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Thread: Debi Does Dalliance

  1. #1
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    Debi Does Dalliance

    Debi Snotenlocker, the Real Housewife of East Hogwash, is one stressed-out woman. Along with a less-than-attentive spouse and a disapproving mother-in-law, she has to deal with a petulant daughter and a set of particularly rambunctious triplets. Even getting a little R & R takes an effort. When temperatures - and tempers - rise, poor Debi can’t take the heat. Let’s see if she can get out of the kitchen in a little number we call

    Debi Does Dalliance

    I’d like to get my hands on the so-called “educator” who invented summer vacation. First thing I’d do is lash him to a hibachi, smear him with honey barbecue sauce, and let loose a hive of killer bees.

    Or maybe a better punishment would be to lock him up right here. He wouldn’t last fifteen minutes with Trip, Trap, and Trick. I know I’m going crazy, and I’m their mother – I’m supposed to be here!

    Back in June Brad and I tried our damnedest to enroll the boys into a summer day camp. We got writer’s cramp filling out application after application. Rejections – every last one. We even offered to pay double (and we’re talking triplets here, do the math.) No dice.

    Even that wouldn’t be so bad if I could just get them outside to play in the yard. But our neighbors put the kibosh on that with their iron-clad injunction.

    In the endless summer, I drew little hash lines on the wall to count down the days to Labor Day. I was like prisoner awaiting release as I waited for those three little magic words: “Back to School!”

    Meanwhile, July and August dragged on and on. By the beginning of September the kids and I had done enough arts and crafts projects to make Martha Stewart look lazy. Even Trip, Trap, and Trick were hard-pressed to come up with ways to amuse themselves. They even held a contest to see who could produce the best rendition of “Jingle Bells” by drumming their fingers over their mouths.

    To make matters worse, the Fall semester at DUH was having a late start this year, so Milwaukee – my daughter from a previous relationship - decided to spend the time just sitting around. Literally. Needless to say, she wouldn’t lift a finger to help me around the house. But I was surprised at the change in her personal appearance.

    I didn’t want to sound like Brad’s mother, but I called her out on it. “What’s going on with you, Milwaukee? You used to obsess about how you looked. It took hours for you to put on makeup and fuss with your hair. You even got dolled up just to take out the trash! Now you can’t be bothered to change your tee shirt.”

    She shrugged. “No problem,” she said. “I figure Caitlin Jenner can pick up the slack.”

    There was no way I was going to get through another weekend of this. It took me quite a while to find Brad. I followed the trail of empty Muckenmire cans and spotted him all hunkered down in front of the TV. “Brad, we’ve got to do something –“

    “Shh! I’m watching the game.”

    “You’ve got time, believe me. Every guy in the Yankee bullpen takes nine minutes between pitches. Listen, the kids are bored out of their gourds. Milwaukee is letting herself go, and the boys are playing Christmas songs on their lips. We’ve got to get them out of the house for a while.”

    Brad looked at me like a leftover carton of moo goo gai pan from the far reaches of the refrigerator. “You mean take them out? In public? Are you insane? Every time we try to do a family activity, it ends up in disaster!”

    “Since when?”

    “Since the last twelve times!”

    “Well, you know what they always say: ‘Thirteen’s the charm!”

    So the next day all of us climbed into the SUV and headed for Adventure – except for a quick stop to pick up a couple of passengers. We’d planned on making an early start, but Uncle Toper had alternate plans. He insisted on bringing along two extra cases of Muckenmire –“just in case” he ran low. By the time he was done packing, we couldn’t tell which one was more loaded – the vehicle or Uncle Toper.

    We lost more time because Brad’s mother insisted that we wait until she caught the ending of The Price is Right, followed by the Mandatory Inspection of my coolers. Brad’s mother had an issue with the placement of the container of potato salad next to the pickle jar. Also it was her strong opinion that rather than bringing previously-made sandwiches, I should have packed the bread and fillings separately and assembled the sandwiches on site.

    “Gee,” I said, “that’s a good point, Mrs. S. If you’d told me your preference last night, I wouldn’t have been up until 2 a.m. making the damn things.”

