Hello again--here's another part xD hope you like it as much as the first part!
I have to say I’m the happiest when chaos strikes. The following events crack me up--when stuff like this happens my brothers get extremely worried and extremely excited at the same time, leavcing them on the verge of laughter, but on the verge of anger all at once. Priceless.
Danny, hanging for dear life, and Jeremy climbing on him, fell after “the pop heard round the world” (I totally just made that up :).
Poor Jeremy (although he had it coming) fell hard on his back, but Zeeb caught Danny pretty easily. Calvin checked Jeremy’s head for cracks just in case and Zeeb started for the spiral staircase with Danny and his lifelessly dangling leg. Q took me by the arm and ran to inform the parents.
Q was laughing so hard he almost choked. “That was hilarious!”
“He had it coming,” I replied.
Then he said, “That sick dude, climbing him!”
“He totally had it coming,” I repeated.
“But that was so perfect!” he probably choked on his spit and stopped running. “Whadda Christmas! Merry Christmas, Gretch.”
“Say,” he said, starting to walk, “We know you can’t stand dad sometimes, but he’s just being dad.”
“Yeah, I know.”
I knew he wanted to say something else, but we then reached the living room.
Mom saw the two of us and said, “Is everything okay?”
Zeeb, Danny, Cal, and Jeremy caught up behind us.
“What happened?” she said, taking Danny’s hand.
“It’s not as bad as it seems!” Jeremy tried explaining.
“Shh!” Calvin cut him short.
“I’m broke,” Danny replied and Zeeb handed mom the detached left leg.
Horrified, she carefully gave it to dad once he came back into the room. “It’s Danny’s.”
Dad’s arm was more than half the size of the leg. I always forget how tall he is when he’s not in plain sight. Our father looked at all of us, one by one, neither angry nor pleasant.
“Who did this?” he said, forcefully displaying the leg for all to gaze upon.
Everyone except for Jeremy admitted who the culprit was.
“Hey!” he said. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know he was so fragile.”
“He’s only ten. Of course he’s fragile,” dad said. “But it doesn’t hurt since he’s only bone. Right, Daniel?” He smiled and we all sighed as if we were holding our breath that whole time, just waiting for him to be angry at us.
Danny chuckled. “It was just surprising.”
Zeeb let him down on the sofa. He looked funny with a missing limb, one of his pant legs hanging out like a wet noodle. With his microscope, dad examined Danny’s hip bone, intrigued.
“How interesting. There are barely any marks. It just popped clean off, didn’t it, Dan?”
“Uh-huh. Hey!” Danny squirmed away when dad tried popping the bone back in. “Stop! That tickles!”
The rest of us were being served stew and cheered for dad from the dining table.
“You can take him, dad!”
“Wrestle him down!”
Danny pleaded. “No! Stop!”
Dad laughed, standing up. “You don’t want to be legless forever do you?”
“I could rough it.”
That famous skeleton grin showed up on dad’s face. “But that’s silly. You wouldn’t be able to play badminton anymore.”
Danny considered this. “I love badminton.”
“So sit still!” Without hesitation, dad dived for our brother and tickled him in the most sensitive spot know to Skellingtons (FYI: the back of your neck). Cackling maniacally as if he was a mad scientist, Danny did not notice his bone being jammed into place. We all couldn’t stop laughing. Q chocked on his soup (like we all knew would happen eventually), Zeeb gave him some water and Jeremy held onto Calvin’s chair in case he was laughing too hard.
PS I am very proud to say that I was the first one to finish my soup without any of it squirting out of my nose.
“Cheater!” Danny cried.
“He didn’t cheat!”
“Sit down, dude.”
“Better luck next time, Danny boy.”
“You totally lost that one,” my brothers told him.
Mom scooted her seat back. “That was a good pre-dinner show.”
“Oh, which reminds me,” Zeeb said, standing up, “Can Carrie and I go see The Menace tomorrow at the midnight showing?”
He helped her pick up the large stew pot and place it in the center of the table with the pepper and extra plate of herbs so I could serve myself (even though that means I have to stand on my chair to get to it).
“I can’t decide what Carrie does tomorrow night, but you promised you would take Danny to his tournament, remember?”
“No one else can take him?”
“It just so happens that our band’s auditioning to play at the Battle Supreme concert at school,” I said triumphantly with Jeremy, Q and Calvin air fist-pumping and banging on the table in the background.
“Oh, right.” He didn’t sound disappointed or glad. “But what are you guys doing tomorrow?” he asked.
“I’m preparing the plans for next Halloween’s big surprise.” Folding his hands, dad looked in the distance at nothing in particular and unconsciously stood up. He smiled at all of us, our reactions alike every time he mentions the surprise. I might not be stoked about Christmas, but Halloween gets me as excited as everyone else.
