RRR: Family Values

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I’m attending a family reunion this weekend — lots of distractions to keep me from finishing anything new. Please enjoy this little piece I first posted in December 2011.

“I hate you, Daddy!” Christie glared at her father, tears streaking mascara down her face.

Danny shook his head. He looked at the girl — all black clothing, dyed black hair, black nail polish, black lipstick, and now those tragic black rivers coursing down her too pale face. He could still see traces of his pretty little daughter underneath all that, but she seemed further away every day. She wants to be a vampire? Could that be right?

“Later, old man.” Doug brushed past, ignoring the drama playing out between his father and sister. He shook back a shaggy mane on his way out the front door. “Full moon tonight!” Danny and Christie stared after him through the picture window at the front of their oh-so-typical suburban home. Doug revved his motorcycle and howled down the street.

Christie broke the brief silence. “He’s such a dog.”

“A wolf,” Danny corrected and regretted it immediately. No teenager in the world suffers a pedantic father gladly and his daughter was certainly no exception. She spun on her heel and stomped up the stairs to her room. The slamming door declared her victory in this battle. Everybody take five and the war will continue momentarily. What were they fighting about again? Danny wondered.

He retreated to the kitchen where his wife sat, zombie-like, staring at a small TV. A tall drink was sweating into a ridiculous puddle on the table in front of her. He put the kettle on to boil and rooted through the cupboard for a tea bag. A nice soothing chamomile would do nicely he decided.

He turned his back on the kettle — so it would boil, you know — and stood for a moment watching his wife watch the flickering blue screen. The house felt like a shell, a ghost, devoid of the life they had tried to build there. Where had he gone wrong?

The kettle began to whistle and Danny drowned a teabag in a cup of boiling water. He lifted the cup letting the steam wash over his face. The television droned on about the latest celebrity scandal. A car horn blasted out on the street and Christie raced down the stairs and out the front door. Danny sipped his tea as the car squealed away. I hope she washed her face.

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