The Artist – August 2009 Part IV

I really hadn’t meant for it to happen, but I couldn’t help myself.

I’d seen Nathan many times since the day he rescued me and Brian, but it always took all of my self control not to shrink away from him. I knew Brian looked up to him as a hero, so I’d always tried to hide it. To be honest, part of me thought of him as a hero too, but… the memory of his feeding off the guy was carved just too deep into my memory. And this time, all three of them had seen my reaction.

Brian and Jack looked puzzled, but Nathan clearly knew. But the expression on his face wasn’t one of anger or annoyance, it was one of pity. Without a word, he pulled the curtains shut around us and looked down at me with sad eyes.

“You saw,” he said in a quiet voice, “I’m so sorry.”

Brian stared from him to me with a look of confusion on his face. “Saw what?” he asked finally.

Naturally I couldn’t answer, but Nathan could. Although his voice was heavy with regret as he did so.

“The same thing you did,” he told Brian. “The time the two of you were abducted by that sex trafficking bunch, and…”

“You came for us,” my childhood friend finished nodding his head. I could see the memory was still fresh in his memory. A faraway haunted look crept into his eyes. Then he turned to me and said, “But, I thought I kept you from seeing anything. I was holding you to my chest.”

He had, but even with his arms covering my head I’d been able to see through the crack between them, and wished I hadn’t ever since.

“I wasn’t exactly quiet,” Nathan said, breaking the moment, “And of course you saw what happened, Brian. I suspect your guard might have dropped enough for her to get an eyeful. Am I right?”

That question was directed at me and I nodded.

At that point, Jack came forward and pulled out his stethoscope. “I’d like you to listen to something,” he told me and held out the ear pieces at me.

I wasn’t sure what he had in mind, but I nodded and allowed him to gently place them in my ears. Then he turned to Nathan who he instructed to open his shirt.

“Hey… when did this place become Chippendale’s?” Nathan protested, but opened his shirt anyway. Then he leaned forward asJack placed the other end of the stethoscope on his chest. “Woo… that is cold. Do you keep that thing in a freezer or something?”

“Shhh… let her listen,” Jack replied while I did as he instructed.

The sound of a healthy beating heart came loud and clear through the instrument.

“An undead creature, wouldn’t have a heartbeat like that would it?” Jack asked me.

I wasn’t really sure. After all, a stake through the heart killed vampires didn’t it? So I merely shrugged.

Undaunted, Jack moved the diaphragm of the stethoscope to the other side of Nathan’s chest. “Hear anything?”

I listened, but I just heard breathing this time.

“Nathan, would you move your heart to where I’m positioned?”

I don’t know who looked more puzzled, me or the man I was still trying to figure out. But after a moment, he nodded.

After a few seconds later, I heard the pulsing heart just as loud as before. But even more importantly, I actually heard its approach just before it… got into position. Torn between horror and amazement I just stared at the two men.

Still I was afraid and Jack knew it. He asked Nathan to leave and wait in the hallway, which he did.

After he left Jack turned back to me and smiled. “I know you think he’s a vampire. That’s why I asked him to leave. That way you can be sure that he hasn’t hypnotized you into believing what Brian and i are about to tell you. In a way, your suspicion is partly correct. But I want to ask you, could such an undead creature physically move the location of its heart?”

I thought about all the movies and stories I’d read. If vampires could do such a thing, killing them would be much harder, nearly impossible. Finally, I shook my head.

Jack smiled reassuringly. “But what about a man who never died, but wound up sharing his body with a life-form which requires him to take in blood as part of his nutritional requirements?”

That made me raise my eyebrows as I found my thinking in terms of science fiction instead of horror stories.

As I did so, Brian chimed in saying, “The life-form also allows him to alter his shape and even move and change his organs around.”

What followed was the most amazing story I’d ever heard in my life. I won’t go into details here, because I know others in Nathan’s ‘Extended Family’ have already shared it more than once. And they, and their descendants will be the only ones to read this, so I don’t need to go into things further. Besides, I’m here to share my experience.

After Brian and Jack finished telling me all about Nathan and some of the things he could do, I simply lay there for a few moments taking it all in. If just half of what they had told me was true, then he might be able to help me once more.

“Should I ask Nathan to come back in?” asked Jack after a few moment.

