Rats continue to plague my short story. This is the conclusion to my original brownie fiction. If you would enjoy reading it from the beginning, please click here. Enjoy.
Rats…, Part 2
“Call me when the brownies are ready?” Michael was running toward the TV room.
I made a quick recovery. “Come back here.” The toilet flushed and Clay slid open the pocket door to the bathroom and headed down the hall toward the TV. “You too, young man. I want some answers.”
Clay dragged his feet in an exaggerated death march behind his little brother. “Aw, Mom, it’s no big deal. We didn’t hurt him.” He stepped on the heel of Michael’s shoe, sending him into a dive.
“Booger Face.” Michael whirled around ready to punch the taller boy.
“Stop it, immediately. Get over here.” I pointed to the dining room table. “Sit.” My finger jabbed toward Rick and Anita, indicating them as well.
“I didn’t do anything.” Anita sat with a harrumph.
“Yes, well then you don’t have anything to hide.”
Anita’s feet swung back and forth. Shoulders hunched, she sat with her chin on the table. “Rick told me not to tell.”
“I’m sure he did.” I looked at my oldest whose knuckles were still in the metal mixing bowl he’d brought to the table. “Give me that.” I whisked the bowl over to the sink. “You were supposed to be in charge, Rick.” The clang of metal to sink punctuated my point. “You need to set an example—both of you.” I looked from one older boy to the next. “He looks up to you.” I pointed at Michael.
“He was having a good time.” Rick grinned at his youngest brother. “He was getting into it, too.”
“It was different when you were picking on Clay?” Michael stuck his nose in the air and sniffed. “Can we eat?”
Clay looked indignant. “Yeah, you guys only tried to set me on fire!”
“What?” I stood over the table of defendants.
Clay pointed to Michael. “He got the fireplace lighter while she got Mom’s hairspray.” He turned on his sister.
“Hairspray, for what?” I looked at Anita.
“I didn’t know what it was for. Honest, Mom. Rick just told me to do it while he held the door shut.”
“I didn’t hold the door shut. He had it locked.” Rick pointed toward Clay.
“Locked why?” I looked from one boy to the next.
“I was trying to go to the bathroom, and they wouldn’t leave me alone.” Clay squared self-righteous shoulders.
“You were trying to keep Michael from hitting you with the spoon.” Anita giggled.
“He tried to pull off the towel, Mom. Out there …,” Michael pointed toward the front door, “in front of God and everybody.”
“What did you do with my hairspray, Anita?”
“I didn’t do anything.” Anita’s lower lip trembled. “Rick made it spray fire through the bathroom keyhole,” she wailed.
“RICK.” My eyes bulged like a cartoon character.
“I didn’t know it would work, so well.”
“It was a good thing I was sitting on the toilet.” Clay’s hands flew in the air. “Fire shot right through the door past my face.”
“Rick,” was all I could manage. “What…, How?”
“We learned it in Science class. You put fire in front of the spray and it turns into a torch.”
“They taught you that in school?” My mouth hung agape, waiting for oxygen.
“The teacher used different propellant, but it was really cool.”
“I’ll cool your butt, Mister. You could have really hurt your brother or set the house on fire!” I walked in a circle, rubbing my forehead, while Anita began to sniffle.
Eight-year-old Michael bounced in his chair. “I smell the brownies. Can we eat ‘em?”
“Hell, no. I may never make brownies again,” I bellowed. On cue the timer buzzed and Anita began to cry. Grabbing the oven mitten, I stepped to the range. “I may donate these to the church,” I yelled and pulled out the 9×13 inch pan, placing it on the stove top, so smooth and practiced the motion resembled a dance.
“Aw, Mom,” Clay and Michael chimed in a chorus. “Please, please, please don’t give them to the church, again; can’t we eat the brownies?”
“No! Go play,” I waved a red mitten in the direction of the back yard. “Not, you.” I pointed a long finger at Rick; my eyes squinted, trying to look fierce. He sat down while the younger boys ran out the back door. Anita stayed, her hands in her lap, forehead resting on the table.
I leaned on the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining area, allowing the quiet to settle into the space. My eyes rested on the broken spoon, as I regained my composure and decided how to dispense justice. “So Rick,” I picked up the two pieces of wood. “What happened to my spoon?”
The fourteen-year-old looked at his sister. “I think it was rats.”