Note: I have posted this story once already,
but there was something I wasn't satisfied with, the ending. It was
a little too pat for me, so here's a more..."realistic"
ending, for all those who inquired about one.
Disclaimer: There are a few Marvel owned characters in here
(Bobby Drake, Madeliene & William Drake, Hank, Logan, and cousin
Mary). All others I added to compliment to the story of a character
who I have an endless fascination with. I'm getting absolutely no
money off of this, ect. If there's any feedback this time around,
send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Look. I know you don't like me. Heck, I don't like you. We
go through this every morning. Don't you think, that just every once
in a while you could cut me some slack? I've tried making friends
with you, I've tried ignoring you, and now I'm forced to reasoning
with you. Please, all I ask of you is to just...y'know...not be so
annoying at three thirty in the a.m.?"
Bobby Drake looked for any sign that his alarm clock understood what
he was saying. The alarm clock responded by turning on another alarm.
Bobby slammed the off button and got out of his bed reluctantly. Today
would be spent trying to get over to Long Island for a Christmas Eve
party with his folks. It was going to be one hum dinger of a twenty-four
After an unforgivably hot shower, Bobby returned to his room, and
his attention was drawn to his wet hair. Bobby did not look good with
wet hair. Bobby fumbled around in his room in search of his hair dryer.
He found it under a pile of laundry he dubbed 'Mt. Not-so-St. Drake.'
He preferred doing most of his daily routine in his room rather than
the bathroom. Remy and Warren made it hobby to tease him about his
appearance, and his roommate Hank shed too much for his liking.
Going towards his radio, the pride and joy of his room, Bobby put
in a Duran Duran CD and Rio filled the air. With only a towel around
his waist and armed with a hair dryer, a comb, and a whole lot of
gel, Bobby set to work on his hair. It was his form of meditation:
Duran Duran blaring, doing his own dance in front of the mirror, pretending
to be Brian Setzer, heat blasting, gel all over his head ... life
didn't get any better than this.
Hair dried and ready to wear, Bobby stumbled around his room to find
something presentable to wear. He managed to find a pair of semi-clean
khaki Dockers, a blue sweater and white dress shirt hanging in his
closet. They were the only things hanging in his closet besides an
old shrunken head he kept for good luck. Looking at himself in the
mirror, he deemed himself appropriate. He reached inside his pockets,
hoping to find money but found a parking ticket from October instead.
Bobby then quickly grabbed a pair of socks that consisted of a grey
sock and a blue sock, and a pair of sneakers along with a pair of
presentable shoes to wear for his parents.
Bobby took one last look at himself. His attention once again went
to his hair. It had been getting blonder again. Bobby sighed to himself.
His hair and eyes had never settled for one color. His eyes today
were decidedly blue. He sighed again, but this time in relief. If
his eyes appeared brown, his father would ask him if he was doing
drugs. It didn't matter that he was a somewhat responsible twenty-four
year old and in grad school, but William Drake just worried about
him sometimes. Bobby wondered how much of it was from experience from
his father's reference.
Grabbing his keys, watch, and his leather jacket, Bobby flew out
of the room. It was now four fifteen. Before heading for the garage,
Bobby poked his head into Hank's lab to say good-bye, but found him
sleeping on his keyboard. He had no choice now but to leave.
Most of the mansion's inhabitants had nice cars. Not Bobby. His car
was a falling apart Ford Escort from the eighties. He would never
let his car go. It was the first thing he made a payment on with his
first check from his first job at his first, and thankfully last,
accounting firm. Bobby turned the key and the car began to cough itself
into starting. "Oh, yeah. That'll wake you up in the morning,"
he mused to himself, thinking about Logan's Harley and how if his
alarm didn't get him up, Logan did.
"Hello, Miranda," Bobby greeted his stereo system. This
was the pride and joy of his life. The system was worth more
than the car and his soul put together. Pushing the "on"
button was the highlight of his day. He continued to fondle Miranda
and coo at her. "And how are we feeling today? What do you want
to listen to?" Bobby fumbled around with the CD's, finally stopping
at the Car's Greatest Hits. Bobby laughed to himself as he withdrew
CD. "Far be it from me to refuse you."
