I GET THE
BLAME FOR EVERYTHING
Why is it that every time
something goes wrong, all eyes turn to Gordon?
Author's Notes – This story is
written for a special lady who somehow continues to inspire
the world we need to write more Gordon. Thank you to quiller
for your good advice and never-ending patience in advising on
thunders up the stairwell like an avalanche in reverse.
of course. In case you haven't guessed it yet, he doesn't take
too kindly to door slamming.
... you get this... I'm not sorry I slammed my
bedroom door and I'm not sorry for what happened at the dinner
table either. I'm tired of getting the blame for everything
that goes wrong around here and at eleven and half years of
age, it's time I was allowed to say so.
Uh oh ...
there's something about the way he kind of just said that. I
think I'd better simmer down a bit and take the time to answer
him. There's one thing my Father doesn't tolerate and that's
rudeness. In his opinion, rudeness is the ultimate disrespect.
his expectations and remembering what happened to Alan the
last time he pushed his luck; I decide it's in my best
interests to open up the door.
not to sound like I'm sulking; standing here like an idiot,
peering into semi darkness. I know better anyway. For the
record, Dad doesn't take too well to sulking either.
door to your room properly please."
instruction leaves little scope for misinterpretation and
there is complete silence in the dining room as everyone,
including Dad, waits for me to comply.
you." I hear him rumble as I close the offending door and
effectively remove myself from his world.
So now I'm
trapped in MY world.
walls, a bed and a window ... and a desk which reminds me I
haven't yet started on my homework.
Tracy, a prisoner of misunderstanding for the fifth
consecutive night this week.
don't know why he carried on and got so damn mad. It wasn't my
fault the salt shaker had sugar in it. All Grandma told me to
do was fill it up before suppertime. I tried to tell him she
didn't exactly say with what.
Dad didn't want to hear about it. No, sir. Not him. All he
could do was snap how hard he found it to believe I'd want to
deliberately ruin Scott's welcome home supper with one of my
silly pranks. Which, he growled in his cranky deep voice, he
didn't find the least bit funny. Then, before I even got a
chance to defend myself, he stands up, points in the direction
of the stairs and sends me all the way up to my room to think
about the consequences of stupidity.
this time I am thinking about it, and all I can say is I'm not
the only one who was suffering from a bout of stupidity down
there. The way I figure it, Scott should never have tried to
drown his food with the salt shaker in the first place. A
little sugar to sweeten things up was never going to hurt
anybody. How was I to know he'd go completely over the top?
this thinking about food is starting to make me hungry. Even
with the door closed, I can still smell Grandma's pot-roast.
Grandma's pot-roast is my favourite; plus she's made a pie. I
can't believe Dad expects me to stay up here and think about
stupidity while everyone's enjoying that.
If Dad has
his way, I'll be staying up here in this dungeon forever. He
said he expects at least one thousand words on why good food
shouldn't be wasted before I'll be allowed to see the
"outside" this time. Worse still, he said I have to apologise
to Scott for single-handedly ruining his supper, and, if I
know what's good for me, I'd better make very sure I made some
sort of effort to mean it.
Oh come on
Dad! How's about lightening up? Can't you see it was just an
innocent little joke on my brother? Don't you have any sense
of humour at all?
question number two.
where Dad's concerned, none of my latest have been funny and
no matter how hard I try to weasel out of things, the
punishment is gonna happen.
well get started I suppose. I guess that means find paper.
Pity I can't remember where I put the stuff after the last one
thousand words. That one was so worth it though. Talk about
hilarious. Virgil scratched his ass for best part of a week
before he figured out what was going on with his shorts.
Honest; I've never laughed so hard in my life.
and Grandma had kind of shared the sentiment.
of the Tracy Corporation looming up from underneath my
homework indicates I've managed to score myself the paper. Dad
gave me a whole ream of the stuff after Virgil's "unfortunate
little accident." He said I'd need the whole damn lot of it if
I was going to write down everything he expected to read. He
was appalled at the disgraceful way I'd chosen to treat my
brother. What the hell was I thinking?
about you but I didn't think there was anything wrong with
putting in a little itching powder to liven up Virgil's
shorts. I tried to tell Dad that too when he made me stand in
front of him and explain exactly what I'd done.
only itching powder, sir," I said and I was being honest. "I
didn't mean any harm."
reply to that was I didn't have a clue what real harm actually
was and if I continued to keep this up, I was sure gonna find
out soon. For half an hour Grandma had been trying to convince
Virgil he needed to drop his shorts so she could see what the
hell was causing all the discomfort. Couldn't I see the harm
I guess I
didn't quite get it, because no matter how many times he said
it to me, I kept on shaking my head and saying "No, sir."
