Dad Gets an Earful – Chapter 19 (The Girl Next Door)

I really felt sorry for my father. First he had a wife, then he didn’t.

All the while my father thought he knew what was going on,  but it turned out that he really didn’t anyway. I guess he forgot how women can make you crazy, just when you thought you knew how they were, but it turns out that you were wrong, way wrong!

If my mother was still here, she’d probably just make his life miserable in person, and not just long-distance, like she seems to be doing right now. I don’t know which one I’d prefer?

It might be like having to choose between fighting an alligator with your hands tied, or jumping into shark-infested waters, armed only with a dull pencil and a bath towel with a duck on it. I bet, James Bond might be able to do something about that, he always does, but the rest of us might just end up in a can of Tuna-shark surprise!

We still carried on, but things were way different than normal. My father seemed to have lost interest in his Garage chores, concentrating on fixing up the house instead. He seemed to be making improvements on things that my mother had talked about over the last 4 years or so. “What if you put a mirror here? I’ve always wanted a bug screen over this window…Wouldn’t it be nice with a row of vases right here, where all of our garden flowers could be seen at one time?” I was amazed that he could remember all of those things! It kind of made me wonder, why he didn’t just do them right then and there, when my mother talked about them, instead of waiting for a better time to do them?

You see, it’s like this. My father had reasons, you see, and I was going to learn about the perils of being a married man, right here and now. “If you do everything, they want, then the chores will never stop. Let’s say that I made that bug screen. Then she’d get some idea about how all of the screens should be a different color, let’s say pink. There I would be, spray-painting all of the screens, while the rest of you would be suffocating inside the air-tight house, when your mother would get a new idea. “What if you painted all of the window frames at the same time, with a light red color. I would have to ask if light red and pink were not the same color, but then she would accuse me of having all my taste in my mouth, and that men had a bone in their head and all. I would argue that our house was fine like it was, and changing the color of the window frames and screens would make the rest of the house look wrong. “Exactly” she’d say. Then would instruct me in why the rest of the house should be painted at the same time, probably in a reddish carnation color. I would have to argue that reddish carnation is the same as light red, which is the same as pink, which would make her throw her hands up in the air and ask the gods, why she married me in the first place, and wasn’t there anyone else who could have been luckier to do so?

Right then and there! There was the perfect spot to tell me father about my mother’s first love, without having to pull teeth, or whatever that means anyway.

“Dad.” Sounding as grownup as possible, “I have to tell you something about mom. You’d better sit down first.”

They were always saying those kind of things in the movies, and on TV. I have some bad news to tell you and it would be better if you were sitting down, when you hear what I have to say. I guess, they’ve had more experience in such matters? Maybe they got tired of having to pick the people up from the floor after them having fainted and all? They never say things like, “Perhaps you should stand on one foot first, or lean casually against our paisley-colored wallpaper, while I regale you with the news of the disappearance of your pet mouse! I just thought that dad wouldn’t want to mess up all of our house cleaning work, by having to collapse in a heap, or alert the neighbors to our plight, by him running out of the front door, screaming bloody murder.

My father looked at me, in the same sort of way that my friend, the Girl Next Door does. “Uh are you going to tell me something, or are you just lost in your own thoughts?

“Dad. Mom told me about someone who she knew before she met you. A French-speaking bloke, who promised her a glorious life in Canada, and marriage and all that stuff.”

I half expected the walls to blow out, or some sort of fire-breathing monster to wake up in the cellar and stick its head through the floor, throwing us to each side of the room. “Run Dad, Run for your life! I’ll hold him as long as possible, grabbing a chair and a nearby whip, and proceeding to crack it over the head of the roaring beast. But when the monster turned its head toward me, its face was that of my mother, changing from light red to pink then reddish carnation at one time!

We ran upstairs, my father and I seeing how the floor beneath us seemed to crumble and fall away. Upon reaching the top floor, we searched the skies for the rescue helicopter, knowing that would be our only chance to get away, saving the world and getting the girl at the same time.

My father didn’t exactly react like I thought. He seemed to take it in stride, as if people told him that sort of thing every day.” I knew it was something like that”, he said. “I always knew there was something in your mom’s past that was gnawing at her. She just refused to tell me about it, that’s all.”

Colonel Mustard was in the Drawing room smoking his pipe. I’ve gathered you all here today to tell you something dreadful. Mrs Peacock has been found, stabbed with a knife in the Conservatory. And all of you need to account for your whereabouts. Miss Scarlet told how it couldn’t have been her as she had been in the Dining Room discussing the Bible with Mr Plum. “People who discuss the Bible cannot do such things” she tried to say, before Colonel Mustard simply waved her to the side saying in an ominous voice, “Everyone is suspect here, no matter what”! I used to get upset while playing Monopoly, and would end the game by throwing the board in the air, but in Clue I just bided my time, waiting for the murderer to be uncloaked.

It didn’t seem to me that being an adult was all it was cracked up to be. There were way too many problems, and unanswered questions, and it made me happier to think that being young and all, wasn’t so bad after all. I couldn’t see any way out of my father’s dilemma. At least in Clue there was a secret passage which would allow someone to escape, or kill another person, depending on your mood at that time, but I don’t think those were options for my father.

“Where is the boy’s mother?” the Police would ask my father. “I’m not sure, but I think she might have run off with a Frenchman from Québec. She’s done that sort of thing before. The Police would be jotting in their notebook while my father stood next to the wall, moving a well placed carpet with his foot. He did so to divert attention from the carpet, which covered the spot where the trapdoor  to the cellar was visible, lest he be discovered in the act. The trapdoor which led to the cellar, where my mother and her French lover would be chained to the wall, still professing their love for each other, while my father continued to stack the bricks higher, and higher, entombing them in their icy grave. “One last kiss my love, then we will journey to eternity together….

“I’ll win her back, you’ll see.” My father looked determined like I’d never seen before. It was more certain that going fishing without knowing what you were doing, but did so anyway. He seemed to be possessed in his thoughts, which was scary in a way, showing what women can make you do, even though common sense tells you the reverse.