“He had something to tell us. Dad did. It’s going to be good–”
“Dad’s lousy on surprises.”
“That’s how you know it’s going to be good.”
“Never know, I guess.”
Kara thinks I think Dad is finally going to get me a car. That would be cool, but I’m not dumb enough to think it. He’s going to get me something good and I’m going to like it no matter what it is, because I’m not greedy.
Anyway, who cares about a car?
“What do you think it will be? Sam. Sam!”
“I don’t know. Something good. Whatever, shut up.”
I hate when she grins, she does it just to piss me off. She doesn’t need a car, she already has one, mom’s old car, got as a trade off for taking me to school and doing the errands. Not that she ever drove me around unless she had to or mom made her.
Surprises are lame in this family, usually. No one plans ahead. There’s this spur of the moment, last minute enthusiasm for it the night before, when it’s too late to do anything, and that’s it. Dad tried to make reservations for mom’s favorite restaurant the morning of their anniversary, thinking he’d surprise her. Of course, it was booked, so he made a big deal of going to the “family favorite.” He didn’t know we’d heard him in the office, I guess thought we were still asleep. I’ve hated sharing that room with Kara since dad’s fax machine became our alarm.
Mom’s big surprise, her one and only, the way Kara tells it, was me. I don’t think she ever forgave her for me existing. Maybe all sisters suck. Blech, I’m glad Kara goes to a different school.
That was Kara’s surprise. Super-duper high-score on the PSSAs, then AP courses, now she’s taking the SATs this summer. If I knew I could skip the end of school just by taking a test, I’d have studied harder. Bet she cheated, anyway. She always thought she was smarter than everybody else, now she “knows” it.
“When’s Dad getting home?”
“Anxious means worry, miss smarty ass. I’m just curious.”
“You sure look worried to me. Maybe he found out he’s not your real father…”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Yeah, he found the space pod that dropped you off.”
“You sure you don’t get to that special school you go to by short bus?”
“Your father’s home, he wants you to come outside, Aaron.”
So, there’s no new car in the driveway. Just dad, looking tired and rubbing the bridge of his nose as he sits in the driver’s seat, his glasses bunched in his other hand.
“Hey, buddy! Happy birthday. Help me out with the trunk, ok. I think there might–”
“Ha, well. So much for that. Better let him out.”
So, no car.
A dog is pretty great, though. Kara doesn’t have a dog.
I have no idea where the hell I was going with this. I tried for something other than sardonic, bitter or deadly, and it turned into The Family Circus. As Aaron said, blech.
I would have postponed, but I missed last week. No good to miss too many self-imposed deadlines, it makes making those produced externally all the much harder to meet.
I wrote a 1500 word series of flash fictions much more in my usual vein, but must keep them under wraps for now. The place to which I’m submitting them counts blog posting as previous publication.
My longer form story is coming along. I’ve hit a new snag, but nothing insurmountable. My biggest challenge has been finding both the time and the energy to work on it. The heat here has been oppressive, frequently overwhelming the cooling abilities of all my favorite coffee shops’ air conditioners.
Sorry for the family friendly freakishness. I agree with John Water’s when he wrote that “family friendly is just a dirty word for censorship,” and am quite shocked at how un-shocking today’s post was.
I seem to be recovering, though. Look for a return to my more normal, bleak and black mode next friday.