You could tell these two had been at it, off and on, for years. The sparks were so intense and the language so extreme. Accusations were lobbed back and forth and concussive blasts figuratively shook the firmament. It was the dead of night, but the heat of anger made it seem bright as day.
Verbal shots were taken with no logical lead-ins. They were now arguing by rote. The same things had been said before, but that didn’t alter the impact. She was spitting mad and he was hopping with fury. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a little.
For we bystanders, the day started innocently enough. Our six year old daughter came into the living room after breakfast to show me her latest loose tooth. There it stood, wiggly and awkward, in the front of her mouth on the lower right.
With her index finger, Tammy showed me how she could bend it to almost a ninety degree angle. I get queasy at moments like this and employ brusque humour to hide my unease. I find it’s best to distract attention from my loss of colour and sudden sweats.
“Time to get the pliars,” I said. This was an old joke that always brought a shriek of outrage and mock fear. I have a special-duty instrument about a foot long with an enormous jaw that I wave around on such occasions.
“No Daddy. Stay away.” And she ran to her mother. But this offered little sanctuary. Donna recognized action must be taken and five minutes later there was an impressive gap in Tammy’s mouth and a promise of rewards to come later that night.
Did I mention these events occurred on a Saturday morning, the day before Easter? Little did we anticipate the trouble that was inevitable due to an unfortunate coincidence of events. Maybe you can foresee the problem. Certainly we were remiss in not spotting what was sure to happen. We should have tried to avoid it.
Actually, the beginnings of this disaster were set in motion about five years earlier, when Tammy was only a year old. On that Easter Sunday, our two boys, Tom and Ted, and my wife Donna came up with the idea of holding a contest to see who could draw the most imaginative picture of the Easter Bunny and his basket of goodies.
I joined in as well, figuring I would compensate for my lack of artistic talent by sticking a cigar in the rabbit’s mouth, to get a laugh or two. But no one was prepared for what Ted came up with. The countenance on his Easter Bunny combined a frown and a scowl and a beetled brow that was deeply disturbing. Scary is the only way to describe it.
He was also packing a machine gun and two ammo belts across his chest. Forget about his usual mandate, spreading goodwill and dispensing candy. He was on a take-no-prisoners mission. There’s no denying it, Ted’s Easter Bunny was a monster.
Not wishing to probe too deeply into the psychology that had produced this aberration, we simply hung all of the art work on the fridge and tried to move on. But there have been some lingering side effects from what has come to be known, in our house, as the “Beaster Bunny” picture.
It can’t be just a coincidence that ever since then, Easter morning pickings in the Carrick household have been slim. We look for chocolate, but somebody is obviously holding a grudge. The real Easter Bunny must have seen his likeness those several years ago and been less than flattered. Now it’s cracked eggs with a funny sulphur smell that we find behind the couch and under the cushions.
So returning to the present, this is how I imagine events transpired. The Easter Bunny, after a hard night’s work, finally showed up at our house and remembered the insult. This put him in a bad mood to begin with. His appetite for revenge has only grown stronger with age. Then the tooth fairy appeared at the same time, looking for Tammy’s incisor.
The tooth fairy simply can’t restrain herself. She has to berate the Easter Bunny for distributing candy to kids. Doesn’t he know what this does to enamel? He’s heard this before and he’s had enough. The people in this house don’t think well of him anyway. They go at it, wand and paw, in our kitchen. Everybody in the house is woken up.
I’d like to say this was resolved in a civilized manner. That we all sat down and talked it through. But I’m afraid things aren’t always that easy. World views can sometimes be too far apart. The acrimony continued and then spilled over, hippity-hoppity-style, into the street. Our dog and cat had to chase the two combatants out of the neighbourhood.
Who knows if we’ll ever see either of them again? In the meantime, Tammy was left disappointed, with no cash to show for her loss, and the rest of us were deprived of a good night’s sleep. By the way, our children are no longer allowed anywhere near pencils, crayons and drawing paper.
Let’s move on from Easter to Christmas. Santa’s life takes some sharp and unexpected turns in The Red-Suit Mistletoe Initiative.