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by Edward K. Brown II

Knock. Knock.

"Who's there?"

"I don't know. Why don't you get off your fat ass and answer the door!?"

That was Unc and Selma's decorum when guests visited. Cliff, their nephew and godson, stood on the enclosed porch staring through the window to across the street at the houses wondering what life would be like in the neighborhood of Holmsberg. The only two things he knew about Holmsberg was that there was a prison approximately a mile away, and that his cousin, "Little Unc," was killed nearby the prison-a death Cliff was too young to understand. As he stared out the window, he awaited his sentence: life or death. Cliff knew who was at the door.

"This boy was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth,'' yelled Unc and chuckled in his garbled manner.

"Shut up you decrepit, old man," replied Selma from the kitchen. Selma prided herself for being able to see well, hear well and move well. Her husband, a WII veteran, had trouble with most of his motor skills.

"Your Unc is in there sitting on his fat ass-again. That's all he does. Your son's in there too. As you already know, he's done something wrong, but I won't go into it."

"That boy was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth. Gark, garqle, goo (Ha, ha, ha). Hey Selma! Who's at the door?"

Selma poked her head out of the kitchen.

"Shit," she said as her head disappeared back into the kitchen.

"Hi Unc," sounded a meek voice.

"Shit," replied Unc. "D'you know what that boy did?"

Cliff stared so firmly out the window, trying to forget, that he went temporarily blind.

"Your middle-class ass of a son busted our television," complained Unc and Selma in unison.

Cliff's mother, Snooty (a nickname given to her when she decided to go to college), came into the living room, walked around the Pekinese dog named Soo who was lying in the middle of the floor, and sat on the clear-plastic covered couch. Snooty was pleased to hear that no new tragedy, caused by her son, happened.

Selma explained angrily. "First he pulled out the knob. Then he tried to cover-up himself by putting the knob back. But when he did, it got all jammed up in there. Now I have to unplug the TV to turn it off; plug the damned thing in to turn it on. Hell if I'm going to call a repairman to fix something as dumb as a knob. I had it estimated at fifty dollars. Damn. Lil' Unc was never that stupid."

Unc, taking the time to think, said, "Hey Snooty. Why was this boy born with a plastic spoon in his mouth? Plastic doesn't fix anything. Especially not my TV. I bet you even have a dentist who fills his cavities with plastic."

Snooty looked over to the porch as she frowned and tugged on her ear nervously. She had heard this before, six months ago when the calamity happened, and she knew that this was not going to be the last time.

Turning to Unc, Snooty joked, "I always recycle my plastic-ware. I even sew his clothes."

Cliff's mother always tried to mend her son's pain-with a pair of plaid mauve pants.

"Hey you back there. Go get me a piece of candy from the dish in the dining room, and one for yourself," bellowed Unc.

Cliff strode across the living room waving hello to his mother. In passing he stepped on Soo's tail.

"YIPE!" Soo scurried into the kitchen with her tail between her legs.

"That boy. Come here baby." Picking up Soo, Selma entered the living room and sat in the orange, easy-chair rocker.

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Copyright © by Edward K. Brown II
P.O. Box 2160
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215.880.0863

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