wizened_cynic: (CM - beezus)
[personal profile] wizened_cynic
So. Since about a month ago I've been writing this insanely schmoopy kidfic universe where Rossi and Prentiss have a baby. I would tell you more, but seriously, at this point those of you lesbians who are still reading this journal are either laughing at me or rolling your eyes or probably both, so let's just not go there.

Anyway, I made someone cry yesterday and then, in an uncharacteristic moment of empathy, I actually felt bad about it. Plus it's been a while since I've written kidfic from the POV of a kid, which you assholes know I love to do, so this happened.



Tomorrow We'll Go to the Fair


1.


Beezus likes opposite days.

She thinks she might like them even more than her birthday and Christmas and Halloween and other people's birthdays and days when Jack comes over and days when she gets to stay up to watch The Voice instead of having to wait until the next morning.

Opposite days are when her dad goes to work and her mom stays at home and does all the stuff Daddy usually does, except better.

The first time Beezus told her parents that, her dad made his sad face and then his annoyed face and he said, "I played Superhero FBI Dinosaur Beauty Salon with you for two hours yesterday."

"But you weren't serious about it," Beezus said.

"Are you kidding? I've been completely involved since the very beginning. I have a mental chart of all the insane plot twists just so I can keep track of them. I bet you your mom wouldn't even know what's going on between Spiderman and the triceratops."

"Spiderman wants to marry Triceratops," Beezus explained to her mother. "But Triceratops is not that into him. He has bunions." She turned back to Daddy. "There, now Mom's up to speed," she said. Up to speed is something her preschool teacher Ms. Carol likes to say.

Beezus will get a new teacher when she goes to kindergarten in September. She hopes her new teacher, Mr. Jonah, will have catchphrases like Ms. Carol did. Daddy thinks he will. Daddy's catchphrase is, "Beatrice, don't" because he says it so often.

Her mom put up her hand and asked, "I just want to be clear on one thing. Are the dinosaurs FBI agents or . . . . ?"

Daddy smiled his A-Ha! smile which Mommy hates. "The superheroes are the FBI agents and the dinosaurs run the beauty salon. I know, it's classism to the core. I sense a revolt in the future. Also, you should know that the pterodactyl is really an undercover narcotics investigator and Wonder Woman wants to work part-time so she can open a cupcake shop."

"Daddy." It was Beezus's turn to use her annoyed voice. "You just gave away everything."

Sometimes Beezus thinks her dog is the only one who gets her.


2.


The day after her birthday is an opposite day. It is also the hottest day of the year.

"Al Roker told me," she says as she brushes her teeth. Globs of toothpaste foam land on the mirror. Beezus has to try with all her might not to poke her finger into them. It's hard.

Her mother looks at her. Beezus thinks her mom knows how badly she wants to fingerpaint with the toothpaste, but Mom just sighs and says, "You watch too much TV," in a voice that means it's not really Beezus's fault but society's. Beezus doesn't know what society is but that's not important. What's important is that it means she's not in trouble.

Beezus wants to wear her swimsuit but her mom won't let her.

"But it's so hot," Beezus says, and when that doesn't work, she says, "Daddy would let me."

Her mother snorts. "Nice try, kid. Like I'm going to believe he would bother helping you get that thing on and off every single time you go to the bathroom."

"I'm going to tell Daddy you profiled him," Beezus says. She doesn't understand why her mom starts laughing. She hates grownups sometimes. They are tiresome, which is another word Ms. Carol likes to say.

If Beezus can't wear her swimsuit then she will wear her pajamas, even though it has splotches of wet on the front now and a lot of dried toothpaste. Mommy says, "Fine," and Beezus says, "Fine," and Beezus's mom makes her a peanut butter and jelly (strawberry, because grape is yucky) sandwich for breakfast and she cuts them into triangles instead of just halves and Beezus loves her mother again.

3.


Henry comes over.

He was just over yesterday but he's here again today because he doesn't like being in his house with all the babies.

When Beezus's mom asks him, "How are your brothers?" he answers, "Gross."

"Gross," Beezus repeats, trying the word out. It means "yucky" but in big kid speak.

They take turns playing Temple Runner on the iPad, which takes them a while to find because it is underneath a pile of Beezus's toys. Beezus's daddy always says she needs to keep better track of her things but she has lots of piles of toys which means it takes time to go through all of them. Beezus doesn't tell him this because if she did he would make her clean up and then she would never be able to find anything again.

"Aunt Emily, can I have some juice?" Henry asks when they get bored of making the guy run around the temple forever.

"Sure. Help yourself to it. Glasses are on the counter."

