Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Popcorn Chicken

Udo got in big, big trouble. In fact, Udo got suspended from school for one day because he made a threat against someone. Threats are awful and terrible, and people who make them get kicked out of school for a day.

Here's the gist of what he said:

"I'm going to cut you up, deep fat fry you, and eat you like popcorn chicken."

He was either joking, or we have a fledgling Dahmer on our hands; a second-grade Albert Fish who's only a few years away from learning to cook the livers of small children, and purchasing many, many sewing needles.

My money is on the former, but the school is not taking any chances. Bad, bad Udo had to sit out school for a day. Here is what bad Udo had to say about that:

(Singing) "I-i-i-i-i don't have to go to schooooool on Mo-ho-ho-nnnndaaaaay....lucky meeeee, lucky, lucky meeeeee...." (etc.)

Udo said the bad, horrible, terrible thing about chicken to his little friend. Socially retarded Udo has one little friend, by the way. Some other kid overheard the exchange, and ran and told the paraprofessional who was minding the playground. There were interrogations, apparently. There may have been nipple-twisting and cattle prods, but I cannot say for certain. I'm sure the school people wouldn't admit to it.

Supposedly, Udo gave up the information willingly. When the teacher repeated it back to him, he corrected her. "No, I didn't say I'd fry him...I said I'd DEEP FAT FRY him!"

Udo was in a squirrely mood on Friday, I guess. He had been making smart comments to his teacher all day, and had shaken his fist angrily at the director.

I told him that he should not say things like that at school, even if he means it as a joke. I also told him that the world is full of assholes who like to tattle, and get off on getting other people in trouble. "All your life," I told him, "you will have to deal with assholes like that. When you find those people, you need to stay away from them."

I realize that in the post-Columbine era, the schools have become hyper-vigilant about possible threats. I realize that this is because the schools have to think about liability, and the legal ramifications of NOT taking seriously any word or action that could be perceived as a threat. It seems to me, however, that chasing after the Udos in the schoolyard, the ones who make exaggerated and cartoonish threats amongst their friends, is pointless. I doubt that the alphas who lay painstaking plans to bring Grandpa's guns to shoot up the school are going to waste much time making jokes about it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Birthday Party

My friend’s grandmother called and asked if I was going to the party. I tell her I don’t know anything about a party.

“She’s having a birthday party, and I know you were invited,” she says.

I tell her I never got an invitation. “Oh, sure you did,” says the grandmother. “Look on top of the piano. I look, and there is an invitation. Thick cream-colored card stock, obviously professionally printed. The party is today, and I have to leave right now.

I go to a building down the street from the house where my friend is living. A firehall, or perhaps the social hall at the Catholic church. My friend is there with her extended family. “You aren’t supposed to be here,” she tells me. “Everyone is waiting at the house, and we’re going to make an entrance.”

I go to the house where she lives; her stepfather’s house, the one she grew up in. It’s a ranch house that used to have just a small concrete block by the front door, and not a proper porch. A porch of massive proportions has been built. It has a gabled roof and several levels. It’s full of party guests, waiting for the grand entrance.

Her blind step-father is there, and tells me that the family is bringing a goose. “When they get here, we can cook the food.”

There are lots of people I don’t know, as well as a few I do. Kenny is there, which strikes me as odd because he dealt himeself a fatal gunshot to the head many years ago. It is very dim under the porch.

Three 80’s-era conversion vans pull up and park at angles by the curb. The vans are dented and rusty. The family all jump out of the vans, waving, and the party guests on the porch whoop and cheer.

Someone opens the sliding door on the side of one of the vans, and what I presume to be the goose flies out. It is a massive bird with white feathers, and it is a skeleton from the chest up. It flies up on to the porch, and lands on a table behind me.

“Someone turn on the grill,” says the stepfather.

The bird stares at me with its gaping sockets.