    “Deborah! Watch your language in front of my grandsons!”

    I declined to tell her that it’s way too late to worry about her grandchildren’s potty mouths. As a matter of fact, their word choices are so dirty HBO plans to hire them as creative consultants.

    Finally we were on the road, but not for long. We had to stop after twenty minutes – breaking an all-time Snotenlocker record. This delay wasn’t the result of a bathroom emergency, an uncontrollable temper tantrum, or the familiar “If you don’t behave, I’m turning this car around and going right back home!” Instead we were stuck behind a road block set up by a contingent of the State Police.

    One of the troopers stepped right over to the driver’s side. Even though the late summer sun was brighter than a cruel Klieg above a ladies’ room mirror, the cop turned on his flashlight and aimed it right in Brad’s face.

    “Something wrong, Officer?”

    “You want to step out of the car, Sir?”

    Same order to Brad’s mother, Uncle Toper, and me. When the boys started pestering the trooper to show them his gun, he told them boys to stay buckled in their car seats. Then he pointed to Milwaukee. “Step out of the car, Sir.”

    “ Really? ‘Sir’?” She asked the trooper if it would be all right if she went to the nearby gas station to use the restroom, and when he agreed, she grabbed her bag and ran faster than I’d seen her move all summer.

    “If you don’t mind my asking, Officer, what’s this all about?” Brad asked.

    “We’re checking all vehicles, Sir. There’s an escaped prisoner at large.” As his partner looked through the car, the first trooper handed Brad a small card.

    “Oh yeah, I saw a picture of the guy on the news,” Brad said as he squinted at the little card. “But I don’t think that guy was a skinhead.”

    “This isn’t the guy,” the trooper said. “It's me. You’re looking at my ID.” He snatched the card away and told Brad to open the trunk.

    “What’s in these coolers?”

    Brad’s mother was quick to volunteer the information. “Sandwiches! No doubt they’re all soggy by now. I told my daughter-in-law she should have waited to make them. Don’t you agree, Officer?”

    He was just about to close the trunk when he suddenly spotted the multiple cases of Muckenmire. He let out a loud whistle. “Planning on opening up a gin mill or what? Who belongs to all these brewskis?” He looked Brad straight in the eye.

    “They’re mine, Officer!” Uncle Toper confessed. “As a matter of fact I was just about to pop one. Care to join me?”

    “I’m on duty.” He looked suspiciously at Brad.

    “Me too, Officer. I’m the designated driver! I wouldn’t dream of drinking while –“

    The trooper’s partner said something about the waiting line of cars piling up, so with a dramatic slam of the trunk, we were told we could go. “If you see something, say something. Just call us your mobile device.”

    He must’ve been kidding. Maybe folks with really fancy phones can get a signal out here in the boonies. I can’t say my phone is a smart phone – it barely has its GED.

    We almost forgot Milwaukee, who finally emerged from the gas station restroom. She had changed from her sloppy clothes into a pair of very short cut-offs and a tank top with a neckline that dipped lower than the Dow Jones had fallen that week. Not only that, Milwaukee had put on so much make-up she looked like she was starring in Cabaret at the East Hogwash Dinner Theatre. She fluttered her fake eyelashes at the trooper as she squeezed herself into the back seat.

    As Brad restarted the motor, I looked back at the trooper. He had removed his Smokey the Bear hat and was scratching his bald head. I think I heard him mutter to his partner. “What the hell? I could’ve sworn that was a dude in the back seat!”

    Finally back on the road, I asked Brad how much farther it was to Sagan State Park.

    “ It’s so late it’s probably full up by now. So we got a change in plans.”

    “Where we going, Daddy?”

    “It’s uh-- a surprise, Son!”

    “Can we go to Splashville, Daddy? Can we? Please! Please!”

    “Oh, you’re full of it, Trip. Let’s go to Swinging Safari instead!”

    “Bor-ring! Who wants to look at animals pooping all over the place? I vote for Emesis Park. I want to ride on the Silver Tornado. It’s four thousand feet high!”

    “You’re a *#@!-head, Track! No roller coaster is four thousand feet high!”



    “You’re a butt-hole!”

    “No, you are!”