Bobby finally entered his home town in the afternoon. He was ready
to pass out at the wheel. His coffee long gone. His appetite fierce.
The only thing that kept him from stopping at a 7-11 was the fact
that his mother was making dinner, and nothing in the world was better
than eating her mashed potatoes. Miranda was tuned to the local station
which was playing a Tootie and the Plowmonkeys song that Bobby found
incredibly annoying and repetitive and annoying.
Driving past his old high school, he thought back to his childhood,
when he would celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. His mother was
Jewish and his father Irish Catholic. Double the holidays, double
the confusion, double the teasing. Then, in a shocking move when he
was nine, Bobby's mother converted to Catholicism.
Bobby didn't know what to think of it then, but now he thought about
why was it his mother that had to convert and not his father? Wasn't
religion passed through the female? This only made Bobby more confused
about his own stance on religion. On the one hand, he was drawn to
Judaism, but his father would hit the roof he knew that his son, his
only child, wanted to be kosher. But the other hand, there were some
things that he firmly believed in from the Catholic faith that filled
up whatever void Judaism left.
He pulled into the driveway and his mother, Madeleine, came out with
a smile only mothers that haven't seen their children in over a day
get. In his case, it had been three months. "Bobby!" she
called out to him, tears on the edges of her eyes.
Bobby hopped out of his car and raced up to hug her. "Hey, Mom,"
he whispered as they reached out to one another. Ever since his father
had been in the hospital, he and his mother had grown closer. His
mother even took him to the temple to pray for his father, which threw
him for a loop. She made dinner for him every night and they'd talk
about life, current events, and the past.
The two broke apart to go inside. "He's fine, Bobby. Dr. Guest
was just here to check up on him."
Bobby smiled. George Guest was his best friend from childhood. Despite
the closeness, it was kind of weird having him treat his father, though.
"How is George?"
"Oh, honey, you're out of the loop!" Madeleine rushed her
son inside the house. "George transferred out to Atlanta! This
Dr. Guest is his sister! I can't wait for you to meet the female Dr.
Guest. She's about your age, smart, great personality, and available...!"
Images of watching television at George's house and being pounced
on by metal orthodontic head gear and Gloria "Little Metal Fang"
Guest pinning him to the floor just to drool on his face came back.
"Mom..." Bobby began to whine. It was a very recent thing
with his mother to try and fix him up. Before his father's "accident,"
she just wanted him to be happy. Now, she just wanted him to be married.
"Maddy, are you pestering the boy again?" William Drake
shouted from the living room.
"What, I just want to see a few grand kids before I'm done for!
Don't you want to see some grand kids, William?"
"Bobby, come in here and let your mother get on with the cooking,"
his father said, quickly changing the subject. For William, the topic
of grandchildren and death was not his favorite. Bobby swallowed hard
before entering the living room. He was used to seeing his father
as some invincible force. Only now was he beginning to realize that
death wasn't too inconceivable for his family.
"What's been going on in your neck of the universe?"
"Surprisingly, nothing much. A lot of us have gone our own ways
for the holidays."
The two sat in silence. It was a new kind of silence they had developed
during Bobby's stay. It was comfortable rather than the angry and
bitter ones they had shared in past years. Maddy stood in the doorway
from the kitchen to the living room, smiling to herself. She had prayed
for the day when her son, her only son, and husband would one day
declare peace. Maddy wished that it hadn't been done in such a horrible
way, but everything was fine now. William was progressing wonderfully,
both emotionally and physically. She hated to break the silence, but
she knew that dinner was more important since she heard Bobby's stomach
growling when they had hugged.
"Am I going to have to eat this dinner myself or am I going
to have some help?"
Sitting at the table, Bobby began to smile. There would be arguing,
but it wouldn't be as personal as it used to be.
