Prose Header


by Michael D. Brooks

“Pop! What the heck did you do this time?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean, ‘What do you mean?’?”

“What did you do to the kids? They all just ran out of here like they saw a ghost or something. You did do something to the kids, didn’t you?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Rachel said you scared the younger kids.”

“Oh. I might have said something that scared them a little.”

“A little? Really? Looked to me like it was a whole lot.”

“I swear, I didn’t do nothing to scare them.”

“So why did Billy go running to his grandmom crying his eyes out?”

“I don’t know. I said a lot of things.”

“That doesn’t surprise me.”


“So what did you tell them, Pop? Go ahead, you can play stubborn, but either I’m going to get it out of you or Mom will. She told me find out what happened. Oh, so you’re going to give me the silent treatment, huh? Fine. I’m getting Mom.”

“Okay, okay. Geez. Traitor. It all started real innocent-like. Stop staring at me. They were all in here playing with them e-books, smart cell phones, and video games, and... what are them new things them Apple people came up with?”

“Take your pick, Pop. You got iMacs, iPads, iPods, iPhones, iBooks, and iTunes, Pop.”

“I see. Hmm. Yeah, them things.”

“But I don’t understand how any of that caused you to scare the kids, Pop.”

“Well, it all started when your daughter said she was bored. And I started thinking about all the stuff they got today to keep them busy and entertained. And what I didn’t have when I was their age. So I started telling them how back in my day—”

“Oh, brother. Tell me you didn’t start preaching about how much harder it was when you were growing up and how much easier they have it today. Like how you had to go to school and come home again. All uphill.”

“First, you did it again.”


“Interrupted me when I was talking. Didn’t I teach you anything? Second, I wasn’t preaching. I was teaching. And I did have to go to school and come home again uphill. I took two different routes.”

“You know you could have come and gone the same way?”

“The nuns wouldn’t let us.”

“And you’re trying to get us off the subject. Mom’s in the next room, you know. So what’ll it be?”

“You cut me off.”


“Now I know where your kids get it from.”

“Will you get on with it?”

“Okay. Anyway, I was telling them about how things were when I was their age. I told them that we had to make do with what we had and use our imaginations. If we got bored, we had to think of something to do so we wouldn’t be bored.”

“That’s not so scary.”

“I know. Tell me about it. I said that we didn’t have no cell phones, computers, video games, VCRs... Do you know they had the nerve to ask me what a VCR was?”

“Those things are a little before their time, Pop.”

“Don’t I know it. So I start telling them about how we only had two phones in the house and you couldn’t go far ’cause they were plugged into the wall and we had to dial the number we wanted to call, not push some buttons or tell the phone to do it for us. And how we played with toys that didn’t always need batteries. And how calculators were all the rage when they came out.”

“So far I don’t hear anything scary. So what else did you tell them?”

“I told them about how we bought records instead of doing that music download thing. They wanted to know what a record was. Then I told them how radio was only AM or FM and how we only had three TV stations and that they all went off the air at night and didn’t come back on again until the next morning. And how when you rode in a car, it didn’t talk to you, we kept a map in the glove box ’cause we didn’t have no GPS, and that you had to roll the windows down by hand.”

“Then they ran?”

“Nope. Then I told them how we had to wash the dishes ourselves and use a mop and broom instead of having some robot vacuum cleaner run around doing it for us. Then I told them not everybody had air conditioning, or microwaves, and how we didn’t have remote controls and that you had to get up and walk over to the TV to turn it on, change the channels, and turn it off.”

“And that’s when they got scared?”

“No. They were eating it up.”

“Okay. Then what the heck did you say that had them running out of here?”

“I only told them that if we weren’t careful, we could go back to those golden olden days. And that’s when they ran.”

“Way to go, Pop.”

“Hey, it could happen.”

Copyright © 2011 by Michael D. Brooks

Home Page