KOF 2017 - Man of the House

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Description: The man of the house has to keep everything together, in these crazy and worrying times. No one is so far removed from the goings on as to be untouched, but even the globally insignificant and publically obscure need a firm hand and a cool head to keep everything together.

The middle of a nowheresville out in Oregon was not so remote as to be free of the global turmoil. The United States of America was adamant about which side it was on, as the days passed. Another scare, another tragedy, another worry.

The man of the house had everything under control.

With almost unparalleled stoicism, he walked down the staircase. Much of the daily routine has been turned upside down over worries about heightening escalations. There was talk about selling the house and relocating immediately. There would be time for further discussion with the relevant parties.

"Are... are they okay?" Asked a frightened teenaged boy of Thai descent - Jao Puntasrima, the eldest child. For his advancing age, he seemed the least together. He wore his worries as closely as he did a series of misshapen gold-colored beads, as he paced back and forth.

"Yeah. Don't worry, Jao," the man of the house said as he strode past, "I got it under control."

The man of the house's words were practiced, spoken so often that it could convince anyone it was the truth. In times like these, he had to be the anchor of a household that has sat through so many incidental crises that oft seemed to exist within the span of maybe half an hour, or a full hour, and then fade away into obscurity to never come up again.

The youngest child, Natalie, sat in front of the television, having watched captured footage of raw tragedy and unspeakable power unleashed. Frightening, raw reminders of reality that there were powers in play that could end lives - nations - in an instant. She violently threw a fork in her hand against the ground, and mimicked the sound of an explosion with her lips. She repeated this often.

The man of the house swept up the fork as she was distracted by another replayed footage of a nuclear explosion, without having said a word. Deftly, the other hand tapped a button on the remote that rested on the arm of the nearby couch. This seemed a fruitless gesture, as no television station in America would have lingered on anything outside of these worrying developments.

He found a way. He always did. He didn't have to try hard to find a channel that played old cartoons of decades ago that featured low-rent dubs in European French. Natalie didn't complain. The man of the house was a smooth enough operator.

He went into the kitchen just in time for an oven's buzzer to go off. Good, he thought, the food was done. He turned off the timer, opened the oven, and placed an immacuately-made meatloaf on top to cool off. He ran his fingers across the utensils used, having double-checked for their cleanliness.

The laptop open on the kitchen table got his attention next. He didn't need to remove the oven mitts. He was so sure of his dexterity and accuracy to hit the keys in sequence. Good, the bank accounts updated. He made sure the bills were paid. A cursory check of the e-mail has shown that the realtor was finally about to get around to discussing their options.

The man of the house nodded to himself. Everything was in order. The phone rang again - third time within the last ten minutes - and he moved to grab the phone with the same patience and dutifulness expected of him as he confirmed the caller ID. He wouldn't need to ask who was calling.

"Hey, Trevor," spoke one Howard Rust, Jr., the father of three, "how is it where you're at?"

"Great, dad." Trevor, the middle child of the Rust family and later grade elementary school student, replied. "School's been out, world's probably ending, you know how it is."

"Aww, come now, it'll all be fine here." Rust Jr. spoke, as though he were in a place where everything sure did look like they were all neat and orderly, like a beacon of stability as uncertainty and chaos ruled everything outside of his reach. "Yep! So, there's something I got to do when--"

"It's okay here, dad." Trevor said. "Don't worry about me. Same as always, right?"

"You bet!" Rust Jr. responded, cheerily as ever. "So, uhhh, about last night, you see--"

"Yeah, I got you covered." Trevor said, almost dismissively. "Everything's good for tonight. Mom's not upset."

"Great!" The dad clapped his hands. "Thanks. Uh, might... be a while, eh?"

"Yeah." Trevor responded.

"Just remember in, Trevor--"

"That I'm the man of the house."

"You bet!"

Trevor hung up the phone, grabbed one french fry of a cool plate of them, dabbed one end in ketchup, and started to suck on the other end of the fried potato stick as he took stock of how the rest of the day would follow.

If there was going to be a rest of the day.

Or another day.

Trevor idly wondered if he'd be doing this for another ten years.

Log created on 15:44:20 10/09/2017 by Rust, and last modified on 19:54:56 10/09/2017.