Archive for October, 2008

The Phews learn teamwork

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Last night I paid a visit to Bro and the Phews. Phew #2 is only four months old but has grown to the size of a Labrador Retriever, with a similar vocabulary but fortunately less drool. Holding him in my lap has become quite a challenge, even with the benefit of steroids. I may need to market him on an infomercial: “Burn off your buns with the big baby workout!”

Phew #1 also refuses to let go of his Cars McQueen PJ’s despite the long sleeves ending at his elbows. He is two years old, comes up to my waist and is on pace to be taller than me by January. Like my brother he got the tall genes in my family, but fortunately I am not bitter. Short people live longer anyway.

“Guess what Unca Steve!” he said. “We carved pumpkins!”

“Oh ‘we’ did?” asked worn out grumpy Bro slouched in the couch.

“Did you help carve the pumpkins?” Bro asked.

“No.” replied Phew #1.

“Did you help pick out the pattern?” Bro asked.

“No.” replied Phew #1.

“Did you even watch me carve the pumpkins?” Bro asked.

“No.” replied Phew #1.

Obviously Bro was frustrated, but in that moment I could see Phew #1 fifteen years from now, captain of the varsity basketball team, taking credit for all of some poor nerd’s work on a team science project.

It made me very happy.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night as a station wagon pulled up the gravelly driveway of a worn down sinister looking Inn. The father parked the car and escorted his wife and daughter to the front door. He grasped the gargoyle knocker and rapped twice. The door slowly creaked open and the family was greeted by an ancient butler with bloodshot eyes.

“Good evening.” He said. “I am Serge the Concierge. Please follow me to your rooms.” He lead them down long hallway ill lit by melted candles. He came to a door and opened it. “The child can sleep here.” He said.

The girl peeked in the dark room. “I don’t think so!” she said. “The only thing holding that bed together is cobwebs!”

“Now, now Little Debbie” replied her father, “It’s only for one night.” He set her bag down by the bed. “Sleep tight and tomorrow we’ll have breakfast if you’re still here.”

He shut the door behind her and she found herself alone in the room. Little Debbie quickly grabbed a flashlight out of her bag and dove under the covers of the bed. Just as she clicked on the light she heard a wail. She peeked out from the blankets.

Another wail, louder this time emanated from the closet. Little Debbie crept out of bed but stayed under the sheets as she approached the closet. The wail grew deafening as Little Debbie opened the closet door. Then the batteries to the flashlight died.

The closet door slammed shut. Little Debbie tried to open it but the door wouldn’t budge. “Go away ghost!” cried a voice.

“What?” Little Debbie replied. “I’m not a ghost. You’re the ghost!”

The door opened a crack. “Are you sure?” said the voice, “You look like a ghost to me.”

Little Debbie realized she was still under the sheet. “Oh.” She said and pulled off the sheet. “See, no ghost here.”

The closet door opened and a translucent man floated out. “Well,” Little Debbie said “not counting you anyway!”

“My name is Mortimer.” Said the ghost, “I was the concierge here for 40 marvelous years until he showed up. I remember it was a dark and stormy night when…what are you looking at?”

“Did you have a turkey sandwich for lunch?” asked Little Debbie.

“It is impolite to look at one’s intestines.” Replied Mortimer.

“I’m sorry.” She said. “So, it was a dark and stormy night..”

“Ah yes, it was a dark and stormy night, when a young man named Serge applied to be my apprentice. He was quite helpful at first. Once I had taught him everything I know, he served me toast for breakfast.”

“How nice.” Said Little Debbie.

“Yes except it was still in the toaster.”


“And I was still in the bathtub.”

“Well that’s not very nice.” She said.

“Oh I would give anything to be concierge again!” Lamented Mortimer, “If only he weren’t here.”

Little Debbie smiled. “I think I can help with that.”

Little Debbie paced the floor as she hatched the details of her plan. “Serge is comfortable living here. We need to make him uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that he moves out. Now what is it that drives him up the wall and makes him absolutely bonkers?”

“Hmmm” pondered Mortimer.

With the last of the guests tucked neatly away, Serge settled in to his easy chair. Soothing classical music played on the radio as he pulled up a tray with his favorite chicken noodle soup. “Ahhh, I do so love this time of the evening.” He said. He lifted the soup spoon to his mouth, but before he could sip, a translucent hand turned the dial on the radio.

“Yeeeeeha!” exclaimed a DJ. Serge jumped and soup went up his nose. “I’m Billy Bob and yer listening to WCOW fer all yer country favorites!” Banjos began blaring and Serge cringed.

“Country? I hate country music!” He got out of his chair and went to the radio. As he turned the dial back to the classical station, a small hand dumped chili powder in the soup.

Serge settled back into the chair, grabbed the bowl and hungrily crammed a spoonful of soup into his mouth. His eyes widened, sweat broke out on his forehead and his face turned red. “Mmmrgph!” he said.

Suddenly the radio station changed again. “Soooeey!” cried the DJ causing Serge to spill the soup in his lap. “That’s how I won the blue ribbon at Elma May’s hog callin contest.” The DJ continued. “And now here’s a request for Jimmy Joe’s Jughead Band.”

Serge leapt out of the chair and angrily went to the radio. As he turned it off he heard someone call his name.

“Seerrrrrge.” He slowly turned around and was shocked to see a four foot tall ghost. “Seerrrge. You’ve been a bad man and now I will haunt you for all of your days.”

Serge’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Wait a minute.” He said. He went to the apparition and pulled off its bed sheet, revealing Little Debbie. “You’re no ghost.” He said.

“No,” Little Debbie replied, “but he is.”

Serge turned around and found himself face to face with Mortimer. The ghost let out a bloodcurdling phantom wail. Serge shrieked and tried to run but his legs tangled in the bed sheet and he landed face first in the soup bowl. He struggled to get up and bolted out the front door, never to be seen again.

“Thank you! Thank you!” said Mortimer.

Little Debbie smiled. “Problem solved. Now you can be the concierge again.”

“Yes” agreed Mortimer, “Just as soon as we deal with the werewolf in your parent’s room.”