Show and Tell

I’m sorry daddy, but I don’t know what else to do.

Matt didn’t lead a difficult life. He’d never known his mother, but then again that could be said for most around him. All he had when not in school, in limbo between days, was his father. At first it had been good. At first he had been a good father, working a stiff eight to six Monday through Friday in order to provide. To provide was all he knew how to do.

So when things changed, and really you can’t prevent it nor stop it when it happens, Matt had little thought about what to do. By all statistics and stereotypes he should have been the one. The one to start missing work. The one to start staying out late at night. The one to get moody.

So when his father left one night, without a word or sound, Matt went exploring. His father had been spending long hours in the basement lately he knew. Matt found the door easily enough and tried the handle. Even in his current state Matt’s father was smarter than that. The door was locked. Getting down on hands and knees Matt craned his eyes under the sliver of a crack between the wooden floor and door. A dim light helped reveal the situation little. He could just make out the feet of tables and chairs against the far wall. Try as he might, moving his face this way and that, pressing it up against the edge of the door until it left an imprint on his forehead, he could see nothing of much use. Matt sighed and took at deep breath. There was something there. It was faint but very distinct. Matt heard the front door open. Rushed, he bolted back into the living room where cartoons were the night’s entertainment for him.    

His father was back but still didn’t say anything. Matt missed the nights they would sit and watch cartoons together. He couldn’t help but wonder what his mother would do if she were here. It didn’t take much to know she’d left, abandoned is how most people worded it. Still, what would she do?

Matt knew what he had to do. His father was his father, but that didn’t make him perfect. Matt kept watch, waiting for the best moment. A mere week later it came. His father left every night now, hardly speaking a word when home. Every night Matt checked the door. One night his father made the fatal mistake of not checking twice.

Matt heard the initial click and stopped. Swallowing his fear, he turned the knob the rest of the way and swung the door open. It wasn’t an impressive sight. Most home made equipment, the dim light still illuminating. The more he explored the more his heart stopped beating. Matt was not an overly smart kid, his age prohibiting him the most at this point, but nor was he stupid. He knew what he looked at for what it was. He knew with the utmost certainty.

The next day just so happened to be show and tell at his school. Normally Matt did not participate, having nothing he wished to show and tell about. Not today. With gravity he carried his backpack into school past teachers and peers. In class the minutes passed by. He watched the clock religiously. Finally his teacher called for it. All the students grabbed their objects and headed to the back of the room. Solemnly Matt clutched his backpack and sat between two others, one with a teddy bear, the other with a watch. Round Robin it went until attention settled on Matt, his teacher having noticed how he held his pack this time.

No turning back now. Matt stood and pulled what he’d stolen from his father out between a pair of zipper teeth. “This is my dads,” He said. His peers looked curiously on as his teacher’s jaw dropped. He guessed a few moments later her shock wore off as she jetted across the room and grabbed his shoulder. “Where did you get this?” She whispered anxiously. Without much chance to answer she dragged him out of the room.

Yes, no turning back now. 

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