"Bobby, honey, you look nice."
"But what? All I was saying is that you look nice." Maddy
scooped up some more mashed potatoes with her fork and held it to
her mouth before adding, "I could just iron those pants for you
"Mom, I'm sure no one is going to be looking at my pants and
saying, 'There goes Madeleine Drake's boy in those wrinkled pants.
What a disgrace. Why didn't his mother iron those pants?'"
"Robert, don't talk back to your mother!" His father yelled.
"I could wash them for you, too."
"You can wash them after dinner, Mom."
"Thank you, honey. See, that wasn't so hard." His mother
began to take a bite of chicken. "Tell me, honey, what did you
"A raspberry mocha coffee, an Eskimo Pie, and this."
"What? You couldn't eat a Danish or something?"
"I just wanted to save room for your dinner, Mom."
"I just worry about you so much, Bobby! I wonder if you eat
right, I worry if you're regular, are you regular, honey?"
"I'm sorry, I just worry about these things." She paused
to take another bite. "Don't fill up too much, honey. I've noticed
that you're gaining."
"I can't wait to introduce you to Dr. Guest! Oh, Bobby, you'll
love her! She's just about your height, so she's not taller than you
like that one girl ... Rogue."
"Rogue is not taller than me! And we didn't go out."
"Sure you didn't, honey, and sure she isn't." Maddy got
up and kissed her son on the head. "She's a doctor, honey. Very
"Well, Hank's a doctor, but I'm not going to marry him..."
"Robert!" his father yelled.
"Sorry, Dad. Mom, I'd-like-to-meet-this-woman-you've-picked-out-for-me,"
Bobby replied through gritted teeth.
"She'll be at the party tonight, so Bobby, be on your best behavior.
And give me your pants."
"Now? Mom, I'm not done eating!"
"Honey, I've got to get these dishes done and get ready myself.
I need your pants." Bobby's eyes casted downward as he began
to peel off the semi-clean Dockers.
Cheese and crackers, he thought to himself, I've gone up
against the likes of Sinister, Onslaught, and Jean's PMS, yet I'm
defeated by the craftiness of my mother and my wrinkled pants.
Clutching his stomach, Bobby tried to resist the temptation to roll
down the window of his parents' Cadillac. Although his mother didn't
allow his father to smoke in the car, William did when he was alone.
And although his father hadn't smoked a cigar in the car for over
six months, the smell lingered. With the added bonus of heat, the
smell intensified along with Bobby's nausea.
"Bobby, honey, are you going to be okay?" His mother turned
to look at him. Her eyes lingered on the clean khaki Dockers that
had already begun to wrinkle, and she shook her head.
Bobby nodded his head slowly.
"Don't worry, honey, because the Grischkowsky's," Madeleine
paused in the middle of her sentence. "You remember little Gwennie
Grischkowsky, don't you Bobby?"
Bobby shook his head carefully.
"Sure you do, Bobby! You and Gwennie used to play when you were
Again, Bobby shook his head.
"You threw mud all over a pink party dress at her fourth birthday
party -- of course you remember, Bobby."
Bobby remained motionless.
Maddy threw her hands in the air. "Honestly, Bobby, sometimes
I worry about you." After a sigh, Maddy continued. "Anyways,
we're going over to the Grischkowsky's and that Ginny can cook! Don't
you worry, honey, nothing settles a stomach more than some of Ginny's
-- honey, you're looking really green now. Do you need any Pepto for
Before Bobby could shake his head once more, William parked at the
Grischkowsky's. Maddy opened Bobby's door for him and helped him out.
"Bobby, honey, where's the coat I gave you to wear?" Maddy
asked while going over to the trunk of the car. Bobby did not bring
a coat with him up to his parents house, forgetting what a sin it
was. It didn't matter to his mother that he could lower his temperature
to below zero in a pair of briefs and not even catch a case of the
"Mom, I don't want or need--" Bobby was cut off by the
slam of the trunk.
