Calling Home to Goofy Marbles
by Michael Pacheco
a one-sided conversation
Hi, Mom. What? Yeah, I’m okay. You know I can’t reveal too much about our mission but I can tell you we’re kickin’ some serious Afghan butt down here. Well, not me personally. The JAG corps doesn’t hit the front lines like our reconnaissance teams but we know what’s like to be shot at.
Huh? Yeah, she’s okay too, but her name is Betty, not Betsy and she’s in a different unit so I don’t see her a lot.
No, we’re not engaged yet. You know, Mom, I don’t ask every girl I date to marry me.
Yeah, I know, you want to have grandkids before you die. Two boys and two girls. You tell me that every time I call.
What? I’m sorry. No, I didn’t mean to be rude, but you do say that.
How’s grandpa? Uh huh. What do you mean “he jumped ship from your party?” What ship? You mean a real ship or he wandered off again?
Where are you guys partying? Was this like a floating dock or a big yacht-type? You were with rich people. I see.
What rich people do we know? I don’t remember the Masons. Was that when I was a kid? Is that the first World War or the second? Okay, okay, but I thought it was funny.
Oh, that’s right. You’re talking about the Madman from Midway. That’s what dad called him. How’d that guy get rich? All he did is hang around in his garage all day.
He invented that? I never knew the guy too well, but pops said the madman was a genius. Guess Dad was right.
Yeah, my health is okay, a little cough here and there, nothing to worry about. I’m not really diabetic mom. You just say that I am.
What? Of course, I did. My check up was just a couple of weeks ago. The medic says I’m a little underweight but it’s because of all that exercise I do. . . . Hey, stop laughing.
Anyway, so what happened to grandpa at the Madman’s party?
I see . . . I see. When did you notice him missing? When you were looking for his girlfriend? Way to go grandpa! What do you mean he’s lost his marbles?
Real marbles? I thought you meant that as a metaphor, you know, like he actually lost his wits or something like that. What was he doing with marbles?
What’s that sound in the background? Is that someone pounding on your door? The police? What’s going on there? Is grandpa in handcuffs?
Yes! Mom, I think you should answer the door.
Sure, I’ll talk to the officer, if you want me to.
Hello, officer? I’m 2nd Lieutenant Barry Jefferson, U.S. Marine Corps. The old man you just brought home is my grandfather. I’m not only his grandson, I’m his attorney as well, please direct any questions regarding his arrest from this point forward to me.
What? He’s not under arrest? Great. Where was he? At the end of the street. I see. Okay, what was he doing there? Picking up his marbles?
Michael M. Pacheco served in the USMC and was honorably discharged in 1977. He is now a retired attorney who writes fiction and spends time with his wife, Stacey. His books and short stories are listed at http://www.michaelmpacheco.com/