Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Hour by Michele Scott - Chapter 1

Here's a sneak peek at part of Chapter 1. Check back tomorrow for a little more.

Three and a half years ago…


Kat McClintock was late. This was not good. This would not be good. Damn. Damn. Damn. “Okay, boys, listen.”

Neither one of her pre-pubescent sons looked at her. They were far too absorbed in whatever new Game Station, Game Cube, Play Station, Wii, (whatever it was these days) game their father had recently purchased for them. She turned the TV off.

“Hey!” Jeremy yelled. ”What are you doing, Mom? Not cool. Turn it back on.” Jeremy had evidently bypassed pre-pubescence altogether and jumped right into raging adolescence and his day-to-day tone with her ranged from apathetic to surly.

“Mommy, we were about to kill the boss,” Brian, her ten-year-old, said. “The like, the big boss, you know? The guy to win!”

Thank God. He was definitely still not even close to adolescence. He was still sweet. No one going through puberty would dream of calling their mother Mommy. “I’m sorry, boys. I have to go. Your Aunt Tammy was supposed to be here by now. Typical.” She shook her head. “Anyway, Jeremy, I need you to take out two frozen burritos and put them in the microwave. There’re some bananas and I have some broccoli already cut up in there.”

“I hate broccoli,” Brian said.

“You like it with ranch dressing.”

“No, I don’t.”

“How come we can’t go out to eat? Dad always takes us out to eat,” Jeremy said.

Because Dad is an asshole. No, no, she couldn’t say that. Dad screwed me over in our settlement and while he’s out wining and dining, I’m trying to get a job to support us. No, no, not that either. Let go and let God. Wasn’t that what Mom was always saying to her? Breathe! Now there you go. This is all one growing experience that will get you to another side of things. The silver lining, or pot of gold, or whatever the hell it was at the end of the rainbow. Better be a pot of gold.

Kat placed her hands on her hips and tried to look official. “I’m having you eat a healthy meal.” That sort of sounded okay. “Good food makes you grow big and strong and have a smart brain.” She winked at them.

“Frozen burritos?” Jeremy replied.

Too smart for his own good. “Jer, no more lip. Eat the burritos. You know you like them. I’ll be back by bedtime and your homework needs to be done. Don’t answer the phone unless you see that it’s coming from me and call me on my cell if you have a problem. Obviously do not go outside or open the door for anyone. Leave Squeak in the house. She’s on my bed right now. She makes a good watchdog.”

“She’s a Chihuahua,” Jeremy said. “Not exactly a watchdog, Mom.” He gave her a half smile and the twinkle in his blue eyes left nothing for the imagination. Her oldest boy defined mischief. The kind she knew later in life would break many a woman’s heart. She sighed and shook her head. At twelve, Jeremy was getting by on his charm and good looks with his teachers—all blue eyed, olive skinned, and thick dark hair. Brian was, of course, beautiful, too, but he took after her with lighter brown hair. No one knew exactly how to describe his eye color--hazel, brown, green? Kat settled on avocado. It was what her mother called them. Mom never described anything as green, blue, or brown. With Mom it was always lime, cornflower, hazelnut, etceteras.

“But she barks. Can you handle all that? I’m sorry, guys. I’ll take you out for pizza on Friday.”

“We’re going with Dad on Friday and, duh, I can handle it. I’m twelve, not a baby anymore.” Jeremy turned back to the TV. “Can we turn it back on now?”

“No. I don’t like your attitude, buddy. You’re acting like a monkey. Ooh ah ooh.” Kat tucked her arms underneath her, and jumped up and down in her best imitation of a monkey. Jeremy stared at her, but Brian giggled. The monkey imitation used to work so well, and now--a stare and one little giggle. “Alrighty then, I am officially a goober. That much is obvious, right? But as your officially gooberish mom, your attitude Mr. Jeremy—ooh wait.” She held up a finger. “If I am goober mom then you must be my goober sons! Ha. So, I need your goober bad attitude straightened out by the time I get home.”

Jeremy frowned. “Mom, goober is so old school. You’re a nube.” Now both boys broke up in hilarity. “But we still love you.” He grinned.

“Right. Me nube, you nube.” Not only was Jeremy charming, but also downright manipulative when he needed to be, and too damn smart for his own good. “Love you.” She went around the cheapie sofa she’d bought at a hole in the wall furniture store. After only a few months the color changed from light beige to dreary mud. She made a mental note to get one of those shabby chic covers she’d seen at Target once she deposited her first paycheck—which--fingers crossed--would be soon. She kissed each boy on the cheek, with Jeremy responding by wiping it away and grimacing as if he’d been touched by an alien.

At least Brian hugged her back and smiled. “Bye, Mom. Good luck. You’ll get the job. I know it.”

“Bye, babe, and thank you. You can turn the TV back on after your homework is finished. Leave it out on the kitchen table so I can check it when I get home.” Who was she kidding? As soon as those boys heard the car pull out of the driveway of their three-bedroom townhouse in the outskirts of Oakland, she knew that the TV and game would be back on.

Guilt dropped in on her again. Guilt that she wouldn’t be home to make sure they ate a healthy meal. Guilt that she wouldn’t be there to help Brian with his math problems that he’d been having difficulty with. Guilt that she wasn’t there when Jeremy wanted to actually talk to her or watch TV with her. Too much God damned guilt went with divorce, and Kat hated it. But what was she supposed to do? Turn a blind eye? Allow the boys to grow up in a home where disrespecting women was accepted? No. She’d take this guilt. Peace. Breathe in peace and relaxation. Were all those tapes her mom had been sending her starting to rub off on her? The ones with titles like “Flowdreaming for Peace,” and “Balance Through Breath?

Don't forget to click on the 'buy now' button on the right to pre-order your copy today ;)


holdenj said...

Thanks for sharing. It sounds like a good one. I like the her kids-they seem pretty real!

August said...

Wonderful start! I can't wait for more... :)