Double Trouble: Chapter 29

Wednesday Briefs

For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.


Chapter 29

The sound of a plastic tumbler hitting the kitchen tiles made Josh drum his fingers on the table. Why did his deadlines always happen when the kids tried his patience the worst. Today it had been Danny. For some reason he wanted to talk to Josh, constantly.

Now Josh could hear banging cabinets and low muttering as Danny tried to clean up the spill.

“Danny? What’s going on?”

“Nothing.”

“What was the noise?”

“Nothing. I about got it cleaned up.”

Josh couldn’t resist. “If it’s nothing, why are you cleaning it up?”

There was a long period of silence until Josh stood up with a sigh and walked into the kitchen. He found Danny kneeling in a pool of bright red juice, his eyes locked on Josh.

Josh gathered his frazzled nerves before talking to his son. “What’s up today? Why are you having so much trouble?”

Danny considered for a few moments and then he shrugged and looked down at the floor. “I dunno. I just feel all antsy.”

“Okay, well let’s get this cleaned up and see if we can’t find you something to do.”

Josh pulled out a few towels from the laundry that was waiting for him to put through the washer and tossed one to Danny. Pretty soon they had it cleaned up and Josh had Danny going over it with the mop so they didn’t invite all the red ants in southwestern Oklahoma to an all-you-can-eat buffet of sugar.

“It’s all clean. I don’t see no red.”

Josh looked up, took a moment to reorient himself and then motioned Danny over.

The youngster came closer until he was standing beside Josh, still looking a little sheepish. After a moment, Josh let out a long sigh.

“It’s okay, Danny. It was an accident.” He considered for a minute trying to think of something Danny could do to use some of this restless energy. Slowly a smile crawled across his face.

“Hey I have an idea. Why don’t you go weed the garden?” Josh knew how much Danny loved helping with the garden. He drive both his parents crazy with constant questions. And as the boy’s face lit up, Josh knew he’d hit the bullseye.

“I can help with the garden?” Danny asked.

“Sure you can. It’s got a bunch of weeds since the rain we had last week.”

Danny ran over and started yanking on his boots. He was headed for the door when he slowed down and stopped. He turned to Josh.

“How do I know what’s weeds.”

Josh was moving back to his work and was just happy he’d found something for Danny to occupy himself with. Without looking he answered. “Just pull up the ones that look funny. If we’ve eaten it, then it’s a vegetable.”

An instant later the door opened and closed and Josh went back to his work. In a matter of seconds, he was absorbed in trying to finish the involved project.

“Hey. What are you doing?”

Josh almost shot out of his chair. “Damn! I didn’t hear you come in. I’m trying to finish this layout.”

Trent took a drink from the cold beer he’d grabbed on the way through the kitchen and then looked around the room. “Where’s the kids?”

“Sammy had a play date at a friends house. Danny was driving me crazy so he’s out working on the garden.”

Trent’s bottle stopped halfway to his lips as he stared at Josh. “He’s doing what?”

“Weeding the garden. There’s all kinds of crap sprouting after last weeks rain.”

Without another word, Trent strode to the door and stepped outside. A few minutes later he was back. “You better come see this. And don’t you dare get pissed at him.”

Josh motioned toward Trent as he worked. “Okay, coming.”

“Josh. Now.”

That got his attention and he stopped his work. Once he got a look at Trent’s face, he moved more quickly. He followed Trent outside and then around the house to the huge garden. He stopped and looked at the garden, not sure if he wanted to laugh, or cry.

In front of him was Danny, crawling carefully between the rows…and pulling up every one of Josh’s precious tomatoes that he’d carefully grown from seed.

“Before you lose it, what—exactly—did you tell Danny?” said Trent.

Josh closed his mouth, his jaw clenching as he fought to contain his anger. After a few moments he recalled his words. “I told him to pull up anything we hadn’t eaten.”

“Well, looks like he followed orders. Because those tomato plants are poisonous.”

“Shit…”

Trent gave him a hug as he chuckled. “Come on. Grab our son. Let’s try to get them back into the ground.”

Josh shook his head and followed after Trent.


If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.

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