Sunday Snippet


Today’s snippet is inspired by “The One-Minute Writer” Sunday topic and a need to work in this year’s duck into the NaNo.

Not Me

“Here’s my I.D.,” Madison said, her palm upward to her grandmother. “I can go, too.”

Lucas rolled his eyes. “Sweetheart, there’s nothing in your hand. Now go get your backpack, please.”

The five-year-old nodded her head, dark pigtails dancing in time. “It’s my I.D. Grandpa says we can’t go unless we have one and I do! See, Grandma?”

Denise Swan knelt in front of her granddaughter. “You’re going to have to explain it to me, dearie; I don’t have my glasses.”

“It’s my imtamble duck. You can’t touch him.” The small hand was led higher.

“Because he’s shy,” Denise asked.

“Because he’s imtambled. And he will get me by the guards who say I have to have an I.D. and I do – my imtamble duck.”

Denise smiled. “Ah, an intangible duck; I see.”

Maddie nodded then frowned. “But, he’s invible.”

Lucas moaned. “Denise, I can only imagine I have your son to thank for this.”

“Tennyson.” Denise rose slowly to her feet as her granddaughter darted out from her father’s disapproving gaze. Her lankly lad looked more like a tentative teen sneaking to drama sessions than a globetrotting English teacher for almost half his life. In short, like his sister, he was Denise’s loveable nerd. “Tennyson, what is this about ‘intangible ducks?’”

His lip curled up into a thin smile before revealing pearly whites. “Ah, Maddie did put the psychic paper bit to use, good for her!”

Denise bit the inside of her cheek, aware of the frustration her son-in-law was probably feeling now. “Doctor Who? Seriously?”

“What,” Lucas asked. “What? Who-?”

“Don’t blame me, Mom,” Tennyson said. “You always said it was important to start with the classics. We start Star Trek next year.”

“Help your daughter get ready, Lucas” Denise told him. Once he left, she turned her attention back to her son.

Whatever one child started was sure to be enforced by the other. Then again, Kai may have held off on some series. “The Doctor notwithstanding, Madison needs proper documents if we’re to go to Canada. Otherwise, I just might have you stay home with the children and we make it a ‘grown-ups’ getaway.’ Understand?”

“Fine. I don’t want to go anyway. Why am I held responsible for the children’s passports? Just because-.”

“How did their originals end up going through the wash?”

“That wasn’t me, Mom. I wasn’t even in town when that happened. I was in Australia. Didn’t you get my postcards?”

Denise nodded. “I heard more than what you wrote on them, too, I’ll have you know. Look, the children got the idea somewhere.”

Tennyson leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. “So, if I introduce them to good science fiction, I’m not responsible. If something goes wrong and I’m nowhere near, then clearly it is. Is that the logical explanation, because I doubt Spock could make sense of that.”

“Don’t pout, dear. They got the idea from somewhere. Emptied your sister’s purse and put a lot of things in the washing machine.”

“Laundering money,” he said. “They’re too young for Law and Order and neither The Doctor nor any of Rod Serling’s lot did such a thing. Why not use their birth certificates?”

“Lucas locked them away but he also lost the key.” Denise thought it more likely that it was probably kept in a box that was locked and it was that key that got lost. If her grandchildren were like her own kids, small sticky fingers stashed them somewhere.

“Seriously, Mom, I can stay here with them. Lucas Junior didn’t seem keen on the crossing and Nathan’s just too wound up about that marathon on the t.v.”

Denise heard the heartbreak and relief; knew enough of her son’s tone to tell the real mood. Too tired to travel, yet too restless to stay home. “You can always bring the cats over. How many do you have now?”

Tennyson smiled. “Well, there’s Major Tom and Lt. Zoë and now I’ve got Sergeant Pepper, Captain Reynolds and Barney Miller in the ranks, thanks to Kai.”

“Hadn’t meant to put you on the spot earlier. Maddie picks up more than you three realize, so I wish you would be more careful about what you expose her to.”

“Hey, she’s the one who found a way to interpret I.D. into something completely cool and amazing! I never would have thought of intangible duck.’ Wonder if she’ll draw a picture of it later for me.”

“And what episodes did you start her off with to learn of psychic paper so soon?”

“Oh, you know.”

Denise shook her head. “You have to remember that your father and I spent our time with different doctors. McCoy, Kildaire, Quincy, for starters.” Then she saw it, a flicker of that lost look when Tenny was Maddie’s age. “The kids will do better at home, especially with that nasty cold Lucas is fighting.”

“I said I’ll stay, Mom. Gonna go help Dad pack up the car. Could drive you guys there, you know, save on paying for parking.”

She shook her head. “Last thing you need to do is bring the children anywhere near a comic book store. Make it an adventure of your own by keeping the kids out of trouble and the Campbell’s at bay.”

“Now I know you’re asking for the impossible.”

“Just assign one cat per child and you should be fine; unless you lot think of re-enacting Tom and Jerry shows. Not that you would put such an idea in their heads to begin with, right?”

Tennyson gave a wry grin. “Not me.”