1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Winner Tessie: Short Story Contest 86 - Beyond The Surface

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Feb 28, 2011.

    Tessie - The Other Someone

    It was always someone else. Always someone else. It didn’t matter what the situation or what the ridiculous happenstance, beyond the surface there dwelled an invisible, seventh person in my household. And this someone continually disregarded the rules Amy and I had set.

    I gasped at the sight that welcomed me as I opened the front door. The scene was too gory. Swiftly unzipping and throwing off my jacket, I stooped to pick up the colored shards of a Tiffany lamp. The stained glass shade was crushed and mangled, appearing as if it had been grabbed by two hands and crumbled like a flimsy ball of paper. I breathed gently, willing myself not to explode like a maniac. But then the growing tension rose up the back of my throat. I looked through the hallway to the kitchen.

    “Who broke Grandma’s lamp!” I blew, standing to my feet. “Someone better come out with it now! I’m not having this today!” Thudding down the hallway, I entered the kitchen, broken lamp in hand.

    At the table, three heads lifted in recognition of my voice. Their angelic faces would not deter me -- not this time. I raised the lamp, presenting the shattered remains of yet another sad demise of a highly-prized piece of furniture. “I’ve had it up to here with disrespect! Someone did this intentionally!” I barked.

    Last week it was the chair leg to an heirloom rocking chair. All three of them blamed it on the family bulldog, Bart. And yesterday it was a ordinary, but still decent soup bowl, the last of the set, which supposedly Kylie, the ten-month old baby, had dashed upon the floor. Amy purchased the bowls a month ago to replenish our dwindling supply of every-day dishes. Thank God company hadn’t been over that day. Our China would have been the victim.

    Carson, my youngest at six, squirmed in his seat. He wasn’t as experienced with fatherly confrontation as his older brother and sister were. He was the tag-along most of the time and harmless enough.

    Jillian, at least, was attempting to look innocent this time, but I could pull up the track record for each one. When Max was eleven, he smashed a baseball through the attic window and didn’t feel comfortable enough to inform us of the gaping hole of glass. It was months later that I discovered the pigeon colony in the rafters. And a year after that, he and Jillian watched on as Carson bounced a basketball in the house, resulting in a broken vase.

    I held up the lamp again. Jillian’s eyes widened and her mouth parted.

    Max, however, had that twinkle in his face that I surmised was a mischievous hint of guilt. He looked down at his plate, sniggering, and spooned a bit of spaghetti into his mouth.

    Jillian began to speak, “I don’t know, Dad--”

    I slammed the lamp onto the table, making her jump. “This is an antique Grandma gave mommy many, many years ago. You all know how much it means to her. And you all know that no one, under any circumstance, is allowed in the front living room!”

    “Dad, I don’t know who did it.” Max swiftly defended. “Someone else did. Not me.”

    “Well, it simply didn’t fall on its own accord. Someone did this on purpose, and someone better admit it,” I shifted my eyes to each face with a formidable glance, “Immediately!”

    From her high chair Kylie broke with a giggle. She must have liked the hue of Daddy’s face. It was either that or the sound of my ragged breath which entertained her.

    “Who did this!” I roared amid Kylie’s continued laughter.

    She began rapping a plastic spoon onto a plate. “Dah-dah-daaadeee,” she cooed softly, eyeing me with all her adoration. Her little serenade was the only noise in the kitchen.

    I inspected each face meticulously, hoping that this time, perhaps, there would be no lying. Carson and Jillian were plastered with the same oblique dumbness. But, oh, Max’s face lighted with a smirk, and then quickly he stilled it.

    My wife appeared with a basket full of laundry, looking at me. “What on earth?” Then she noticed the mangled lamp on the table and stopped. Her painful gasp awakened still more emotions in me. “What happened?” She turned and glared at the children. “Who did this?”

    “Wasn’t me.” Max said, taking his plate from the table and dropping it in the sink. “I just got home a few minutes ago.”

    I watched him exit the kitchen. “Then why didn’t you see it by the doorway?”

    His shoulders flinched. He continued for the staircase. “I-I don’t know. It wasn’t me!” he replied.

    I sighed and glanced down as Bart came and nudged my boot. He lifted his face and smiled at me as his fleshy tongue lopped down and heaved with his characteristic panting. “You didn’t knock the lamp over, did you, Barty?”

