“Cousin Reginald says that he found a loft bed for Charlie’s room,” Isaac told Marianne after breakfast.
“One of those beds on stilts?” Charlie asked. He stopped poking at his oatmeal.
“Yes,” Isaac said.
“Is Cousin Reginald the one who smells like raw onions and stinky cheese?” Marianne asked, wrinkling up her nose. “And uses really long words so that no one can understand a thing he says?”
“Yes,” Isaac said. “He’s going through a rebellious phase, and he says that tattoos and piercings are too mainstream.”
“He’s in his seventies,” Marianne said.
“And before retirement he was a very well-behaved accountant,” Isaac said. “He’s just entering the adolescence of his retirement years, that’s all. It will pass.”
“Well, I think Charlie and I are going to the bug museum today,” Marianne said.
“Really?” Charlie asked. He pushed away his bowl. “I love the bug museum!”
“What better way to spend a Saturday?” Marianne asked. “Now eat three more bites.” She grinned at Isaac. “Too bad we won’t be here when Cousin Reginald comes.”
“You’re missing out. He tells the best jokes,” Isaac said.
“If you can even understand what he’s saying,” Marianne said. “Come on, Charlie, let’s go get ready. It’s Daddy’s turn to do the dishes.”
Isaac did the dishes and moved Charlie’s bed out to the garage. Cousin Reginald arrived soon after. “What tangible object appears to bear the hues ivory, ebony, and crimson over the entirety of its epidermis?” He asked, when Isaac answered the door.
“Hmmm. So many things could fit that particular situation,” Isaac said.
“Indeed. However, on this occasion, it happens to be a Sheniscidae suffering from Erythema,” Cousin Reginald said.
“Oooh. Let me get my phone so that I can be enlightened,” Isaac said.
“I’d settle for a manifestation of mirth, but then I am currently experimenting with gelotology,” Cousin Reginald said.
The visit was pleasant, especially once Isaac had gotten used to the smell and didn’t have to breathe through his mouth. Isaac carried in the pieces from the mustard-yellow minivan, and Cousin Reginald put them together. He pointed a piece and Isaac held it in place while Reginald attached it. Then he pointed to the next piece. Within a half hour, it was done and he was gone.
Isaac was in the living room opening some windows, when he heard something bump against Charlie’s door. Had it blown closed? He’d better see what happened.
He tried to open the door, but at first it seemed stuck. Then, it flew open and he stumbled inside.
The new bed was in the middle of the room instead of standing against the wall where he’d left it. It shoved past him and rushed out of the room. He followed it down the hall. As it slowed down, it seemed to be limping.
Isaac managed to corner it in the living room behind the couch. Luckily, he hadn’t opened the front window yet, or it might have tried to jump out. “Hey, big guy, it’s going to be okay. Calm down. That’s right.” Isaac held his hands out in front of him to show he wasn’t holding any tools. “Is there something wrong with your foot? Can I take a look and see if I can help?”
The bed trembled for a bit, then slowly held out a long wooden leg. On the bottom of its foot, there was a shiny silver tack. “Let me see if I can get that off without a knife or a screwdriver or something,” Isaac said.
He slowly reached out his hand. The bed flinched, but held still. Isaac managed to pry out the tack. The hole it left was small and shallow. It would be fine to leave it like that. “There you go,” Isaac said. “Now do you think you can go back to your spot and sleep, like the rest of the furniture?”
The bed rubbed up against him once and then returned to Isaac’s room. Isaac sung it some lullabies in case that helped. By the time Marianne and Charlie returned, it was as asleep as anything else in the house and didn’t move. “This bed is awesome,” Charlie said.
“And the house smells fine,” Marianne said. “How did the visit go?”
“It was great, you missed out,” Isaac said. He patted the bed. Did it just purr? He looked at it. No, probably not.