Love and Lists

Page 4



In case you’ve never met my Uncle Drew and Aunt Jenny, let me just tell you that this is pretty typical behavior. To put it nicely, they are bat shit crazy. Not crazy like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, crazy like … I don’t know, picture the most insane  p**n o you’ve ever seen and then add in an episode from the Cooking Network with a couple of Oompa Loompas watching and you have a day in the life of Drew and Jenny Parritt. Uncle Drew is completely inappropriate one hundred percent of the time, and Aunt Jenny is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

There’s an awful, screeching feedback from the speakers as they stand facing one another, screaming into the microphones, and I wince as my mom greets me with a kiss on the cheek.

“Save me. Please, with all that is holy, save me. Get up there and sing something in tune.” Her face is contorted in pain as Aunt Jenny continues to screech.

I used to sing in a band in high school. I’m not going to brag or anything, but I was pretty good. The band, not so much. I only joined the band to impress Charlotte because she made a comment once about how guys in a band are “so hot.” Our one and only gig, was at Keystone Point Senior Center’s annual Christmas party—I know, contain your excitement—and after we finished our set that consisted of a death metal version of “Silent Night” and a moving rendition of “Head Like a Hole” from Nine Inch Nails, I realized quickly that the whole band thing worked. Just not for me. Charlotte came running up on stage, flew right past me, and into the arms of the base player. It turns out guys that are in a band who play the guitar are “so hot.” And that was our only gig because we were asked not so nicely to never play in public ever again.

Standing in the middle of the stage clutching my microphone, I tried not to throw it right at DJ’s head as he lifted Charlotte up in the air and she wrapped her legs around his waist.

“You looked so hot playing that guitar!” Charlotte gushed as she peppered DJ’s cheeks with kisses.

DJ looks over Charlotte’s shoulder and smirks at me. Before I knew what was happening, the microphone sailed through the air, slamming against the back wall and barely missing DJ’s face.

“Dude, what the f**k?” DJ shouted as he set Charlotte down on her feet and looked behind him at the dent that was now in the wall and the microphone rolling to a stop on the ground.

“Uh, it slipped.” I shrugged.

Charlotte looked back and forth between us before calmly walking over to the back wall and scooping up the microphone. She turned and brought it over to me.

“Are you mad about something?”

I’m mad that you don’t think singers are totally hot!

I took the microphone from her hand, trying not to look like an idiot when I felt her fingers brush against mine. “Nope. Not mad at all. I’m perfectly fine.”

“Is this part of the show? Can I throw something? I want to throw a speaker,” one of the old people in the front row said to a nurse.

“I don’t want to eat peas for dinner anymore!” an old guy piped up from the back row, getting up from his wheelchair and kicking one of the tires.


“Sorry, folks! That wasn’t part of the show. How about we play some Jingle Bells next?” I asked the crowd hopefully.

“SCREW JINGLE BELLS! AND SCREW BINGO! BINGO IS A SHITTY GAME!” a lady in front of the stage screamed.

Before I knew what was happening, thirty old people were getting up out of their chairs and wheelchairs and chanting “BINGO SUCKS,” advancing on the nursing staff.

DJ came up next to me and whispered in my ear while we watched the chaos unfold in front of us. “Dude, I think we should make a run for it.”

“It will be fine. Let’s just play something low-key to settle them down.”

DJ quickly started strumming the first few bars to Silent Night and suddenly thirty pairs of cataract eyes turned in our direction. “NO! WE WANNA HEAR METALLICA!”

DJ immediately stopped playing and clutched on to Charlotte’s arm as the group of blue hairs started advancing toward the stage.

“Oh Jesus. Forget the equipment. RUN!” I screamed.

“Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll sing a song or two later,” I say with a sympathetic smile as Aunt Jenny butchers the words some more. I haven’t sang on stage since that dark day at Keystone Point, but I’m all for doing whatever I can to help my mom out.

“I guess that’s Joe, we don’t have pot, but at least I’m sure of allllllll the snot.”

“Hey there, Claire. You’re looking especially lovely today,” Tyler says as he leans in with his lips puckered for a kiss.

My mom holds her hand up in front of her, and Tyler’s face is smooshed against her palm. She’s only five foot four and a hundred and five pounds soaking wet. Tyler towers over her at around six foot, but she will kick anyone’s ass if they piss her off.

“Stop calling me Claire or I will neuter you.”

Tyler pulls back with a huge smile on his face and shoves his hands in his pockets.

“I look forward to our time together, honey.”

“Make him stop,” mom deadpans.

“Tyler, stop.”

Tyler sighs happily and continues to smile at my mom until she finally shakes her head in annoyance and walks away.

“What is wrong with you?”

Tyler shrugs. “I can’t help it. Every time I look at her, all I can think about is sex.”

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