I nodded ever so carefully. My heart beating with anticipation.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Artist – August 2009 Part III

Of course the accident happened shortly after that and I wound up in the hospital. And as you know I received dozens of visitors who constantly reassured me that everything would be all right. Such words and sentiments were always welcome and helped make the day pass more easily.

But night-time was another matter. Everything would be quiet, aside from the staff making their rounds. Occasionally one would wake me up to draw blood or give me my medications, but for the most part I was on my own with only my thoughts for company. That’s when dealing with my situation became much harder.

That’s when all those little fears we keep hidden away come out to plague us. And believe me I had a lot of them which kept me company for hour after hour. Most of them involved not being able to use my hands to sculpt. I won’t tell you how many times I wound up crying myself to sleep, but it happened a lot. I tried to keep quiet about it (which should have been easy with my mouth wired shut), but one person found out.

I woke one morning to someone gently dabbing the sides of my eyes with handkerchief. It was Brian. Dr. Jack Tyler, my physician and our mutual friend, had allowed him in before visiting hours had officially begun. Jack had noticed the tear soaked tissues before and had tried to draw me. I would’ve have loved to have told him what was wrong, but first and foremost he was my doctor. A doctor in frequent demand so we kept getting interrupted. After a while I just stopped trying.

Luckily, Jack is someone who doesn’t give up easily, especially when you’re his patient as well as his friend. So he’d gone out of his way to get Brian here to make sure they found out what was troubling me. By this time I was able to make some sounds, but understanding me was not easy. Yet somehow we managed.

 As it turned out, both of them suspected I was worried about my works in progress back at the studio. With this in mind, Brian had gone to check on things for me. He even took photos on his phone and shared them with me.

While I was relieved to see everything was still untouched, a part of me felt guilty at the same time. Seeing my kiln just sitting there waiting to be filled, or my tools just hanging on their hooks, they it all looked so lonely. Then I saw the piece of my grandfather, still wrapped in the plastic just as I’d left it. That’s when the tears began to flow.

It took Jack and Brian some time, but they managed to understand to get the full story out of me.

The date of the exhibition, which was still going to happen, was also my mother’s birthday that she shared with her father. It would have been his 108th. I had secretly been planning to have his sculpture to be the centerpiece of the show, as well as a gift to both my mom and his memory.

Once they understood, Brian exchanged a look with Jack who nodded. Then he turned back to me and said, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be all right. Just trust me.”

In spite of the fact that I had absolutely no idea what they had planned, something about Brian’s tone was extremely reassuring.  After that, they talked about their families and kept me amused for another half an hour. By then I was feeling tired again and managed to drift off without the help of medication for a change.

The rest of the day passed as all the others had, medications, smoothie meals, and television. There were a couple of more visitors, but it’s what the night brought that I really want to talk about. Or rather, who it brought.

I’d been listening to an audiobook with my eyes closed, so I never heard my visitors arrive. It wasn’t until Brian gently tapped my shoulder that I realized anyone had come. Looking up I saw him and Jack smiling down at me. Then from behind them Nathan popped his head out and waved at me.

Unable to help myself, I shuddered.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan – Part II

Now, the sight of a roasted turkey, with no head, getting up and shaking a fist was weird enough.  But watching it grab one of the nearby carving knives and taking a dueler’s stance took it to a whole new level of silliness.

Even before Uncle Nathan reached for the other carving knife, the rest of us automatically took several steps backwards, away from the table.  We all knew what was coming and didn’t feel like getting caught in the middle of what was undoubtedly going to be a memorable battle.  Man and roast bird saluted each other with their weapons, followed by each taking a dueling stance.

“I knew I should’ve left you in the oven for another ten minutes, you over-sized chicken,” Uncle Nathan grunted, while parrying an attack.

The turkey, unable to speak, merely flipped him the bird in return.  Then it retreated across the table and waved its backside at him.

Looking properly offended, Uncle Nathan muttered, “Oooo… I’m going cram an onion the size of a bowling ball in you for that.”

Our intended dinner responded by making the ‘Bring it,’ gesture.

Leaping up onto the table Uncle Nathan rushed towards his opponent across the length of the table and their carving knives clashed once again.

For the next minute, man and dinner, battled across the table in a remarkably silly yet athletic duel, while managing to avoid knocking over candelabras or glasses, or even stepping on a plate or utensil.

