Charlie’s Room: Slippers

“Guess what?” Isaac asked. He set down his spoon and grinned.

“What?” Charlie asked.

“Guess,” Isaac said.

Marianne smiled. “You love having stew for dinner?”

“Well, yes, but that wasn’t what I’m thinking of,” Isaac said.

“We can’t read minds, Dad,” Charlie said. “And I like stew too. Yum.”   He took another big bite of soup.   “Mmmmmm.”

“I picked up some tickets after work,” Isaac said.

“Are we going to see the new dinosaur movie at the movie theater?” Charlie asked. “The one that came out last week?”

Isaac pulled out the three tickets he’d hidden behind him on his chair. He handed them to Marianne. “It is the new dinosaur movie,” she said. “It starts in an hour.”

“I think I’m all done eating,” Charlie said. “Let’s go.”

”I’m not done,” Isaac said. “I love stew.”

“But Dad,” Charlie said. “I want to get a good seat.”

“I’m sure we’ll be fine. You might as well eat while you’re waiting for us to finish,” Marianne said.

Charlie sighed. “Okay.”   He started eating again. Soon enough they all finished eating and left to see the movie.

A few hours later, they returned home. “That was amazing,” Charlie said. “When the brontosaurus first stepped on the moon, everybody was cheering.”

“That might be the best dinosaur movie yet,” Marianne said. “Charlie, would you help me with the dishes? We can talk about the movie some more while we work.”

“Okay,” Charlie said. “Dad, could you check my homework? I think I left it on my desk.”

“Sure,” Isaac said.

Isaac went down the hall to Charlie’s room and turned on the light.   There was a scuttling sound.   Isaac looked around, but didn’t see anything unusual. There wasn’t any homework on Charlie’s desk.

Isaac looked under the desk. There were shreds of what looked like a page of math problems. “Oh no,” Isaac whispered. Were there homework-eating mice in the house?

There was a trail of little scraps of paper leading to the closet. Isaac looked inside. Would he need to check inside all the shoes? He started to look inside them one at a time.

And then he reached for the furry monster slippers and realized that there were paper scraps hanging out of the fuzzy monster mouths. Isaac looked closer. He could see part of a math problem.

Isaac sat back on his heels. What happened? The slippers had never been a problem before. He needed to talk to Charlie. He picked up one of the bigger scraps of paper under the desk and started down the hall.

When he walked into the kitchen, Charlie and Marianne were just finishing the dishes. “About your homework,” Isaac said.

“Oh, I just realized I put it in my backpack. It’s hanging by the front door.   I’ll go get it. Sorry about that,” Charlie said.

Isaac followed him to the door and handed him the scrap of paper. “What’s this?” he asked.

Charlie took the paper. “This is old. We were doing fractions last week. Where did you get it?”

“It was under your desk. I think maybe your slippers ate the rest of it,” Isaac said.

“My slippers? I haven’t worn those in a long time,” Charlie said. “They don’t fit.”

“Maybe they’re acting up because they’re lonely,” Isaac said. But if they had acquired a taste for homework, he couldn’t give them away to someone.

Charlie laughed. “Maybe.   It’s a good thing they can hang out with my other shoes. Here’s my homework. Can you check it?”

Charlie had all the problems correct. While he put away his homework, Isaac shut the slippers up in the bathroom with some junk mail to chew on. In the morning, maybe he could call Wendell the wizard and ask him to take the slippers.

For now, Isaac was just grateful that Charlie didn’t have to try to redo his homework right before bedtime. It would have spoiled their happy day. “Shall we read the dinosaur astronaut book today?” he asked. “We did just spend an hour and a half watching a movie about dinosaurs.”

“Of course,” Charlie said. “You can’t have too much dinosaurs.” He smiled.   “Today was pretty great, wasn’t it?”