Beezus's mom is sitting at the island, reading a grownup book that has no pictures. When Beezus was a baby and cried every single night, her mom read her one of these grownup books and it was so boring it made Beezus fall asleep. "What was the book about?" Beezus asked her mom once, and her mom said, "It's about a man whose leg got eaten by a whale and he spends the rest of his life trying to catch the whale." Beezus doesn't know why the man didn't go to the hospital and get a new leg --- you can do it these days, she saw it on Discovery --- especially since it would mean the book wouldn't have to be five thousand pages long and then it could be short enough to have pictures.

Henry is a big brother now which means he has to do everything by himself. He's seven and tall enough that he doesn't need to stand on his toes to get to the shelf with the cran-apple. Beezus holds the glass for him so he can pour without spilling. This is called teamwork.

Henry pours a glass for Beezus too. They're not allowed to drink where there is carpet so they have to finish their juice in the kitchen. When Henry is done with his juice and is waiting for Beezus, he looks around the room and says, "Wow, your house is so clean."

"Thanks," Beezus says.

"It's quiet too."

"Bless you, Henry," Beezus's mom tells him, smiling, even though he didn't sneeze.

4.


"It's the hottest day of the year," Beezus tells Henry. They are outside, playing fetch with Mudgie. The lawn is green except for where the sun shines too hard and where Mudgie's peed. Mudgie is old now, Daddy's age in dog years, and doesn't run as fast as he used to, so Beezus tells Henry not to throw so hard.

"Really?" He takes the tennis ball from between Mudgie's teeth and wipes the drool onto his shorts. Dog drool never hurt anybody, but baby drool is poison, Henry says.

"Al Roker says so."

"Who's Al Roker?"

"The guy who's in charge of weather."

"Oh. Then why did he make it so hot?"

Beezus shrugs. "Maybe he wanted to fry eggs. He said it's so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk."

Henry laughs. It's not a nice laugh. It's a you're-so-silly-you're-just-five laugh. "You can't fry an egg on the sidewalk."

"Yes, you can," Beezus says, because she doesn't like being laughed at. She likes it when people laugh with her but not laugh at her. The second one is not acceptable in Ms. Carol's classroom. "I'll show you."

Henry stops and frowns, like he isn't sure whether or not to believe her. "You'll get in trouble," he says but it comes out like a question. "You shouldn't play with food."

"I'm not playing with food," Beezus tells him. "It's a science experience, so it's okay. It's for science."

"Boy, we're so going to get into trouble," Henry says.

5.


Lucky for them, Beezus's mom is on the phone and not paying any attention. "Yes, I know, Mother," she says which means she is talking to Beezus's grandma.

Beezus's grandma is not like other grandmas. She is very skinny and doesn't make cookies or knit. She doesn't look like Paula Deen, who Beezus wishes sometimes was her actual grandma. But Beezus's grandma has had dinner with the president and Paula Deen hasn't. Daddy says Paula Deen is probably so busy being on TV she wouldn't have time to make cookies or knit or take her grandkids for brunch at the American Girl Store, which is what Beezus's grandma did for her birthday. Beezus only has one grandma left because Nonna lives with the angels and Jack's mom so it's not like she plans on trading her grandma for Paula Deen. Sometimes Beezus just wants things she can't have and her mom says it's okay to want things you can't have as long as you learn to be okay with not having them too.

"HimomcanIgetaneggtofryonthesidewalkit'sforscience," Beezus says all at once, really quickly, because you have to ask for permission before you get stuff from the fridge.

Mommy sort of waves her hand at her, which means permission, so Beezus opens the heavy door with some yanking and takes one perfect white egg from the section where all the eggs sleep. There are still, Beezus counts to herself, eleven more eggs. Her mom wouldn't even miss them.

They're not allowed to go out of the yard and there is no sidewalk in Beezus's yard, but there is a patio made from cement which is the same thing. Henry is already standing there, Mudgie panting by his side. "Did you get it?" he asks, not doing a very good job of pretending not to be excited.

"Got it," Beezus says, holding out the egg.

When she was little, she tried to hatch a chick out of an egg but Spencer told her it wouldn't work because the eggs from the grocery store haven't been fertilized. So Beezus found a pot in the shed and put some fertilizer in it and planted an egg inside, but then she forgot about it for a long time, maybe years, and it started to smell really bad. Like a dead body, Beezus's dad said. Boy, was he mad.

"You do it," Henry says, because he's afraid of getting into trouble.

"Wuss," Beezus says, and Henry punches her in the arm, not hard enough to hurt but it is still punching and it is not acceptable behavior and Beezus tries to punch him back and the egg falls out of her hand and cracks right open on the patio.