I glanced over at Dr. Jack and my father who were both shaking there heads and trying to suppress smiles, as their wives gave each other resigned sighs.  Meanwhile Joe and Darlene, who hang out with me at school, were both enjoying the spectacle as much as I was.

Finally, my mother steps forward and puts her hands on her hips.  Then she yells, “No feet on the dinner table!”

Both bird and man freeze in mid-fight.  The two of them stare at her for a moment and then take very guilty stances and point at each other.  “He started it,” Uncle Nathan murmured, while his opponent took advantage of the moment to slap the knife out of his hand.

Immediately, our host, did a double-back flip off the table and retreated behind the nearby harp.  His opponent beat its breast in triumph and leapt after him, waving its weapon angrily.  Now began a game of cat and mouse, with Uncle Nathan using the harp as a shield.  At first the roast bird, tried chasing him around the harp, then it tried to stab at him through the strings, which proved to be a mistake.

Uncle Nathan kicked the weapon out of its grip and then pushed the harp down on top of the bird.  The strings of the harp sliced through the bird, leaving it carved in pieces on the floor.

Straightening up, Uncle Nathan looked at his handiwork and shook his head.  “Wow, the guy at the butcher shop told this bird might be a little tough, and he wasn’t kidding. Okay, who wanted white meat?” he asked turning towards us.

Naturally no one spoke.  We all just glared at him.

“Oh come on, how many times do you get to have dinner and a show?” he insisted.

At this point I saw the green mist slipping out from the remains of our ‘dinner’ and into the cuffs of his pants and knew what was really going on.  Stepping over to where the harp lay I took a close look at the ‘remains’ and saw the that the bird had actually been made of foam, covered in latex and painted to look like a roast turkey skin.

“You didn’t get a turkey did you?” I said pointedly.

Uncle Nathan bowed his head and said, “They were all sold out by the time I got back this morning.”

“This morning?” I cried in disbelief.  “Where were you?”

“I was out of town, sort of…” he began, when a loud boisterous voice, with a thick German accent, rang out from the area of the kitchen saying, “Happy Thanks-Pizza everyone!”

A moment later, a short stocky man with a graying beard and moustache appeared pushing a cart with the biggest pizza I’d ever seen on it.  He was wearing a chef’s hat and moving around so quickly, it took me a moment to recognize him.  His name was Professor Otto Hofstadter, and he was one of Uncle Nathan’s closest and oldest friends.  They’d known each other for years, according to Uncle Nathan, but there was always something about the way he said it that had made me wonder if there was more that he was not telling me.  But now was not the time to ask questions.  Dinner had arrived and everyone was starving.

My mother shook her head as we all sat down around the table and said, “Well, it might not be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, but at least we’ll all be eating well.”

“On the contrary, my dear,” the professor corrected as he and Uncle Nathan started serving huge pizza slices.  “I made sure that we used turkey sausage as part of the toppings.”

“Oh well, that makes all the difference,” said Dr. Jack as he helped pass the food around to those farthest from the pie.

A part of me wanted to ask where they’d gotten an oven big enough to cook a pizza this size, but I decided not to.  I was more interested in knowing where Uncle Nathan had been and what had kept him away all this time.  The fact that Professor Hofstadter was with us, told me that an adventure had taken place in one of those strange places Uncle Nathan has always hinted at, but has never fully explained to me.

I decided there and then that I was going to keep a close eye on those two and maybe follow them if possible and see what they got up to when the next opportunity presented itself.

*This concludes this year’s Thanksgiving tale.  I hope you all found it amusing and entertaining.  May all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and may all your travels be safe and enjoyable — Allan and Helen Krummenacker* 

Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan

*A quick note from Allan: My sincerest apologies for not doing more on the stories these past few months. I’ve been busy with learning and creating audiobooks, as well as doing book covers, reviews, and book trailers for Helen and others. However, you will be pleased to hear that Nathan’s books are among those being turned into audios as I write. One or two short stories will be appearing here soon in audio form so you can get a taste of what’s to come. Also, work has been continuing on the sequel to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which is currently being titled “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. Helen and I have a number of surprises for Nathan and you all, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a little Thanksgiving story I created 3 years ago. We hope you enjoy this tale that shows just how crazy things can get around the holidays… especially if you hang out with Nathan*

THANKSGIVING DAY 

I think everyone has memories of certain holiday gatherings that they’ll never forget.  Usually it’s because something really special or very unfortunate happened.  But how many of us can say they’ll never forget a certain Thanksgiving dinner because the host wound up fighting a duel with the intended dinner?

