THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
Nobody had brought much work home with them so Carol Black and her children spent a rare evening together in front of the TV. Cookie the family cockatiel strutted from one end of the couch to the other, whistling and chirping.
It was almost nine o’clock and still no call from Dad. Tristam wondered just what it was his Dad did in law enforcement. All he ever said was that he ‘Consulted for the Department of Justice’ but what did that mean? Did he get in gunfights with hardened criminals or did he read reports and regurgitate those facts into reports of his own?
Whatever it was he does, if must be important. Otherwise I’d be sitting in Juvenile Jail instead of on my Mom’s couch. Tristam thought. The District Attorney had been all fired up to make an example of me. He would have too, if not for Dad. I’d love to know what he did or said.
Maybe I’ll ask him if he calls.
Cookie scuttled across the couch and hopped onto Pam’s shoulder. Her hair was down and the bird nuzzled and tugged gently on it. She gasped with surprise but let the bird keep playing.
“He thinks he’s a hairdresser,” Carol said.
“Wait’ll you get his bill,” Tristam joked. “Get it? Bill?”
For a moment they all laughed and suddenly Tristam felt like they were a family again. Then Pam suddenly got a guilty look in her eye and he turned her attention back to the television. Her expression told him that she wanted to take her smile back.
They went back to watching TV, about halfway through Law & Order the phone rang. Tristam bolted to his feet with an “I got it!” He was so excited that he nearly dropped the phone, “H-hello?”
He tossed the cordless handset to his sister, “It’s for you. It’s Ron.”
Carol winced. Pam offered, “I’ll make it quick.”
“Never mind,” he left the room, “I’m going to bed.”
Alone in his room, with the door locked behind him, Tristam made a fist and cursed.