THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Monday November 7, 1994
The smell of eggs and buttered toast filled the dining room. The radio droned gently, the music was his Mom’s beloved oldies. Pam skimmed the newspaper, her mother went over her dayplanner. Tristam glared at the bird that sat at the table between them; a yellow cockatiel perched on the rim of a cereal bowl. It ate wildly, Cheerios flying every which way.
“Jesus this president…” Pam folded the ‘A’ section of the paper and moved on to the comics. Pam was wearing her school uniform, an ankle length kilt and a loose white blouse.
“He’s not so bad honey,” Carol Bloom said, “the Republicans are just doing everything they can to make him look like a jerk.”
“Well its working.”
“Mom.” Tristam was wearing a pair of gray slacks a white shirt, a navy-blue tie and a sweater. He grabbed at the comics section of the newspaper, “Cookie just crapped on the table.”
Pam sneered, “Fingers broken Tristam?”
“Will you shut up and mind your business?” He shouted.
“It’s your bird.”
The bird stopped eating and looked up, quivering slightly. “Kisskiss?” it asked.
After taking one last mouthful of toast Carol got up from her seat and grabbed some paper towls, “Will both of you give it a rest? All you two ever do is fight.”
“Don’t worry.” Tristam scowled, “When we get to school she won’t talk to me at all.”
“What do expect?” Pam said, “I’m surprised even the freaks will talk to you.”
Cookie got back to eating his Cheerios, Carol wiped the spot where he’d messed. “Tristam, you could have cleaned up after the bird. It is supposed to be your responsibility, besides I’m nobody’s maid. And Pam, your brother needs your support, not your abuse.”
“I don’t need her anything.” Tristam said.
Pam snapped back, “Well I sure don’t need you, I wish you’d go to another school or drop dead.”
“Go to Hell!”
“Enough!” Carol shouted. Startled, the bird fluttered clumsily back to its cage. “Breakfast is over! Both of you get out to the bus stop.”
Tristam protested, “But Mom I’ve hardly eaten anything-”
“-and the bus won’t be here for half-an hour and its freezing!” Pam whined.
From the top of his cage Cookie called “Kiss! Kiss!” and whistled.
Carol’s voice became murderous, “I said out! I won’t have you two in my house if you’re going to act like this! Or would you rather I just started rolling out the groundings?”
Brother and sister grabbed their book bags and coats then ran for the door. Tristam said, “Nice going Pam.”
“This is all your fault you little creep.”