I ... ummm...
did try to look a bit penitent though when Grandma almost
dragged Virgil into the bathroom and Dad started reading me
the riot act.
shouldn't interfere in my brother's "personal business."
the time I finished writing that one, I really was
starting to feel sorry.
something about the Tracy Corporation Logo which drove it all
home after an hour and half at my desk. I started out laughing
about Virgil; but by the end, all I could think about was Dad
and how hard he has to work all year to provide for us. To be
honest it made me feel real bad.
didn't last too long.
is staring at me in the face again as I reach over to pick up
my pencil. It sure is hard to be enthusiastic knowing I'll
still be looking at this thing for the best part of the next
Food Shouldn't Be Wasted."
thing's for certain though; if I value what's left of my life,
I'd better make sure I write something pretty awe-inspiring
before Dad rocks up here to see me. Yeah right! How much does
a kid like me know about the crime of wasting food? I never
waste anything I'm given.
am I supposed to concentrate when all I can taste is Grandma's
roast beef? She's got all this other great stuff in the middle
of the table too... crispy roast potatoes with just the right
amount of seasoning, those fabulous green beans she grew in
the garden herself ... her special home-made gravy...
take it I tell you. My mouth is watering so hard I'm gonna
drown in my own saliva and my stomach is groaning so hard, it
hurts. A growing kid like me shouldn't be expected to write on
an empty stomach. It's unconstitutional! Doesn't a growing kid
look Dad gave me before I was dismissed from the table is any
indication, I think this growing kid lost all the rights to
anything the moment the sugar started pouring out of the salt
Food Shouldn't Be Wasted."
words flourish across the top of the page accompanied by a
smile of great satisfaction. Only nine hundred and ninety four
more to go, Gordie, and you'll be back at the dining room
table happily wolfing down your supper.
Gordon Cooper Tracy."
there's another four.
touch. That makes twelve. Good job, Gordie. Now you're down to
only nine hundred and eighty eight.
for making a mistake and putting sugar in the salt shaker."
hundred and seventy six.
though I didn't mean to."
hundred and seventy.
time to congratulate myself. I've written thirty meaningful
words. At least when Dad comes up here I can say to him, "Yes,
sir, of course I've started." And I know he'll be up here the
moment he's done with his coffee. He's so predictable when it
comes to handing out the discipline. Grandma says I've
seriously lost the plot in life if I think my Father is
anything close to being predictable. According to her; with
youngsters like me fraying what's left of his every nerve on
an almost nightly basis, Dad's likely cut loose at any moment.
She could guarantee it.
watch what happens later on. You'll soon see I'm right.
comes up here, he'll knock twice on my door to make absolutely
sure I'm decent. He's pretty careful about giving me notice of
entry after the night I answered the door minus my shorts. I
don't think I'll go into that one. Let's just say it was
another of Dad's classic "I'd rather we forgot about it, thank
you, son" moments.
once he's finally knocked, he'll open the door, walk over to
the window and systematically close the drapes. He'll sit on
my bed, watch me for a bit and then quietly shake his head.
After that, he'll ask me to look him at him and explain why I
need to cause more uproar in the house than what there already
is. His eyes won't even blink while he makes it clear, and
he'll point out it's the fifth time this week he's had to do
so, that there's a need for order and self-discipline in a
family of young men. Then, he'll ask to see what I've written
as a punishment and count the number of words.
words. Boy, thirty pathetic words sure won't cut it with my
Dad. He's gonna give me the old "JT" frown of disapproval,
growl I'm not taking him seriously and threaten to take more
Grandma, this pie sure is the best. Is there enough left for
me to have seconds?"
I'm gonna kick the little stinker's ass the very next
opportunity I get. He knows I can hear every single word he's
saying AND he knows I've been hanging out for my
piece of Grandma's pie ever since the moment she removed it
from the oven. Those layers of golden brown pastry have been
my whole reason for living for the past three and a half
hours. How dare he even think he's about to get my share!
it's some consolation when the tone of Dad's voice changes
again and he growls at Alan too. He's had more than his fair
share of everything tonight, including Grandma's pie and he
can now consider himself excused.
ceases to amaze me just how dumb Alan really is. He tries it
on with Dad every single night of the week and he still hasn't
figured out yet what Dad says goes.
and it's exactly the same result as last night.
handed him the kitchen duty again.
