Something To Chew On

Chapter 6, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


Breakfast the next morning at the Wells residence proved a bit strained after Melinda bailed me out of jail. Unless they threw the first punch, the bouncers at Inman’s didn’t appreciate fights. Despite my promise to pay for the door, they still insisted the police drive Ralphie and me over to the Porter County Jail. Lucky for me, they didn’t lock us in the same cell. Given the opportunity, Ralphie would not have thought twice about evening the score.

Sleep-deprived, Melinda, Shannon and I slumped at the kitchen table without a word through a bowl of Cheerios. My jaw still hurt, the after effect of a deep bruise, but I didn’t think it was broken. The silence, though, Melinda finally did break.

“Charles, I don’t understand.”

“Understand what? That I don’t want my kid picked on.”

“Did Uncle Ralphie hurt you, Daddy?”

“No, I kicked his … ”

I stopped as my wife tried her best to turn me to stone with her deadly, blue stare.

“Shannon, you go ahead and get ready for school,” said Melinda.

My daughter jumped up from the table, headed for the hall, turned behind her mother and gave me a thumbs-up.

“Get going, Shannon,” said Melinda, using the eyes in the back of her head.

Shannon scampered off. Then Melinda let me have it.

“What is all of this, Charles? Are you having a midlife crisis? I don’t understand. You never acted like this before.”

“Midlife crisis?”

“Yes, midlife crisis. First, you’re getting up before sunrise to do God knows what. Then, you’re fighting your best friend and mortifying me in front of my co-workers. What’s next? Pro wrestling?”

“Well, haven’t really considered that. But … ”

“Don’t even go there,” she said, shaking her index finger at me.

“Midlife crisis?” I repeated.

“What are you training for anyway?” Melinda asked.

I hadn’t told her. After Melinda had chastised me for my weight, I wanted it to be a surprise. I think it was.

“You know, the Olympics.”

Melinda gave me the strangest look of our 18 years of marriage, got up from the table and left the kitchen without a word. Somehow, I don’t think she believed me.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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