Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 156: Parenthetical Wolves

          The Midway kids had a great deal of imagination. Occasionally (usually), it got away from them, to the great enjoyment of anyone who happened to be in the immediate vicinity and the periodic horror of their parents.
          Bible study night is one such example.
          Radar was nine, Quill was seven, Nemesis was five, and Squirrel was three when the parental unit of the Midway family became involved in a Bible study at their parish with a few other families. It seemed like a great idea, conceptually: every so often, the adults would meet to learn more about their faith, and the kids--
          ...ah yes, that's what they (kinda) forgot about.
          The ingenious solution that parents implemented was this. The meetings would be held at the Midway house, upstairs, while the kids would play quietly and safely downstairs. This way, they would know at all times where their young ones were and what they were doing.
          All of the young ones of the Midway family had friends in the other families. Radar's and Nemesis's best friends were Cam and Jay, who were almost as boisterous as they were. Squirrel's friends preferred to play dress-up with her, while Quill and her friends vibrated between Squirrel's group and Radar's group. It was about a fifty-fifty split, unless the boys were playing Spies, in which case the girls stuck together (because the boys were trying to spy on them).
          One fateful night, Radar became bored with the usual fare. Inspired by their game of Indians in which Jay had claimed to have shot a "wolf" (pillow) with a "bow and arrow" (hanger) to eat in their "tepee" (mess of blankets draped over every-freaking-thing), he suggested playing a new game. He called it "Wolf Puppies." (He may have also been inspired by the jumping-off-the-plastic-playhouse-roof competition that he was having with Cam.)
          One of Quill's friends was cooking the meat over an imaginary fire when the natural question occurred to her; where was the den to be? All wolves had a den. Radar pointed out that, between the tepees and the playhouse, they had three dens. The girls could have one of the tepees, while the boys could have the other one, plus the playhouse. Quill pointed out that it was her playhouse and that she was telling on him if he took it. After some deliberation, the boys agreed to generously allow them the inside of the playhouse if they got to have the roof. Quill pointed out that their dads--ALL of them--had told them to stay off the playhouse. Cam and Radar were already wrestling around on all fours growling at each other, so it fell to Jay to point out that it was no longer a playhouse, but the top of a cave, and thus untouched by parental edict. Besides, wolves didn't understand humans anyway.
          Only mildly convinced, Quill and her friends relocated to the inside of the playhouse and began to act out a story full of woe and nobility, in which their wolf parents had died in a tragic accident and they were left to care for their even younger wolf siblings (Squirrel and her posse having been convinced to join). Days went by in a matter of minutes, time in wolf land being considerably different than the time measured by the real live adults upstairs.
          The story of the boys was considerably different. Their parents were gone too, of course (out of necessity--everyone knew that they couldn't have any fun if parents were involved), but their days revolved around learning how to fight and beating the tar out of each other and learning how to catch chickens (small pillows) and rabbits (larger pillows). In a stunning display of teamwork, thanks partly to Radar's extensive wolf knowledge, all the boys ganged up at one point to take down a deer (sofa cushion). All of their prey was brought back to Quill's wolfpack. The female wolf puppies, while grateful for the food, pointed out that their parents would be mad if they caught Radar chewing on the sofa cushions again and made them put it back.
          It was Cam, though, who noticed the moon outside the windows of the basement and remarked that wolf puppies should really be howling. Radar pointed out that wolves liked howling from mountain peaks; so, with a considerable amount of group effort, they installed themselves on the roof of the playhouse, crouched down on all fours, and howled at the moon.
          They may or may not have completely forgotten about the Bible study going on upstairs, whose discussion on the creation of the animals in Genesis was interrupted by wolf howls from downstairs.
          Needless to say, the Midway children's father was the one who drew the short straw. He appeared at the base of the stairs, arms crossed and glaring at the errant puppies perched on the playhouse roof.
          Howls stopped mid-warble and a mass exodus from the forbidden perch occurred. Sudden quiet notwithstanding, their father demanded to know why a) they were on the roof and b) what the ungodly racket was about. It fell to Radar to explain the new game (parenthetically adding that wolf puppies couldn't understand human orders anyway), to which the parent sternly ordered them to have less fun (okay, he said "keep it down," but the meaning was clear) and departed for the boring adult gathering upstairs with his mouth twitching suspiciously.
          New rules were promptly instated. By decree of Radar, all howling must be kept to ordinary vocal levels (as opposed to "jet taking off" levels), and the picnic table was to be pushed over next to the cave (playhouse) to make it easier to climb on top. When Quill and Nemesis protested, Jay and Cam pointed out that Radar's dad had never told them to stay off, he'd only asked why they were up there and told them to keep quiet. Such logic was unassailable. Quill and a few of her braver friends made the trip to the top.
          None of them were caught up there when the grownups came down later to collect their respective charges, mostly because the girls were trying to make a more comfortable den in the playhouse and the boys were crawling around on all fours with pillows in their mouths (they'd just caught some more rabbits). Radar probably would have gotten yelled at if someone hadn't pointed out that, with their mouths occupied, they were technically quieter than before. Despite that, Radar did get in a little hot water later for chewing on the pillows (again), but the game quickly became a staple of the Bible nights.
          At least until Radar introduced a new game: Obstacle Courses.

No comments:

Post a Comment