Bernie And Myron At Home

"Bernie and Myron? Really?"

"What's wrong with Bernie and Myron?"

"Darling, the more important question is what were you planning on doing with them?"

"Uhhhhh... Doing with them?"

I got an amused smile, but also the beginnings of an upward-moving eyebrow.

"Okay, let me reword the question, my very dearest love — for clarification, of course. What compelled you to think that bringing home live adult ducks to our three-bedroom condo was a good idea?"

Oh, so not good. This was moving straight into the dangerous sarcasm zone.

"Well... they were really cheap and they were the last two left and I just couldn't let them—"

"Whoa, whoa... slow down, and you still haven't answered my question."

"See how adorable they are?" I opened the box a bit, and tilted it slightly to show the ducks before closing it again.

"Do you really want to continue traveling down this road, or would you rather answer my question? I don't mind either way, but I won't ask you again. And by the way, we got a little pink notice in the mail today. Well?"

Oh, shoot and double shoot! And that right eyebrow was moving upward toward full mast.

"But, but they were gonna kill them. I couldn't let 'em kill Bernie and Myron, now could I? They have such sweet eyes, and I thought that they couldn't be that much trouble; there are only the two of them, see?" I smiled sweetly, and opened the box again to reveal the white, now quacking, specimens. "We do have an extra guest room. They could stay in the guest bathroom bathtub during the daytime.
They'll be no trouble at all!" I figured it wouldn't hurt to add the mournful eyes to my best sweet smile.

"Wait. Who was going to kill them? Darling..., WHERE exactly did you find them?"

"Uhm... erm... in a cage... Outside of that new Chinese restaurant, over on First Street? We're offering them sanctuary."

"Darling love, they don't exactly qualify for political asylum as oppressed Chinese refugees. Nor are we in any danger of them defecting anytime soon. Putting aside the fact that our homeowner's association does NOT approve of pets, IF we could have a pet, it — or in this particular case — they, would be chosen by mutual accord. It's not a decision that you alone can make; this affects me too. Pets are a major responsibility, and need a lot of time and attention. We, both of us, tend to work late and can sometimes have unpredictable hours. I'm sorry, but—"

"We could have someone come in and watch them... Of course, I'd pay for that someone to stay with them." I felt like I was grasping at straws, but at least it was worth another try.

"Darling, we are NOT hiring a duck-sitter, nor are we sending them to ducky day-care. I'm sorry, but we can't have ducks as pets."

"I KNEW YOU'D SAY NO! You NEVER let me do what I wanna do!"

Oh, where the heck did THAT come from? Crap. That was probably *not* one of my finest moments. Noooooo...Do-over, do-over...

"Corner. Now."

Drat. What WAS I thinking? "We do not shout in this household." It wasn't even the first time I'd been told this. I dashed to a way too familiar view of adobe-colored Venetian plaster, automatically lacing my fingers behind my back. We'd both chosen the color and texture of the walls for OUR home. The authentic Italian plaster artist wasn't too happy when we kept finding uneven spots in his work.

When will I ever learn? This day was getting suckier by the second. A millennia later I heard a soft voice behind me.

"Are you quite finished? And do I really have to say that we don't shout at each other, again?"

"Yes, um... I mean, no — and... and I'm very sorry that I shouted," I said sincerely and just as quietly into the corner, my eyes beginning to blur. At least there was still hope; I hadn't been asked to lower my jeans.

"You may lower your jeans now, love. And face the corner again, please. Thank you."

Arg! That quiet, inordinately polite voice was not a good sign. I may? Really? I didn't wanna 'may'. I took a guess and lowered them as far as my thighs. That was usually far enough to help me to remember why I was here.

"Do you have any idea how disappointed I was for us when we received that pink notice today?"

"WE didn't receive it. It's mine, and it wasn't my fault. Can I go and check on the birds, now? I think they're hungry."

I really didn't mean to sound so whiny and be so petulant about it, but the notice really REALLY wasn't my fault. Why couldn't I just get yelled at? It would be so much easier to just get yelled at. It was never how this worked. We had to be all reasonable. Quiet talk just made me feel so—

"They're fine. And yes, it IS in fact ours, and was I blaming you? Sweetheart, I do realize that this wasn't your fault. I really do. Being laid off is often by seniority and you were one of the newest hires there. I understand about it being very stressful. I've been there too, remember? But your job is what you do; it's not who you are, and who you are is the love of my life. People who love and respect each other aren't hurtful and definitely do not shout at each other. Have I ever shouted at you or made you feel disrespected?"

"No, you haven't and you never would," I admitted, softly into the corner.

"So what are we going to do about all this? And come here, please."

"Fine. I'll just tell everyone that I've decided to become a sign twirler," I said, turning from the corner, trying not to stomp.

"Is someone in need of more corner time?"

Is it even possible for an eyebrow to actually enter the hairline?

"No. I'm sorry. I'm just frustrated, and mad, and annoyed, and infuriated, and enraged, and I suck, andIboughttheduckstofeelbetter," I grumbled, pulling up my jeans.

"Don't bother. Go ahead and take them off, please."

I lowered them and kicked them off and away from my ankles, and walked toward open arms. Being sat in a lap was always so nice and warm and comforting.

"Sweetheart, I do understand that you're upset. You have every right to be upset. What you can't do is make random decisions that effect us both, or shout at me for no better reason than you've had a bad day. So what are we going to do about all this?"

I was enjoying just being held, and the soft kisses on my head and forehead were so nice.

"It wasn't fair. I was the ONLY one from my department. It just wasn't fair!"

"Go on..."

"We really can't afford me being laid off and the department head said— hey!"

"Go on... I'm listening."

"No you're not. You can't be listening to me and doing what you're doing. HEY! You're just trying to change the subject by distracting me."

"Is it working?"

"You... can't... uh... mmmm... HEY... you're not... we can't... not here... the ducks'll hear us!"


"What'll Myron and Bernie think? Oooooh, yes... right... there... mmmmmm..."

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