Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Real World

A voice hisses in your ear: "If you're not at the table in two nano-seconds, you're dead meat."

You jump up from the computer and dash out of the room.  You can feel the floor vibrating behind you from your father's heavy tread.

He is a big man with round shoulders and a round back. At the table he hunches over his plate, his head bobbing as he eats.

You mother says, "What were you doing, dear?"

"Just goofing around on the computer."

She shakes her head in disapproval. "You spend entirely too much time on that thing, Donald. You're going to lose touch with reality."

You roll your eyes. If anyone's unreal, it's your parents. Sometimes it's almost as though they occupy a different universe, one which intersects yours only at the supper table.

Take your dad, for instance. Sets off every day briefcase in hand, crisp and alert, and 10 hours later returns home looking like he's been mugged. Who knows for sure where he goes or what he's been up to?

Your mother on the other hand might as well belong to another species. The stuff she does! Cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry. Bizarre!


Maybe  they're not even your parents. Maybe they're aliens.


From another dimension. And those aren't their real faces, they're masks. Latex masks they peel off every night before climbing into bed and--

"Donald!" hollers your father.

"Yes, dad?"

"Fer crissake, kid, your mother's talking to you."

"Oh, sorry. What is it, mom?"

"There's something your father and I want to tell you."

A horrible thought enters your mind. "Oh no, you're not pregnant, are you?"

She smiles and shakes her head. "How would you like to take a few days off school?"

Your eyes bug out in disbelief. "Seriously?"

"We thought it might be good for you and your father to spend some time together."


You mother reaches out to reassure you. Her touch is cool and slimy. "At the office," she says

Your father seizes another lungfish from a platter and bites its head off. "Time you see what the real world is like," he grunts.