Epilogue 1 (Moose):
From Moose’s Private notebook:
So that’s it for my own “What I Did This Summer” story. As always, it’s true, but I’m not going to be mad if you don’t believe it. Either way, you can see why I’m keeping it in my private files and didn’t hand it in as a school essay. It’s not something that would be easy for most people to believe, even here in Kekionga where weird things happen every day. But if you happen to be one of the people those things happen to, like me and the rest of Kids, or Jack being Foursquare, or Iowa and the Professor at the Library or Bud at the Junkyard, you learn to get along with the stories happening around you.
Gale is probably the best at it of all us at getting along with Kekionga. Bud and the Professor got her into Sauk Trail State as a “visiting student” (which explains her pretty well if you don’t look at the details too closely) and she’s sharing a big apartment off campus with Iowa and Nina’s cousin Shelley. She’s the star of the anthropology department (how many undergrads know how to make stone tools?) and the women’s sports teams too. She sometimes says mysterious things about living here in the distant past that have everybody from Bud to the local historians really excited, but mostly she’s just having fun.
That was the biggest loose end, but with help from the grownups the rest of them got tied up too. When the Fair closed and the Midway moved on to the next county, the Strangeness of the World went with it. Iowa and Jack drove over the following week (without telling Gale) to see the show, and they reported there was no sign of the Frozen Cave Girl or her tent and banner. They did see the oriental carpet under the Intelligent Ape’s chess table. (Iowa played him to a draw, but she’d never tell us whether he was a person in a suit or not. ) Bud found a wonderful Victrola at the junkyard to replace the one we broke, and they left it behind one of the tents with a stack of records, so that was off our consciences, too.
Of course, we’ll be helping at the Junkyard for a few Saturdays to pay off the debt, but that’s all right. We’d be going there anyway to hang out in our cool old bus before it gets too cold. It’s fall now, and the spiders are spinning big webs as the leaves begin to turn colors and we start to think about our Halloween costumes. Summer adventures are great adventures, but anything can happen the rest of the year. And it probably will.
Epilogue 2 (Author’s Note):
This story took a long time to tell, but it would never let itself not be told. Now it is November, still warm but soft with the softness of frostbitten stalks and the worn edges of the last few yellow leaves on the path that everyone has walked on. The spiders are gone, mostly, except for that one tattered web connecting the last late rose to the trellis where the morning glories used to be. Summer is well and truly over, except that it never will be over. Not really.
Maybe this summer was the invincible summer that we will always find inside us.
Or maybe that was last year. Or next year.