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: mice5k@hotmail.com

Eskimo Pie
by Neva "Mice" Huddleston

"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 hours.

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.

"How's Dad?"

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 right quick."

"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 eat today."

"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 successful."

"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 three!"

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 your tummy?"

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 sniffles.

"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 hideous jacket.

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 quick?"

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 for Christmas!"

"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 mother's voice.

"I was just talking to Mary, Mom. Hey, did you hear the good news?"

"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 giving labor."

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 you Butchie'?"

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 those days."

"You...miss...those days," Bobby gawked, not quite believing. "Even the teasing?"

"Well, somewhat."

"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 quite leave.

"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 deer salami.

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 since.

"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 Three Kings."

"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 again.

"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 happened?"

"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."

"Where, Mom?"

"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.

"Hysterical, mother."

"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 eyes.

"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?"

"Uhm, Dad...?"

"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 belt?"

"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!"

"Hey, Dad?"

"Yes, Bobby?"

"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 is it?"

"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 twenty-seventh!"


"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 more days!"



"CANCEL!" both father and son shouted.

"Okay, okay..." Maddy chuckled. "One more, Gloria for dinner on the twenty-eighth?"

"I like Gloria," William mused.

"But Dad--"

"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!"

"--Andy Williams!"


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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