"Luckily, I always carry a few spares." Maddy handed Bobby
a bright orange ski jacket. "Now, honey, don't embarrass me,"
she added after she kissed his cheek. Bobby opened up his mouth to
protest when his father gave him a sympathetic look in his own equally
As soon as they entered the house, they were greeted with the smell
of a mixture of odd foods and cigars with a Freddy Fender Christmas
8-Track playing in the background. Let the games begin, Bobby
mused to himself, knowing quite well what to expect.
"Maddy! Yoo-hoo! Maddy!" Martha Merritt made her way to
the Drakes. Her and his mother had been friends -- and he used that
term loosely -- since high school. The two hugged and Maddy cringed.
Martha had been one of those snobs who didn't know they were a snob.
She was rich and popular where Maddy had been poor and lonely. Martha
and William had even dated for a while.
That is, until William had met Maddy.
"And Willie! How are you Willie?" Bobby choked on his laugh.
"Gently, Marti, gently," his father rasped from the tight
hug. As soon as she released, William looked over to his son with
another sympathetic look. Bobby didn't like the look of it, either.
"And Willie Jr.!" Another hug ensued. Bobby was not a junior.
Bobby's birth name was Robert William and somehow, Martha had never
grasped that idea.
"Hello, Mrs. Merritt," he greeted flatly. Bobby thought
back to Martha's daughter, Miriam. She was pretty single and pretty.
It was only going to be a matter of time before his mother brought
her up. Bobby was finally relinquished of Mrs. Merritt and went to
ditch is coat in some room.
However, his mother had other ideas. "Bobby, honey, you have
to meet Ruth, and Rebecca, Abbie and Annie, Eileen, Doris, and Sarah!
Oh, and Gloria!"
"Sure, Mom. Can't wait. Can I just go to the bathroom right
Maddy, overcome with his acceptance of the idea of her playing matchmaker,
let her son go in peace.
Rounding the corner, Bobby threw off his orange jacket and leaned
against a door frame. Safe, for the moment.
"Well, well, if it isn't Butchie!" Bobby turned and saw
a woman of short stature, short black hair, and perfect teeth.
Little Metal Fang!
Bobby groaned. "Fang, please, don't--" Before he could
finish, Gloria Guest had him in a headlock and was giving him noogies.
"Ow, ow, ow!"
"You baby, you couldn't take it then, and you sure can't take
it now!" Gloria relinquished her hold on him. "George said
you'd be here, so don't think that this is the end, Butchie."
Before she left, she looked up at the door frame. "Mistletoe!"
With that, she dipped him and gave him a kiss.
Bobby spat out the spittle that had wound up in his mouth and wiped
his mouth with the inside of his sweater. In the middle of doing so,
a hand handed him a glass of egg nog. "Maybe this will take out
some of that venom she gave you." Bobby turned his head to see
a very comforting sight.
"Mary!" Bobby threw his arms around her and held her prisoner.
He kissed her ear and forehead, not quite believing she was there
in the flesh, Mary Jones, his favorite cousin and salvation from this
party. Mary grabbed Bobby by a handful of sweater and led him to a
room. "Mom said that you and the mister were staying in Seattle
"We were, but I wanted to share the news ... Bobby, you're going
to be an uncle soon!"
Bobby's face went white. "Are you serious?"
Mary and her husband Joe had been trying to have kids for the last
two years and had been very unsuccessful. They had been hopeful once,
but that ended in a miscarriage.
Mary's face nodded and gave Bobby a hug. Bobby was more careful this
time, now conscious of the new addition.
"Robert William Drake!" Bobby winced at the sound of his
"I was just talking to Mary, Mom. Hey, did you hear the good
"Your cousin is with child before you are, Robert!" Maddy
turned dramatically. "All I want before I leave this earth is
a grandchild! That's all!"
"I'm doing the best that I can, Mom." Bobby turned to Mary,
and they began to giggle. "She's on a family kick."
"Gee, couldn't tell," Mary smirked.