    As the battle turned violent, Brad headed down a dirt road that looked like a location from a low-budget horror movie. “Wait till you see this place, kids!” Brad said. “You’ll love it. Best of all, we’ll have the place to ourselves.”

    “Yeah, and you can see why,” Milwaukee said.

    The road twisted and turned, but it seemed like it was going nowhere. Apparently it wasn’t completely deserted, as the kids spotted a man stumbling down the shoulder of the road. As our SUV slowly rolled past him, he stuck out his thumb.

    “A hitch-hiker! Let’s pick him up, Daddy!”

    “Yeah, let’s!”

    “Oh, Dad, come on! Please! Please!”

    “Geez, boys, this car is overcrowded as it is! What do you want me to do, tie the guy on the roof like Romney’s dog?”

    A few minutes later Brad pulled the car off the dirt road and parked it on a relatively-flat clearing. “Here we are!” he announced.

    “We are?” You can imagine my confusion. “And where is ‘here,’ if I may be so bold as to ask?”

    “The Great Outdoors! Okay, so it’s the County Reservoir, but it’s Nature! It’s so quiet out here.”

    That much was true. The only sound I heard came from Uncle Toper unpopping his beer can.

    “Smell that fresh air! Ah!”

    “All we can smell back here is Trick’s farts!”

    “And Trip’s stinky feet!”

    “Yeah well, you stink, Trap!”

    “No you do!”

    The battle required a larger venue, so the boys rolled out of the vehicle and ran after one another into the woods.

    “They won’t get far,” Brad said.

    “I know,” I said, trying to conceal my disappointment.

    Brad’s mother was also less-than-satisfied. “I don’t see any picnic tables!”

    “It’s okay, Mrs. S. We’ll improvise. I think I can scrounge up something.”

    “What am I supposed to do? Sit on the dirty ground? I have sciatica!”

    “You’re perfectly free to stay in the hot car, Mrs. S. -“

    I found a funky old blanket that had been hanging around the back of the vehicle for a couple of years. Naturally nobody made a move to help me unroll it, shake it out, and spread it on a fairly level stretch under a shady tree. And of course I had to struggle trying to anchor it down with the picnic baskets and coolers. When I finally got a chance to look up, I noticed a warning nailed to the trunk of the tree: “No Trespassing. No Hunting. No Fishing. No Swimming. Violators will be strictly prosecuted.”

    “Uh, I don’t think we’re supposed to be here, Brad.”

    “Aw, that sign doesn’t apply to us. We’re county residents.”

    Couple of minutes later the boys returned to what I guess you could call our “base camp.” As they ran, they pelted one another with dark round objects they pulled out of their pockets as if the boys were umpires geared up with a fresh supply of baseballs. The difference was that these things were shiny, rubbery, and black.

    “Where did you get those things?”

    “Down there – on the water! You should see them all, Ma! A whole *#@! load of ‘em!”

    Mrs. S. gasped. “Deborah! What kind of language are you teaching my grandsons?”

    We all hiked down through the woods to the edge of the reservoir. We expected to see a view of blue water, but the entire surface was covered with thousands of these black spheroids.

    Uncle Toper took a swig of Muckenmire’s. “Wow. Never saw anything quite like this before. Unless you count the time when I worked in the locker room in the boy’s gym at Abstinence Only Christian School. But those weren’t this color. More like a blue shade.”

    "I think I saw something like this on the news," Brad said. But it was out in California. I guess they're gonna try it out here with our own drought."

    Uncle Toper popped another Muckenmire's. No drought going there.

    Suddenly a horrible sound echoed through the woods.

    “That’s not gunfire,” Brad announced. “It’s way too early for huntin’ season!”

    “Yeah,” I agreed, “and deer usually don’t have police sirens!”

    Brad’s eyes went all wide. “Everybody back in the car!”

    We grabbed everything off the funky blanket and shoved it all back into the vehicle. Brad sped down the dirt road as if he was auditioning to be a stunt driver for Fast and Furious 9.

    “I can’t believe we’re gonna be arrested for trespassing!” he muttered.

    “Speeding too, if you don’t slow the hell down!”

