It’s been an interesting ten days or so since Frea
Anyway, it seems that her time in the basement has been beneficial to us all. She has been delighting us with a Greater Christmas story posted on her Tumblr site and she continues to write Fates. As I have said before, I’m a harsh taskmaster. I see myself as the guy that beats out the rowing speed when Charleton Heston is a slave in the galley of that Roman ship in Ben Hur. “Ramming speed!” (Wait. What? That’s a double entendre? Oh. Never mind.)
Moving on, that movie gave me an idea since Frea was a bit belligerent about co-writing the following scene with me for our musical. She refused to write one of the character’s dialogue, so I chained her to the radiator and made her watch a Richard Simmons “Sweating to the Oldies” video until she gave in. She lasted 45 seconds.
Now I give to the world a little taste of what is to come with our Chucksical. Hopefully, this will whet your appetite for what is to come and, if you haven’t already, compel you to donate to Operation Smile through our donation page.
The number of graham crackers in brown waxy paper continued to fall as the two little girls crunched on the flat, rectangular snacks, one after another. The adult sitting with them knew better than to give them anything to eat at this time of night where the first ingredient listed was sugar. He had judiciously studied the information on the side of the box and to his relief, found that sugar was the third. And if either of their mothers called him on it, he had the box all ready to go to prove it.
“You don’t have to eat the whole package, you know,” he told them. It had been awhile since he’d been left caring for small children, but he did remember they had a tendency to overdo anything. “If either of you end up with tummy aches, your parents won’t let me babysit anymore.”
Two sets of blue eyes stared back at him, wide with dismay at the very idea.
The five-year-old with the curly brown hair slowly raised the snack in her hand and crunched a bite. “Last cracker. I promise,” she said, spraying bits of cracker crumbs all over her Tinkerbell slumber bag. She offered the rest to the pink and purple stuffed platypus snuggled next to her and pretended to feed it a bite. “Bun-Bun can eat the rest.”
The five-year-old with the blonde hair watched her cousin feed the stuffed animal. Looking down at the Barbie laying on top of her sleeping bag, resplendent with Barbie’s giant smiling face, she decided not to feed any cracker to her doll. Rather, with an outstretched arm, she offered the rest of her cracker to her grandpa. “Barbie doesn’t eat snacks late at night. She says they go straight to her hips.”
It was all Stephen Bartowski could do not to let out a belly laugh. Instead, he took the cracker from Megan and placed it on the nightstand.
“Grandpa, will you read us a bedtime story, please?” Violet asked, working to use the manners her daddy had been working so hard to teach her.
Winking at her, he replied, “That’s why I’m here. What kind of story should I read?”
Both voices shouted out at the same time, naturally. At least that much hadn’t changed since Chuck and Ellie were little.
Stephen held up his hand and said, “Now, wait a minute. I didn’t understand either because you were both talking at the same time. Since Vi is a little older, we’ll let her answer first.”
At this, Megan scowled and crossed her arms across her chest in angry protest.
Vi smiled victoriously. “I want a princess story, but not one of those lame princess stories. Like maybe the girl isn’t pretty, but then her prince comes along and he teaches her how to speak pretty and stuff. And she becomes a princess, even though she’s not pretty.”
Megan rolled her eyes. “You always want princess stories.”
Violet shot her a glare that would have incinerated anyone else. Megan simply returned her cousin’s glower with a laser-like stare of her own.
Stephen cleared his throat, bringing the two out of their stare-down and thus averting Armageddon. He knew from his own children’s frequent emails that the girls were best friends—most of the time. The rest of the time… “Megan, what kind of story would you like to hear?”
The little girl sat up straighter against her pillow and said eagerly, “I’d like to hear a spy story. I love spies.”
Vi snorted. “Megan, everybody on the planet knows you like spies. They even know that in outer space.”
Megan chose to ignore her cousin this time. “Maybe a story about some man who works at a yucky store and then all of the sudden, he has to become a spy.” Her blue eyes glowed at the very idea.
“Well, as luck would have it, I have just the right story… for one of you.” Steven leaned over, picked up the hardback book from under his chair.
The room grew silent. Neither girl dared to move, waiting to find out which one would get to hear their chosen story tonight.
He picked up the book and slowly turned it around so that both of his granddaughters could see the cover. One face lit up and the other fell when the story was revealed.
“Tonight, I’m going to read…”