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Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Ozzie and Harriet's Family

Bill nodded off as he watched television. He wasn’t completely asleep, just too drowsy to change the channel from the old episode of Ozzie and Harriet that his surfing fingers had landed on. Through the haze he heard Ozzie’s voice as he reasoned with David and Ricky and explained why they couldn’t do something they wanted to do.
Somehow Ozzie’s calm voice changed to his own father’s voice.

“Bill! What the hell are you doing? Shirley! Don’t you ever watch these boys?” Big Bill’s voice rumbled through the small tract home. The windows rattled and the floor shook as Big Bill took the three large steps needed to get to the kitchen.
Bill tried to hunker down closer to the floor as he gathered up the Lincoln Logs and stuffed them into the tall round container, dropping as many on the floor as he did into their home. He grabbed the green plastic lid and started scooping little round logs and triangle roofs.
“Bobby! Help me! Before dad comes back!” Bill shouted in a whisper.
Bobby, who had squeezed himself between the end table and the gold flowered chair in front of the multi-paned picture window, wriggled his way out of the corner. He sidled down the wall, heading for their bedroom.
Their father’s shouting voice was a backdrop for Bill’s outraged whisper, “Bobby! Come back here!”
His eyes wide as saucers, four year old Bobby just shook his head and continued his crab-like sidle across the wall.
“I only dumped these out for you!”
Bobby’s head continued its shaking as he stared towards the kitchen door.
Big Bill’s voice continued its blustering noise. Bill couldn’t tell the words, but he heard cabinet doors slam, a chair tip over and the sound of something glass shattering on the linoleum floor. He heard another sound, the stinging sound of a hand slapping skin and a sharp intake of breath, not quite a scream, from his mother.
He worked even faster stuffing the logs into the carton. He jammed the lid on top and ran for the bedroom. No sidling for him. He knew that if could put the Lincoln Logs away his father would forget what had made him angry.
Bobby ran into the bedroom right behind him. Bill quickly shut the door, softly. Then he climbed onto the bottom bunk, pulling Bobby with him. Bill grabbed Bobby’s favorite picture book and started showing the pictures of quacking ducks and mooing cows to his brother.

With a snort Bill sat up, disoriented. He reached up to rub his eyes and clunked himself in the forehead with the remote that he still held in his right hand. Dropping the remote, he rubbed his forehead and stood up. Shaking his head he headed for bed, shutting off the buzzing of the television as he walked by.