September 29, 1995
was their custom on Friday nights, Mart, Di, Honey and Dan had made plans
to go to a movie. Those plans
had been side-tracked by Mr. and Mrs. Lynch,
however. They had
invited the young people for dinner before their movie, and things had
gotten carried away after that.
two sets of twins and Bobby Belden had decided that they
didn’t want to be left out of ‘movie night’,
and howled to go to the Cameo with the Bob-Whites.
Ted Lynch had managed to negotiate a settlement by getting the
older kids to agree to renting a couple of movies and watching them in the
Lynches’ home theater with the younger children.
that, chaos ensued.
Bob-Whites returned from the video store to find Melly Lynch wearing a feather
boa, and Kelly Lynch wearing a tiara;
the two girls were twirling around the rec room to the tune of “Copacabana”
in time with the dance troupe
they were watching on TV. Larry
and Terry were chasing their escaped pet
around the room, and crashing into furniture left and right. Bobby was sitting in the middle of the room, crying and
making a fuss over the skinned knee
he had just gotten while trying to run the 50-yard dash through the
Lynch was attempting to sooth Bobby and clean his knee while trying to
order the twins to calm down. Diana
and Honey flew to her aid, and quickly restored order to the room.
The younger boys settled down, but then they huddled in the corner
Lynch and the family butler, Harrison, had gone to the kitchen to retrieve some refreshments for the
group. Harrison arrived
carrying a tray full of fresh, warm, chocolate-frosted fudge brownies,
followed closely by Ted with a tray full of sodas.
They heard a voice whisper, “I think we
can take them.” Suddenly,
Larry, Terry and Bobby attacked them.
The tray of brownies
went soaring, and chocolate flew everywhere.
Sherry was struck full in the face with the frosted side of a large
Ted Lynch’s tray had dropped straight down.
The sodas landed squarely on the three culprits, and Ted’s shoes.
Dad!” called Larry. “You
got us all wet!”
Is that all you can say?” Ted roared in surprise and anger.
Dad, we were just having fun,” chimed Terry.
DON’T CARE!!!” their father bellowed.
“Get to your room! NOW!!!”
two boys headed for their bedroom, heads bowed in shame. Bobby sat on the floor, afraid to move. Ted glared at him. In
a quiet but deadly voice he said, “Move!”
got up and tore like lightning after the twins.
turned to the Bob-Whites. “Sherry
and I are going upstairs to get cleaned up.
While we are gone, do not let those two out of your sight,” he
warned, with an expressive wave at his younger daughters.
foursome moved to help Harrison clean up the mess.
While thus preoccupied, they failed to notice the young girls’
whispers and giggles. As
Kelly and Melly moved to the large bookshelf against the far wall, which
was decorated with dozens of breakable figurines, Di saw them out of the
corner of her eye.
you two touch anything on that shelf!”
chastened girls looked at her sorrowfully.
“We were just going to get our tea party set.”
them warily, Di relented. “Fine.
Just get it, and go play in the corner by the stereo.
Don’t touch anything that doesn’t belong to you!”
returned to her task, and the girls retrieved their tea set. In their assigned corner, they dumped their supplies out of
the picnic basket which served as their
storage container. They
looked at the basket.
would make a great pool,” Kelly whispered.
said not to touch other people’s things,” Melly returned.
“The fish are ours, right?”
perfect synchronization, the girls reached up to the entertainment center
and each grabbed a small, individual fishbowl.
The bowls, labeled “Melly” and “Kelly”, each held a single
goldfish, swimming in lonely isolation.
Grinning from ear to ear, they simultaneously dumped the bowls into
the wicker basket, so their fish could swim and
turned in time to see this happening.
“What are you doing?” she shrieked.
fish needed to swim together,” Kelly replied.
said we could only touch our things,” Melly elaborated.
grabbed the basket and ran for the kitchen, trying mightily to stifle his
laughter. Honey grabbed the
individual fishbowls and followed, politely hiding a smirk.
