10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Friday, August 08, 2008


At the end of a long day -- the stressful morning commute, the exhausting hours of work, the mad rush-hour struggle to get home -- Bob did not, he felt, ask for much. Dinner on the table, and not burnt. A half-hour with his pipe in the alcove of the living room that he called his den. A quiet, relaxing evening in front of the TV.

He didn't feel that these were too much to ask for, and so felt himself justified in becoming angry when they were not provided.

"I'm sorry," Cheryl repeated tiredly. She kept her hair dyed blonde at his insistence, but hadn't touched it up in a while, and the brown roots were showing. The sloppiness only added to his irritation. "I didn't mean to have dinner late, but I didn't get Lynn back from the doctor until three-thirty, and then there were still the other kids to pick up from school..."

"Then you should've made them walk home," Bob snapped, even though it had been he who decided that Cheryl should take their school-aged children to and from school in the first place. "Maybe then they wouldn't have the energy to whine all through dinner. And for Christ's sake, could you maybe put some damn salt in the meatloaf next time? It was like trying to eat shoe leather." From somewhere down the hallway that led to the bedrooms, three-year-old Lynn started crying again. "For Christ's sake," Bob repeated in disgust.

"The doctor said you needed to cut back on your salt," Cheryl murmured, but he could tell she wouldn't try to pull that health-foot shit again.

Bob shifted position on the couch. "Now hand me the remote and shut that kid up, will ya?" he grunted.

"Oh, but before you get too into your show," Cheryl began.

"But nothing." She handed him the remote, and he shook it at her. "I've been working my ass off all day to make money for you to spend, Cher; I need to relax now, and you are going to let me relax."

She retreated quickly down the hall. He heard her talking to Lynn, but softly, as though she was afraid to make too much noise and thus incur his wrath. Well, fine. It was nice to be shown a little respect for once. Maybe she could even get the kid to quit whining. Hadn't the doctor prescribed any damned pills?

Maybe five minutes passed; in the kids' room Cheryl tried to soothe the pain of their toddler's ear infection, and on the couch Bob flicked idly through the channels. He had just about decided which of the two currently-playing episodes of CSI to watch when his son advanced cautiously into the room.

"Uh, hey, dad?" Terry's voice was just starting to change, and the words came out in a sort of squeak. The boy cleared his throat and tried again. "Dad? Can I, uh, have the TV now?"

"What the hell is wrong with you people?!" Bob snarled. "Can't you see that I work all damn day for you, and that the least I ask is to have some peace and quiet when I finally come home?!" He glared at Terry. "Get out of here before I really lose my temper."

Cheryl emerged from the hallway just as Terry tried to disappear down it. "Honey, that's what I was trying to tell you." She made a helpless little gesture. "Terry has to watch that special on PBS tonight for his honors English class."

"The hell he does!" Bob roared. "Terry, you're grounded for a week and don't you dare tell me any more lies." The boy pelted out of the room, and Bob turned his attention to Cheryl. "I knew you were stupid, but falling for a twelve-year-old's lies? Christ, woman. Christ."

Lynn began wailing in pain again, and Bob winced. "And now I've got a headache. Great job, Cheryl. Way to ruin my evening, again." Then his voice dropped. "I ought to just strike you," he muttered, glaring at her. "God knows there's no other way of getting any sense in your head."

Cheryl took a step backwards, and he noticed that. Terry, listening from just outside the room, clenched his fists and then held them to his mouth to stifle a sob. Fortunately for him, Bob didn't notice that.

This one's for you, dad. Are you dead yet? I honestly have no idea. If so, how's the weather down there?

Sometimes I wish you'd beaten up on us kids, instead of just always telling us we were worthless, and screaming at us if we were ever in the living room/bathroom/kitchen/wherever when you Needed To Be There, and regularly
threatening to hurt mom while being just crazy-crafty enough to not actually do it. Maybe if I'd shown up to school with my eyes blackened and my teeth knocked out when I was eight, then you wouldn't've still been around to make our house a place of fear when I was eighteen.

For the record, this scene never happened, and Terry isn't me. The scene just kind of popped into my head when I saw how happy that bear was to have his R&R.

*adds the 'sidetrack' tag*

No comments: