The Book Of Todd

9.8.2009

By David Christensen

'No way,' I said. 'You guys know that's against the Church.'

'OK, then,' Brett said. 'Don't show us. Who cares, anyway?'

He looked over at Brent like he had some big idea, then back at me. 'Hey, Todd,' he said, 'wait here a minute while Brent and me get some ice cream. Then we'll come back down and make root beer floats.' Brett grabbed his brother by the arm, and they ran upstairs.

In the middle of the room were three giant beanbag chairs'polka-dot'in red, yellow, and blue. I laid down on each one for a sec to see which one I liked best: yellow. It felt warm, like suns shining under me. I could see Bishop J's fishing trophies and elk heads mounted on one wall, and on another, a big wooden bar with pumps that served all the free A&W, Sprite, and Grape Crush a boy could ever want. I could hear the twins above me, chatting up a storm with their dad. Then all three of them stomped down the stairs, Bishop J right behind his sons, only none of them had any ice cream. I jumped to my feet. The twins giggled.

Bishop J was wearing the dark shiny suit he wears when he presides over our congregation at Sacrament Meeting. He was shaking his head like he was mad about something I'd done. 'What's the matter, boy?' he asked me. 'Wasn't you born in America?'

I stared at the floor. A daddy longlegs was crawling over something sticky'I think it was a half-eaten all-day sucker'in the thick orange carpet. I wanted to tell the Bishop what I'd read in the encyclopedia, but I just said, 'Sure I was.'

'Something wrong with your pa, then?'

'No, sir.' I promised myself I would never play Truth or Dare again, at least not with the J twins. Then I squashed that spider right under my left Ked.

American Top 40 blasted out of my sisters' room across the hall. I was taking my bath like my parents make me do every Sunday morning before church. It was almost time for Casey Kasem to announce number 1, and I could hardly wait to see if I'd won the bet with the J twins. Then Dad barged in to check on me. The door clicked shut behind him.

'Jack,' he said. He always calls me Jack instead of Todd. I don't know why.

'Hi, Dad.'

'How's your bath?'

'Good.'

And at the number 3 spot, up four from last week, 'Billy, Don't Be a Hero.' One of my sisters must have turned up the volume.

Dad walked over to the tub. 'Listening to your radio show?'

'Yup.'

'How's your pee-pee part looking?'

'Fine.'

'Still skinning it back every day?'

'Yup.'

'Then let's see.' I pushed my middle up so it was sticking out of the water an inch or two. It was still covered in suds. 'You know I can't see it like that. Get up and face me.'

I stood up and turned to him. It was cold standing there all wet. I wiped the bubbles off me.

'Now skin it back, Jack, so I can see it.'

'I said it was fine.'

'Are you taking a tone with me, little man?'

'No.'

'Then do it.'

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