Mart, who was already mopping the soda spill, automatically came
over to mop up the water which had oozed out the sides of the picnic
basket, all the while focused on some distant thoughts that were bringing a
scowl to his face.
angrily grabbed the girls each by an arm and dragged them up the stairs to
their room. She cringed as
she entered their room, wondering for the hundredth time what possessed
her mother to let her sisters pick their own paint color.
The entire house was done in elegant blue and gold, except two
rooms: Diana’s own lavender
room, and Melly and Kelly’s annoyingly yellow room.
stood the girls at opposite ends of the room, facing the corners, and
warned them not to even breath until she returned.
Then she went to find her parents, wondering as she went if facing
the corner in such a painfully bright room could blind the girls.
downstairs in the family room, Dan, Mart, and Honey were conferring about
their plans for the rest of the night.
can’t leave now,” Honey was saying.
“That would be terribly unfair to Di.”
right,” Dan agreed. “Besides,
we have our movies for the night, and I seriously doubt if any of the
children will be allowed out of their rooms any time soon.
We can still have an enjoyable movie night.”
nodded absentmindedly, obviously preoccupied with something else.
Honey regarded him curiously before looking at Dan with a question
in her lovely hazel eyes. Dan rolled his eyes and shrugged. He wasn’t about to try to guess where Mart’s mind was
was trying to figure out what they should do while they waited for Di when
she remembered something. “Hey,
Mart! Where’s that
‘Oh-so-very important letter‘ you said
you got from the Hubbell twins today?”
looked confused for a moment, his visage changing to one of sudden
inspiration before he answered. The words rushed out of his mouth in a
barely understandable garble. “I
left it at my house. I’ll
go and get it right now. I’ll
be right back.” With that
he ran out the door.
two friends stared at his retreating form a moment before turning to each
other. Dan spoke first. “Ten bucks says it’s in the pocket of the jacket he just
left in this room.”
sighed. “You do know
what’s gonna happen when Trixie finds out he’s checking up on her,
sagely, the other answered, “It’s gonna be ugly.
And bloody. And more
disgusting than a praying mantis devouring her
Dan! You are so
isn’t that why you love me?” Dan said, flashing his most charming
was rewarded with a pillow in the face.
at Crabapple Farm, Mart crept into the house quietly. He had been worried about Trixie for days.
Something was bothering her, and she wasn’t telling him.
And her refusal to join the other Bob-Whites on Friday nights was
starting to get on his nerves. Just
what was she doing at home that was so important, anyway?
he approached the top of the stairs, he could hear her talking to someone.
She must be on the phone, he thought.
Despite the twinge of guilt he felt for spying, he snuck closer to
her bedroom door so he could listen.
He could only hear her side of the conversation, and he couldn’t
make any sense out of it.
did you send me a postcard?
… … Is the legend on the
postcard? … … Cool. I’ll
be watching for it…
what happened to your plans for tomorrow? … … They did WHAT? … …
How exactly do you have sex on a pogo
stick? … … Oh my God! … … They did that in
the park?! … …”
shrieked with laughter. When
she could finally breath again, she continued.
“Holy cow! I will
never be able to listen to ‘Saturday
in the Park’ in the same way
again.” The giggling
do they call her? … Princess Supple Bling Bling?
… Do I even want to know why?”
shrieks of laughter.
Brian, stop! You’re killing
Telling Trixie about sex in the park on a pogo stick?
It must be some OTHER Brian…
fair! Don’t shift into
doctor mode on me. I hate it
when you do that!”
Not some other Brian.
I’m following orders. … I feel a lot better, actually. The throbbing has dialed down to a dull ache. … I don’t
know why you’re surprised my hand still hurts.
I nearly got it blown off, for crying out loud. … You know, right
now it’s a good thing you’re in Boston.
