WRITING PROMPT: Write a poem with the title “Other People’s Children”. Or write a story about a character who agrees to take care of a friend’s teenager son or daughter while the friend goes on a trip. But the teenager is out of control, and your character soon finds himself/herself with a big problem on his/her hands.
“Lima beans, too.”
Bennie was using his spoon to build a small fort with his vegetables. I knew this was going to be a long weekend when Jerad had dropped Bennie off. Jerad went to hug his son good-bye and Bennie had ran to my car, slammed the backdoor, and stuck his tongue out at his father. “Boys, whataya do?” was Jared’s response as he drove off.
Bennie was mine to watch for the weekend. A favor that I had done off and on for Jerad since my sister had passed on. It had been fun, when Bennie was little. The rules were the same as for a puppy… Run him hard, and then he’d sleep. At eleven-years-old, the ‘tried and true’ did not seem to be working.
At supper this evening, suddenly Bennie did not like anything on the table.
First, pork barbeque and chunks of bread sprayed all over the table when Bennie had to cough. OK, that could have been purely an accident. But when I reminded him to cover his mouth, I got a smirky grin, then a reach for the napkin and a spill of massive proportions from his glass setting on his right.
Maybe nervousness? Anger issues at Jerad? But then the intensity of his laughter.
“Please use you napkin to true to sop up the Kool-Aid.” I reassuringly asked.
“Do it yourself. It’s your table.”
So maybe there are anger issues toward me, too?
Next came the picking of the nose.
“Please, Bennie. That is so impolite- especially at the table.”
Response… He places his well-rounded booger on the side of his plate and announces that he thinks he will keep this one to play with later.
There were no “Pleases” …Not a “Thank You” … Not even an “Excuse me”…. When we both knew that smell was not from my Boston terrier. Just a roiling of the eyes and a wave of the hand across his face.
Where was the little Bennie I knew?
Abruptly getting up from the table, Bennie left. “You are excused.” I responded. To which I got … “Whatever.”
I had taken Bennie’s things to the spare room. I was assuming that was where he was heading.
My spare room was in the basement. It doubled as a game room. I had figured that this would be heaven for an eleven-year-old. But when I went down to his room, Bennie was flopped on the pull-out, talking on his phone.
“Do ya mind?” Bennie yelled as soon as he saw me in the doorway. SLAM went the door.
“OK,” I thought. “This has gone on long enough. I will give him ten minutes… a cooling off period… then we will have a meeting of the minds. I will not tolerate this for the weekend.”
Ten minutes pass and I firmly knock on the door.
There is no answer.
I open the door and go to speak when I am met with the window curtains blowing wildly in the breeze… an opened window… and NO BENNIE.
Quickly I run outside to check the pool, the basketball courts, and the tennis courts.
Still NO BENNIE.
I get ready to go to the car to drive the neighborhood, but then I realize… I have no idea where to look.
So I call Jared.
“Oh, I bet he went to AnnaBeth’s. She lives several streets down from your place. He’ll be back later.”
“He’ll be back later!”
“Nothing to worry about. Bennie is always home by morning.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” was screaming through my mind. “He does this all the time?”
“Not all the time. Just when he’s mad at me. Relax. He’ll be back by 10 tonight. Betcha anything on it.”
“Thanks.” I hung up. Go my pillow from my bed and turned on the television in the living room. This is the last weekend I babysit.
Written for Creative Writing Now: Day 27.