Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SLOTH (indolence; laziness) (01/29/15)
TITLE: Like Father, Like Son
By JK Stenger
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William was slouched on the couch and a big bowl of potato chips rested on his belly.
“Not now, son. The game’s about to start. Go play with your Lego.”
“But, Dad, you’re always…”
Father cracked his knuckles, and took some chips from the bowl. “Don’t you have ears, Willie?”
Willie’s face dropped.
“Come on, William,” called mother from the kitchen. “You’re watching TV all the time. Willie needs you.”
But William shook his head and shouted back. “I need a can of Budweiser.”
Mother stiffened, took a can of beer out of the fridge and placed it on the table. While she tousled Willie’s hair, she cleared her throat, and spoke softly, “William…Nothing is more important than the happiness of your son. You kn—”
“Get off my back, will you?” Father rose and glared at her. The bowl of chips slid off his belly and turned over. He cursed.
“We’ve had this discussion before.” He spat out the words. “You always argue with me. I want to watch the game and I’ve got no time for your guilt trips. Besides, Willie is just a kid.”
Mother’s eyes got watery, and she whispered, “He’s not always going to be a kid.”
“O Yeah? Well he’s today, and today I am busy!”
He sank back on the couch and stared at the screen again.
Bleep, Bleep. Bleep, bleep.
The cell phone rang.
William pressed his lips together and looked at the caller ID.
His face brightened.
“An important call. I’ve got to take this.” He motioned to his wife and son that they should leave. “
“Amanda… Nice hearing from you,” he said in hushed tones. “Hey, I am a bit busy right now. Can I call you back later?”
When he put the phone down he nodded to himself and smiled.
Now there’s a woman who understands what a man needs.
Just then a goal was scored and he chuckled. Life couldn’t be any better.
“Son, can you help me?”
William spoke with a strained voice. “Son, please?” His walking cane had tipped over in the hallway and he just couldn’t reach it because of his rheumatism.
Willie was slouched on the couch and was not pleased.
“Come on, Dad. I just helped you this morning,” he shouted back. “Besides, the game has started.“ He took a large swig of his beer, almost draining the can and ate some chips.
“Shouldn’t you help him?” asked Willie’s girlfriend, Emma, who was sitting in a chair next to him. “He’s your Dad.”
Why did I even agree on these weekly visits?
“He’s just an old man, Emma.”
Emma’s face flushed.
”Willie come on. Tomorrow he may be dead and buried.”
Willie flipped a strand of hair out of his face and sighed.
William in the meantime had managed to pick up his cane and shuffled back into the living room.
Willie glared at him. “Emma, can you call the nursing home. Tell them it’s time to pick him up. And now everyone be quiet. I need to watch this.”
Emma picked up the phone and went to the kitchen to make the call.
William blankly stared at the screen for some time, while Willie munched on his chips. Then he cleared his throat and muttered wearily, “Son, we must talk. There’s something on my heart. I’ve made so many mistakes in life. I see that now and I—”
“Not now, Dad. I am busy.”
Just then the doorbell rang.
Willie looked up. “Go look who it is, Emma?”
“It’s the nursing home,” she stated flatly.
“Good,” said Willie and his face brightened.
Two days later Willie got a phone call. Dad had died in front of his television.
Willie put down the phone and shrugged, while he took another can of Budweiser and mumbled, “Bad timing. Just as the World Cup is about to start.”
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