It’s pretty much the same every time. “Daddy, there’s a boy I want you to meet. Can he come over?” It starts with a 30 to 40 minute interrogation about who he is, who are his friends, where’s he go, how do you know him, what do his parents do, does he have a prison record, etc. I usually get his height and weight too, just in case I have to dig a shallow grave in the woods.
If he makes it through that hurdle, then I’ll get, “Well, Daddy” – blink, blink and a puppy dog expression – “Can he come over?” I put my hand on my forehead, not to be dramatic, but because a major headache is setting in, and I blurt out a foolish, half hearted, “Ahhhh! Yeeeees. He can come over.” And with that, another one of Beelzebub’s workers has an appointment to “hang out” with one of my daughters.
The effect is usually immediate. My daughter will look relieved, then anxious, then start to giggle, and from there on everything from loose shoe strings to hiccups turn into something hilariously funny.
Next, she’ll launch into straightening and cleaning the house, without being asked, which is about the only up side I see to the whole thing. In fact, I’ve learned to just pull out the vacuum cleaner, stack the dirty dishes and leave a can of furniture polish on the coffee table and sure enough, wala, it’s done! Sure, it’s just a scrap of consolation, but it is something.
She gets as excited as a hyperactive mosquito at the blood bank, while I, on the other hand, take a Tylenol, start dreading the appointed hour, and wonder if this is what it feels like for a death row inmate hours before execution. Which reminds me: dig deeper than a shallow grave or I may find out for real about death row.
Finally the time comes. One the other girls watch through the curtains to sound the alarm when he arrives. She’s not as excited as her sister, but she’s intrigued, or maybe better described, curious, or even more accurately said, just down right nosey. “He’s here!”, she yells upstairs. I casually walk over to the window, like I could care less, and peek through the curtains for my first look at Satan.
Wham! First thing I see is that he drives a nicer truck than I do, which just irks the daylights out of me. But then he gets out of his shiny new, spotless pickup and slithers up the sidewalk with one eye brow slightly raised and his upper lip curled like he thinks he’s Elvis. The doorbell rings and my daughter yells from upstairs, “I’ll get it!” Well that’s good, because as far as I’m concerned, evil Elvis can just stand out there all evening.
She stops at the bottom of the stairs dressed super cute, hair done, makeup on, eyes shining and says, “Daddy, do I look OK?” I want to scream, “No! Go back upstairs! Put on old, baggy warm up bottoms, a turtle neck shirt and dirty cowboy boots. After that take off the eye liner, mess up your hair and stick a piece of green lettuce between your teeth. THEN, you can come down!” But instead, I just sigh a deep breath, reach for more Tylenol and shake my head in a circle, which is a round about way of saying yes and no at the same time.
She beams her delight, opens the door and in walks the tall, dark, handsome gargoyle. She can’t see it, but I do: split tongue, pointed ears and a long barbed tail. She introduces me to Damion, Lucifer, or whatever his name happens to be. I make a point not to smile. It’s kinda fun to ask early on though, “How tall are you?” First, he has no earthly idea why or where that question came from, and second, the girls know I’m thinking about the length of the hole I may have to dig. I quickly find something else to do, but listen intently from another room.
“Well what do you want to do?” my daughter asks. In a Rocky Balboa voice he answers, “Duhhhhhh, well! Uhhh, I dunno. Uhhhhh, what chu wanna do?” They end up playing pool and he begins a diatribe of stories that all make him look incredibly tough, cool or athletic. But give the devil his due, at least none of his stories tried to make him sound smart. That would’ve been too far of a stretch for even the most vivid of imaginations.
After a lot of silly, fake laughter from my daughter about the stories, it got quiet for a minute. Quiet’s not good, so I jumped up to see what the snake was up to. Nothing. He was just standing there in total concentration using both thumbs on his cell phone texting. The goober does this for several minutes and I go on about my business. Eventually I turn on a TV show I’m not interested in and don’t like, but I figured since it was wasn’t the Flintstones or Scooby Doo, it would be way over his head and he’d just stay away.
I was wrong. My daughter came in with him holding a DVD and asked, “Can we watch this movie?” “Yeah, after this is over”, I said. For the next fifteen minutes I pretend to be engrossed in an infomercial show I don’t like. She sits, he plops down on the couch, and all the while he doesn’t look up or talk to her. He just keeps texting on his smart phone, which didn’t escape me as an oxymoron moment – Dipsnot on a “smart” phone. I believe the definition of oxymoron means he didn’t get enough oxy to his brain which turned him into a moron, but I’ll have to look that up to make sure.
I turned the sound up. Still texting. Clear my throat. Never looks up. I comment on the TV show. Nada. Texting away. Finally my daughter gets his phone and starts playing a game on it.
He looks around obliviously bobbing his head like Howdy Doody at a match stick factory. He looks at me. I glance his way and back at the TV. He’s still looking at me, so I stare back at him with no expression whatsoever, just a dead, cold, blank stare. His head bobs around more. He looks at me, then away, back at me, then away. I kept staring at him, like a cat looking at a baby bird on the ground when it’s learning to fly. He looks back and smiles. I remain expressionless, so he smiles an even bigger, goofy grin, and blurts out loudly, “Whasssuuuuuuuup!!?”
My stare turned into a frown of irritation, and my head started involuntarily shaking no from side to side. Without a word, I looked back at the TV. From my peripheral vision, I could see my daughter understood that he and I were NOT on the same page.
A few minutes later, I quietly left Edward Cullen, or whatever his name was, to watch the movie. To my daughter’s credit, that was the first time, and last, I’ve ever seen him. And just in case you think I made any of this up, I’ll confess now that I elaborated on only two things. First, his truck wasn’t new, and second, it was only kinda shiny. Everything else is spot on truth!!