Well that’s what happened this year and I don’t think I’ll even need to watch the video I took of it, to help me remember.  However, I will be saving it to show any children or grandchildren I have down the road, so they can see what craziness can ensue when you let Uncle Nathan try to prepare a holiday dinner.

It all started about a week ago, right after Mom gave birth to my new baby brother Geoffrey.  I was on hand for the event, while Dad and Uncle Nathan stayed in the Waiting Room.  Mom had given strict instructions that neither of them were allowed to be on hand to watch.  In fact part of my job was to make sure they didn’t come in.

I asked Doctor Jack about it later and all he did was smirk and mumble something about a Dr. Quackenbush and associate, who had been on hand to help keep the patient relaxed.  The name sounded familiar to me so I Googled it afterwards on my laptop and found it was one of Groucho Marx’s personas from a movie called “A Day At the Races”.  Apparently, he’d played a veterinarian who also treated a rich woman as one of his patients.  Having seen Uncle Nathan’s Groucho impression I could only imagine what kind of nonsense he and Dad must’ve gotten up to inside the delivery room that day until Mom ordered the two of them out.

Anyway, right after Geoffrey arrived, Uncle Nathan offered to host Thanksgiving over at The Crypt.  “Between late night feedings and changing diapers I don’t think any of you are going to be up to shopping and prepping a big meal,” he pointed out.

Needless to say, none of us disagreed with him.  He even invited Dr. Jack and his family to join the festivities, which my favorite physician readily agreed to.  We didn’t see or hear from Uncle Nathan again for the rest of the week, which made my parents wonder if dinner was still on.  Then last night he phoned to let us know he’d been called away to help his old friend, Professor Otto Hofstadter, with a little ‘problem’ which they’d successfully resolved, and that we were still expected the next day at 5:00 PM.

Needless to say we left the house today and headed downtown.  Once we reached the building that housed The Crypt, we headed down the side alley where the stairs leading down to The Crypt awaited.  Dr. Jack and his family were just heading down the steps when we showed up and after the usual Thanksgiving greetings were exchanged, we all carefully made our way down the steps.  The door at the bottom was unlocked so we let ourselves in only to have our breaths taken away.

As usual, Uncle Nathan had really gone all out with decorating the place.  There was a huge table that could seat a couple of dozen people just on one side, in the center of the main room.  It was all decked out with candles, plates,fancy napkins, the works.  There was also a very expensive looking harp nearby, which meant we would probably be treated to some fine music afterwards.  As we all gazed around in wonder, I couldn’t believe he’d gone to so much trouble just for us, but I was glad at the same time.  “This was going to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners ever,” I breathed aloud, while everyone nodded in agreement.

Uncle Nathan appeared a moment later, wearing a white apron and a big chef’s hat.  After greeting each of us, he got everyone settled in and disappeared back to the kitchen area.  We were all excited and eager to see what he had prepared for us.  A moment later, he came back out carrying a huge glimmering silver platter.  Naturally it had a very shiny lid which was rather tall, leaving us all wondering how big a turkey he had gotten for the occasion.  However, knowing his sense of humor, I I half expected it to be a very small bird no bigger than a pigeon,  But much to my surprise and delight, when the cover was removed, there was indeed a very large bird on the platter.

After running back into the kitchen and returning with more dishes, he removed his hat and apron, and proceeded to brandish a very large fork, which he deftly sank into the turkey.  Only to have the bird jump up, remove the fork from itself and then waved an angry fist at him.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part I

       If anyone had told me two years ago I would one day be married, have a child, and be living in a big old mansion, I’d have told them to quit snorting the white powder. Of course, there’s no way they would’ve have known a man who’d fought in the Civil War, and was for all intent and purposes a vampire, would be partly responsible for all of this. It still seems like some weird dream, or like I stepped into the Twilight Zone, but it’s all real. And I’m truly happy about it.

