My wife has told me on a number of occasions that I should consider putting aside my YA fiction for a while and write a book about life as a step-parent. She usually makes this suggestion when I've walked into the house, head wagging side-to-side in utter dismay, disgust, confusion...(fill-in-the-blank to describe today's facial expression). This head shaking is usually followed by a punctuated sigh.
Then there's the rake homicide that occurred yesterday, some time between 10:15 AM and 2:45 PM (according to the attending coroner). The rake was found three feet away from the overturned wheel barrow. Photos of the crime scene reveal extreme blunt trauma to the rake as illustrated by the eight inch crack across the plastic portion above the rake's tines. In addition, the handle was completely severed in two. Questioning of stepson number two, reported to be in the area during the estimated time of death, revealed no conclusive evidence of foul play.
"It just broke," he said.
"Just broke?" I repeated, holding the pieces in my hand.
The homicide remains under investigation.
And finally, this brings us to the older boy. He arrived for a visit with his new acquisition, a 1995 Ford Mustang. He pulled into the driveway, jumped out of the car and popped the hood. Still confused and rattled about the death of my rake, I hardly noticed as he walked by me toward the house muttering that he needed to get ice. I went into the carriage shed to find my shovel so that I could bury the rake. When I re-emerged into the light, the older boy was coming from the house, cradling three large ice packs. My mouth dropped and I stood in a stupor as I watched him placing the ice on top of the car's engine (see picture below).