    His wrinkled, bulldog face smiled again and his body shook with a sudden sneeze. He licked his nose then plodded away to his food bowl.

    I sat down to dinner as Amy agonized over the lamp. “This was worth thousands. Oh, Ron, this is irreplaceable!” she lamented.

    I nodded, glumly sticking my fork into the spaghetti. “It was a good thing we got it insured last year. Although, I never thought something like this would happen.”

    “I didn’t even hear it hit the floor. I’ve been in the basement doing laundry the past half hour. And it couldn’t have happened before that, because I had just finished preparing dinner.”

    Below on the floor, Bart was sniffing for leftovers that Jillian often sneaked him. At nine-years-old, she still hated all vegetables. But she believed I didn’t see her discard them onto the floor. Bart collided into the table leg with a surprising thump. He shook himself and continued unfazed, sniffing for more droppings on the floor. I threw him the rest of my roll. Poor boy. He was thirteen. Maybe he did do some damage today. He did like to roam about the front living room. I just never suspected him as much of a threat to the antiques before.

    He’s been doing that a lot lately,” Amy admitted, quietly sitting down. She began folding the clean laundry. “Do you think his good eye is failing also?”

    I shook my head. “He’s never broken something before--“ Then sneaking a glance at Jillian and Carson, “--That we know of.”

    Amy abruptly burst, glancing up from the laundry, “Oh, no! Who left a pack of bubble gum in their pocket?” She held up a wad of clothing, revealing a sticky, pink mess. “Ron, your best dress shirt! Oh, it’s a disaster.” She dumped the whole load onto the table, frantically picking through the jeans and shirts. “The whole batch is ruined!”

    “It wasn’t me,” interjected Carson, taking his plate from the table. He stole away to the sink, dumped his plate in, then disappeared through the hallway.

    Amy gave me an exhausted look. “Ron, what is wrong with our kids? I swear there is always something being broken, and it is always someone else. Nobody knows who did this or who dropped that. It’s so wearying.” She slumped into a chair.

    I reached over, caressing her cheek. “Nothing more than normal, honey. I’m sure they’ll grow out of it.” I reassured her with a feigned smile -- at least I hoped that was the case.

    Amy sighed, “You’re right, I guess. It’s just a phase.” She began to clear the silverware and plates. “Hopefully it will stop. Our dishes can’t survive anymore ‘accidents.’ “

    When dinner was through, and Amy had gone to tuck the kids into bed, I went to the fridge for a cold drink. After a brief survey, I discovered the usual spot on the inside of the door was empty. I then headed into the family room, hunkering down on the couch, before switching the TV on. Amy returned as I was flipping through the channels. She snuggled close, yawning aloud.

    Wrapping my arm around her, I casually inquired, “Amy, what happened to my last Coke that was in the fridge?”

    She couldn’t hold back a nervous laugh. She looked into my eyes and admitted, “Someone drank it.”
     
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  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah for Tessie :)
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Congradulations, Tessie. Let's hope you win the next. Someone's got to win, it might as well as be you.
     
  4. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you Charlotte and Reggie! I'm so flattered. And thank you to the members who voted. :)
     
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  5. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    Congratulations! :)
     
  6. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you Tristan.n. :D
     
  7. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    Congrats!
     
  8. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, Chudz :)
     
  9. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Congrats, sis :D So proud of you.
     
  10. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Nice story congratulations. Reminded me of my childhood when my brother and I would tear about the house and inevitably break something. One day as we thundered down the stairs jumping the last 5 or 6 with a huge crash, my mother appeared with a hammer in her hand. "Here if you are going to smash the house up, do it properly!" she yelled as she thrust out the hammer. My brother and I stopped in our tracks, sure our Mum had really wigged out this time. But it scared the hell out of us enough that we certainly toned things done a bit..at least for the rest of that day anyway.
     
  11. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you, I'm glad you were amused. Yeah, I've got plenty of stories like those, maybe some of them aren't as destructive to valuables in general, but the dialogue is very original to my long-suffering parents, ha. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Grats Tessie!
     
  13. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you Islander! After a rather lengthy hiatus, I'm returning to my creative writing. You'll be seeing my competitive edge around here very soon.
     

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