Bobby faced the window of the room and took a drink of nog. "An
uncle, huh? I thought I couldn't be an uncle..."
"Technically, but seeing as how Joe and I don't have any brothers,
we have an opening for an uncle." Mary hugged her cousin once
more. "The baby's due around your birthday."
Bobby mentally counted the months. "So you're a couple of months
along? You're barely showing!"
"The doctor told me not to worry. A lot of woman don't start
showing until later in pregnancy. And I even saw this one Ricki Lake
show where the woman didn't even know she was pregnant until she was
Bobby looked at his cousin with a deadpan face. "Oh, well that
just makes me feel oh so much better...
Mary clucked her tongue and shook her head, wanting to change the
topic. "Hey Bobby, quick question for you. Why does Gloria call
A few moments and a wrinkled brow passed. "You know, Mary, I
don't really know. I'm thinking it had to do with me and George decapitating
her Barbie and using the head as the corsage for Prom Night Ken, but
I doubt it."
Mary shook her head and got a dreamy look in her eyes. "I miss
"You...miss...those days," Bobby gawked, not quite believing.
"Even the teasing?"
"You mean you miss, 'Hey Mary, Mary who ate the confectionary!'?"
"You know, I used to believe that the kids didn't really know
what "confectionary" meant, then I learned that Freddie
Fitzpatrick's father ran one."
Something clicked in Bobby's memory at the mention of that name.
"Fitzpatrick ... Fitzpatrick ... sounds familiar..."
"He used to call you 'Bobby the Flobby.'"
"I never understood that."
"Neither did I."
"Freddie was dumb."
"Yes. Yes he was."
"At least your name made sense."
"I was not that big."
Bobby chose to remain quiet. Mary was getting ready to say something
when her husband came in. He gulped. Bobby loved his cousin and he
liked her husband. Joe was a nice guy, laid back, and everybody just
adored him, but there was one thing that Bobby couldn't stand and
that was he couldn't stand by Joe. Jose stood a proud 6'3. Bobby stood
a weakly 5'8. And though his best friend Hank stood 6'5", it
didn't bother him. This was family, and this was personal.
"Hello, Bobby," Joe greeted him with a nod. "I'm sure
Mare here told you the good news." Joe embraced his wife and
kissed her. They were framed in by a glow of love and content. Bobby
felt added insecurity and a twinge of jealously at the Hallmark card
moment in front of him. He tried to shake himself of it, but it didn't
"Yeah, congratulations, Joe." Bobby shook Joseph's hand,
with Joseph never daring to leave his wife while doing it.
Joe turned to his wife. "Mare, I don't mean to tear you away,
but Gwen is looking for you."
"Sorry, Bobby. You know how Gwen is when I don't talk to her
right away." Mary kissed Bobby's ear and whispered, "Good
luck on avoiding Gloria."
Bobby nodded his head as Joe whisked Mary away. He was now officially
on his own. And the official Christmas 8-Track changed from Freddy
Fender to Dean Martin. With hands in his pockets and eyes on the lookout
for certain childhood nuisances, Bobby made his was back into the
party. He helped himself to the tiny sandwiches and Uncle Frankie's
He chuckled when he remembered the first time Uncle Frankie had let
him in on the secret of the salami. It was Christmas Eve and Bobby
was seven. Bobby didn't sleep a wink that night as he kept thinking
about how he ate Bambi's mother. Christmas Day for Bobby was spent
in the bathroom, puking up Bambi's mother. When the next Christmas
rolled around, Bobby refused to eat the salami, but, then again, he
was only human. He got over the deer part and ate the salami ever
"Speaking of Uncle Frankie..." Bobby turned his attention
on his uncle's wife, Carrie.
"And so I just looked at this JACK ASS and said, 'EXCUSE me,
but just WHO in the HELL do you THINK you are!' Then HE turned around
and looked at me and said, Well, ma'am, I believe that I'm Dustin
Dylan!'" The room erupted with laughter. Bobby kicked himself
at missing one of his Aunt Carrie's legendary stories, though, if
they were any good, she'd likely repeat it by midnight.
