THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Monday November 7, 1994
Carol Bloom didn’t get out of work until almost seven o’clock so they ordered out. It was Pam’s turn to decide and she chose pizza.
While mother and daughter waited for the delivery man to show up Tristam did his chores. He started a load of laundry and cleaned Cookie’s cage. Both sets of chores had their problems. Cookie always liked to supervise the cleaning of the tall cage, as Tristam was working the bird would hop out onto his shoulder and squawk bits of encouragement directly into his ear. And no matter how fast Tristam worked the bird always managed to poop on him at least once. As for doing the laundry, Tristam didn’t really mind but it was always there. No matter how many loads he did he never seemed to be able to get the pile down. More than half the laundry was his Mom’s and his sister’s and he always felt a little uncomfortable when it came to handling their underwear.
By the time the pizza arrived Tristam was done. He sat at the table and worked on his assignment for English class. Occasionally he would nibble at his dinner.
“Yeah, so there’s no way we’re going to make it to the finals now.” Pam explained.
His mother nodded, “How does Ronnie feel?”
“He knew it was going to happen. The coach has no idea what he’s doing. I mean Ronnie played a killer game but it was like he was all alone out there.”
“The poor dear it must be very frustrating for him.”
By now Tristam had read the same line from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus seven times. He wondered if his sister had watched the same game everyone else had. A lot of people were saying that Blessed Heart’s team lost because of Ronnie Miller’s showboating. The guy thought he was a one-man team and because of that he made himself the centerpiece of every play. By the first down the other team had caught on to it and then it was all over. She and her jock friends lived in a fantasy world, where they were never wrong.
Worst of all, his Mom bought into it. It made her proud that her daughter was a cheerleader with a grade point average that was a shaky B. It had made her even more proud when her son had been numbered among their ranks. A handsome young Freshman- already dating a Junior.
Of course that part was over now and his fall had made her pride in her daughter all the more extreme. She thought Pam was so damn perfect.
“Well luckily there weren’t any scouts at that game. Not that Ronnie needs a scholarship but it would look nice.”
Carol gave Tristam’s book a nudge, “Hey you’re hardly eating.”
“Sorry.” Tristam took another bite, “I had pizza for lunch.”
“Then why didn’t you say something?”
“Well, you see I didn’t eat the pizza-” Tristam looked up from his book and turned his attention to Pam, “-my sister and her friends were throwing it at me.”
“You little creep!” Pam lunged at him.