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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Beast Within

Aunt Nette is like a busybody savant. She can tell the last time you called your mother, how you treat your children, and can rate your love life on a scale of one to ten just by listening to you order hash browns at the Waffle House.

“Scattered and smothered,” I told the waitress, slipping the menu into the metal holder behind the napkin dispenser.

Looking across the table, I’m tempted to apply the same order to Aunt Nette. She is scraping egg off the laminated menu with a polished nail on a finger laden with hand-me-down diamonds, and lecturing me on my child-raising abilities.

“You should call more often. I never hear important news until it’s too late.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

She flicked away a piece of petrified yolk. “I hear the baby is walking now.”

The baby is 20 years old. “Okay so maybe I’m slow with updates. Follow me on Twitter and you can read everything in sentences short enough to slap right on the gossip chain.”

“What those boys need is more parental involvement.” She dipped her paper napkin in her water glass and began to polish her fork.

“The last time I had parental involvement with these kids, I lost three lives."

"You should use caution in dealing with children."

"All I did was pick up a video game controller. Then I blew myself somewhere over the rainbow in a blinding blue flash."

The only reason my children aren’t listed as serial killers in police records country-wide is that there are still those officials who refuse to admit the impossibility of a zombie apocalypse.

"You do know they’ve been studying the best method for slaughtering the undead.”

“They were Boy Scouts. They want to be prepared.”

“They’re prepared for a swarm of mercenaries, an invasion by aliens, and a world-ending zombie attack. What they’re not ready for is an English test or a quiz on fundamental dinner etiquette.”

“You could probably learn some things from them. Remember when I stayed the weekend at your house? The boys and I found a new respect for each other.”

“Oh, really? And how are you a better person since that weekend?”

She sipped coffee from a stoneware cup leaving Pink Poodle lipstick on the rim, crossed her beige stockinged ankles under the table, and leaned forward with a prim smile to perform an airborne example on a pretend video game controller.

"I beast at Borderlands.”


Anonymous said...

Ah relatives, can't live with them, can't spray them with a hot lead from a five barrel Gatling gun.


Amy Mullis said...

Ralph, you always know just the right thing to say! :)

Unknown said...

I'm still not sure what beasting is, but maybe I'm better off that way, LOL. Great stuff, as always! :)

colbymarshall said...

Perhaps when the zombies come, she'll thank you for being a horrible, neglectful parent ;-)