They both gasp as the clear runny stuff leaks out of the egg and then try to stop Mudgie from eating it.

They wait and wait and wait for the clear stuff to turn white, like it does when Daddy makes fried eggs, but nothing happens.

"I told you it wouldn't work," Henry says.

It makes Beezus want to punch him again but instead she is hit on the head with a great idea and she says, "Let's call Spencer."


6.


Mommy is still on the phone with Grandma so Beezus borrows her cell phone instead. It's even better because the phone knows Spencer's number.

They're not supposed to call Spencer at work unless it's an emergency. Beezus thinks this qualifies as an emergency, and anyway, if Spencer can't talk because he is too busy, he will tell her.

"Emily?" Spencer says when he answers.

"No, it's Beezus."

"Oh, hi! What's up, Beezus? Your dad and I were just at a cr--- craps game."

Nice save, boy wonder, Beezus hears Uncle Derek saying.

"Henry is here too. We're doing a science experience and we need your help."

"Science experiment, huh? What do you need?"

"We're trying to cook an egg on the sidewalk but it's not working."

"Oh. Okay. Give me a minute to check the temperature." There is some shuffling and Derek saying, What's going on? and then Spencer says, "I'm back. I've figured out your problem. The sidewalk is not hot enough. An egg needs a temperature of 158°F for the proteins in it to denature and then coagulate, and that won’t happen until the temperature rises enough to start and maintain the process. Once you crack the egg onto the sidewalk, the egg cools the sidewalk slightly, thus preventing the sidewalk from reaching the temperature required for the egg to cook properly. In fact, pavement of any kind is a poor conductor of heat, so lacking an additional heat source from below or from the side, the egg will not cook evenly, if it even cooks at all. What would probably work better would be the hood of a car, since metal conducts heat better and gets hotter than pavement. It would, in fact, be more similar to the conditions of a frying pan."

"So I should cook it on the car? I'll do that then. Thanks, Spencer," says Beezus, and hangs up.

"He's really smart," Henry says.


7.


They're lucky that Beezus's dad didn't park his car in the garage before he left for work, which means they have a perfect frying pan for their eggs. Beezus decides to get the rest of the eggs at once, since it would be easier to take the whole carton than to take just one.

This time, she lets Henry crack the egg, because he's taller.

He taps the egg gently against the side mirror until it cracks, and then he opens it in two and they watch as the runny stuff and the orange center splatter onto the hood of the car. Beezus holds her breath and counts to ten and thinks, Please please please please please let it work and her lungs are about to explode when the egg starts sizzling.

"Holy smokes," Henry says, amazed.

They watch until the clear parts turn white and the egg really does look like something you could have for breakfast. Beezus had ordered a croque madame during brunch and her grandma explained to her that the fried egg inside the croque madame was the hat. A croque madame is a French lady sandwich and a croque monsieur is a French man sandwich with no hat. It doesn't make sense to Beezus because men wear hats too. Beezus's dad said, "The French are kind of weird" and left it at that.

"Let's do it again," Beezus says, because it's not fair that Henry got to crack the egg that worked when Beezus didn't. It was her idea in the first place.

There are now ten eggs left in the carton and she picks out a nice, fat one that feels heavy and promising in her hand. She walks over to the other side of the car and does what Henry did, tapping the egg gently before cracking it straight down the middle.

The second egg fries even faster than the first one.

"This is fun," she says, clapping her hands. They're a little sticky from the clear runny stuff and she's careful not to touch the car because she doesn't want to cook her hands too.

Henry is laughing and Mudgie is jumping up and down, trying to eat the eggs. Before Beezus knows what is happening, she's reaching for another egg, and this time she thinks it might be even more fun to just throw it. A part of her knows she shouldn't --- it's like fingerpainting in toothpaste, it's fun but you shouldn't do it --- and Beezus knows all about resisting temptation and controlling her impulses because Ms. Carol has talked to her parents about it a million times, but it's hard.

It's so hard.

She's five and five is not a baby anymore, so she shouldn't do stupid baby things. But she only turned five yesterday. She's a brand-new five and she didn't draw on the mirror this morning even though she wanted to and the egg slips out of her hand without her knowing and then Henry is doing it too, smashing a second, third egg onto her daddy's car.

They've got one more egg left when Beezus's mom finds them. Her face is red, maybe from the sun, but Beezus thinks it's more likely from the madness.

"What the he-heck is going on here?" she says in her maddest voice.

