He Said, She Said.
An old story I wrote a long time ago, featuring Timothy and his dad, Greg. Hope it makes you smile. :) Greg's not looking very happy.
A waitress different from the one who seated them approached their table, pen poised above a black notepad, and curly, greased hair tied back into a bun.
“Can I start you off with something to drink?” She chirped, standing beside Marie.
“Just water for me, thank you, the purest stuff around,” Mr. Locke said confidently, grasping his menu. The others promptly ordered their usual beverages: iced tea, soda, and warm tea.
“And for you, sir?” the waitress turned towards the boy sitting at the very end of the table. He lifted one finger slowly in the air before saying, “Locke’ll have some of that “pure” H20 too, if you don’t mind. And while he’s at it, Locke might as well add that he’ll be skipping out on anything to eat, already had something a few hours earlier.” A sharp ‘harrumph’ escaped from Mr. Locke’s throat as the confused waitress lowered her pen onto the paper.
“Timothy,” Greg said sternly, wiping at his forehead with a table napkin. “What are you talking about? I don’t remember you having anything back at the house, unless you snuck a bunch of snack’s to your room without me knowing.”
“Um…I’ll come back a little later when you’re all ready to order.” The waitress scurried off to another family situated in the very back.
“Answer me when I’m talking to you,” Greg said through gritted teeth when Timothy remained unusually silent.
“He may have nibbled on some left over pizza before we came. So what?”
“What do you mean you may have? You either did or you didn’t. Which is it? Actually, no. I want you to step outside with me for a second. Right now.” Timothy complied with his father, nodding once and carefully scooted his chair under the table before following the red faced man out into the crisp night air. A small crowd waiting for their families last name to be called over the intercom wandered about around the restaurant’s front door. Others took advantage of the two benches propped against the brick layering. The streets were abuzz with evening traffic and pedestrians crowding the crosswalks, rubbing their gloved hands together to keep warm.
“Timothy,” Greg huffed, but not before taking a deep breath, in theeffort to regain self-control. “I am going to attempt to understand why you behave the way you do, especially to your own flesh and blood. So, here it goes…what is wrong with you?”
“Wrong? Nothing’s wrong. Locke actually feels as strong as an ox today, though he’s a tad concerned about that other gentleman in the ill-fitting designer suit.”
“You mean your grandfather?”
“Ah, yes. Him. He’s looking kind of sallow tonight and absolutely insists on addressing those who have no desire to speak with him whatsoever. And some people declare that Locke’s the one who has a couple screws loose.”
“Well, the least you could do is make an effort to be civil. They are family after all, and they’ve come all the way from Los Angeles to visit. And while we’re at it, when we get back to the table, remove that darn hat and place it on your lap. I’m tired of looking at it and I’m sure everyone else is, too.”
“What, this old thing? Locke know exactly what you mean. He honestly can’t understand why he ever listened to that Jillian Weathers.” Timothy slipped the hat off his head and stared at it forlornly.
“Jill?” Greg appeared startled. “What has she got to do with this?”
“When we discussed my “problem” of acting obnoxiously towards other people, she instructed me to wear my hat tilted over my eyes to correct the situation. You see, if Locke has no one in his field of vision, he may be less tempted to make a smart remark.”
“Ah, But if you haven’t already noticed, Locke’s managed to contain that troublesome side of himself for most of the night, so maybe she is on to something.”
“Yes, but it’s working a little too well if you ask me.” Greg blew warm air onto his hands then hastily shoved them into his coat pockets.
“Locke completely agree.” A grin sprouted up Timothy’s cheeks, never seeming to end. A familiar trait that Greg knew all too well, and one which made others uncomfortable. “The monthly billing that accompanies their organization is outrageous. Not worth a cent paid.”
“You can say that again-wait a second. I know what you’re doing, and I’m telling you right now, it’s not going to work. You’ll continue going to those sessions for however long it takes; although you clearly think they’re a waste of time.”
“What…? WHY?” A myriad of widened eyes flickered pointedly in their direction, and stunned murmurs soon replaced the energetic conversations. Timothy’s grin had catapulted up to almost as far as it could go, revealing both rows of teeth. Greg studied his son’s countenance warily before grabbing a hold of his arm and leading him through the front door a second time.
“Listen,” he hissed, tugging Timothy pass the lobby and back to the crowded dining area. “No amount of duplicity or temper tantrums is going to change my mind, and you’d do well to remember that.”
“Gladly! However, she did hint that our time together may be coming to an end-something about finding improvements in my behavior during each session. Who knows?”
“Yeah, sure. It’s over when I say it’s over. I don’t know how many times I have repeat myself.” They stopped a little ways ahead of their table, the rest of the family quietly conversing and looking slightly confused. Suddenly, Mr. Locke swiveled around in his seat and his dark grey eyes met Timothy’s forest green irises straight on for the very first time that night.
“Okay, now that we’re here, I’m going to need some cooperation from you, understand? Try to make polite conversation, be attentive to what’s being discussed…”
“Heh…heh, heh, heh…” Timothy’s attempt to smother the inevitable hysterics creeping up the back of his throat ended in absolute failure, as was the usual case.
“…And while we’re at it, please be mindful of-STOP IT. Timothy! What have I told you about that?”
“Hey, Locke thought he was making a pretty decent effort.” He threw up his hands, nearly choking in the struggle to hold back the oncoming laughter. “He can’t help it if he’s the one giving me the evil eye.”
“Yes, but why is that humorous to you? Why must everything be a joke?” Greg had to remind himself that overturning a table in a public place wasn’t a very good idea, no matter how justified he thought the action would be.
“Simple. Because life's a joke, get it? All that’s left is to find the everyday punch lines, and believe Locke, there’s an abundance of them.” Timothy stopped himself from straightening his jacket upon espying the expression on his father’s face, made a quick decision, then smoothed the crinkles out of his hat. He then held it a couple inches above his head, skimming the tops of his hair. “Or maybe it would be best if Locke put this to good use again, huh? Eh heh…”
“No,” Greg hissed, shoving his square glasses back up his nose. “Don’t you dare. Just give me the hat and I’ll hold on to it for the rest of the evening. And for God’s sake, wipe that ridiculous grin off your face. You’ll upset your aunt and grandmother.” Timothy sighed and shook his head, then grumbled contemptuously, “Women.” Greg pointed at his son before saying in a low voice, “Watch yourself,” then motioned for Timothy to follow him back to their table. He started to do just that, but abruptly stopped in his tracks when noticing a young couple gawking at him, most of their chicken and mashed potatoes untouched.
“Ah, don’t worry,” He waved a hand at them dismissively. “This is an everyday occurrence for us.”