Alan; not another word..."
sure wish I was the one who could think of a couple of words.
I can hear the rattle of the coffee cups already as Grandma
carries in the tray from the kitchen to the dining room. Once
the coffee's all done, I'm cactus. He'll be up here within
minutes, wanting to see what I've done.
something a decent kid should never ever take for granted. I
guess I did that when I put sugar instead of salt into the
Those are the exact twenty eight words of regret Dad will be
expecting to read.
because many people have no food to eat."
if Scott happened to be one of those starving people I'm
talkin' about, he'd have eaten Grandma's roast without
complaining to anyone about the sugar."
...somehow I think you're right. I don't think Dad will
appreciate reading that little gem of a statement either. Too
bad every single word of it is true. Let's face it, if Scott
was starving like I am at the moment he'd have eaten the whole
thing with or without the sugar, and knowing him, he would
have considered the plate and cutlery too.
seven words get carefully erased and whilst I don't
particularly choose to admit it, so does the certain threat to
I'm back to nine hundred and forty two again and it's only
taken me fifty four minutes. My fingers jab at the desk
calculator. 1.07 words per minute. Boy at this rate it will be
17.83 hours before Dad lets me out of my room to eat what's
left of my supper.
fair I tell you. There's no way my share of Grandma's pie is
going to survive for 17.83 hours; not with Alan hanging around
it like a vulture and three other brothers in the house!
theory could be substantiated by years of intense research I
not true. My theory can be substantiated right now by precise
Alan, they've escaped the pain of doing the chores again and
are on their way to watch television. As usual, they're
arguing; this time over John's latest astronomical theory.
He's been saying for months there has to be more than one
universe and he's been somehow trying to convince everyone
that he's right. I think he's wasting his time trying it on
with Virgil. Virgil's never been a guy who puts faith in
theories; I think he learnt the hard way after experimenting
with a couple too many of Scott's. John, on the other hand is
devoted to them, particularly when they relate to his passion
for anything to do with the mysteries of the solar system.
John have become pretty close since Scott left home for
College. These days, they spend a lot more time together. I
guess it's sort of nice for John because he's always been the
one in the middle. Pity it's not too good for me. I liked the
security of having John around when Alan and I weren't
talking. I could always rub it in Al's face I didn't need him.
Ever since Scott went away though, John's made the same thing
pretty clear to me. Alan and I should grow up and try to get
along, he says. He and Virgil have "more adult things to do"
than referee the arguments of "children."
pie of Grandma's sure was delicious hey Virg?"
"Delectable Johnny. Simply delectable."
crumb literally melted in the mouth."
one of Grandma's best all right."
Don't tell me you were a victim of the deadly salt shaker
outburst of laughter follows the playful tapping on my door.
Those two love it when I can't reciprocate. Well we'll see how
much they're laughing in the morning after they put their feet
into their sneakers. Then they'll know all about
tap; this time, sharp and business-like.
immediately my eyes open wide in a kind of dire panic.
can't have finished his coffee so soon. Not that and the two
glasses of cognac too. Grandma usually manages to keep him
down there for at least a couple of hours; hoping against hope
he'll start to simmer down.
don't come in and close the drapes on me yet, Dad. I've only
written fifty eight words to show you when you ask.
door opens and closes anyway and I'm left with no option but
to swallow hard and face the music.
move towards to the window. Neither does he close the drapes.
He simply stands there looking down from his six foot two inch
height waiting for me to say something. It's hard not to feel
intimidated when all I can think about is how tall he is; how
confident; and how completely self-controlled he always seems
thought I was Dad, huh?"
inside tells me to smile and admit things to my big brother.
Admit; yeah, I sure did think he was Dad, and boy was I ever
glad when it turned out that he wasn't.
don't choose to smile. I choose to shrug my shoulders instead
and return to the lines of my punishment. I don't want to talk
to Scott about anything at the moment because this whole damn
mess was all his fault in the first place.
