My friend Ethel and her husband, Stan, a former Marine MP, were doing their usual Saturday morning routine with the kids, motivating them to do their household chores.
Jody, the family boa constrictor, was isolated from the kid's hamsters: Freddie, Turk, Max, and Snapes - their favorite pets. The last one came to live with them after young Albert read "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."
Freddie was minding his own business running around in his cage and the kids were sound asleep. It was 06:00 hours.
"Hit the deck!" Stan yelled.
No one stirred.
Stan got pissed.
Nudging the youngest off the bunk, you could hear the whining and stomping of little feet.
"Every time you stamp yo' feet
Jody gets a piece of meat.
One, two, three, four
One, two, three, four."
... and then there were only three hamsters.
Stan was an avid neat/clean freak. He got anal about everything from lint to water droplets in the sink. He also had psoriasis, which meant that Ethel and the kids were constantly picking up remnants of strak epidermis that once served in Kuwait.
Freddie had met his demise that day, but all of the household chores got done.
There must have been a lesson to be learned from that, but me and Ethel couldn't figure it out. I live right next door, so she would always come over shaking her head and I would get out the Parrot Bay.
We lamented about writing the lyrics to a Country Western song. We decided to call it "The Youngin's of Semper Fi."
On Sunday morning, this news article URL was posted (yellow post note) and pasted to the box of nails that Stan usually ate for breakfast. The note was left by his asthmatic child:
Click here to read the News Article
There was also a 1,000-word essay attached complaining about the weekly boot-camp routine. The author was listed as "anon:"
"Dear Dad, Sir!" the note began, "Mom and I are sick of buying hamsters even though this is proof that the lice are good for my asthma and Jody would rather eat mice anyway. My friend, Ralph, says that we are all a bit dysfunctional, but at least his dad gives them an extra 10 minutes before getting out the riffle and pelting them all with the paint balls... and will you quit calling Max 'Maggot'?"
A few expletives later, I poured Ethel a very dry martini with olives. There was a bit of orange acrylic still dripping off her nose...
"I burnt the English muffins" she said.
"When's the court-martial?" I asked.
"As soon as Albert washes the car, mows the lawn, and Snapes gives him 50 push-ups"