C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Butch could hardly wait for Mary to get in her seat in homeroom. She arrived in a crisp cap-sleeved yellow dress and was smiling so wide all her teeth showed. When she sat down, Butch startled her in his eagerness to talk.
“I am so excited about the baby, Mary. How soon before you can see it?”
“When Mom comes home. In about a week, I hope. They won’t let little girls like me go up on the floor.” Mary looked sad but said, “It’s fine with me. Dad talks to me and I help him with dinner and it’s sort of nice. I am excited to see what Elizabeth Ann looks like, though. They are going to call her Beth, like in Little Women. I hope she is a lot healthier than that. She is so little, Mom says. About five pounds. Just a little bitty thing. I think I'll call her Bitty. Bitty Brewster. Isn’t that cute? That’s all I know so far.”
“Wow, that’s neat, though, Mary. Let us know when she gets home and we’ll all give her a visit. She’ll have lots of “uncles” to protect her.”
“She is a lucky girl all right.”
Terry and Jimmy came in together. Both were smiling. Both knew the news. Mary had been very busy the night before. “Does she have a name yet?” Jimmy asked.
“Did you get any sleep last night,” Terry wondered.
“Elizabeth Ann and no. I was far too happy to sleep.”
Miss Grace hushed the class when the bell rang. All four Scribblers grinned and looked at the front of the room, reluctantly.
* * *
Butch came home to an empty house. That was very unusual. Mom and Dad were always there when he got home, to ask as many questions as possible. He called and looked around. They were nowhere to be found. He went to the kitchen. There was no note. He got out an apple and milk. His mom had drilled healthy food into him from day one and he now preferred fruit to candy. As nice and quiet as it was, he was a bit concerned. He sat down on the couch where Mom sat every afternoon watching her one favorite soap opera, ‘The Guiding Light.’
Butch called Terry. “Terry, hey. Mom and Dad are gone. They never go anywhere at this time. Dad is usually done with work and Mom always goes to the store in the morning. You want to come over and hang out. It’s too early for Scribblers but I’m lonely. We could play cards or checkers or something.”
Terry was coming right over so Butch cleaned up his snack and put a few things away. Just as Terry rode up the driveway on his bicycle, Mom and Dad came in the back door.
Butch went to his parents first. Where were you? I was worried.”
Mom looked at him quizzically. “How sweet, Butchie. We had to go to the store for extra food. Aunt Marabella and her daughter, Connie are coming for a visit. You never met Cousin Connie. They’re going to be staying for a week. I’ll tell you all about it at dinner. Terry is here. Oh, we will need your room for them. We can move you out soon.”
Terry came in and Butch glared at him. “What did I do?” Terry asked. “You called me.”
"It's not you, Terry. I'm about to burst. My folks are driving me nus." He took a deck of cards out of a desk drawer and sat on the couch and shuffled and shuffled and shuffled. He was so upset, sweat was forming on his forehead.
“Take it easy, fella. Whatever it is. Fuming won’t help. Let’s play war. Get some of that aggression out on the card game. Or on me.” Terry grinned and messed up Butch’s short hair. “Let’s play.”
(Next time: what the boys really think of the new baby.)