     Not that things don’t get kind of bizarre on a semi-regular basis. Take tonight for example, my baby boy had been fussing and feeling poorly lately. So I took him to Dr. Jack a couple of days ago, who said it was an ear infection and gave me instructions and a prescription for it. Of course, this means I’ve been keeping odd hours at night to administer the medicines. Needless to say my he wasn’t happy when I woke him up to administer more medicine and it took me a good hour to get him back to sleep. Richard offered to take over for me, but I insisted. He even offered to keep me company  while I walked our boy back to sleep. He’s really turning into a great dad. And as much as I appreciated his offer, I sent him back to bed. He’d had a really long day already, plus sometimes a girl wants to deal with things on her own. My home life had been pretty messed up and I didn’t want to make the same mistakes as my so-called parents. The moment I knew I was pregnant I swore to do a lot better than them, and I like to think I’ve been succeeding.

      Anyway, I’d just put my little boy down again and realized I was a bit hungry. Looking over at the clock on the night table I saw it was only 1:30 in the morning. Not too late for a snack, I thought and headed downstairs.

      I’d gotten halfway down the  staircase when I saw the front doors open and a young woman entered. In the dim lighting I couldn’t make out the features and thought it must be either Marisa or Lisa my two, much younger, best friends. Both of them are barely twenty but in spite of a decade difference between us we’re tight. They love hanging out with me and both of them are great with the baby. The two of them also have the hots for Nathan, the Civil War veteran/vampyre I mentioned earlier, who owns this big old mansion. He’s also one of the best friends/guardian angel any of us could ever ask for.

      I know Nathan gave both girls their own key, so naturally I thought it must be one of them. Upon seeing that our late night visitor had blonde hair, I figured it must be Marisa (Lisa’s a brunette). Then realizing what time it was I immediately started hurrying down the rest of the stairs thinking something bad must have happened.

     “Marisa?” I called out only to have our guest look up.  It wasn’t Marisa, instead it was someone I hadn’t expected to see again anytime soon. “Nathan… I mean Nadine?” I stammered for a second.

      Okay, now I’m going to take a step back for a moment and explain a few things. Like everyone else who knows about Nathan being a vampyre and keeps an e-journal, blog, or an e-diary, these entries I make are set to private. Only someone knows, or will one day know, about Nathan gets to read them. We do this because we want to keep our memories and experiences with him alive even when (God forbid) we can’t remember, or are no longer part of this world. Although in the former case I don’t think we’ll ever fall to dementia or Alzheimer’s because Nathan wouldn’t let that happen. He’s got abilities like you’ve never seen and although he can’t hold off death (except for maybe himself), he’s learned to use them in so many ways to help people. And  want these memories to be available for my son and his children so they know what a difference this man has made, not only my life but other peoples’ as well.

    One of Nathan’s more fascinating abilities is of course shape-shifting. But unlike what you see in the movies where a vampire simply turns into mist, or a bat, or some other animal, he’s taken this ability to a whole other level. He’ll alter parts of his body, like turning just his legs into individual puppy dogs to play with Lisa’s little brother, or alter his facial features to look like another person. However, even more impressive is his skill at changing his entire body  into that of a very attractive woman. Mind you, Lisa, Marisa and I had a hand in his learning how to do it convincingly. The three of us gave him some serious coaching just two months ago when he was helping hunt down a cannibalistic serial killer.

     The result was the creation of ‘Nadine’ the female persona he was wearing tonight. Upon seeing ‘she’ was back my first thought was, ‘Oh dear God, don’t tell me was there another maniac on the loose?’ It must’ve shown on my face, because he/she… dammit, I’m going to call Nadine a she for this entry, mainly because she didn’t change back to normal all the time I was with her.

      Anyway, Nadine smiled as if she’d read my thoughts and said, “It’s okay, Penny. I’m not on a case or anything like that. I’ve just been doing some… research of my own.”

     “Thank God,” I sighed and looked at her again. I have to admit, the girls and I had done a damn good job on teaching Nadine how not only how to look but act like a woman. Even as we were talking, the mannerisms and way she held herself was just right. Which puzzled me even more.

     Had ‘Nathan’ taken a liking to being a woman sometimes or was there something more going on here? She had just mentioned something about research, so I asked, “Trying to find out how the other half lives?”

       “In more ways than one,” Nadine sighed raising a tired hand to her head.

