So there he is, my only son, about to be pummeled by a throng of angry parents.
I can’t say I blame them. Way back when he was a little guy, if some strange man stole Easter eggs right from kids’ baskets the way my boy is, why, I’d be obliged to serve up a knuckle sandwich as well.
His pretty little girlfriend—and she is still just his girlfriend, by the by—is pleading with the hapless fool to leave the poor children alone. Of course, she doesn’t have a clue why he’s seemingly gone off the deep end and decided to terrorize children barely old enough to remember their own addresses.
I get it, though. I understand his motivations exactly. When he piled us in the car this morning and said we were heading out to Old Bruns’ Field, I’d already figured out what he had in mind. I considered it a bad idea at the time, and his current state only reaffirms my original notion.
Anyway, I better get involved soon. After all, this has the potential to be great for business. Besides, like I said, he’s my only son. Be a shame to lose him over Easter eggs.
In the meantime, let me catch you up.
Last night, Abe—that’s my boy; you know, the one about to do his impression of an eggplant—disappeared. He said he had a top-secret mission. As a teenager, such erratic behavior wouldn’t have surprised us much. But seeing as how he’s now in his late twenties and brought his girlfriend to our place for Easter weekend, well, we considered it fairly odd.
Teri—that’s his girlfriend—was polite enough about it. They’d been together for several years, and she had gotten to know us pretty well. So while he was off doing whatever, we sat around the kitchen table, played Scrabble, and joked about Abe’s display of absurdity.
When Abe finally returned home with dust all over his shoes and a face beaten red by the cold night air, it didn’t take much for my old brain to add two and two. Luckily for him, neither my wife, Cara, nor Teri guessed what Abe had been up to.
Teri even went so far as to tease Abe about having a woman on the side.
I believe that could be considered irony.
The idea of dragging him back out into the dark and revealing the faultiness of his plan crossed my mind, but I didn’t want to alert Teri and ruin anything. I just figured I’d have to bail him out the next day. Before Cara and I went to bed, I grabbed a stack of free passes out of my work desk and put them next to my wallet on the nightstand. They’d come in handy later.
So Easter morning, after Abe cajoled us out of bed and into his car, he drove us to Old Bruns’ Field. I could tell by his panic at the sight of dozens of parked vehicles along the road that he’d neglected to remember the town’s churches came together annually and held an Easter egg hunt for the little ones a few hours before services started. How my boy could have forgotten such a fact is beyond me. His mother and I only brought him to this very field for this very event every Easter until he was ten.
When boys are in love they seem to turn noodle-brained.
Abe’s not really one to lose his cool, so while I’d foreseen his predicament, I hadn’t counted on him going nuttier than a fruitcake and snatching kids’ Easter eggs straight from their baskets. He’d take a plastic egg, pop it open, then toss it to the ground when he saw candy or a toy escape. The poor kid he’d plundered would then scoop up the bounty with tear-stained cheeks while Abe hunted out a new victim.
Teri ran after him as he raced from child to child, pleading with him to stop. Before long, quite a few young mothers and fathers confronted my son with some pretty hefty threats. Had it not been a church crowd, Abe may not have been given that courtesy. They might have just knocked him down and been done with it.
And that’s where we are.
I tell everyone to calm down, and, because of my gray hair and the fact they’re a respectful lot, they listen. Abe looks to be near hyperventilation when I ask the little ones if they want to see that latest Disney movie, the one that just happens to be playing at my dollar theater. Of course, I see a horde of tiny hands shoot into the air. I reach into my coat pocket and pull out the stack of passes I’d brought along—each good for one free viewing. I explain to them that in order to get a free pass, all they have to do is form a line in front of the deranged lunatic—my son—and let him peek into their eggs.
It’s probably no surprise the little rascals fall into formation faster than I can say “Jiminy Cricket.”
Abe investigates a good forty eggs with trembling hands and a sweaty brow before I start to doubt whether the particular egg in question had yet to be found.
But at last, he cries out in joy.
I smile as I watch him return the artificial egg to the little girl without its prize—a diamond ring.
As Abe drops to one knee and takes Teri by the hand, the adults in the crowd finally understand what had him so riled up and they start to cheer. And Teri, why, she must be as crazy as my boy, because she says “yes” without delay.
For my part, well, I’m just glad to pick up a little extra business. Kids get in free—sure.
But I didn’t say anything about their parents.
Copyright © 2009 by Scott William Foley
This work originally published in the April 2009 edition of News and Views for the Young at Heart.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews or articles.