B.T. phone home


“Hi, it’s me. I’m at the airport in (insert city here). Thought I’d call and see how things are around the house.”

“Oh, everybody’s fine. Just the usual around here.”

“Yeah? No major disasters? Haha.”

“Oh, you know, the usual. A small grease fire when (insert teen-ager’s name here) was cooking, but everything’s fine now. A little smoke damage.”


“We needed to paint the kitchen anyway.”

“Was (teen’s name) traumatized by the fire?”

“Nah. (S/he) seemed to think the whole thing was funny.”

“We’ll see how funny (s/he) thinks it is when (s/he) gets to paint the kitchen.”

“I’m just glad no one was hurt. Although the fire did affect the dog.”

“How so?”

“He yarked up all over the carpet. I guess it was the smoke. Might’ve been something he ate. One of my rubber gloves is missing.”

“Better keep an eye on him.”

“I will.”

“I’m afraid to ask about the cat.”

“Missing for three days now.”

“But the kids are OK?”

“Well, we did hear from the school.”


“Hate to bother you with this when you’re traveling. I’ll take care of it.”

“No, go ahead and tell me.”

“Well, (insert student’s name here) got detention. We have to meet with the principal.”

“What did (s/he) do this time?”

“It’s no big deal. Just the usual. (His/her) hair.”

“Now what?”

“It’s (purple/pink/magenta/green/some other color not found in nature).”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake--”

“And it’s shaved off on one side of (his/her) head.”

“Are you kid--”

“And the other side is dreadlocks.”


“Well, that’s different.”

“The usual teen-aged attempt to get attention, but the principal says it’s distracting the other students.”

“Oh, well. It’s only hair. It can be (fixed/shorn/burned).”

“Also, the principal said (his/her) clothes are inappropriate.”

“What kind of puritanical operation are they running--”

“I think it was the fuzzy chaps that did it.”


“Another fashion statement. The usual.”

“What about (insert older child’s name here)?”

“Some progress there. (S/he) called the other day and (s/he) is not riding with those bikers anymore. Had a little dustup in (insert city name), but I sent bail money and it’s all fine now.”

“Sounds like you’ve got everything under control.”

“Oh, sure. But hey, I was going to ask you: Have you noticed a funny noise in the bathroom?”

“What kind of a noise?”

“Kind of a rumbling? After flushing?”


“The plumber said it was a sewer line problem.”

“Oh, no.”

“It’s OK. He fixed it. Only a thousand bucks. And the sinkhole isn’t even that big.”


“You’ll see, when you get home from your trip. I think we can fix it ourselves. Rent a dump truck. Buy some sod. How hard can it be?”

“Right. How about you? Have you been able to work amidst all this mayhem?”

“Oh, sure. Though I did have to redo a bunch of stuff after the computer died.”

“The computer?”

“And my boss wants a meeting. Something about our ‘place in the community.’”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know exactly. But he does play golf with the high school principal. No telling what he’s heard.”


“Don’t worry about it. Just have a good trip. It’ll all be waiting for you when you get home.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of. Maybe I’ll go to Vermont instead.”


“That’s where my luggage went.”

“Oh, my.”

“That’s business travel for you.”

“The usual.”


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