    He had no choice but to proceed no faster than a crawl. The narrow dirt road had been
    covered with cars, vans,and ambulances from law enforcement agencies from the state and every county, town, and village within a hundred-mile radius. There was even a helicopter or two. Satellite-topped vehicles from local tv and radio stations jammed themselves into the scene, even one from Entertainment Tonight! Maybe the Kardashians were in the vicinity.

    Through the uniformed crowd we could see the hitch-hiker we’d seen earlier. He was handcuffed and led into the back of a van.

    “Whew!” Brad sighed. “That’s was a close one! For a while there I thought they were after us –“

    “Not so fast there, Scarface!” I jerked my thumb over to the same state trooper who’d earlier detained us. This time we were all hauled back to the State Police Barracks “for questioning.”

    It took about four hours for Brad to try to talk us out of some big-time trouble by pleading that it was all a “misunderstanding.” He should have stopped at that, but then he had to open his big fat mouth and offer to buy six tickets to the “Policeman’s Ball.”

    “The policeman’s what?” The trooper laughed so hard he almost fell backward out of his chair? “What year is this -- 1933?”

    Having beaten the rap, we buried this episode in the secret annals of Snotenlocker history not to be mentioned ever again.

    I had better things to think about, the longed-for First Day of School. Within seconds of pushing the triplets onto the yellow bus, I shouted for joy: “Free at last, free at last, great God Almighty, I’m free at last!”

    I went back inside, poured myself a cup of coffee and settled down for a relaxing morning of daytime tv. But moments later there was a clamor at the door.

    All three of the boys stormed in, screaming at the top of their lungs. “First ^&#~ing Day of School and we got the ^&#~ing day off! Yippee!”

    “What are you talking about?”

    Trip handed me a piece of paper. “It’s from the school nurse. We got head lice!”

    No. Oh, please God, no. “There must be some mistake. How in the world could you guys catch head lice?”

    “Dunno.” With his filthy fingernails, Trick dug into his scalp, and as if on cue, the other two shook their own heads and raked their claws through their hair.

    “Wait. Remember yesterday when we saw that criminal and stuff? We saw him down by the water. He let us take turns putting on his hat.”

    So much for the First ^&#~ing Day of school. Guess I learned my lesson: if I want to take my own day off, I’m going to have to scratch for it.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 09-18-2015 at 07:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    That was the first time I heard about shade balls. Another thing known by the State of California to work.

    It also looks like there still is something that will get Milwaukee off her butt.

  3. #3
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Thanks for suffering through this one, YesNo!

  4. #4
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    I enjoyed that. The minutiae of detail is very tricky to do and often boring, not here though.
    ay up

  5. #5
    Registered User 108 fountains's Avatar
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    Yeah, I enjoyed this piece a lot. Sometimes we just need a good laugh without any hidden themes or lessons, moral or otherwise. The exaggerations are the basis of the humor, but they are not "over-exaggerations." We've all had days like that or feelings like that - not quite to that extent, but approaching it anyway, and so it's easy to identify with the characters.

    I didn't get this allusion: "Never saw anything quite like this before. Unless you count the time when I worked in the locker room in the boy’s gym at Abstinence Only Christian School." Not quite sure what you were getting at there (probably I'm just dense or naïve.)

    I can learn from reading your stories. In this one, for example, there is very little narration after the first few paragraphs that set the mood and the scene. The story is pretty much all in the dialogue. Not that all short stories need to be done this way, but I like the technique, and I think it was very effective here.
    A just conception of life is too large a thing to grasp during the short interval of passing through it.
    Thomas Hardy

  6. #6
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    What I liked most about this was the humor and family dynamics. Funny and entertaining as all get-out, and easy to read, you just free-fall through the fun.

  7. #7
    Registered User Wes Corona's Avatar
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    50 miles from a place that time forgot
    A very enjoyable story. From start to finish, a laugh a minute. Good work, I will seek you out for more things. Thanks for your efforts.
    Perhaps it was just an idle view, or the view as seen by an idle mind.

  8. #8
    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    Entertaining stuff, and very witty - though I don't think some of the cultural references have made it to this side of the Atlantic!
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

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