He was the
one who forced me to do my homework without help when Dad went
away on business. He made me play ball alone. He was the one I
looked for when I fell and hurt my shoulder last March and had
to miss the inter-school swimming competition. He was the only
brother I wanted to talk to when that girl tried to kiss me
and I didn't know what to do.
and gone away to College.
have sabotaged things tonight if you hadn't changed so much,
Scott. I didn't know what else to do to get your attention.
I've never had to fight for it before. Don't you see? Ever
since you came home from College all you've wanted to do is
talk to Dad about your plans to be a fighter pilot in the Air
Force. You didn't make the time to talk about anything to me.
Gordie ... how's it all coming?"
...don't insult me by trying to act interested now. Thanks to
you; Dad almost went ballistic down there tonight and I ended
up getting dumped on, with a thousand words to write.
coming if you must know." I hear myself snap; determined not
to have anything to do with him. "I don't know how Dad can
expect me to concentrate when I'm not allowed to eat my
are a sullen accusation; my way to make a point; and one he
ponders on for a brief moment before leaning down to ruffle my
on, squirt; don't go giving me that. You know darn well you
instantaneously, my face falls even further.
statement really hurts; not because I've made a big effort to
try and concentrate better this year, but because the
statement says I'm guilty and the statement was made by him.
Before he went away, he used to be the only one who understood
me or who was prepared to take my side. He could always be
relied on to smooth things over with Dad no matter what I did
or how bad it was. Scott wasn't just my brother. Scott was my
very best friend.
at him ... standing there like Dad does ... sounding like he
sounds ...and not even hesitating to take Dad's side. Well I
don't have to stomach that, Scott. You're not Dad and I'm not
going to sit here for one more minute and keep pretending that
deserve anything, Scott." I snarl in uncustomary aggravation.
"Like I tried to tell Dad at the table, the whole stupid thing
was an accident."
he makes no attempt to disguise the puzzled look which clouds
across his features. "Gordie?" he queries in a voice of
darn nothing... I don't have to explain myself to you.
Spare me the worried look. I only said one word. Guess it
wasn't the one what you wanted to hear huh?
how about you settle down a bit and tell me what the hell's
No I don't
want to tell you what the HELL'S gone wrong. Why would you
give a damn if I'm upset? Who cares about you wanting to leave
home and join the Air Force anyway?
says there's somethin' wrong?"
need you. Homework's not all that hard these days and I'm used
to playing ball by myself.
something's sure been eating you since the very first moment
you saw me."
so? How nice of you to notice. Maybe you should've noticed a
lot of other things too...like the welcome home sign me and
Alan took hours to make for you; the one you didn't bother to
read because you were too busy talking to Dad about the Air
nothing's eating me OK?"
absolutely sure about that, squirt?"
are you ever gonna stop calling me by that stupid baby name!"
after an outburst Scott would continue to push and prod until
he figured out why the brother who's always outgoing, always
happy and always agreeable seemed to be suddenly out of sorts.
All part of the job of being the eldest, he used to say during
the friendly interrogation; and the only way he knew to avoid
conflicts ending up in the hands of Dad.
tonight even that's different. Tonight, there's no pushing and
prodding or the fear of involving Dad. Tonight, all he does is
offer a quiet apology and prepare to walk away.
Gordon..." he murmurs, "...I was only trying to help. If you
ummm... need me to look over that thing for you when you're
done, I'll be next door with Virg and Johnny, catching up on
I watch in
real regret as he turns and walks towards the door. I can't
figure out why I need to be such an ungrateful little pain in
the ass. I want to have him all to myself for as long as I
possibly can. He's my favourite brother and the only security
blanket against the real world me and Alan have ever known.
how I stammer which causes him to turn. Maybe it's the kind of
saddened way I call his childhood name. Whatever it is, he
knows I need to talk to him and he's waiting with quiet
again in the silence.
Ummm ... well ... I do have something kind of bothering me at
the moment, sir. Is it all right with you if I say?"
All I get
for my humility is a badly disguised "Scott Tracy" smirk. It's
not the fact I tend to forget myself and often accidentally
call him "sir." In fact, I think he rather likes the
compliment of me putting him on a par with Dad; it's the fact
his patience has proven, yet again, he knows me better than I
thought he did.
wouldn't happen to be a certain thousand words someone asked
you to write?"
