Frank at the Station

The family road trip was one tank in and going well.

“Alrighty, gang, we have to stop for gas real quick,” Frank Jenkins said, pulling the SUV he found to be just a tad too large, into the gas station.

“Dad,” his oldest son, seven years, Theodore, started.  Frank knew the tone as one that came with a very lengthy question. “Why do cars need gas?”

“Well,” Frank started, relived that the question was actually fairly easy, “engines need gas to run.  Gas is a fuel, which is burned to help the car move.”

“Oh,” Theodore was content with the answer.  “What is the engine made of?”

“An engine is made of smaller components that come together to make the whole unit, but I think you’re asking a different question so I’ll answer with…metal?” Frank hoped he answered the query correctly.

“Oh,” The curious seven year old replied.

“Dad!” The highly enthusiastic three year old of the family, Hyde, shout asked his opening question, “what are people made of?”

Frank stared at Hyde, trying not to laugh.  “You should ask you mother.”  He looked to Elene in the passenger seat, smiled and quickly jumped out of the car to begin fueling.

The Difference is Subtle

Saturday, 5:57am.  

“You’re up early, big guy,” Steve greeted his son with a whisper.  “Let’s change you and go downstairs.  We’re going to be quiet though so your mommy can sleep, okay?”

“Yeah,” Daxon answered with a head nod.

The two were as quiet as could be.  Steps downstairs were plotted to take place on the least creaky of the floor board.  Light switches were flipped slowly to avoid a thundering click if switched too fast.  Once downstairs, morning cartoons ran with sound just barely audible.  Steve smiled as he held his son close, knowing his beloved wife was resting soundly upstairs.

Sunday, 6:15am.

“Daxon,” Beata shouted, “you are up so early, man. Let’s brush your teeth and get breakfast ready. Okay? It’ll be a nice treat for daddy. We’ll let him sleep in a bit.”

“Yeah!” Daxon said, clapping with joy.

Beata and Daxon ran the tap at full volume to prepare their toothbrushes.  Pots were clattered and clanged as breakfast prep began.  Daxon raced back and forth from stove to pantry getting supplies requested at full shout from Beata.

“Heya, babe, you can keep sleeping. Daxon and I got this,” Beata said as Steve lumbered into the kitchen.

“Nah, nah, I think I’m good.  It’s 6:18 in the morning. I couldn’t get back to sleep if I wanted to,” Steve answered, his eyes puffy from a fatigue that would long after Daxon moved out of the house.

 

Thanks for reading!

Jenkins Fixes Computers

“Jenkins!” Mr. Sanders shouted from behind his closed office door.

Jenkins, sitting just outside in a cubicle meant for no human to sit in, interpreted the shout to mean, “kid, get in here.”  Jenkins obliged.

“What’s up, Mr. Sanders?” Jenkins asked, peering into the office.

“Fix this.” Sanders pointed at his computer screen.  Jenkins moved to view the screen and sighed.  The problem was instantly identified and easy to fix, and something they had gone over before.

“It happened again, huh?” Jenkins asked.

“No idea how this time,” Sanders explained himself.  Jenkins knew how it happened.  The problem was fixed with a few taps on the keyboard.

“Good work.  Now set a calendar reminder for me to remember to sit down with you to learn how to do these things on my own.” Sanders demanded.

Jenkins shook his head and accepted his role as the office computer fixer, all the while mildly resenting his years of research into workforce retention dynamics and the accompanying $40,000 MBA.

Sandwiches

“Who wants a turkey sandwich!” Dad shouted with enthusiasm, trying to make lunch an ‘event’ this time around.

“I do!” the children shouted back excitedly.

“Who wants mayo? Pickles? Lettuce? Mustard? Tomato?” Dad fired off options in rapid order.

“All of it! Yeah! Woohoo!” the oldest child screamed, cheering. The youngest echoed his brother’s call.

“You guys got it,” Dad said assembling the sandwiches.  “And they’re ready!” Dad put plates before the kids and lunch was on.

“Dad, I don’t want this,” the oldest said, looking over the plate.  The youngest followed.

“You’re both difficult, you know that?” Dad said.

The Outfit

“Stop,” Katie said from behind her paperback.

“What?” Questioned Calvin, just trying to get out the door and to the store.

“Go change you clothes,” Katie ordered.  Her paperback novel now in her lap, hands still holding either side to prevent losing her page.

“What’s wrong with this?” Calvin asked, moving his hands around to show off his outfit.

“What wrong with that? Sweetie, please.” Katie had tried for years to get Calvin’s attire to something resembling fashionable to no avail.  “You look like you’re on your way to the goodbye party of a suicide cult.”

“Harsh,” Calvin muttered.

“You are dressed like a person who, when neighbors and coworkers hear has died, they all say, ‘at least he won’t be in pain anymore’ despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with you.  You are dressed like how food would feel when the blender is turned on,” Katie explained.

“Well, thank you for your candor. I guess,” Calvin said.  He started walking back to their closet to find new clothes.

“No, wait, stay still.  This is going on Instagram,” Katie let loose her book and pulled out her phone in one very fluid motion to get a picture of her hapless husband trying to dress himself well.  “Captioned with ‘bless his heart’.”

“That seems a bit much,” Calvin said.

“And done.  Okay, go dress like a real person now. Love you,” Katie smiled.

“Love you.” Calvin changed in a hurry.

Deck and Amy and the Cheese Party

“These hash browns taste like funnel cake,” Deck said to Amy when their host was out of ear shot.

“Pretend you’re at a fair and deal with it.  We are out of here in half an hour,” Amy said.  She stomped on Deck’s foot for good measure.

“I was almost kidnapped at a county fair once.  True story,” Deck said.

“I wish I had known that prior to making mention of it.  I apologize,” Amy worried she did actually know that.

The two had been invited to attend a wine, cheese and fancy sausages tasting at the home of one Amy’s work friends.  Unable to say no to much of anything, Amy agreed to attend.  Usually a Friday night was spent binge watching back seasons of Castle or, more recently, devouring Stranger Things to see all the homages they missed the first two run times they watched it.  Deck and Amy were homebodies, and right now their goal was to get their bodies back home. Continue reading

The Coffee Pot

Rico listened as the coffee pot puffed and huffed. Water heated and ran through the intricate system that made modern life possible. He loved that sound.

As the coffee pot went about its work, Rico sat at his computer and prepared to do his work.  Code, formatting, pictures and content would rule his day.  His days had been long and rough lately.  Shifting priorities and unwavering deadlines collided to make the new year one he wanted over already.  He opened the score of programs he would have to use and begged the coffee pot to finish its work.  He hated being up before the sun.

Tired, he checked his email and saw far too many things he did not to be included on.  He mumbled.

The coffee pot clicked.  The brew was done.  If he could have, Rico would have leaped to the air, clicked his heels together and screamed, “woohoo” to the sky above.  But he could not.  No coffee and all that.  Instead he rose from his seat, and meandered to the coffee pot.  He filled his mug while staring at his phone.  The glowing rectangle kept him awake.  Content he had enough in the mug, he walked back to his desk.

At long last, a whole 30 minutes after waking up, coffee was in hand.  With what energy he had, he raised the mug to his lips and felt complete disappointment as he tasted what had filled his cup.

He smacked his lips, disgusted.

“Forgot the beans,” he said.  He pushed away from his desk and restarted the process.