The winner from last week is!!!! The Riches of Babylon! Congratulations to…er…well…you know who you are! You are entered into the finals for the month of January!
Today’s story idea comes from Kelly Haven. Here’s to hoping this one is fun. 🙂 Here’s her idea…
Character: Sam. Like routine/does not deal well with unexpected interruptions
Setting: In a van with his spouse and four kids, traveling home from a holiday at the in-law’s through a snow storm.
Conflict: One of the children ate too many goodies and threw up.
All I wanted was for us to get home. In one piece. And to get all three hundred miles between me and my sister. We never got along all that great. And this Christmas was no exception.
“Sam,” she nagged at me. “I can’t believe you still wear a pocket protector.”
“Well,” I said back. “If you weren’t so immature and image conscious, maybe you’d realize that it’s a great an efficient way to keep pens from leaking all over your shirt.”
“Sam,” she nagged again. “Why are you so upset?”
“Because we’re fourteen and a half minutes late to eat dinner,” I said. “That’s beyond unreasonable.”
“I think you might be OCD,” she said. “You should think about getting tested.”
“You should get tested,” I said to her. And then I got distracted by the veggie tray. Somebody just tossed all the celery on there without considering organization. Ugh. So not cool.
Listen, I just like things a certain way. The toilet paper should ALWAYS be put on the roll so that it rolls clock-wise. Not counter clock-wise. I expect that when I put on a clean dress shirt (as if I would ever put on a dirty one) that it is perfectly pressed and starched. Yes, there are still people who use starch. Oh. And don’t forget the organization of the house. Everything has a place. And nothing should be out of that place. If it in use, the user has exactly one minute from the ending of the use to return it to its place. Otherwise, everything is out of order. And that simply cannot be.
I’ve been called fussy. Picky. Strange. Overbearing. But I prefer to think of it as being organized and ordered.
Well, as soon as I washed, rinsed and bleached all of the dishes as my mother’s house (which she insisted I shouldn’t do), I packed our mini-van in an orderly fashion (which took a mere 2 hours) and herded my four children into their seats. Tallest two in the back, shortest two in the front. Mark, Mary, Matt, Mike.
All “M” names, all with four letters.
My wife’s name is Martha. But, in order for things to be right, I call her Mart.
“M” name. Four letters.
So, I got everything packed, the kids in and buckled, my wife strapped into her seat. Then I went over the travel rules.
“No chewing gum. No bodily functions. No passing gas. No touching one another. No unnecessary talk. No singing. No sleeping. No stops that were not predetermined before the trip began. Got it?”
“Whatever,” Mark, my fourteen year old said.
“Daddy, I think I ate too many cookies,” Mike, my four year old said. “My tummy hurts.”
“Live and learn, son,” I said.
I drove a steady 65 miles per hour on the highway. Just because the posted limit is 70 doesn’t mean you have to go that fast. It only means that you can’t go faster. Well, anyway, we were driving along, in relative silence when I heard a funny burping sound from the middle seat.
“No passing gas. That applies to burps as well as…um..tooting,” I said.
Then the smell began to waft up to me. It. Was. Primal.
“What is that odor?” I asked, stifling a panic.
“Mike barfed!” Mary screamed.
“No he couldn’t have! The rule specifically states that there are absolutely no bodily fluids in the van! That isn’t too much to ask!”
“Sam, I think we should pull over,” Mart said. “Honey, I think I’m going to throw up, too.”
“That is impossible!”
Suddenly, as if the heavens decided to revolt against me just as furiously as Mike’s stomach, it began to snow. Not pretty, delicate, dainty snow. No. This was blinding, blowing, horror movie snow.
“Pull over, Sam,” my wife cried. “Please!”
“I can’t see where over is!”
Then the unthinkable happened. Mart got sick, too. All over my arm. Oh. The humanity.
I couldn’t see to drive my preferred 65 mpg. Not only was my van floor covered in regurgitation, but my arm was as well.
This was less than ideal.
It became utter and complete carnage when the other three children began to spew.
“It’s a good thing this van is insured,” I yelled through the gagging and heaving sounds of my family. “Because I’m burning it as soon as we get home!”
An eternity passed before I was able to pull into a rest area. Not even close to my first pick for a pit stop. However, I always had my emergency bottle of disinfectant packed in the center console.
“Everyone out!” I instructed. “Go directly to the bathrooms. I will bring antibacterial soap and clean clothes to you.”
“What should we do with our dirty stuff?” Mart asked.
“Throw it all away.”
They all five went, rushing, into the rest area. Knowing I had some dirty work to do, I pulled the latex gloves from my back pocket. As I slowly opened the sliding door, I was confronted with the worst stuff of humanity. Vomit was everywhere.
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” I whispered.
Never again would I feel a sense of order in that van. Never again would I be able to feel in charge of the vehicle.
This was the end of the van as I knew it. And I most certainly did not feel fine.
A small note was floating in a pool or up-chuck. My name was written on it. I gingerly picked it up and unfolded it.
“How did you all like the fudge that I made? It was laced with Ipecac. You know. The medicine that induces vomiting. Whoops. Must have slipped in. With much love, Your Sister.”
My head spun and swirled. That crazy woman poisoned my family!
“P.S. I know you didn’t eat the fudge. Because you never eat anything that I make. So, I slipped a laxative into your mashed potatoes while you were rearranging the cheese platter. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
Suddenly, my guts started to cramp. I knew that this was the moment that I’d always dreaded. And I realized that I wasn’t going to make it to the restroom.
I felt a hand on shoulder.
“Sam?” It was my mother’s voice. I was certain that I’d begun to hallucinate. “Sam, are you alright?”
“Mom?” I asked. “Am I dying?”
“Don’t be silly, Sammy. You’re not dying. You just fell asleep.”
I opened my eyes. I was in the recliner at my mother’s house. My children were sitting together on the couch, staring at me.
“Dad, you were screaming,” Mark said. “Something about barf.”
“Oh, kids. Are you all feeling okay?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Mary said, just about to put a big piece of fudge into her mouth.
“No! No, Mary! No fudge for you!” I jumped from the chair and knocked the fudge from her hand. It landed on my sister’s lap.
“What’s wrong, Sam? Afraid of a little fudge?” she asked with a devilishly mocking tone. “You don’t think it would make her sick, do you?”
Of course I do.
Now, new family rule. No fudge eating.