When I nod
my head and start to redden, the smirk melts into a laugh. My
hair is ruffled again; this time in rough, brotherly
"Short-Stuff, you oughtta know by now, Dad has the reputation
for handing out some really rotten punishments. You gotta just
cop this one on the nose I'm afraid."
I wish I
could be like him and laugh about being in trouble with Dad.
He wouldn't even know what being in trouble was. Even when we
were younger, Dad never sent him upstairs at suppertime or
made him sit at a desk and write lines. All Dad ever did was
say what a fine upstanding young man he was turning out to be
and how proud Mom would be if only she could see him.
and redden further at the realisation I'm only jealous. Scott
can't help being perfect in Dad's eyes. I suppose that's what
comes when you're the eldest and you've had to give everything
you have to raise your four little brothers.
"I ... I
need to tell you something else, sir."
instantly narrow and his expression soon grows wary. Past
experience has taught him when one of us needs to "tell him
something else"; the news generally isn't good.
there's more to all this than a couple of lousy lines,
I nod my
head again; almost too ashamed to continue.
becomes very clear my big brother hasn't changed at all. His
face fills with its customary worry and his voice lowers
dramatically. What's happened? Am I hurt? Have I gotten myself
into trouble? Was it at school? At home? Someplace else?
finally find the courage to shrug and say a guilty "sort of"
he looks more and more worried than ever.
to locate a chair.
instinctively, he leans forward so our eyes are level. He
reaches out and squeezes my shoulder with his hand. It's OK to
confide in him. It doesn't matter what I've done. If need be,
we can tell Dad together.
sir." I swallow and brush the trail of ever-building moisture
from the corners of my eyes.
to me in silence as everything floods out like a dam bursting
- the homework, the ball playing, the shoulder, the girl. I
just couldn't stop once it started.
when it all did, he took forever to consider his words.
start, I needed to get a couple of things straight. Firstly, I
was wrong if I thought for one moment he didn't miss us. There
wasn't a day he didn't wonder what we were doing or if we were
all getting along. Secondly, he knew how busy Dad was with the
business and worried all the time I might not be getting the
right answers in my homework; particularly Math, where I often
tended to be careless.
like the fact I was playing ball alone.
really bad when Dad told him about my shoulder, and wished
more than anything I'd have taken more care. What the hell was
I doing hanging upside down in the oak tree the night before
the inter-school anyway? I wouldn't have been doing it if he'd
have been around. Dad'd told us a thousand times the oak tree
was dangerous. Didn't I retain anything important from one
waking day to the next?
But as for
my problem with the girl...
you'd better make an appointment to talk to Dad about that
one," he warns me with a grin which spreads from ear to ear.
"Believe me; you'll soon be learning the hard way, he's one
hell of an expert in the art of reproduction."
The two of
us smile at each other and in that split second in time, our
bond as brothers has never seemed stronger. It felt so good to
tell him what had been on my mind for almost seven
months...how unhappy I'd been since he left us... how much I'd
looked forward to him coming home ... hell I even broke my
promise to Virgil and let him in on every detail about what
happened at home with the itching powder.
serious?" he laughs in disbelief. "There's no way
Virg would've dropped his shorts for anyone; let alone Grandma
on one of her crusades! Gordie; please tell me Dad was able to
convince her he didn't have to do it."
in the lounge between Dad and Grandma begins to replay over in
my head. To be honest, I don't actually remember what the heck
Dad said. All I remember was Grandma having more than her fair
share to say about diseases and everyone who was anyone being
pretty mad at me.
hears me mention Virgil, Scott's laughter instantly drains
away. His face becomes serious. Of course Virg would be mad at
me for pulling a crazy, stupid stunt like that. Having to
continually scratch "the equipment", especially in front of
Dad and Grandma, would have been nothing short of
embarrassing. No wonder he was so upset. It was wrong for me
to laugh and worse still; wrong to expect others to laugh too.
understand why he was saying that and I immediately said so
too. He'd just been laughing at Virgil's misfortune. Why was
it different for me?
difference is I wouldn't have laughed about it at the time."
he stresses, sounding every bit as firm as Dad. "Virgil's my
brother and I care about him a lot."
The pit of
my stomach starts to hurt and I have to press my lips together
to stop them vibrating. It's always about being considerate of
Virgil or understanding the moods of John. If it isn't them,
it's about being nice to Alan no matter what the hell he's
done. It's never about me or how I feel about anything.
come out before I know it, as I lose what's left of my bravado
and crumble, turning away so he doesn't see me lose it all
brother too, Scott. How come you don't care about me?"
you do care and I need to quit acting so immature ... but I
don't believe it... I've never believed it."
you did care, you wouldn't have left."
