So yesterday The Boss sends me an e-mail saying, "You used an awful lot of big, big words in that there blog, boy," which is strange, because I don't remember her having a southern sheriff accent a la Smokey and the Bandit. Deftly employing my typical charming approach to interpersonal discourse, I reply, "Did you have to look any of them up? I don’t want to give my little darling a headache!" and spend the rest of the afternoon deleting messages featuring increasingly large and colorful typeface options telling me I'm an "A-HOLE."
I figured I was in for plenty rounds of whack-a-balls when I got home, but everyone was disarmingly civil. We had a delish supper courtesy the efforts of The Boss, who effortlessly cranks out kitchen-based nom-nom like Morimoto converting the latest Iron Chef jobber of the week into sashimi, and talked about the day and our experiences and insights and hopes and thoughts and dreams and feelings and shit using reasonable decibel levels approved for pleasant human interaction by the FCC and all local code enforcement agencies. I dropped my guard and unstuffed the wads of cotton balls and paper towel in my pants, originally placed there with the hope they would protect my bruised and beleaguered nuts.
After an hour or two of quiet contemplation in my study (or, as some call it, "reading comic books and listening to death metal in the man-cave"), I drifted into the family room, which really ought to probably be rechristened the NCIS room, because holy shit I never realized A. fucking NCIS is always playing on some channel or another and B. The Boss has an infinite capacity to absorb the foibles, mysteries and adventures of lovable quirky television crime procedural gangs with snappy three- or four-letter acronyms in their titles, and anyway Lil' T and the Boss were sitting there being frostile at each other (that's frosty + hostile) (I just made it up!)
"What the fuck is the matter with you two bitches?" I said. "I mean, now?"
"Tessa doesn't want us to go to France," The Boss said.
See, we tried to bribe Tessa into cleaning her room and being pleasant and normal by offering her a trip to France on some kind of exchange student dealie next year. Of course it didn't work, as nobody knows how to enforce any sort of rules or responsibility on that terrifying monster girl, because she's inhumanly strong, fast as a shark, and can squirt rattlesnake venom out of her tearducts when angered, so somehow the dealie is now "Tessa gets to go to cavort around Europe unattended while carpeting her floor in moldy wet towels and mashed up old juice box containers." The Boss wouldn't even let me do like a secret thing where they pretend it's a cultural experience but send the kids to a French work camp and make them carry hay bales and stir mud and be unhappy, likely because The Boss pooped Tessa out of her ovaries and has some sort of mammalian protective instincts for her that override fun.
A co-worker of The Boss, no doubt trying to bribe her into being productive and pleasant and normal, offered us the use of an old country manor or picturesque chateau or quaint rustic vineyard or something over in France, and mentioning this had sent Tessa into one of those venom-squirting teenage huffs.
I tried to thaw the frostile atmosphere. "Don't worry there, lil' P-Nut, it's not like we'll all be over there at the same time. And if we are, and we end up running into each other, we'll pretend like we don't know you, and when we get back home we'll never ever speak of it, unless it's many years later and we're having a laugh on our deathbed."
A cloud of venom and huff surrounded me. "That's not the point!"
"She doesn't want you and I to go at all," The Boss said. A particularly frostile shard of emotion thunked me right in the balls.
"A trip to France was supposed to be my thing!"
"Wha... Wha... Your thing? But... We won't even see you... It doesn't affect... I..."
"THAT DOESN'T MATTER! IT WAS GOING TO BE MY THING!"
In an attempt to establish Tessa's selfishness, The Boss started in with a list detailing every dime spent on the kid since she was an embryo. Simultaneously, Tessa countered with her list of every parent-child embarrassment, slight, missed opportunity and unbought pony. I sat there silent aside from a few mumbles, basically totally confused, as the argument kept heating up, only leaving when frostile gave way to burnangery and stab-a-yell and they started taking turns pounding on my balls in order to give their points emphasis.
"You motherfuckers are crazy," I said. "I'm going to bed."
"What! It's only 9!" said The Boss.
"Shut the hell up," I said. Gathering up the dog and retreating to the man-cave, I prepared my nest, scooting comics out of the way, arranging my dirty blankets on the cold floor and sighing a lot. I had just hunkered down in my dusty, comforting floor-pile with a copy of Madame Blavatsky's Baboon and some relaxing Teitanblood on the stereo, small hilarious dog snuggled up against me and beginning to snore, when my door flew open and The Boss ran into the man-room ranting and waving her arms. I lay on the floor, looking up at her from my dirty little hobo-camp.
"It is so selfish of her to say that! Don't you agree that it's selfish?!"
"I do so much for her! I sacrifice so much!"
"Me too and..."
"Do you know what I could do with the money I'm saving to send her on her exchange program?! Do you know how much I'm giving up?!"
"She shows absolutely no appreciation for all I do, for all the money that gets spent on her, for..."
"You know, dear, I might actually know what that feels like. I think I have some insight into it. You know?"
The Boss, perhaps noticing my presence for the first time, fixed me with the kind of narrow-eyed, focused stare I usually only associate with the deadly hypnotic feeding-time gaze of the giant predatory fanged Gorilla Spider of New Guinea.
"You know what?" she said, suddenly very quiet. "Think about this — I've been doing it for 16 years." It was getting very frostile all of a sudden.
"So... Are we having a competition?" I said, trying to defuse the moment. Much like the time in New Guinea when I beaned that giant predatory fanged Gorilla Spider with a dirt clod, this was a mistake.
The volume rose. "You know what? I don't think it's a good idea to talk to you about these things. I'm not sure I'm going to talk to you about anything anymore! Because you're just not! very! sensitive!" She stomped on my balls a few times and stormed out. The dog got up, coughed, looked over at me, slowly shook its head a few times and walked out after her.
I upped the volume on the stereo a few notches, fluffed up the pile of dirt and leaves I use for a pillow, and shut off the lights. Off in the distance, a mother lectured, a teenager stomper her feet, and someone on NCIS was describing how the victim had been raped in his chopped-off head. Seriously, do you ever watch those shows? NCIS and CSI and all those? Someone's always getting raped in their chopped-off head on those shows. Frankly, I find it all to be a little much, especially for primetime broadcast programming.