This month’s Blogging 4 Books topic: “Fly on the Wall” (Pure serendipity – as it also relates to a post I owe) Join in! Maybe win a book!

I’ve always found it rather enlightening to make a connection between a current spawnling issue and something I did when I was young. Figuring out Why I’m being ruthlessly punished seems to make it a mite less painful. I can lie back, cold compress to my head, and say, “Ohhhhh… so that’s why my spawnlings are acting like such eedjits. Parent’s Revenge.”

Recently, I’ve had just such an epiphany. My house has been taken over by Air Soft guns. Shaggy’s friends are ultimately to blame. They introduced him to the wonderful world of testosterone laden war games. “It’s fun! We get to shoot each other in the butt!” Yeah. Whoopeeee. Doesn’t that sound fun?

I don’t get it. I don’t understand the entertainment factor of running around shooting your friends in the hind parts with plastic BBs and then taking shots yourself. For one – they HURT. I know this because I said to Shaggy, “Here, let me try.” As soon as the gun was in my hand, he ran like hellfire was on his tail. He darted back and forth in front of me like a shooting gallery target at the fair. I aimed. I fired. He screeched – Because. It. Hurt. I felt horrible – for about two seconds. Then, I fell down laughing. Still, to repeat those actions for hours? Mind boggling.

Now, Shaggy didn’t own one of these tributes to testosterone so a friend let him borrow one of his. Of course, the only one available held just a single BB. Grossly unfair. Shaggy would shoot his lonely little BB and then spend the next 10 minutes acting the part of target before he could get a chance to re-load. It was fun for a week. Then, taking matters into his own hands, Shaggy used his own money to buy the mother of all Air Soft guns. Specifically,
this baby, complete with laser sighting and flashlight. Cool, right?

Moments after the UPS guy left, hundreds of 6mm plastic BBs officially invaded my house – because my spawnling is wholly incapable of walking without dropping a dozen or more of these things in the process. Everywhere I look, there they are – hiding in the carpet, just waiting for their chance to catch my foot unawares and lay me out on the floor. I’ve found dozens lined up against the baseboards in the hallway and around the edges of Shaggy’s room. I even found some in MY room (at which point, I had a meltdown, screaming “Where’s the Fruitbat?”). I can’t escape them. Even my poor vacuum is suffering. They ping-ping-ping their way up through its hose and then sing horrible trapped BB music in the plastic container.

As I finished vacuuming my room one day, only to find a few BBs I’d missed taunting me from a corner in my closet (How? How did they get there?), the connection to my own childhood hit me. Collapsing on my bed, my head beneath the pillow, I groaned and offered up silent apologies.

When I was six and GypsyRose just two, my family lived with an Aunt for a few weeks while we had a house built. My Aunt’s quaint little home has gleaming dark wood floors, wool rugs, and a museum quality smell readily associated with antique furniture. Fine crystal clocks grace the mantel and original Hummel figurines repose on shelves and side tables. Everywhere you look, there are signs of a previous life in Europe – irreplaceable china, paintings, and figurines. It is Not a house for children – unless you enjoy watching little spawnling girls sprint down the hallway and abruptly halt atop an antique Aubusson runner to see how far they can “ski”. (quite far, actually)

One afternoon, gripped by boredom, my sister and I retired to “our” room to play. We closed the door. The adults should have seen this as a sign of impending doom. Maybe an hour later, the door opened. We froze. My mother stared at us, her face ghostly pale. We watched in awe as a section of her dark hair turned gray before our eyes. Then, she compressed her lips to a thin, tight line which meant business for our backsides.

“What. Have. You. Done?” she boomed. (I get my Field Marshall voice from her.)

We scrambled like our butts were already on fire, attempting to hide the evidence of our devilish work but, honestly, it was impossible to hide more than a million tell-tale signs. And I think the question was sort of rhetorical to begin with.

To explain: The weather in southeast Texas is Boring. Either it is too hot or not cold enough. We don’t get normal seasons. Being bored little children with distinct inner cores of rotten, we decided that what we really needed to entertain us that ninety degree summer afternoon…was Winter. Not an easy feat. But, we were also creative geniuses so it wasn’t too difficult. (We get that from our Dad.) Thus, with deft flicks of two zipper pulls, we had exposed the inner workings of our beanbag chairs and then tossed about the tiny, sticky little Styrofoam balls found there. SNOW DAY! Instant winter blizzard of epic proportions. It was everywhere. Zero Visibility.