“It’s gotta be a haunted house as big as the town!” Jeremy fantasized.
Dad sat down again. “That’s a little far-fetched.”
“Yeah, but it’s a horrid idea.”
“Oh, oh, I got it,” said Q, “What about a huge pumpkin that roles into Main Street and you drill out of it?”
“That sounds messy.”
Calvin cracked his knuckles. “How about—”
“Stay calm, everyone, or you won’t get any pie.”
The boys shut up for about a millisecond before excited pie chatter started to erupt.
“Mystery mint pie?”
“I love that one!”
“Cuz it’s the best pie ever!”
Danny and I looked at each other. There was never a quiet moment in this house, and our parents knew that but always attempted the impossible.
“Then hush,” dad said, a single bony finger in front of his mouth.
“So mom,” Danny asked, “are you gonna make it to my tournament?”
“Are you sure you feel okay running around when you just dislocated your leg? And it’s strange, but I just talked to someone about their son getting hurt in tennis.”
“We don’t run as much in badminton. It’s different from tennis because they use those rubber stuffed bounce balls that are heavy and insanely aerodynamic. We have birdies and sometimes if you hit their beaks it makes for a closer return than you think.”
“Okay, then, Daniel. If you think it’s not too much for you.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll be there, but I’ll probably be late.”
“Good enough for me!” Danny beamed.
After dessert, we exchange presents. In this tradition, which is kinda fun and kinda lame, you spy on your assigned sibling to find out what they want the most—that’s the fun part. Being spied on is totally lame because most of my brothers just stalk me until they drive me nuts and make me say something, but that’s why I’m the most difficult sibling for this challenge. I don’t share much and I don’t want much.
The only thing I want is to find the other holidays.
My present was a small bright blue box rapped in red ribbon, my favorite colors. So my spy wasn’t Jer, who is color blind, unless he asked someone what color it was, but he’s a very independent person.
The ribbon was tied into a bow on the top of my box, so it couldn’t have been Danny. He can’t even tie shoe laces (he wears Velcro) and he can’t keep secrets from me at all. The edges on the box were dull, so Q didn’t sharpen them (and when I thought that, Danny pricked his finger on his present). I looked behind me. I don’t think Zeeb was ever my spy before.
“Come on, Miss Slowster,” he said, “open it.” It did seem like everyone already opened their presents and are now interested in seeing what I got (even Zero woke up from napping under the Christmas tree), but my oldest brother watched me with certain intent, so I humored him and pulled on the ribbon.
A pair of shoes lay inside the box—which reminds me—I’ve been wearing my dirty slippers for the past year. Gosh, it’s been long. Slippers were the only type of shoes that didn’t tear my feet apart—I have a pretty delicate fabric as skin. “They aren’t just shoes,” he said, so I took them out of the box to examine. “See, they’re real sturdy and they have compartments at the bottom to put your needles and thread in so you have them at all times just in case.”
The thoughtful inventor took my slippers off and tied my new sneakers on.
“How do they feel?” he said after I walked around the room.
“These are great.” They were fuzzy and squishy on the inside but hard and leathery on the outside. “I don’t even remember the last time I wore actual shoes that didn’t hurt!” They were even navy blue, my second favorite shade of blue. “This is my favorite present ever.”
The boys cheered and Zeeb bowed low.
“Great job, Z,” mom said, picking up my foot. “Your handy work is getting better every time you make something.”
“How did you find out what she wanted without spying?” Cal asked astonished. “You barely even followed her to school.”
“You guys don’t know how to speak girl yet.”
“Just because he’s gone on a couple dates…”
“Yeah, you think you’re so smart.”
“I’ve also lived longer than you. Gretchen has her own language, but you all fail to recognize the signs.”
I laughed. If any of my other family members said this, I probably would have been mad at them, but Zeeb made it sound like it’s been a priority of his to crack my code all along.
You know, this Christmas isn't turning out to be what I thought. That kinds makes me glad that it didn't.
Before I go, I’d like to talk a bit about my twin.
He was born a couple minutes after me, so he’s currently the youngest of the Skellington family and will probably be for the rest of his life.
Daniel Skellington is like all the other boys, the spitting image of our father. He acts the most like mom, though—he’s pleasant, polite, a little shy, and content with life overall—but he can and will be a rebel if he’s restless and/or impatient, which is very rare for him.
He wears a vest that doesn’t really fit yet with a bat shirt underneath. His pants match the patterns on my dress and he’s basically the best twin brother you could ask for.
Until then, my dear readersGretchen S.