioning… I do however have very similar memories of light weight blankets and the furnace kicking in during the winter….

  7. whiteladyinthehood July 29, 2013 at 5:27 PM #

    Great story! I loved the ending…

  8. Ervin Sholpnick July 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM #

    I am being called away before I could completely read this, so I will finish this when I get back… but I had to make a comment on what I had read so far…. Biscuits and Gravy are Fiction?!?!?!?!?!? What the hell have I been eating all these years?????

  9. ksbeth July 29, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

    loved this and now i am really craving biscuits )

  10. Ervin Sholpnick July 29, 2013 at 10:39 PM #

    Now I want to go to my Grandma’s house

  11. The Bumble Files July 30, 2013 at 1:31 AM #

    Oh, I enjoyed this Chris! I like the knowing looks at the end between the kids. It’s like a special air vent pact. You could continue this too…what is it about that air vent and why do they find it so alluring?

  12. Monk Monkey July 30, 2013 at 6:23 AM #

    I would have stirred the batter for your grandma. And then she would have given me a nickel.

    • Christopher De Voss July 30, 2013 at 9:11 AM #

      And you could run to the Five and Dime and buy a Candy Cigarette.

  13. ohlidia July 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM #

    What great memories!! I love stories like this…

  14. silkpurseproductions July 30, 2013 at 11:39 AM #

    This was a beautiful tale of a brother and sister memory making. Their relationship would be the envy of most with siblings. You do know how to paint a lovely picture.

    • Christopher De Voss July 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM #

      It’s based on a real memory, which makes it even nicer I think.

  15. Mrs. DeVoss July 30, 2013 at 11:45 PM #

    Aww…people like my memories, the exchange for him playing barbies was that I had to learn about all the x-men comics and spiderman. I guess that was fair. I miss the air vents in the floor, I would love to sit under one again.

    • Christopher De Voss July 30, 2013 at 11:48 PM #

      You can…in St. Augustine…

      • Mrs. DeVoss July 30, 2013 at 11:56 PM #

        🙂 I’m ready to go…

  16. Sandee August 1, 2013 at 12:53 AM #

    What a sweet story!

  17. pieterk515 August 1, 2013 at 6:46 AM #

    Getting goosebumps…

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