If you were being this annoying here, I’d have to hurt you. … I
thought you were done trying to smother me! … I’m surprised you’ve
confined yourself to our Friday night phone calls.”
night phone calls?
have you been calling the parents in between, instead? … AHA! I knew it! … Good grief! Don’t be so overprotective!”
voice softened considerably. “You
do know that if I really needed you, I’d call, right? … I love you,
too. And I know you’re
worried. But I’m okay,
really. … How are things here? Well,
do you want to hear the highlights of my week first this time, or my
complaints? Cause if I’m
gonna complain, you need to flip a coin.
Do I gripe about Honey first?
Or Mart? They’re
both driving me nuts!”
had heard enough. He silently
slipped down the stairs, and out the door.
As he walked back to Di’s house through the dark of the forest,
he thought about what he had heard. A
lot of things suddenly made sense.
never wanted to do anything on Friday nights.
In fact, she wanted to be left alone.
She didn’t want to talk to Mart or Honey when something was
bothering her. She seemed
extraordinarily happy on Saturday mornings, as if she was basking in the
memories of some glorious fun the night before.
realized now that he hadn’t needed to worry about Trixie at all.
Their parents knew what she did on Fridays, and approved.
He should have just trusted them, and her. She was safely at home, chatting on the phone with her
favorite big brother.
the one she idolizes instead of fighting all the time.
Her protector and advisor, not her tormentor.
He moves away, and suddenly he’s her closest confidante.
couldn’t believe how jealous he felt towards his own brother. And over his sister’s affection, nonetheless.
right here. She could talk to
quickly swatted that thought away. He
was the one who had perfectly honed the skill of torturing his little
sister. Did he expect that
their entire relationship would change the instant Brian left?
He had tried teasing her less, but then he’d alienated her with
the whole Luke thing. She
knew she could count on him in times of desperation, but he’d certainly
never treated her like a best friend.
How could he expect her to turn to him when she just wanted to
is stupid. It’s good for
thought about Brian. His
brother was such a loving, close family person.
Suddenly, he was alone, far from home, and probably missing them
all terribly. That must be a
terrible transition, and Jim could only help him so much.
That connection with Trixie probably meant a lot to him.
no matter how much Mart protested otherwise, Trixie was a girl.
In some ways, it’s just plain easier to talk to girls.
Guy-talk is about guy-stuff, and a conversation with Mart would
simply not have the same emotional impact for Brian.
good for both of them.
he wanted Trixie to consider him a friend and confidante, he had some
serious repair work to do on their relationship.
He needed to stop acting like an Overprotective Oaf, and reach out
to her. There was more to
showing her that he loved her than rushing in to the rescue when she was
Brian wasn’t here to tarnish his halo with his own Overprotective Oaf
routine. From a distance, it
was easier for him to be the perfect listener.
And maybe that’s all she wanted: someone to listen.
Mart knew he was too busy talking most of the time to bother to
listen to her.
wisely, that there were some times when he should just butt out, he pushed
all thoughts of the phone calls away.
They wanted privacy. It
wasn’t a lot to ask, and it wouldn’t kill him to give it to them.
In fact, they would never have to know that he knew their secret,
if that was what their desire. If
they wanted him to know, they’d tell him.
In the meantime, they could have all the privacy they wanted.
back at the Lynch house, he entered the rec room to find the other
Bob-Whites just settling in for the movie.
Di patted the seat beside her on the sofa, and Mart sat down.
cleared his throat. “You
left your jacket here, you know.”
frowned in confusion. “Yeah?
on. I got ten bucks riding on
which pocket the letter is in.”
flushed in embarrassment and mumbled, “The left.”
Honey got up retrieved ten dollars from her purse, which she
presented to Dan with a flourish. “Enjoy your winnings, oh clever one.”
foursome laughed. Di snuggled
up next to Mart and he draped an arm over her shoulders.
so only Mart could hear, Di asked, “How’s Trixie?”
rolled his eyes. “She’s
you feel better now?”
the concern in her violet eyes, Mart relaxed and smiled. “Yeah, I do.”
smiled back and kissed him on the cheek.
that, they all settled in for a relaxing night at the movies, courtesy of
the Lynch Family Home Theater.