Monday, December 17, 2012

THE COLD INSIDE (a serial novel) Chapter Twenty-one part one

Chapter Twenty-one
part one

December 5, 1994

Pam was already gone, her boyfriend was driving her in to school today. So Tristam and his mother sat at opposite ends of the table, each reading a different section of the newspaper, the yellow cockatiel perched on a child's-sized bowl of Cheerios whistling contentedly.

With breakfast halfway finished and the bus fifteen minutes away Tristam's mother cleared her throat to speak, “I'll be by to pick you up after detention.”

Tristam looked up from the comic pages, “OK.”

“Don't forget your Dad is going to call tonight.”

“I won't.”

Cookie squawked and leapt into the air, flying to the top of her cage. She sat there whistling uncertainly. “That bird sure is jumpy lately.” Carol Bloom said, “Are you sure you're spending enough time with her?”

“Yes,” Tristam set the newspaper down and walked over to the cage, He spent a few moments calming the bird, “What's the matter huh? What's the matter?”

“Maybe we should get another one… a playmate”

He put the bird back in the cage, and latched the door. Cookie gave a forlorn whistle and then hopped over to her cuttlebone, “That'll be a lot more work.”

“You could handle it.”

“What if I'm not here?”

She slammed her coffee cup down on the table, “Don't get snotty with me.”

“I'm not getting snotty I'm just telling you something.” He walked over to the kitchen table and started cleaning up his breakfast dishes, “If I'm gone are you gonna do it? Is Pam? I wonder what Dr. Butterfield would say to me coming home to a pair of dead birds.”

“Then maybe you should behave yourself.”

“You used to treat me like I was something special.”

“Special doesn’t make you better, it doesn’t mean beyond reproach.” Carol got up from the table and advanced on Tristam, daring him to defy her further, “Besides, I stopped cutting you slack once you ended up on the six o'clock news. Now get going, if you miss the bus you're grounded for the next two weekends.”

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