As a result, the whole evening was out of whack. No dinner for the kids, no jammies, not that they noticed. They were happily playing in the next room. I could hear Garret making his killer robot sounds and his lava sounds--imagine aggravated flatulence interrupted by explosions--while Sammie sat next to him, chatting away. She was portraying both halves of a mother-daughter team of rescue cats about to save the robots from the lava. But first? Shopping! For shoes, maybe some groceries. I heard her ask Garret what sort of snacks the robots might like after their rescue. How wise she is. People do get peckish after a crisis. Robots, too, I imagine.
So, Larry walked through the house to find chopped vegetables next to the empty soup pot. Bills stacked up to be paid. Not a single coat, art project or half-eaten snack cleared from any surface. Bad mommy.
He walked up to the TV. "Isn't that Julius Caesar?" I said the actor's name out loud, and then, "I adore him."
Larry sniffed. "Sweet look for your boyfriend."
To what could he be referring? The greasy hair? The sad moustache and fat-Elvis sideburns? The orange tinted aviator sunglasses? Or the wardrobe of rayon and pleather? I pointed to the TV. "On him, that outfit is sexy." I'm sure Larry was chewing up a mouthful of something to say to that, but the kids intervened. We heard: Stop it! followed by Quit lookin' at me! Then we heard a slap followed by a scream. I handed Larry the remote and trotted off to initiate peace talks. Larry stretched out on the couch and asked for a recap. I tossed a couple of headlines over my shoulder: Reporter takes on Irish mob. Violence ensues.
"Great," said Larry. "A message film." He continued to watch, though, and to provide extremely cynical commentary while I whipped up mac and cheese and herded the kids to the table before issuing the usual threat: I am holding your desserts hostage. Anyone throws milk, spits food or pokes someone's eye out with a fork and both desserts will be destroyed uneaten.
Garret sang "You're a Grand Old Flag," but substituted the word fart for the word flag, and the word wave, and then most of the other words. Each time he did this, Sammie shrieked "NO!" hitting ever higher and more piercing notes. In the living room, Larry rounded the bases on a speech about the trouble with message films. I poured a little wine. Then Larry interrupted himself to call out, "Hey, your boyfriend has no shirt on." I scurried on in, but was too late. The scene had migrated to close-ups. My favorite guy was doing his creepy sinister look, while the actress was looking, well, exactly the way an A-lister is expected to look when she has to be brave, deeply self-righteous and smokin' hot all at once. No semi-nudity of swarthy character actors was forthcoming.
"How did he look?" I asked Larry, who just shook his head.
"Gravity is a bitch."
"What do you mean?"
Larry waggled his hand in the air. "I give him a B cup."
Here I said something regrettable. "On him, even man-breasts would be sexy."
Larry smirked. "How old is this guy, anyway?"
"Shut up. Women will want him when he's 90. He will make wizened, toothless geezerhood sexy."
Larry looked to the ceiling. Perhaps he was scrolling down a list of responses to this crazy tidbit, but the kids intervened again. We heard a cluster of soft plops, the unmistakable sound of wax beans hitting a vertical surface. I trotted off to impose a no-fly zone.
Ever since then, Larry has referred to the actor in question as "Your boyfriend, Mr. Flapjack Tits."
THE EXERCISE: That story's not going anywhere. There's no real reason for it to exist, but it was fun to write. On some days, inspiration grows cold. I have three things I'm supposed to have edited by today and a huge long document to write, and instead, I came up with this. On some days, the task is to write something, anything. Today, write something fun that makes you smile, even if it's not going anywhere. Let the work be your guilty pleasure.