Big Billy – The Parent Trap

Me and Minnie were sittin’ at the kitchen table havin’ our tea after supper the other night when Rosie wanders into the kitchen talkin’ into the phone.

OK, she said. So you can pick me up? Sounds good – I’ll see you in a few minutes.Big BIlly

Where ya goin’? Minnie says.

Rosie rolls her eyes and cocks her head right saucy. Nosey much? she says.

Now, next Little Bill, who’s always been a holy terror, Rosie’s always been the good one. Top marks in school, smart as a whip, and never gets in trouble for nothin’. As the sayin’ don’t quite go, she wouldn’t say sugar if she had a mouth full of it.

But she’s 12 goin’ on 13 now, and just like Minnie said when she seen it comin’, there’s somethin’ about a girl when she gets to be around that age where she just can’t get along with her parents at all – but especially her mother.

And lately the way she tries to be saucy is, she asks ya somethin’ only by taggin’ “much” on the end of it. So the other night I came in the room to flick on the hockey game carryin’ a plate of three salami sandwiches – Hungry much? she says. Or one of them cold days we had there last week, Minnie came back in after runnin’ to the store and I guess she was freezin’ so she cranked the heat up. Five minutes later, Rosie comes downstairs and says – Cold much?

I swear the cripes, the first few times I heard her do it, I didn’t know what she was sayin’. Hungry much? I says. Ya mean am I hungry? A bit, yeah, that’s why I made the sanwiches. Of course, that just made her roll her eyes and shake her head.

Anyways, Minnie blasted her and finally she told us where she was goin’.

Anna’s my partner in a school project where we trade places with someone for a week. She does all my after-school activities and I do hers, and the purpose is supposed to be to broaden our horizons by showing us somebody else’s perspective. So her mother is picking me up now and I’m going to her intramural basketball game while she goes to my environmental club meeting. It’s such a lame project.

That’s the other thing – Rosie likes to say everything is lame now. This is lame, that’s lame. In my day, lame meant you couldn’t move your legs. But I guess things change. Which is cool. (I think?)

Anyways, Rosie leaves and Minnie’s in a rotten mood because of her saucy lip. Now, this ain’t my first rodeo. I know that when Minnie’s mad at somebody else and that somebody’s not around, you can bet your ball bearings she’s gonna find a reason to take it out on me.

Well, I said, pickin’ up my cuppa tea. I guess I’ll head in and turn the game on.

Oooohhhh, she says, like I shot her. I see how it is – you’re just gonna go in and sit in front of the TV while I slave away out here doin’ the supper dishes, is it?!

Now I swear to cripes, I wasn’t tryin’ to get out of doin’ the dishes – I’d tell yis if I was. The truth is I never even thought of them, and I was just tryin’ to get out of her way. Of course, I tried to stammer back an answer, but she was just gettin’ started.

Noooo way, nuh-uh, mister. I’m sick of everybody around her treatin’ me like Weezie from the Jeffersons. I ain’t your maid, buddy. (Holy frig, a “mister” and a “buddy” in the same rant – now I know I’m in trouble).

Ya know somethin’? I think Rosie’s onto a good idea there. Let’s do a switch, me and you. Let’s expand your horizons in the dish-doin’ department while I gain some perspective on what it’s like to sit in front of the TV and do nothin’.

Then she marches over the cupboard, takes out a big bag of chips, the two litres of pop from the fridge, and plunks herself down in my chair in the livin’ room. She made a big noise like a fake burp and yelled out to me – Hey Minnie, when’s supper? I’m starvin’.

Fine, I says to myself. I picked up the phone and started talkin’ real loud into it.

Oh hi there, Joan! Yeah, I know we got home ten minutes ago from goin’ for groceries together, but I thought I’d call ya so we could talk about how scandalous it was the price of canned peas went up. And don’t mind me, I’m just gonna yak at the top of my lungs while I clang everything around out here and make sure Billy can’t hear the TV at all.

Ohhhh! Minnie yells in from the room, in a way that meant if you wanna play dirty, we’ll play dirty.

Hey Minnie, she yells. Gimme all the money you got in your purse so I can go and buy beer. I know we need it to buy oil, but who cares? The last time I seen a hockey game without a beer in my face, Jesus was just a little fella.

Well, then it was on. At some point I put a dishcloth on my head to pretend it was Minnie’s hair and started talkin’ in a high-pitched voice. Minnie rolled up the sleeves on the t-shirt she was wearin’, started talkin’ in this deep voice and stuck the remote down her pants tryin’ to look macho.

There were were in our makeshift costumes yellin’ at each other somethin’ fierce when Rosie walked back in to get her wallet she forgot.

The two of us stopped and looked at her. We musta been some sight.

Lame much? she said.

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