I turn my
tear-stained face to his.
wouldn't have left me and gone away to College."
it was then.
finally admitted it.
and a half years of age, Gordon Cooper Tracy can't deal with
the fact he's no longer an integral part of his big brother's
world. It does sound immature just like Dad says, and I know I
still have three other brothers to complain about and argue
the point with. It's just not the same without Scott that's
all, and I can't help it if I don't like it.
Scott's thinking I'm immature too as he looks at me with
sadness and then averts his eyes. After a while, it's him, not
me, who swallows. Then he puts his arm around my shoulders and
tries his best to explain.
don't stay the same forever. He learnt that lesson a very long
time ago. Yale was part of a very important step he needed to
take in his life. He was learning a lot of new things there;
adult things; things which would help him carve out a career
for himself when he graduated and applied to join the Air
Force. Yes it was true joining the Air Force would take him
away from us; but sometimes I had to try and see things from
his perspective too. He wasn't just our big brother any more.
He had dreams and aspirations. Flying aircraft like Dad had
done was something he'd wanted to do ever since he was a
little boy. He hoped I could understand how important it was
to him and accept it was time for him to go.
honestly understood about the pain of trying to cope alone
with the homework. I wouldn't remember anything of course; but
when Mom died he had to learn to do his homework all by
himself too. Dad had been too weighed down with responsibility
to worry about things like checking math or playing ball. Dad
didn't even have time to sleep back then. It was just the way
it had to be.
in hindsight, things weren't all so bad. Virgil soon learned
to throw a ball to him and he liked spending time with Virgil.
Maybe I could do the same with Alan? He knew for a fact Alan
was pretty handy with a ball.
for me no longer being an integral part of his world ... I
would never have to worry about that.
a solemn promise he'd always be there if his four little
brothers needed him and no matter what, he'd never break that
promise. I could count on it.
was the last thing he promised Mom.
brotherly embrace is brief and if anyone says they saw
anything, both of us will deny it. This is a household of men,
Dad says, and there's no room around here for tears or
overdone displays of emotion. Having said that; he's the one
who hugged Scott for nearly five minutes the night before he
left home for College AND the one who wore the
dark glasses around the house for a whole two full days after.
usual, Scott soon forgets he's Mister nice guy and starts
asserting his authority.
enough's enough. How about you stop complaining about
everything and anything for once in your life and start
thinking about something a little more urgent?"
fact you haven't written a thousand words and I can hear Dad
talking to Grandma at the bottom of the stairs right this very
hand him my paper and announce there's actually only nine
hundred and forty two left to go.
quickly scan the lines and I wait for him to applaud me.
Boy, am I
kidding me Gordie?" he exclaims in complete disgust. "This is
terrible! There's no way you can hand this kind of crap to Dad
and expect he'll let you live."
you mean it's crap?" I flash. "It's not crap. Crap's the kind
of stuff Alan always writes."
start "crapping" back at me, squirt, or I'll personally see to
it Grandma washes your mouth out with fifteen different cakes
I say it? You do."
frustrated growl, he throws all my homework off the desk,
reaches for a new piece of Tracy Corporation paper and demands
I stop living my life as a death wish and start the whole damn
you promise stay here and help me, Scottie."
gonna have to if you don't want Dad in here systematically
kicking your ass."
tell him you said "kicking ass" to me, Scott."
"Oh no you
won't. Just you remember, "kicking ass" is also one of
myself into submission and once again make a grab for my
pencil. Somehow under his guidance I know the words will come
easily. But as I write them, my mind can't help but linger on
those three other very truthful words.
not, Scott. I'm nothing like him. I'm eleven and a half, not
even five feet tall yet, and I always get the blame for
everything that seems to go wrong around here. But one day,
I'm not gonna be the one they blame. One day I'm gonna be just
as tall and smart and self-confident as Scott is and when I
am, Dad's gonna tell everyone how proud he is of me too.
accomplished!" I announce proudly; and then wait for my
creation to receive the "Scott Tracy seal of approval". After
a nod of satisfaction it's acceptable, he rises to his feet
and leans forward to close the drapes.
squirt. All you have left to do now is apologise for what you
did to me at suppertime."
look at him without comment, he folds his arms across his body
and wrinkles his forehead in a frown.