Bobby began to advance to where his aunt was sitting when he bumped
into a tall lamp. He reached to catch it and returned it to its original
position, then turned to leave, finding that the lamp was going with
him. Again, Bobby put the lamp upright again and inspected the problem.
"Damn little glass decorations..." The metal from several
of the crystal pieces hanging from the lamp worked themselves into
his sweater. Thankfully, nobody noticed the noise because Uncle Frankie
had everybody's attention. Bobby turned his head and saw Uncle Frankie
singing with the Grischkowsky's beagle, Timmy. The song sounded vaguely
like "Sleigh Ride," but then again, it had strains of "We
"And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Uncle
Frankie finished grandly and very much off key. In fact, the beagle
was more on key than he was.
That was the Twelve Days of Christmas? Bobby thought
as he tried to work the metal out of his sweater. Only one more to
go. Somebody take that man out back and shoot him out of his--
"And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeee, Froggy! Ha, ha!"
Uncle Frankie slapped Bobby on the back, causing the metal to work
itself back into his sweater.
"Ha, ha, Uncle Frankie." Bobby began to work on his sweater
"You know why I call ya Froggy, right, Froggy?"
"That I do, Uncle Frankie."
"But I don't think these fella's do. C'mere, fella's!"
Uncle Frankie motioned for everyone in the room to look at him. "This
here's my nephew. Not by blood. Not by marriage. William and I, like
brothers. William is this guy's father, isn't that right, Froggy?"
Bobby nodded. "Yeah, that he is, Uncle Frankie." Uncle
Frankie kissed Bobby's cheek and gave him a noogie. Bobby couldn't
help but notice the intense beer smell coming from his uncle's mouth.
"The day that William and Maddy brought this young'un home from
the hospital, he was in his little crib with his little diapers and
little booties and there he was, in his little crib."
Bobby smiled nervously.
"And there he was, in his little crib, in a little corner, sleeping
on his stomach, and do you know what you looked like, Bobby?"
Although he knew, "No. What, Uncle Frankie?"
"A FROGGY! Ha, ha!!" The room began to coo and laugh. Oh
yeah, Bobby thought, they're drunk, too. "But know
this, Froggy, you will always be my nephew. Always. Even though you
don't call me Uncle Frankie anymore, but that's okay, I understand,
you're getting older. You're what, sixteen now?"
"Twenty-four, Uncle Frankie."
"Twenty-fo--?! Well, happy birthday! Everybody! It's Froggy's
birthday, c'mon! Let's sing!"
The room sang Happy Birthday to "Froggy," then everybody
proceeded to kiss the birthday boy, who was still stuck to the lamp.
"Froggy," Uncle Frankie began, "Yer alright. Even
if you don't call me Uncle Frankie anymore. Before Bobby could open
his mouth to protest, the shrill and piercing sound of, "Francis,
you look like an idiot!" bellowed from Aunt Carrie.
"There she is, everybody," Uncle Frankie began grandly,
letting go of Bobby and going towards Carrie, "my beautiful bride,
larger than life!"
Bobby finally got the last piece of metal out of his sweater and
escaped the hoopla surrounding him. He made his way to the bathroom
to get rid of all the lipstick that had accumulated on his cheek.
"Man, who knew that old Mrs. Witherspoon could still French
kiss," Bobby mused aloud as he washed his cheek, and then began
to wipe off his tongue with a washcloth. "Tastes like denture
adhesive..." Bobby made a face and began to wipe off his tongue
again when someone entered the bathroom.
Honey...?" Madeleine entered and looked at her song. "What
"Mrs. Witherspoon slipped me the tongue, Mom!" he whined.
"Wendy? I doubt that, honey." Maddy inspected her son.
"Honey, you have a little something on your face."
"Here, let me get it." Maddy wetted her thumb with her
saliva and reached for his face.
