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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Called on the Carpet

It was an ominous voice mail. I picked it up just 5 minutes ago, and I knew it was an order, not like it was just a request kind of voice mail.

I am at the front of the building. The air was blowing hot and steamy. I unbelievably have chills running down my back, my hands were cold, and there was an elemental fear. You had to meet her when she was upset, and then you would understand my concern.

Turning the doorknob to her office while lightly knocking, I could hear her on the phone. Her voice is not a timid light lilting voice; it was a marine sergeant’s voice. The volume is always loud, whether she liked you or not.

She waves me to sit down and wait. Finally, she hangs up and turns to me with a look that would melt the North Pole cap. I smile, but there was none returned. I sit and listen to her since there was no offer of a two-way conversation. I have heard it before; she is asking what I was thinking about. What made me think it was a good idea. What idea? It was my idea, no one else’s. I knew it was a good idea, but alas, it failed to impress her. It was her money she bestowed on me. Money was her real god, and she was a religious fanatic about it. I sat calmly. Well, I thought I was presenting a calm exterior. Truth be known, I was shaking inside, and I could not sit still as I crossed and uncrossed my legs.

There it is – the inevitable pause of silence. Most people would, at this point, start their defense. I know better since I have been in the hot seat multiple times. There was the first time she called me in. I thought she was going to congratulate me on a job well done. There was a pause that seemed to last forever. I waited as long as I could, then I jumped in explaining my point of view. I bragged how smart I was and what I believed to be a great decision. The silent pause is only there to see if I got it, her point of view.

The silence is deafening, and I know I have to wait it out. I also know to wear a coat to hide the sweat soaking through my shirt. Here we go; she starts ripping me up one side and down the other. It’s like fishing; you have to play the fish or your opponent. You reel in a little while and then let her run for a little while. Once she is tired, she gives up. It is then you get her to listen to you. She has satisfied her need to vent.

She turns away, and you wait a beat, then you can start your defense. I lay out all that I did and why. I then critique even myself and let her know how I came to the decision to do it.

“Look, Grandma, you said I could get anything I wanted as long as it was educationally oriented. I worked for that money from you, and we agreed it was my decision. As for being educational, I can work through all the possible activities, exploring a possible future job. After all, a red hook and ladder truck is something someone my age could use their imagination and explore a possible career. You have left this decision to me in the past, and you always give me the “money counts sermon.” She turns to me and smiles as I knew she would. “Just so you know, I got it on sale, and I put the balance in my savings account. I am a grown-up 10-year-old boy, and I am your grandson through and through.”

Stan is a member of: Coastal Carolina Writers Club

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Stan Washington, Contributing Writer
Stan Washington is a contributing writer for Cape Fear Voices.

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