Got Skeels?

August 24, 2008

Joey hasn’t been the same, ever since the band leader said it. His little feelies, all mangled and crushed, lie forlorn on the ground. His self-esteem, already needing a stool to mount the flat side of a piece of regular, college-ruled notepaper, now strains to straddle a spaghetti noodle of the angel hair variety. His brow, beaten and bruised, creased with care and worn with worry, resembles a swimming pool on a very windy day. Or perhaps, resembles his bed sheets. That is, before his mother gets around to making it for him.

What, might you ask, has caused Joey such trauma, such trepidation, such total cerebral torture? Well, that is a long story, as you might have guessed, and will take some time to unravel. Feelies are just that way.

In the meantime, Joey continues his daily self-therapy sessions, in his bedroom, alone, with his pillow behind his now nearly twelve-year-old back and his Wii within arm’s reach. His mother rarely disturbs her patient, other than with the ocassional glass of warm milk and plate of chocolate chip cookies. Father has yet to be made aware of his son’s (a.k.a. “my pride and joy”) condition. Joey’s mangled feelies have only been festering for a week so far. Hardly enough time for a man of Joey’s father’s experience to sit up and take note. Besides, he hardly ever visits that end of the house. The TV is clear down in the basement.

If the truth were to be told in all of its lusterless glory, Joey isn’t really minding his self-therapy sessions all that much. He in fact seems to thrive on such controversy. Difficult as it is for him, he somehow manages an obligatory tear for mother whenever she comes in to check her patient’s progress. As a matter of fact, he has learned to keep at least one tear always at the ready, prepared to trickle slowly down his cheek, while mother gently strokes it and runs her fingers through his already tousled hair.

He doesn’t take his eyes off the screen. His thumbs continue, as if on auto-pilot. As mother pulls his head over to her shoulder, he becomes a Poketopia Master for the upteenth time. But no celabratory dance for him. Poketopia Master is too easy. And besides, celebration dances don’t go well with sulking. Mother might get suspiscious. He’ll have to try Pajama Sam as soon as she leaves. This self-therapy session could take some time. He hopes she’ll delay her more systematic therapy sessions long enough for him to get through the Land of Darkness at least once.

But one thing is for sure, he won’t be picking up his flute any time soon. Not Joey. Not after what that nasty ole’ band leader said to him. The very thought of it reminds Joey to get another tear at the ready, headed in hot pursuit of the nearly dry and already spent tear trail of a moment ago.

“Who does that guy think he is, saying something like that to me? I’m Joey,” Joey thought. “The best flutist in the sixth grade band. For that matter, the only flutist in the sixth grade band. At least, the only flutist who isn’t wearing a dress and pony tails.”

Mother didn’t much care for the band leader’s attitude either. After all, Joey needs time to be a boy. And she doesn’t quite get what the band leader meant when he said that there wasn’t time enough in an entire year for Joey to be a boy.

Her Joey. Imagine. He does stuff that boys do. At least, he plays Wii. He eats too. Chocolate chip cookies. And Chips. And he drinks soda too. Lots of times. She isn’t so sure about the crying stuff, since she hasn’t seen many of the other boys crying so much as Joey. But she is sure that they all like to have their cheeks stroked, just like Joey does. Which reminds her. She hasn’t stroked his for a few minutes. Better check on him again.

She’s made up her mind. Soon as Joey gets himself better, she’s pulling him out of band. That’s it. She’s had it with that band leader. Just like she had it with the Math teacher. Just like she had it with the PE teacher. Just like she had it with the Sunday School teacher. Home Schooling will be good for Joey. It will give her more time to spend with her boy. Just her and him. Home church wouldn’t be bad either. She’ll have to talk to her hubby about that later. He’ll agree, no doubt. He always does.

In the meantime, Joey’s mom tries to figure out just how to broach the subject of the band teacher with Joey. She has pictured it a thousand times already. What she will say. Joey holding back the tears until he falls into her waiting arms, bursting into wails the size of Moby Dick. She can picture it all in slow motion, like on one of those Hallmark Classics. Oh, the joy, the pure delight of catching her boy… HER boy, of holding him close while he pours out all his… his… his hurties, his feelies to her. This is what motherhood is all about, her glory, her fulfillment in life.

Joey, meanwhile, feels it coming. In anticipation, he stares harder at his Wii. Maybe that will back her off a few more hours so he can change this stoopid game. But he can’t delay forever.

“Mr. Bickers had no right to say that to you, Joey…” began his mom, tentatively.

“Yeah,” said Joey.

“You practice. I know you practice. I’ve heard you. He said you don’t practice. Can you believe that? He said if you did practice, it isn’t enough. I know that isn’t true,” mom continued.

“Yup,” said Joey.

“He had no right to say that you should practice at least half the time you spend on your, what did he call it, your Wii-Wii?”

“Psh!” said Joey.

“I’m pulling you out of band,” mom said, her mind made up.

“Oh, please, don’t do that! I like to play flute,” said Joey. “Just so I won’t have to practice.”

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  1. August 24, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I laffed on the floor rolling lots. LFRL. I’ll tell you later how I came out on the lots.

  2. Dave Mallinak
    August 26, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Probably 6’s. Or else snake eyes.

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