"Down, Mom. I have a washcloth right here that you can use--"
"Like that did a good job! Come here, Bobby."
Maddy rubbed her son's temple with her thumb. "There, spotless."
She grinned. "Now, honey, let's go on and meet some lovely young
ladies. I just saw Rebecca Rochester--!"
"Rebecca Rochester?" Bobby paused as he sensed a trend.
"What's that Bridget woman's last name?"
"Abbie and Annie?"
"Qualls. Honey, what are you getting at?"
Bobby opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by Maddy's sigh.
"You're just procrastinating, Bobby. Come on, there are a lot
of young girls down there dying to met you!"
"Oh, Ruth! You're so wickedly funny!" Maddy said through
a fit of laughter. "Don't you think so, Bobby?"
Bobby looked up from his sunken spot in the couch, between his mother,
who put a firm hand on his knee so he wouldn't leave, and Ruth Robbins,
who had her hand somewhere where it shouldn't be.
"Ruth, William and I would love to have you over for dinner
sometime. Perhaps on the twenty-sixth?"
"Oh, I don't know, Mrs. Drake," Ruth batted her very long
and very fake eyelashes over a pair of contact lens-produced blue
"Bobby will be there for you to talk to, of course."
"Well, when you put it that way!" Ruth smiled as Bobby
felt her forbidden hand reach even more forbidden territory.
Bobby jumped up. "And I, for one can't, wait, but, oh, look,
Dad wants me! Coming, Dad!"
Maddy and Ruth looked at each other. "I thought William was
outside with the other men..."
"And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeeee!" The group of
men laughed at Frankie. All except William.
"Psst! Dad!" Bobby whispered loudly.
"Excuse me, fellas. The boy wants to talk to me." William
waved at the men and walked away slowly, but walking very quickly
the further he got away. "Bobby, am I ever glad to see you! Hey,
what's that pink spot on your head?"
"Just some of Mrs. Blake's lipstick."
"What's Barbara's lipstick doing on your head?"
"Get Uncle Frankie to ask how old you are and watch Mrs. Witherspoon's--"
"She tongued you, eh boy?"
"How did you know?"
"Mrs. Witherspoon has been that old since I was in high school.
When I turned thirteen, the whole neighborhood threw me a party and
old Mrs. Witherspoon insisted on kissing the birthday boy. She was
my first kiss. I couldn't get that denture taste out of my mouth for
weeks." The two men looked at each other and shuddered.
"So, having fun, Dad?"
William took a breath and rocked his legs back and forth. "Bobby,
remember that one Fourth of July picnic when Frank burned his hand?"
"The one where he caught the picnic table on fire and tried
to put it out with potato salad, and preceded to make a snow angel'
out of it?"
"And then stripped down to his boxers and put sparklers in his
ears and began to sing Yankee Doodle?"
"I'm trying to think of a year when all three happened ... 1984?"
"That's the one!" William smiled at the memory. "Well,
I used to think that was hilarious. But I was also very drunk at the
time. Do you understand what I'm saying, Bobby?"
"Things are a lot more hilarious when there's a few under your
"Exactly. You know that the doctors told me I shouldn't drink
or smoke anymore. It's been hard, but you know what made it easier?
Looking at Frank and the guys. I look at them and think, 'My God,
did I ever act that stupid?'"
"Dad, you never did anything stupid--"
"Yes I did, Bobby. I said a lot of mean and hurtful things to
you when I didn't mean it. That's just as stupid as Frank hiding raw
eggs every Easter."
"Just when he gets into the sacramental wine."
William chuckled. "I guess what I'm trying to say, son, is that
no matter what I said or have said to you ... I'm proud." William
hit Bobby playfully on the shoulder.
Bobby smiled and hit him back. "Thanks, Dad."
"But if you bring home Ruth Robbins, I will disown you."
"But Mom already made plans."
"Then, son, I'm just going to have to kill her. It's justifiable.
If your mother invited her over, she has to have gone soft in the
head." The two men looked at each other and began to laugh.
