Weekends with Family

Weekends with Family

They arrived in the midst of a huge fight I was having with Debbie. Her parents are easy enough to deal with. Okay, easy enough. Her mother, Faith, is as her name indicates, a holyroller. Her usual repartee includes snippets of religious jargon, like “Holy smoke!” Or “Hells bells” And “heavens,” if I slip a curse word in there! Surely, she’d scold me. Debbie’s dad is benign- much like her, he’s a brainiac to the Nth degree. I don’t even recall what he did for a living. One of those jobs you’d have to kill me if I knew. Now that Dan’s retired, the lounge at the Auburn Golf Club seems to be his best friend.

Our fight today has little to do with their impending visit. It began (do they all?) with my insensitive tendency to overlook some manner in which Debbie preferred I manage my time. Trash removal, lawn mowing, some mundane task that could, in my estimation, wait another day. I mean, would her mother talk less about her passion of Christ if our grass was a quarter inch versus a half inch?

But, as fights often do, this one rapidly progressed into that realm known as “Family man versus Madonna.” The mere fact that the longer I’d been living with Debbie (oh yes, don’t get her mother started on that one!) and not marrying; the more reasonable it is, to me, to reconsider this whole family affair business. Not to mention the over-population factor, the increasing cost of living, job pressures soaring. Now I’m sweating. It pisses her off even more that I can’t feel empathy about her so-called “body clock,” her motherly instincts (which, I have to say, I’ve seen diminish in the time that we’ve lived together). Or her need to re-produce, biologically or otherwise.

And then, in the midst of the newly drizzling rain, and pea soup fog, and Debbie’s stony silence, the lights of Faith and Dan’s Audi loom up the driveway. Oh boy, what fun, I think. Just how I wanted to spend my Saturday.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, published author, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely found in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, BlazeVOX, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Managing Editor at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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10 Responses to Weekends with Family

  1. Andrea says:

    Faith No More.

  2. Suzi says:

    This is eerily reminiscent of something…..

  3. theprayerlady says:

    My My Just like home
    Love Mom

  4. david says:

    what better way to spend a Saturday… “Jung the foreman prayed at work; that neither hands of limbs would burst. It’s hard enough to keep formation, with this fallout saturation. Cursing at the Astronettes he stands and steals at the cabinet… Perhaps the strange ones in the dome will lend us a book we can read up alone, and try to get it on like once before.. When people stared in Jagger’s eyes and scored. Like the video films we saw.”

  5. Don says:

    Selling out, no matter when, is rough enough without the added complications of parents (or any visitors, but nice choice!) Would love to hear some of that conversation once all four are in the same room.

  6. Shari says:

    Let’s just say I can relate, and leave it at that! Well done.

  7. Dez says:

    It was exactly that kind of day here today: drizzling rain and pea soup fog. How do you time these? Amazing to me! Are you some kind of intuitive writer, or just lucky. In any case, this scene feels real, even if one-sided. There is always the “other” story. What if Debbie was to tell her side of this?

  8. Rontuaru says:

    Overall a good story with great visuals. Love the laugh out loud humor! I’m going to make a couple of suggestions:

    “Her parents are easy enough to deal with. Okay, easy enough.”

    Why the repeat?

    “Her mother, Faith, is as her name indicates, a holyroller.”

    The phrasing didn’t work for me: As her name would imply, Debbie’s mother Faith is a holy roller. (Just FYI, most “holy rollers” would probably not say “Hells bells”) 😉

    Love the “you’d have to kill me” line! Very funny!

    “Our fight today has little to do with their impending visit.”

    Time warp: The visit is not “impending” because they arrived in the opening sentence. So … the fight today has little to do with Debbie’s parents or their visit.

    “…my insensitive tendency to overlook ….”

    Is this irony? Are you admitting you are insensitive or are you projecting and speaking for Debbie? I think this is a bit redundant as most readers will get the idea that she thinks he’s insensitive as the story unfolds. I would omit the word insensitive and just use tendency.

    “…if our grass was a quarter inch versus a half inch?”

    Too wordy: “… if our grass was a half inch shorter?” Period.

    “realm known as Family man versus Madonna”

    Too many comparisons in too short a span (see above) and the meaning of this comparison is unclear. What realm are you talking about? Are we supposed to note the similarities between the Family Man and Madonna or the differences? (I actually sat there for a couple of seconds trying to figure out what a Family man had to do with the Material Girl … or not!) After reading further into the paragraph I got the gist of what I think you meant, but it took too long to figure out. I would try to find another way to say what you mean by “realm known as Family man versus Madonna” or just drop it. Sounds a little too cynical anyhow.

    “It pisses her off that I can’t feel empathy about her so-called…”

    Wordy. And I hate the cliche “so-called” Try just “empathize with her…”

    “Or her need to reproduce, biologically or otherwise.”

    Redundant. Is there another way to reproduce? Just leave it at her need to reproduce. “Body clock” could be changed to “biological time-clock” if you want to use the most common figure of speech about the natural urge to reproduce.

    “.. in the midst of newly drizzling rain, and pea soup fog ….”

    This didn’t work for me because the mental list of chores you presented just two paragraphs above gives the visual about mowing the lawn and the funny remark about the length of the grass. I thought that was great and the picture stuck in my head, but now it’s raining? Rain and fog doesn’t seem to jive with the picture you created by mentioning the lawn mowing chore. For example, If you had mentioned shoveling the driveway as one of your time management tasks, then had the parents arrive in sleet or flurries I think it would flow better with the previous mental image.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂

  9. Beverly says:

    Just had a weekend with my family. Nuff said.

  10. Bo says:

    I feel like it could have been one of my weekends!!!

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