Puce is Not for Sissies: Part Two

(If you missed Puce is Not for Sissies Part One, and the explanation of what on earth this is, and why it's on Cabbages this week, click here for enlightenment and hopefully a few jolly snickers at my expense.)


"So how do you two like school this year?" queried Uncle Ray.

I hated it. David Lipton had purposefully stepped on my G.I. Joe lunchbox and stomped it until it oozed peanut butter and jelly. My teacher looked like the Church Lady. "Fine," I said.

The phone rang so The Creep yelled, "I'll get it! It's for me!" and ran from the room. She was spared the inquisition about school. I was sure that she had asked her friend to call her when she got home, for the sole purpose of avoiding interrogation. Teenagers were lucky like that. They always had excuses to be rude.

Dad strode into our house with a grin on his face, yelling, "Honey! I'm home early and--" His eyes fell upon Lydia and Ray. The grin slid off of his face and, in an instant, a new one appeared. It was the same grin he put on when my cousin Todd bit him on the ankle. "Hello Lydia, Ray." Dad noticed Mom admiring my present. "That's an interesting color."

"It's puce," Mom informed him.

"Sure is," Dad agreed, giving me a knowing glance. In the back of his closet were a watercolor painting of a pigsty, a souvenir Indian headdress from Lydia's trip west, and a silver-beaded handmade whatchamacallit that looked like it could have been either a Christmas tree ornament, a bracelet, or a bathing suit top. All of which were gifts compliments of my aunt and uncle.

Dinner wasn't much better. There was toxic waste on my plate. It sat there, stagnant and brownish-purple-punk, staring at me. I stared back. It was eating through Mom's fine china. 

I was sure Mom would be greatly upset about that, since we never touched the good china unless our relatives came. I didn't dare take my eyes off my meal; at any moment, it might decide to crawl off of the plate, and I wanted to be prepared. 

If the toxic waste were consumed, it would surely eat through my guts. Mom plunked down three little golf balls into the blob on my plat, and The Blob encompassed and devoured the golf balls in an instant.

"Eat your brussels sprouts," said Mom. "They're good for you."

"They disappeared," I told her. "I think they're drowning."

"You eat your dinner," Mom ordered. "This is Aunt Lydia's favorite dinner! And anyway, you love beets! You love creamed tuna on toast!"

Oh, that's what that was! "I do?" I queried, keeping a watchful eye on The Blob.

"You do." Mom's eyes burned a hole through my brain. It was a form of mind control. Her will traveled directly into my thoughts and became embedded there. That same force made me pick up my fork and attempt to shovel up some of The Blob. The Blob growled at me. My love of life overcame my mother's power, and I put down my fork.

I looked over at The Creep to see how she was faring. She was staring at her dish, too, and I noted that her hand was reaching for her fourth piece of bread. "Gee, Brenda, why aren't you eating? I thought you loved creamed tuna on toast!" I said.

Attention focused on her. She glared at me. "Oh, I do! I do! It's just that I'm not feeling very well. My stomach hurts."

"Couldn't hurt too much. You've had four pieces of bread." I had temporarily evened the score.

The rest of my relatives' visit went on in much of the same manner. We opened up our belated Christmas presents. I got a pair of puce plaid knickers to go with my shirt and tie. The Creep and Mom agreed that I would wear the whole ensemble to school the next day. The Creep had her revenge. I don't want to talk about it. I also received a record album of Shaun Cassidy's Greatest Hits.

"Wow!" exclaimed my sister. "Aren't you lucky, Robby! Boy, am I jealous!" She cackled with evil glee.

To the immense delight of my father, my sister, and myself, Aunt Lydia and Uncle Ray finally went home. I also figured out what to do with that album Aunt Lydia gave me... 

Guess what The Creep got for her birthday?


ReformingGeek said...

Puce and brussel sprouts.

I'm feeling ill.

I'm sure I had that Shaun Cassidy album.

Karen said...

Shaun...and regifting...the gift that keeps getting gifted.

Creamed Tuna on Toast with Brussel Sprouts, sounds like dinner at Guantanamo Bay when the warden's feeling nasty.

Unknown said...

Reforming Geek- Heh, and at least for a while there, that Shaun Cassidy album was every fourth album at the thrift stores. :)

Karen- Don't forget the beets, too! I actually like creamed tuna on toast, but as I recall when I wrote this many years ago, it was one of the few soupy items I could think of that were also "puce" in color.

Melanie said...

Puce and creamed tuna? There went my appetite.

Great story though. :) Intereting that a teenage Jenn would write from the point of view of a gradeschool boy.

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- I'd been reading my first book of Jean Shepherd (A Christmas Story) short stories then, and wanted to try my hand at that tone.

Interestingly, I've also found over the years that as a female writer, if I use a male antagonist, more folks tend to actually pay attention to the story. Sad, in some ways, but true.

Jenn Thorson said...

Sorry- protagonist. Need more coffee.

Murr Brewster said...

I"m the kind of person who gives blood just to get compliments on my blood pressure numbers, so keep that in mind when I say that I always felt special because I knew what color puce is. Now you've enlightened people and I am less special. It's probably a good way to start the year.

Melanie said...

LOL! Understandable slip. Many males I know are antagonists. :)

I think maybe writers sometimes work harder to get into a character if they are of the opposite sex and it shows in the story. I read a book recently by a male writer and the main character was female. I'd have sworn it was a woman writing the book!

Unknown said...

Murr- Anything to help the new year start off right! And to soothe things over and make you feel re-special, perhaps you could tell us about... chartreuse, teal or mauve? :)

Melanie- Yup, Jasper Fforde does rather nicely with his Thursday Next, who's female. It's doable, and certainly fun as a writer..