THE FIRST DOMINO
At the breakfast table, the Belchers were discussing the day before, a day where a decision had been made, a vow taken by the youngest of them.
“So this is a bit of a turning point isn’t it?” said Bob
“Definitely” replied Louise to her father.
“No more turkeys, even for thanksgiving?” Louise’s older sister Tina added as she poured cereal into each of the children’s bowls.
“Gene would you like milk with that?” said Tina.
Gene shook his head.
“If she’s off turkeys, I’m off what they produce” said Gene
“Gene, milk comes from cows, not turkeys” Linda noted
“UNNATURAL SELECTION” Gene snapped back.
“A Belcher promise is a guarantee…or your money back” Louise continued.
“Louise, we don’t pay you to eat” Bob replied
“You don’t even pay me to serve” Louise countered.
“Yeah, well, explain your allowance then” Bob replied.
“That’s not earned is it? That’s just something you’re obligated to give me until I grow out of it. Same with bus passes”
“Louise, who said you could have a bus pass?” Linda said.
“Regular Sized Rudy has one” Louise replied, taking scooping up some of Gene’s cereal with a spoon and consuming the dry golden grahams
“Hey, this tastes better without milk” Louise noted.
“As some other God intended” Gene replied.
“Honey, Rudy has specific needs” Linda replied.
“What about mine? “ Louise argued, “The change I use on the bus ought to go to a big bag of Starburst”
“Louise, you’ve only ever been on a bus twice this year, everywhere else Mom and Dad drive you….” replied Tina
“…Crazy” added Gene.
“Yeah, they do” Louise added.
“This is just a phase honey, come next year you’ll be in the spirit for it again” Linda assured her.
“Yeah, but the spirit of adventure is what it’s all about now isn’t it?” Louise argued, “If we don’t have that in our lives every year, eating turkey rather than tackling one is going to feel like a step down”
“Bob, did you give Rudy your Donna Summer cd?” Linda said, having gotten up to look through her and Bob’s music collection.
“Yeah, I sort of insisted on it” Bob revealed.
“We seem to be giving him a lot of hand outs lately…Louise, didn’t you give him your Freezer Dome belt?” Tina asked.
Louise rubbed her right shoulder tensely.
“How’d you know about that?” she asked.
“He took a fetching photo of himself wearing it. With feather boas. I may have forced him into it, but you have no evidence other than my confession, which may be a lie to cover up the idea he has peculiar notions of fashion sense different from mine” said Gene.
“Yeah, everybody at school’s already heard about that bird feathering himself” said Louise, scooping up more of Gene’s cereal.
“Louise, why’d you give him the belt? He was the first person you eliminated, and with virtually no effort required” said Tina.
“I don’t know, I guess I kind of liked that he insisted on his toughness and that he was willing to try his hand at it rather than cave in. Guy’s the most well-meaning wuss I know, he’s not satisfied with being the first domino you tip over y’know? He wants to mean something more than that” Louise explained.
“He’s your sweet little cupcake isn’t he?” Linda replied.
“MOM” Louise yelled
“Hey, your words not mine and I was there remember?” Linda replied.
“Wow, Louise actually called him her cupcake?” Bob replied
“I was emphasising just how much of a wimp he was” Louise replied.
“And what about you calling him ‘sweet little Rudy’ huh?” Linda responded, clasping both her hands as the warm and enticing notions of sentiment between her little princess and the pint sized ace with asthma gave her stomach butterflies.
“You won’t live to see the end if you bring that up again” snapped Louise
“Alright, you’ve gone from talking turkey to acting like one. Your room Louise, go there, now” ordered Bob.
“Fine” Louise said, and stomped out of the kitchen and headed towards her room.
As soon as she was clear of her family, she permitted herself a wry and humbling smile.
“He is my sweet little cupcake isn’t he?” she thought, before her outer adolescence let out a couple of barely audible curse words as she condemned herself for the very thought