My mother interrupted my long train of thought. “Have a nice time last night?”
My teenage senses sharpened. Almost instantly, I knew that my mother intended to keep me here, and ruthlessly interrogate me over last night. And I knew that if I didn’t answer with what she wanted to hear, last night will be just that, the last night. So, I tried my hardest to answer in a manner, which wouldn’t give mum any suspicions: “yes”, I replied, but in more of a grunt that teenagers are known to do.
Mum looked at me with a slight cock of the head, tea towel and tongs in hand. I would have burst out laughing if the situation wasn’t so menacing. For one quick moment I thought I was released, but the instant my eyes left and glanced at the hallway, which now seemed to be getting further away, mum said, “would you care to explain? Perhaps even tell me where and who?”
Right then, I thought that maybe I wasn’t in for the blasting that id thought I was going to get. Mum was just looking out for me. As I opened my mouth to reply, a second epiphany struck me: mum was baiting me, so she would have enough information to bring the matter up at dinnertime, when dad was home. That thought terrified me. I tried to appear casual and cool over my careful delivery of my next answer.
“Well, after Rene picked me up out front, we drove ‘round to Bec’s place and picked her up. Then, we drove around for awhile…” I took a breath at a vital moment. “Then Rene drove us out to Craig’s place, where we stayed for the rest of the night.”
Mum raised an eyebrow.
“That’s all? Come on Michael, I’m sure there is something else you can tell me?”
There we go. Mum was probing like a straw at the bottom of a milkshake, trying to get every last bit out. It was clear that mum wanted details, not outlines. Mum again broke my train of thought, as I was forming a response.
“WHAT was happening at Craig’s so that you went out there?” she said.
“Mmm, nothing really” came my reply.
“So if I was to ring Craig’s mum, she’d tell me nothing happened?” She said that with a smile.
The good ole’ phonecall threat. This time however, mum had me. She KNEW Craig’s parents weren’t home last night. For the first time in ages, I could feel tension mounting in the living room between mum and i. I glanced at the clock, still a good 20 minutes before dad would be home. Just as I was about to respond, the phone ran. A godsend! I snatched it up before mum could tell me otherwise. A quick glance at the ‘incoming call’ machine told me it was Craig.
“Yes, hello. Michael, I assume. I’m Craig’s mother. I’m coming around to speak with your mother. Is she there?”
“I felt like saying something outrageous, like ‘wrong number’ or something. Instead
“ Yeah, she’s here”
“‘She’ is the cats mother, Michael. Tell your mother I’ll be around in 2 minutes, with Craig.”
“Alright young man, I’ll be seeing you soon. Bye.”
I relayed the call to mum. She seemed pleased. I was confused. I KNEW Craig’s parents weren’t home last night. Another look at mum told me she knew that I knew, and she ALSO knew something else I didn’t.
Sure enough, 2 minutes later, (funny how serious time flies by, and yet cooking chicken noodles in the same time is impossible) Craig's mum appeared on our doorstep, Craig in tow. Mum glanced at Craig, Craig's mum glanced at me, no, she burnt holes through me and then filled those holes with ice.
It was then I realised that we’d been caught out a bloody ripper. Never mind our hands being red; we were ripe red tomatoes on legs.
Appropriately timed, both out father entered. Most worryingly, was the fact that they were both holding belts in their hands.
I looked at Craig, his eyes downcast. Our mothers and fathers cried in unison: “you boys are in A LOT of trouble”.