Troubles and Treats

Page 57

I remove the wet towel from my eyes and chance a look at her.

“Yeah, we didn’t really think that part through,” I admit.

“Oh gee, you think? Those three women went running down the street screaming about crazy men and flesh eating zombies that had taken over my store. And Jenny called me in a panic, freaking out because someone knocked on her door, and she thought zombies were going to break into the house to eat your kids. She threw a blender, the toaster, and a lamp at the door before I could convince her that it was my mother dropping off a present for Billy,” Liz tells me.

“Which lamp? It wasn’t my Ohio State one, was it?” I ask in horror.

“That is so not the f**king point, Drew!”

I look over at Carter and Jim and realize they are much smarter than I am. They are both sitting with their heads down, not making eye contact.

“You three are in time-out! No playing together for the rest of the week!” Liz yells before stomping past us and into the store.

“Yes ma’am,” we all mumble.

After we hear the door close, we all finally look at each other.

“Next time we’re allowed to play together, we are so coming up with a zombie antidote,” Jim states.

Chapter 24 – I Love Your Mom’s Clam

“Tell me again why we’re spending our Friday night with your parents?” Drew asks for the tenth time tonight.

“I told you, my mom wants to show us some reward she got from a group she’s in.”

“Reward or Award?” Drew asks.

“I’m not sure. Whatever the one is where you get a trophy or something.”

I don’t know why Drew is making a fuss about going to dinner at my parents’ house. They love him. I think maybe more than they do me.

“My mom said she was making something you mentioned liking a while ago. I tried to get her to tell me what it was, but she said it was a surprise,” I say with a shrug.

I can practically see Drew’s eyes light up with happiness. My mom is a very good cook. If you ask Drew what three things he would want with him if he was stranded on a desert island, he’d say the July 1990 issue of Playboy, me, and my mom’s homemade chicken pot pie. He’s been grumpy ever since he was grounded from hanging out with the boys. Hopefully this dinner will put him in a good mood.

When we pull into my parents' driveway, Drew is out of the car and running through their front door before I’m even unbuckled. No matter what kind of a mood he’s in, there’s no way his stomach can deny him my mom’s cooking.

I get the kids out of the car and make my way into the house. Of course, as soon as I enter I see my parents pawning all over Drew, hugging him and squeezing his cheeks and asking him a million questions, like they haven’t just seen him a week ago.

“Oooooooh, give me that grandson of mine!” my mother squeals, running over to take Billy out of my arms. She presses kisses all over his cheeks while I bend down to help Veronica out of her coat.

“Give Gammy a kiss,” my mom says, bending down to Veronica’s level.

“You’re a stinkin’ dumb stupid head,” Veronica tells her.

“Awww, isn’t she sweet? I could just eat her up!” my mom says with a smile, standing back up and shifting Billy to her other arm.

My mom has a hard time understanding Veronica when she talks. She had thought it was rude to ask Veronica to repeat something or tell her she didn’t understand her, so instead she just sort of tunes her out and pretends like she gets what she’s saying. It’s almost like that dog whistle thingy that only dogs can hear. Except, Veronica is the thingy and my mom is the dog. Wait, no. Would the thingy be the dog? Or would my mom be the whistle?

I've told her she needs to stop doing that. Just last week Veronica had asked her if she could paint on the walls, and Mom just smiled at her and told her she was a good little girl. My parents now have a lovely drawing of a giant pink blob on their living room wall.

“It smells awesome in here, Ma. What did you make for dinner?” Drew asks as my dad walks up next to him with the business section of the newspaper. A year ago, Drew had watched some stockbroker movie and when my parents stopped over that night, he started quoting the movie randomly throughout the night. My dad now thinks he’s a Wall Street genius and has Drew give him stock tips each week. I still don’t understand why Drew keeps going along with it.

“Well, remember that conversation we had a few weeks ago and you said something about how a bearded clam was your favorite thing to eat?” my mom asks in answer to Drew’s question about dinner.

I throw an angry look over at Drew, but he’s too busy snort-laughing with his hands over his face.

“I tried to use the Ga-Google thingy on the computer to search for: How to make a bearded clam. All that came up were some really disturbing pictures, so I decided to just wing it and make something else. I hope it tastes as good as the bearded clam,” my mom tells him, passing Billy off to my dad as she walks by him to get to the kitchen.

“Daddy, I wanna eat a beardy clam,” Veronica says.

“Veronica, don’t say that,” I tell her softly while Drew snorts even louder.

“I wanna eat a beardy clam, you stinkin’ dumb stupid head!” Veronica shouts.

“Oh, that’s it! Time out!” I tell her. “Not another word for five minutes.”

Veronica stomps her feet angrily into the kitchen with my mother, probably hoping for some sympathy when she tells her I’m mean. Unfortunately for Veronica, my mom will probably think she's said, “I’m so clean!”

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