I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 38: It’s About Time
“One! Two! Wait!” I holler at Noah as I use every muscle in my core to keep from flopping heavily on top of him. “Wait ‘till I say three!”
“Okay, okay, I’m trying to go at the right time, Dad!” he chimes back as he hops down from the giant stability ball I’m currently balancing on and climbs back up onto the couch next to me.
I find my balance once more and reiterate the instructions. We are attempting a new balancing trick to add to our ever-growing repertoire. This one involves Noah leaping from the couch and planting his feet on the right side of the ball at the exact moment that I lean left to counterbalance him. The plan is for him to then pull himself up onto me and carefully stand up. Once he’s precariously planted there, we both will put our arms up and yell, “ta-da!” It’s a bit daring, a bit dangerous, and really fun. If he jumps too soon, it pulls me and the ball on top of him. If he jumps too late, he gets a faceful of rubber and I end up ass first on the floor.
“Okay, now wait until I say three to jump this time.”
“One.” He squats.
“Two.” He jumps.
“Wait! I didn’t say three yet!” I yell as I fall heavily to the floor. “Wait till I say three!”
It would take another thirteen attempts before we nail it. We then immediately do it correctly no fewer than eight times in a row, and we eventually get bored and start planning a new trick, the amazingness level of which has never before been seen by mankind.
Other times I’ll balance myself on the ball and he’ll have free reign to climb on and latch himself down however he likes. We then see how long we can balance on it while jumping, and rocking, and just kind of going crazy in general.
It always ends in either gut-grabbing laughter or tears. There is no middle ground. It’s one of the reasons we love doing it.
The next day I find myself angrily staring Noah down. “Put it back,” I tell him, scowling as fiercely as I can.
“No!” he says between laughs, proud of himself for how far off of the Chutes and Ladders board he just flicked my player.
“Put it back, or I will do something you’re not gonna like.” I raise one eyebrow and with one hard look, I dare him to try me.
“Go ahead. I’m not getting your dumb piece,” he says, pretending to be a smug little snot. He wants to see what I’m plotting for my revenge.
With that, I lunge forward and grab him. I’ve been saving up for this. I pin his body between my legs and let one rip. He starts squealing in horror. “I warned you,” I say.
He immediately jumps up and starts squawking as if he’s deeply affected by my actions. I turn my attention away for no longer than a moment, and he immediately leaps forward and sits on my face. “I’m gonna sit here until the biggest one in the whole world comes,” he tells me.
We horse around for another five minutes at least before we continue our board game.
That night it’s his last night at Dad’s house before he heads over to his Mom’s place again. “What do you want?” I ask him. “A book or a story?” He chooses a story just like he always does. He likes the stories I invent for him.
He races to my bed and insists that we turn off every light in the house before I begin. For some reason he likes it pitch black. Once that task is finished, I climb between the covers next to him and I proceed to tell him the most magnificent story I’ve come up with yet.
This one is about a little mouse who lived on a giant ship all by himself. The ship never went anywhere, it just sat at the port getting old, and mossy, and worn down.
One day the mouse decided to have some friends over to try and make life a little less boring, but there was a problem. He didn’t have any friends. They had all moved away or they had drifted apart. So he made his way down the mooring line and set out on a quest to find new ones.
The mouse’s name was Noah. I always let Noah choose the names of the characters. Noah is always the name of the main character. That is, until he realizes that in any particular story the main character is a bad guy, then I have to change it.
And in this story, the mouse named Noah runs down the mooring line and begins his search for new friends.
He starts at a nearby pub. A fat mouse is sitting outside on a wicker chair, brushing his whiskers. “I don’t have any friends,” Noah tells him. “Will you be my friend?” The fat mouse turns him down and tells him he has better things to do than to hang out with skinny little loners.
But Noah doesn’t let it get him down. He knows others are only mean because they don’t like something about themselves. The fat mouse was probably pretty sad that he was fat, and he was going to take it out on anyone who tried to be nice to him.
Next Noah tries the bakery. A small shaggy dog is lounging lazily by the door. Noah asks him if he wants to be his friend. “Dogs aren’t friends with mice,” the dog retorts snobbishly. “Come back when you can play fetch and howl at the moon like I can,” he says.
Noah doesn’t get discouraged. He knows the dog is probably just having a hard day, and so he continues his quest.