I should add that those little Styrofoam suckers stick to Everything. The amount caught up in the light fixture, alone, was amazing. I recall weeks of vacuuming. During a visit just a few years ago (twenty-five years since the deed) we opened the closet and came across a few more of those little buggers – still hanging out to remind us of our past transgressions.

I want to point out, now, something I said earlier: “We. Closed. The. Door. The adults should have seen this as a sign of impending doom.” This is important because it’s my opinion that any transgression occurring directly due to a parent’s inability to forecast danger should Not get included in the backlash of Parental Revenge. Unfortunately, Revenge is its own living, breathing and conniving entity – and it disagrees. Thus, I’m stuck with 6mm plastic BBs. Poetic parental justice, yes?

Still, this little bout of karmic return has gone too far. On Sunday, the rapid-fire pinging of BBs against the metal wall of the horse feed/tack storage building interrupted my writing and lured me outside. Investigation ensued. Shaggy launched into a flustered explanation about how he and his friend were making the insane racket in an attempt to assist me.

Me (waving my hands like someone possessed): “How in the heck is this assisting me?”

Shaggy: “Well, GEEZ Mom. We’re shooting all the flies on the wall for you.”

Shaggy’s friend: “And look. Your horse is really happy about it.”

I looked. My darling mare galloped hell for leather from one corner of her paddock to another, her tail high and the whites of her eyes flashing.

Me (trying to stay calm): “Umm, no. That’s not happy.”

Me (screw calm): “That’s ‘Oh My God, I’m going to DIE at the hands of Teenagers with BB guns! LET ME OUTTA HERE!’”

Then, I took the guns from them and shot them in their butts. And it was Fun.
Later, I called my Aunt and my Mother to apologize once more for the snow day.

Moral: Karma is dangerously real. And being a fly on the wall isn’t always a great idea.
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12 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    It is funny... mom still talks about that.. how our aunt said that yall were so good and had been very quiet in the back room... heheh.. me and pea almost did the same thing when we were little, but I think we decided not to because of the mess it would make.. lol

  2. laura Says:

    I like the way you wove "fly on the wall" in there. I also wanted to tell you that I found you through the last B4B, and have implemented the paid chore list at my house. It has changed my boy's personality. He's helpful, even on the stuff he's not getting paid for. It's a MEERKLE!

  3. dragonfly Says:

    Thanks, Laura. Those poor flies (not really... for all their pinging, they didn't hit a one).

    I'm thrilled to hear the chore list is working for you. It's amazing what happens when you put the ball in their court. :)

  4. LOL! That is too funny! (Both stories.) :)

  5. Found you through Blogging for Books. Hilarious! I'll be back.

    And as a mother of a 3-year old (and more planned), stories like this scare me. LOL!

  6. Tracy Says:

    Fun B4B Entry!

  7. Edgy Mama Says:

    Very well-written! And funny.

    My boy recently crumbled a box of styrofoamies all over himself--I actually vacuumed him to remove them. But I was still finding them in his hair the next day.

  8. dragonfly Says:

    Vacuuming hair. Always fun!

  9. susan Says:

    Great story--stories, really!

  10. Miss Audrey Says:

    Great post! I have two teenage sons at home and a visiting residential adult son. The testros- (you know what I mean) is wild around here! They have those guns of every size and firing potential!

    My seventeen year old was out 'hunting' our quail one day. I got on him. Told him that those things hurt! And I should know too! Our pastor got ahold of one of those rifles one Sunday morning and used it as an object lesson for the congregation. Told us that we needed to be certain to wear our "armour." Boy did Travis agree! Pastor shot him in the chest twice, and he had the bruises to prove it!

    Anyway, the boy said he couldn't get close enough to hit them very hard and showed me the distance. He pinged a tree and it barely got there. Seeings how he's not a mean spirited young man I believed him. He said the quails made a funny noise. I guess he must not have hurt them too bad, or scared them off either one as the whole group of them are still hanging around like this is home...