Friday, September 29, 1995


As 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.

The 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.

After that, chaos ensued.

The 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 frog, Kermit, 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 foyer.

Sherry 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 whispering ominously.

Ted 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 brownie.

Meanwhile, Ted Lynch’s tray had dropped straight down.  The sodas landed squarely on the three culprits, and Ted’s shoes.

Gleeps, Dad!” called Larry.  “You got us all wet!”

Gleeps?  Gleeps?  Is that all you can say?” Ted roared in surprise and anger.

“Aw, Dad, we were just having fun,” chimed Terry.

“I DON’T CARE!!!” their father bellowed.  “Get to your room!  NOW!!!”

The 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!”

Bobby got up and tore like lightning after the twins.

Ted 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.

The 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.

“Don’t you two touch anything on that shelf!”

The chastened girls looked at her sorrowfully.  “We were just going to get our tea party set.”

Eyeing 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!”

Di 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.

“It would make a great pool,” Kelly whispered.

“Di said not to touch other people’s things,” Melly returned.  “The fish are ours, right?”

In 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 frolic together.

Di turned in time to see this happening.  “What are you doing?” she shrieked.

“Our fish needed to swim together,” Kelly replied.

“You said we could only touch our things,” Melly elaborated.

Dan 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.

Di 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.

She 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.



Meanwhile, downstairs in the family room, Dan, Mart, and Honey were conferring about their plans for the rest of the night.

“We can’t leave now,” Honey was saying.  “That would be terribly unfair to Di.”

“You’re 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.”

Mart 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 now.

Honey 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?”

Mart 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.

His 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.”

Honey sighed.  “You do know what’s gonna happen when Trixie finds out he’s checking up on her, don’t you?”

Nodding sagely, the other answered, “It’s gonna be ugly.  And bloody.  And more disgusting than a praying mantis devouring her mate.”

“EEWWW!!  Dan!  You are so gross!”

“But isn’t that why you love me?” Dan said, flashing his most charming smile.

He was rewarded with a pillow in the face.



Back 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?

As 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.

“Why did you send me a postcard? … … Is the legend on the postcard? … … Cool.  I’ll be watching for it…

“So 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?! … …”

She 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 continued.

“What do they call her? … Princess Supple Bling Bling? … Do I even want to know why?”

More shrieks of laughter.

“Oh, Brian, stop!  You’re killing me here!”

Brian?  Telling Trixie about sex in the park on a pogo stick?  It must be some OTHER Brian…

“No fair!  Don’t shift into doctor mode on me.  I hate it when you do that!”

Nope.  Not some other Brian.

“Yes, 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.”

Friday night phone calls?

“Or have you been calling the parents in between, instead? … AHA!  I knew it! … Good grief!  Don’t be so overprotective!”

Her 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!”

Mart 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.

Trixie 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.

He 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.

Brian, 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.

Mart couldn’t believe how jealous he felt towards his own brother.  And over his sister’s affection, nonetheless.

I’m right here.  She could talk to me.

He 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 talk?

This is stupid.  It’s good for them.

He 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.

Besides, 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.

It’s good for both of them.

If 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 in trouble.

Besides, 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.

Deciding, 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.



Arriving 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.

Dan cleared his throat.  “You left your jacket here, you know.”

Mart frowned in confusion.  “Yeah?  So?”

“Come on.  I got ten bucks riding on which pocket the letter is in.”

Mart flushed in embarrassment and mumbled, “The left.”

“Damn.”  Honey got up retrieved ten dollars from her purse, which she presented to Dan with a flourish.  “Enjoy your winnings, oh clever one.”

The foursome laughed.  Di snuggled up next to Mart and he draped an arm over her shoulders.

Quietly, so only Mart could hear, Di asked, “How’s Trixie?”

He rolled his eyes.  “She’s fine.”

“Do you feel better now?”

Seeing the concern in her violet eyes, Mart relaxed and smiled.  “Yeah, I do.”

She smiled back and kissed him on the cheek.  “Good.”

With that, they all settled in for a relaxing night at the movies, courtesy of the Lynch Family Home Theater.




Author's Notes:

This is my introductory CWP submission for Jixemitri:

The elements from CWP # 1 are in GREEN

The elements from CWP #12 are in RED

Many, many thanks to April and Kathy W for all their hard work and encouragement.  I would be nowhere without my faithful editors.

An extra special thanks to Cathy P, for welcoming me into the wonderful world of Jixemitri Authorhood (? Authorness? ).  It is truly an honor and a privilege.




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