      I knew that tone and the gesture. I’d seen and done it myself more times than I’d like to count. Putting an arm around her shoulders I said, “Let’s go to the kitchen and I’ll make us something and you can tell me all about it.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Private Journal of Doctor Jack Tyler December 29th, 2012 “The Haircut” – Part II

            Darlene rolled her eyes at her brother and sighed, “I don’t know why he’d need a haircut. Does it really matter?” Then before he could answer, I saw her expression change. “Actually, that is a pretty good question. Dad…?”

            Holding up my hands I said, “Don’t ask me, I’m just here for Nana’s cookies and hot chocolate.” I wasn’t about to admit that I’d never really thought about it myself.

            Just then Nathan, who was not three feet away, turned to my grandmother saying, “You know I could’ve sworn I’d walked in with a bunch of people, was I just imagining things? Or did I suddenly turn invisible?”

            I watched her pat his arm and say, “No, you’re just getting to that age when everyone thinks you’ve gone deaf or your mind has gone wandering and you aren’t paying attention. I get that a lot.”

            “Not from me!” I called out loudly.

            Nathan looked around, “Did you hear something?”

            “Aw it’s just this old house creaking, or my joints, one or the other,” Nana told him.

            “Must be the house,” he assured her. “I told your dad when he was building it to use hickory but as he pointed out it was more expensive and harder to get here in Connecticut.”

            Nana laughed as she led us down the hallway.

barberspole

            There was an old barber pole on the wall, next to the door that led downstairs.

            My grandfather had been the town’s barber for over sixty-five years, before he finally ‘retired’. The shop was still in business but being run by one of my cousins who specialized in not only classic haircutting, but the more modern ‘faded’ style as well. I myself spent a lot of time in grand-dad’s shop when I was a boy and people often thought I’d follow in his footsteps. In reality, I was studying how he interacted with his customers since he always had a way with them. I learned an awful lot about putting people at ease and drawing them out from watching him, which has been a great asset to my medical practice.

            I slipped past Nathan as we reached the door to offered Nana my arm which she accepted, then we all headed downstairs.

            “Here we go through ‘Dr Who’s Tardis’ again,” I heard my son Joe murmuring behind me, only to be shushed by his sister saying, “Oh, shut up, I like that show.”

            “That’s just because you think the current one is cute,” he shot back.

            Glancing over my shoulder I saw Darlene make a face, “Ew… I’ll take David Tennant over him any day of the week. I mostly like the companions, especially Amy…”

            At that point Nana chimed in with, “I still prefer Tom Baker myself.”

            That earned several groans from the rest of us, although deep down I had to admit she had a point. He was a master of comic timing and seriousness when it came to the role of the Doctor. I would’ve said more but we’d just reached the bottom of the stairs and my grandfather’s ‘shop’.

            Even though my dad, Nathan, and I helped set the place up for him, I always found myself transported back to my childhood every time I came down here.

the-bookcase-and-barber

           One wall of the room was dominated by a large mirror, with shelving covered by numerous barber implements, stood before two chairs that had come from the shop itself. There was also a small flatscreen television staring down from above the mirror. In short, there were also other chairs and tables around the room, but to all intent and purposes, the place was a mini-barber shop. This had been my grandmother’s idea after a number of former clients kept pestering her husband for haircuts because he was the only one who knew how they liked their hair done. Plus, they missed having their regular bull sessions with him.

            But most of all, she knew my grandad missed keeping busy.

          My grandfather was lounging in the older of the two chairs, when we came down. Getting out of one of the chair, where he’d been reading the paper, he stood up. “About time you got here Nathan, I was about to…” he began then spotted me and my family. “Oh good, lord you brought the entire crew with you. Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me tonight.”

          TO BE CONTINUED…

        *Author’s Note: Sorry for the short entry. I was working on it this past weekend and had to go to get some routine lab work done (which took a couple of hours… groan). Plus family and a bad cold took more out of me.  Didn’t want to leave you all with nothing, so I figured a short entry was better than nothing, especially when I’m trying to do at least at two entries a month. To be concluded in two weeks… unless the story decides it wants to be longer.