Gordie. Out with it huh? We both know for a fact that Dad's
gonna ask me if you did."
the Gordon Tracy grin tells the "other side of the story."
is kidding right?
what I know.
I enquire casually. "Tell me...what exactly did the scotch
from Dad's private stash taste like?"
how cool, calm and collected he seems to be about everything
else in his "world," he sure doesn't seem to be too calm and
he splutters, turning fifteen different shades of red. "What
do you know about Dad's scotch?"
Scott. You should know me better than that. No-one goes into
Dad's room alone without a very good reason to be there. You
can't go blaming your little brother for being concerned about
you and checking if you were going to be OK.
...just the little glass or two of "Black Label" I saw you
sampling right before Dad came home for dinner." I eventually
comment. "You know ... the stuff you told Virg you knew how to
hold better than Dad."
"I did not
say anything like that."
did. You said you learned in College. You said you could hold
it so good Dad wouldn't even know you'd been drinking."
He sure is big, right close up and personal...
needed to listen to him right now and I needed to listen to
him good. He was nineteen years old and a freshman in College.
He could drink whatever he liked AND wherever he liked. Did I
get that? What was I doing spying on him in Dad's room anyway?
Didn't I know it was off limits? Besides; him sampling Dad's
"Black Label" had nothing whatsoever to do with my apology;
speaking of which I'd better cough up right now if I knew what
was good for me.
I know what's good for me?
don't think Dad's about to view things quite the same as you.
sat at the dimly lit desk, quietly reading the words on the
distinctive Tracy Corporation paper.
food shouldn't be wasted."
distinctive flair for sentence structure ...in Gordon's
the lateness of the hour and the need to stifle a yawn he
couldn't help but feel happy as his eyes scanned the length of
the lines. He'd wondered what Scott had been up to all
evening. The last thing he'd said was he was going to watch
some television. He supposed he should have guessed he'd call
in on his errant little brother somewhere along the way. Scott
had never been able to sit back when any of his brothers were
attention moved from the carefully written pages to the
sleeping figure curled up next to the pillow beneath the
covers of the bed.
was a very big understatement to describe this one at the
know why; but lately, every day seemed to have become a test
of his patience when it came to handling Gordon. Keeping up
with his crazy antics was nothing short of exhausting. Lord
knows what he planned to put them all through tomorrow.
he smiled fondly.
all the pandemonium the kid caused and the daily trail of
havoc he seemed to leave in his path, it was hard to stay mad
at Gordon for longer than a few minutes. He brightened the
world with his mischief.
hindsight, he'd been a little too harsh with what had happened
at the dinner table tonight. After all, it was only a plate of
roast beef he targeted. He guessed he could have dealt with
things without snapping or losing what was left of his temper.
If he didn't think so, his Mother certainly disagreed.
was just happy to see his brother again; she explained over
their one too many cups of coffee. He just had a very obscure
way of showing his love; that was all. A little sugar in a
salt shaker wasn't the end of the world now was it? He needed
to remember that.
the way he felt about order and the need for discipline in the
household, he knew his Mother was right. In fact, by the time
she started pouring him a third cup, he was even starting to
laugh about the whole darned thing himself. Scott always
tended to over-salt his food; had done for years. Maybe the
shock had taught him a very valuable lesson.
Tracy's tired features relaxed.
himself into the ground to give his boys nothing but the best
and tried so hard to raise them to respect and appreciate
everything they had. Even so, he guessed he could live with a
little food wastage now and then. If nothing else, it had
brought Scott and Gordon together, something he knew Gordon
missed more than anything else in the word.
always been devoted to Scott.
hard to come to grips with the fact his eldest was gone. It
only seemed like yesterday he was teaching him to ride a bike.
These days he was old enough to drive a car.
enough, it seemed, for a lot of other things too if what his
Grandmother had located in the top left hand pocket of his
jacket was any kind of indication; not to mention the two
inches of scotch which seemed to have mysteriously evaporated
from the bottle in his room in the space of the past
his hand rested on the light switch. He supposed he'd better
call in and give a bit of Fatherly advice there too.
missing from a salt shaker to scotch missing from the bottle.
experimenting with the universe to experimenting with love.
You had to
have an answer for just about anything around here.
said it was easy being a Father?