Tuesday, January 8, 2019


A Weekend Being Pop Pop

My greatest pleasure in life is being allowed to be a grandfather to a girl who has none and whose father is a ward of the state. Her name is Emma and she turned three while I was in the Windswept West. I had heard stories from her grandmother Megan about what “a handful” she was, that she was “too much for her mother” and had her mother “at wit’s end.” Emma had missed me quite a bit, to the point where I was being used as a carrot when I walked through the front door into three generations of estrogen mist and heard, “If you aren’t good you won’t be able to go to the store with Jim.”

After Emma cried, “No, Mo-om-mee-ee-y,” as I took off my boots and dropped my pack her eyes lit up in defiance at the site of her aged co-conspirator and she growled, “Me find a way!”

Then I was horrified to see that her mother had resorted to a cruel stick, picked up her phone and said, “Yes, Officer, Emma is being bad again. Yes, I will give her one more chance.”

Mommy then said down to the little rebel, “if you don’t listen the police man is going to come and take you away” to which Emma said, in a pose of knuckle-on-hip insurrection, “I don’t think so—Yim is here en Yim no like da police!”

I bit my lip to hold back the smile as Emma batted her eye lashes up at me and her mother said, “Oh, so you think you’re cute?”

Emma counter-synced her hip roll with a waggle of her elbows and little shoulders and said, “But I am cute.”

That cracked my smile and her mother switched her plea to me, “Don’t get her anything unless she behaves.”

Emma and I exchanged subversive winks and she chirped “Unx Yim, I a bal, bal…a-rina! Let’s do it, Baby,” and she ran a circle around the apartment and came to stand beneath me—curtsied, as her grandmother pointed to her ballet outfit hanging from the closet door—and she launched into what I gathered immediately was not the Nutcracker’s Suite:

Done in exaggerated pantomime

“Baker, baker, baker man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can…

Rollllllllll it!

Paaaaaaat it!

Put it a pan—

En make a cake fer ma brudder en me!”

Emma then asked that her favorite YouTube song, in which some gay dudes play guitar and sing at LA weddings and she danced and sang to that, the title and beginning of each chorus, being SUGAR!

After the entertainment Emma got to see my broken and sprained toes as her grandmother applied some ointment and came over in a parental way, opened her eyes wide and said, “Ats a-sgusting—you running ou’side wit no shoes on, bad Yim. Yo gonna go see Docta Chang en he gonna give you da needle! Dats right, Baby—da big needle!”

MawMaw Megan was tired, so she soon nodded off as Mommy did her conference call in the other room, so we got down to school work, me reading Jason Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas and Emma taking my bookmark, using it for a phone for her conference call with her friends at daycare, taking my backup bookmark—a picture of a friend—claiming “Dis me Mommy. You no keep me Mommy in book,” taking my pen and improving the Arktos book cover and then decided my bald head needed hair drawn on it and inking up the old cranium until Mommy emerged from her less important conference call to interrupt Emma’s tattooing, Mommy-rescuing, book cover design, conference call multitasking.

It was now Mommy versus MawMaw, “Ma, I thought you were off your period—my pads are almost gone.”

MawMaw: “Are you kidding me? If I still went on the rag I’d be in jail for murder.”

Emma to the rescue, hands waving up at the giantesses like a referee, “Mommy, I use you diapers fer me baby, look.” She then uncovered her baby doll from under the little pink blanket Ishmael’s wife made for her and said, “Look,” as she unpeeled a mini-pad and demonstrated, “me unpeel it, me cover her suzy, den between da legs en cover her butt!”

Mommy: “Emma, those are mine!”

Emma than leaned forward, shaking her head and wagging her finger, “You get diapers fer you baby butt, me get diapers fer me baby butt.”

Mommy groaned and went back to her conference call and Emma looked at me, “Let’s do it, Baby!”

The shopping expedition was quite enjoyable, with Emma stacking hand baskets, racking up shopping carts, loading the register belt, imitating my use of the ATM and holding the flashlight as we returned through the dark woods, walking at my knee as I hauled the bags of groceries on the muddy path.

“Yim, me afraid gampires, wankenstien en clowns—me scared a clowns! You no scared a clowns?”

“No, clowns are afraid of me.”

“Where clowns, Yim?”

As we emerged from the woods I said, “Up to the right, in that parked car,” indicating an ebony and ivory pair of crackheads sucking on a foil wrapped soda bottle.

“Dem clowns in dare?”

“Yes, Baby, the worst kind of clowns, Hoodrats.”

When we were inside and I handed her one of the mini Three Musketeer bars I bought her she said, “Mommy—me no like hoodrats.”

Her mother laughed, “That’s a relief!”

Emma said, holding the half-eaten candy bar as she reclined on MawMaw’s lap, “Dis alicious! Tank ya, Yim.”

(c) 2019 James LaFond

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