Private Journal of Doctor Jack Tyler December 29th, 2012 “The Haircut” – Part I

Cheryl and I took our kids, Joe and Darlene, to visit my grandparents at their home this evening. They only live on the other side of town, but with the snow on the ground walking with two teenage grumbling the whole time would’ve tested the patience of saint. It never ceases to amaze me how after spending all day out in the cold with their friends, our children can be all set to head outside once more in spite of the dropping temperature as soon as they finish eating dinner. Their energy and enthusiasm seems limitless. At least, until we remind them they’re supposed to go somewhere with us.

In that moment, all life seems to suddenly evaporate from their bodies and they’re too tired to go anywhere. Or they’ve just remembered an important paper they need to do for school which requires them to stay home, and maybe have a friend or two over to assist them in their research. It is a condition that we in the medical profession have yet to fully analyze and come up with a name for it. I have on more than one occasion considered preparing a paper on this phenomenon for publication. However, the thought of spending hours trying get teenagers, who are NOT mine therefore I have no authority over them, to answer even the simplest of questions quickly cures me of such urges.

Well, after reminding them of how often they’d assured us that they were fully caught up on all their schoolwork, and that we’d discussed the visit several times earlier in the week, they finally went to fetch their coats. I swear it was like watching a the old television series, “The Six Million Dollar Man” or “The Bionic Woman”, where the heroes are filmed in slow motion when they’re supposed to be moving inhumanly fast. Only in my kids case they really were moving that slow, it took them almost a full fifteen minutes just to find their coats and another five to put them on.

Anyway, we finally got them out the door and on the road. We were just pulling up to my grandparents place, when we saw a familiar figure knocking on their front door. It was Nathan.

From the backseat I heard Joe say, “Since when does he know Great-Nana and Great Pop-Pop?”

“Um… I don’t know, maybe because he’s been watching over our family for generations like he told us back in September,” Darlene shot back, in a sweet-sarcastic tone only a sibling can deliver. A second later, she was out of the car dodging snowballs from her brother who’d raced after her.

All of this happened before I’d even killed the engine of the car, leaving me once more to ponder that paper about energy levels in teens. Perhaps I could just try an observational study? I turned to Cheryl who I noticed already her seatbelt unbuckled but hadn’t even opened the door on her side. “Is something wrong?” I asked her.

Turning she gave me a look of disbelief. “I’m not going out into the middle of those two having a snowball fight.”

A second later, a rogue snowball struck the window, followed by a muffled, “Sorry Mom,” from our son Joe. His aim has never been great when it comes to throwing, which is why he’s never made it onto the school baseball team. Darlene on the other hand has a wicked throwing arm from two seasons on the softball team. Which she proceeded to demonstrate by nailing her brother while he was a distracted.

Joe quickly retaliated with a rare well-aimed shot at his sister, who barely managed to dodge the attack unlike my grandmother who had just come out onto the steps to greet all of us.

Thank God Nathan was right there. He could’ve easily just caught the snowball, but it would’ve exploded in his hand, showering Nana in the process and he knew it. So he good-naturedly stepped in front of her and took the hit, which almost knocked the long stocking cap off his head. I saw him say something to my grandmother and then he turned on my offspring yelling in his Groucho Marx  voice, “Of course you realize, this means war!”

However, before he could reach down to grab some snow, Nana tapped him on the shoulder and said something to him. Of course I couldn’t hear from inside the car, but I saw him straighten up and give a dramatic sigh indicating hostilities would remain on hold.

At that point, Cheryl finally opened her car door and stepped out. I quickly followed and joined her and our children who were already greeting their great-grandmother.

Nathan was standing respectfully to the side and I joined him.

“Nice kids you got there, Jack,” he remarked, still in his Groucho voice. Taking off his hat and shaking the snow from it, he continued, “Attacking bystanders like that. What’s this world coming to? Don’t answer, I’ll tell you what it’s coming to…”

I was thankfully spared the rest of his performance by Nana’s voice calling out, “Nathan! Joseph’s expecting you downstairs in his ‘shop’. You know he doesn’t like to be kept waiting. And it looks like he may have some other customers who need haircuts as well.” That last remark was aimed at my son, my grandfather’s namesake. Then I noticed she was eyeing me as well.

“I think we’re expected,” Nathan observed in his own voice, and I nodded.

As we followed my grandmother inside, I heard my son saying to his sister, “Wait a minute. With all the things he can do with his body, why does Uncle Nathan need a haircut?”

TO BE CONTINUED…