"And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeeeeee! Wheeeee-ha!"
"That Halloween when I was sick with the chicken pox and Uncle
Frankie scared all those kids into giving him all their candy to give
to me by making a life size picture of Aunt Carrie in her slip and
answering the door with it...?"
"That wasn't stupid. It was hilarious, Bobby."
"Just checking, Dad."
"William! Bobby!" Frankie hollered. "C'mon over! We're
signing a Christmas card for the Grischkowskys!"
Bobby went to go join them when his father grabbed his arm. "What
"Son, I wouldn't go over there unless you want to see more of
you're Uncle Frankie than you want to."
Bobby repeated what his Uncle Frankie had said and had a flash of
ten drunk old men peeing in snow. "Gotcha, Dad."
"But what about Rebecca, William! I promised her brunch on the
"And Lynnette? We on for lunch on the twenty-sixth!"
"Breakfast with Abbie and Annie and on the twenty-eighth?"
"Eileen for tea on--"
"Since when do we have tea, Maddy?"
"Well, I just thought--"
"Breakfast with Doris on the twenty-seventh?"
"What in the name of Judas Priest--! You just said you were
having Rebecca over for brunch on that day!"
"Well, I have to maximize time. Bobby's only here for a few
"CANCEL!" both father and son shouted.
"Okay, okay..." Maddy chuckled. "One more, Gloria
for dinner on the twenty-eighth?"
"I like Gloria," William mused.
"Robert, I said no to twelve girls, I think just one dinner
with just one girl is a bargain!"
"But it's Little Metal Fang!"
"Robert! Let you're mother have this dinner!"
Bobby sulked back in his seat of the Cadillac. He looked out the
window watched as his father slowly made his way to the house. "Uhm,
Dad, why are we going so slow?"
William grunted. "Your mother wants to look at Christmas lights."
"But it's after midnight! Nobody in their right mind would have
lights up this late!"
Just then, they passed the brightly lit Drake house.
Bobby did a double take. "Uhm, Mom, was our house an airport
when we left?"
"We have it on a timer hon--ooh! Look at that house! I do not
envy their electricity bill one bit."
Bobby sat in the back, as patient as he could for one his age, sucking
as much fresh air as he could out of the corners of the windows, as
his parents made their way around peaceful suburb, oohing and ahing
and clucking their tongues at the neighbor's electric bill.
Maddy broke the silence. "Well, this car has a gloomy Gus in
it! Bobby, what would you say to some Christmas--"
"Dear God, Mom, NO!"
Maddy placed the tape in the tape deck. Bobby's ears were spared
for a while due to the fact that Maddy couldn't figure out which side
went in the deck. However, Maddy was victorious, and soon, 'O Holy
Night" filled the cigar-smelling, 98-degree Cadillac. Bobby pulled
his sweater over his head to try, in vain, to block out the Midwestern
crooner, as well as another sound that reminded him of an alley cat
fighting another cat for a fish.
Bobby peeked out to find his mother singing right along with Andy.
He put his hand in his pocket and withdrew his treasure he had swiped
from the party.
"Hey, Mom, do you want a Riccola?"
"No thanks, honey, I'm singing with Andy."
Maddy continued to sing.
Bobby paused, momentarily defeated. "Gum?"
"Don't think so, dear."
"It's Juicy Fruit..." Bobby tempted in a sing-song voice.
"Honey, I appreciate the offer--"
"How about Big Red? It gives your life long lasting freshness...!"
"Bobby, you know that burns my mouth! Now pipe down -- the next
track features the Osmond boys!"
Bobby whimpered a bit, and swore he could have heard the same from
his father. Bobby made a mental note that his father deserved the
Congretional Medal of Honor for staying this long with his mother
and not go stark raving mind from her singing.
Bobby slunk down in his seat and rested his head. It could be
worse, he thought. We could home and watching Andy Williams
with the Osmond boys. And for the first time that night, Bobby
Drake found his peace on earth.
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