As usual, I wasn’t in on the initial “fun.” In fact, I was absorbed in working on FAR Future last night, posting Episode 25 and filling in pieces of the next episode, when I heard a BANG. That’s usually an “intervention urgently requested” signal, so I walked into the empty living room. “What was that?” I called toward the kitchen.
“The Boy,” Mrs. Fetched said, but without the usual heat that comes with a TB04. Then I heard a car revvvvvv. “Oh!” she gasped. “Stop him. I need to talk to him, go out front!” She sounded worried, and I got moving — this wasn’t the usual head-butting aftermath, so something was significantly amiss.
I dashed out the front door and reached the driveway with a little time to spare. The way The Boy came around the side of the house, though, had me ready to jump… but I waved wildly and he stopped with a few feet of margin.
“I’m taking EJ to work,” he said.
“Wait a minute. Your mom wants to talk to you.” She came out the front door even as I spoke, after trying to catch him at the back.
“What happened?” she asked, and the agitation he’d barely held in check poured out: it was dark, so I couldn’t see that he had been seething.
“Snippet pissed me off!” he yelled. “She’s always pulling $#¡+ like that!”
“What did she do?”
“EJ wanted to ride in front for once, and Snippet threw a fit about it. She started in on me again — and then she hit me — and I’ve had it with her $#¡+!” He was almost crying at this point. “She’s outta here tomorrow — I’m going to take her back to her mom, and that’s it!”
That didn’t take long, I thought. Aloud I said, “Look, you’re really worked up — you want me to take EJ and you can settle down a bit? I don’t mind taking him.”
“That might be a good idea,” Mrs. Fetched said. “You’re really not in a good frame of mind to be driving. How’s your blood sugar?”
The Boy pulled himself together — “with a visible effort” is an old writing cliché, but that’s exactly what he did — and shook his head. “My blood sugar’s fine,” he said (he gets completely non-linear when it’s way high, like 300). “Snippet just pissed me off. I need to get away from her for a little while. I’ll be OK.”
“You sure?” I asked.
“Let your dad drive,” Mrs. Fetched said. “You can ride along. I’m just afraid you won’t be paying attention to your driving, and you know how that can go.”
“No, I’ll be fine,” he said, getting a little calmer. His blood sugar was obviously OK — he’s completely incapable of getting it together even that much when he’s gone off the rails.
“Well… drive safe, then,” Mrs. Fetched said, seeing it too. “And come back safe,” I added. He nodded and rolled away, leaving the driveway without the usual “enthusaism,” and we went back inside.
I went back to writing, wondering what had become of Snippet, when I heard voices in the guest room (next to the master bedroom). I poked my head in, to find Snippet teary-eyed and pouting on the bed, talking to Mrs. Fetched.
“No,” Mrs. Fetched said, and I stepped in — then realized I had nothing helpful to say (stop manipulating him, you little twit wouldn’t have been well-received, I expect) and left. They continued to talk for a good long while, and then we talked to The Boy for a while when he returned.
“23 years from now, do you think you could stand living with Snippet the way she is?”
“No way. And I told her, if she does that even once more, we’re through. She just keeps pushing, and pushing, and I don’t know why.”
“Because it works,” she said. “She just wears you down until you do what she wants.” (She should know, that’s why FAR Manor owns us, after all.)
“And when she pushes you like that, and makes you mad, she wins,” I said. “When you’re mad, you’re not thinking. You just re-act, and you can’t get past reacting to planning.”
We talked a little more, then went to bed. We could hear Snippet on the phone to her mom.
This afternoon, to Mrs. Fetched, it looked like the two of them were going to try papering over their differences and going on without resolving a very serious issue… but the fault lines were very visible when they got to Wendy’s (they were running various errands).
“I’m kind of hungry, too,” Snippet said. How this kid manages to keep a figure like hers, eating almost nothing but junk food, is a mystery to me. Probably involved pricking her finger and signing a piece of parchment in blood, but I digress. “Can you get me a bacon cheeseburger?” (I can has cheezburger?)
“Yeah, Mom, can you get her something?” Mrs. Fetched said nothing and ordered only her own chow. The Boy shrugged and got her the requested burger and drink; he got a Baconator, large fries, and drink (his mom’s side of the family processes fat better than carbs, I’m the opposite).
“I’m still hungry,” Snippet said after finishing her burger. “Can I have some of your fries?”
“All you ordered was the sandwich. If you wanted fries you should have asked for some.”
“That’s a lot of food,” Mrs. Fetched intervened. “You can share some of your fries.”
Mrs. Fetched said that Snippet started another round of continuous low-level sniping pretty much the rest of the afternoon; The Boy mostly ignored it but I don’t know for how much longer. They’re visiting a friend of his right now; if she keeps her mouth shut things might get better… but as EJ said, “that would be hard for her.” There’s not a while lot of love between EJ and Snippet… it reminds me of Lobster and M.A.E. back when, although Lobster was simply jealous that The Boy was getting some female attention and Lobster wasn’t. I also don’t expect that the two of them will start spending a lot of time together complaining about stuff like Lobster and M.A.E. did. History doesn’t repeat, it just rhymes, after all.