Henry gives Beezus a look that says, I knew this was going to happen, and because Beezus is five now, she has to step up and take sponsibility for her actions.

"It was for science," she tells her mom, which seems to make her mom even madder, so Beezus decides to try something different.

"Spencer said to do it."


8.


Beezus's mom made her apologize to Spencer first.

"I'm sorry for saying you told us to egg my daddy's car," she says after Henry did his turn. "Even though you did."

"Did it work?" Spencer asks, and Beezus's mom grabs the phone from her and yells, "Reid!"

The second thing Mommy made them do is to wash the eggs off the car. She gives Beezus and Henry two rags and a bucket of suds and says, "Get to work, kids."

At least Beezus gets to wear her swim suit when she does it.

9.


After Henry goes home, Beezus has to do a time out.

Time outs are for thinking about what she did wrong, not for thinking of new and interesting things to do next. That's what Daddy tells her anyway. He doesn't make her do that many time outs anymore because he knows by now that she always ends up thinking of new and interesting things rather than things she did wrong. Now he just tells her why the things she did were wrong, which is worse, because it is even more boring and it always makes Beezus feel like she has a stone rubbing between her heart and stomach.

Mommy's smart though. Mom makes Beezus do her time out in the bath so she won't be distracted. It's the only reason why Beezus would need a bath, since she is still clean from washing the car, with soap.

"I'm sorry," Beezus says, sinking into the tub until just her eyes are above the water. She doesn't ask for any of her toys, not even the octopus that squirts water. She is doing penance, which is what Father Jimmy calls it. She shouldn't have lied and she shouldn't have wasted food and she shouldn't have enjoyed it so much.

"Good," her mother says.

"You still love me, right?"

"Yes, Beatrice, I still love you. Now close your eyes."

"Just checking." Beezus puts her hand over her eyes and squeezes them shut as her mother starts working the shampoo through her hair. The shampoo says No Tears, but it is a lie. Sometimes when Daddy is in a hurry, he gets some into Beezus's eyes and it stings so much it makes her cry. Johnson Johnson, which is the shampoo's name, needs a time out.

Beezus likes it when her mom washes her hair, because Mommy is very careful about not getting the shampoo in her eyes. Mommy also knows how to get the tangles out of her hair without making it hurt. "That's because I've heard of conditioner and your father hasn't," she says whenever Beezus asks what is the secret.

Mom dries her with a fluffy white towel and then sends her out to put on her pajamas, new, clean ones. At the foot of Beezus's bed are her pjs with Hello Kitty on them. They are her favorite.

Beezus knows she is forgiven.


10.


They make pasta with the red sauce because they don't have eggs for carbonara.

"I like red sauce better anyway," Beezus says, because Ms. Carol says to always look on the bright side.

"You are really not helping your cause here, Beezus," her mom says, but she is looking like she is trying really hard not to smile.

Mommy hands her the smasher and asks her to smash the garlic and the anchovies. That means they are making horse spaghetti, which is Beezus's favorite. Most kids her age don't like spicy sauce but Beezus is not most kids. She is Italian. She likes grownup food. Her dad is proud of that, even though he's told her not to call it horse spaghetti and to call it by its Italian name instead, spaghetti alla puttanesca. But Beezus forgets to, because horse spaghetti is easier to say.

Beezus begins smashing really hard. She is a great smasher.

"Remember when I was a baby, I used to say pas-getti instead of spaghetti?" she asks her mom when she takes a break from smashing. Her shoulder is tired.

"Sure do," her mom says. She really does smile this time. "It wasn't that long ago."

"I was three," Beezus protests. "That's a long time ago. I was still a baby then."

"You will always be my baby," her mom says. "Even when you commit minor acts of vandalism on my watch."

"I don't know what that means," Beezus says, and goes back to smashing. She stops again and asks, "Why is it called horse spaghetti? Is it because horses eat it?"

She has asked this question before, but all her mom said was, "No, it just means your dad and I need to clean up our language around you."

Mom doesn't answer this time. Instead, she says, "Beezus, sometimes I wish I had ten of you. I wish everybody had ten of you. I wish I had you a long time ago."

"But then I wouldn't be me," Beezus tells her, because she knows that eggs come from chickens and babies come from parents and her parents didn't meet until they were both really really old. Her dad had three wives before her mom, like a pirate, but no kids because they were waiting for Beezus. So if her mom and dad had had her a long time ago, she wouldn't be the same person. This is what Spencer calls a logical fallacy.

"No, you wouldn't be," her mother agrees, and goes back to chopping the cherry tomatoes.



Except fuck me, man. Tomorrow I'm going to COURT.

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