Charlie’s Room: The Mess

It was a beautiful day.   Marianne was outside in the garden, getting it ready for planting. Charlie and Isaac were stuck inside. Isaac had a sunburn and didn’t want to make it worse. It was at the yucky stage where it was itchy and peeling.

Charlie was cleaning his room. It was ankle deep in papers and books and clothes. “How did it get like this so quickly?” Marianne had asked him.

“I had a busy week,” he said. “But I’ll get it clean and come out to help in the garden soon, Mom.”

“I hope so,” Marianne said. “I have a lot of work to get done today.”

Isaac checked on Charlie an hour after breakfast and it looked like the cleaning was going pretty slowly. Perhaps Charlie wasn’t as eager to spend time in the garden as he’d seemed. Isaac sat down with a crossword puzzle and soon lost track of time.

Around lunchtime, Isaac heard a yell coming from Charlie’s room. “Charlie, are you okay?” he asked.

“Dad, come here,” Charlie said. Isaac set down the crossword puzzle and hurried down the hall.   Charlie was standing in the middle of the room scowling. It looked just as messy as it had before breakfast. “Dad,” Charlie said. “Someone messed up my room.”

“There’s no one in the house but you and me,” Isaac said.   “I promise it wasn’t me.”

“I got a lot of cleaning done,” Charlie said. “I was almost done. I left to get a drink of water, and when I came back, it looked like this.”

Isaac looked around. He could hear a faint humming sound. When he looked up, he saw that the window was open. He must be hearing Marianne singing to herself in the garden. He smiled. “It must have been the wind,” he said. “See, you’ve left the window open.” He crossed the room and closed it. “Now you should be fine. You need to stop leaving your window open. I haven’t had a chance to replace the screen yet.”

Charlie folded his arms across his chest. “Dad, can the wind move shoes and books?   Everything is moved, not just papers or socks.”

Isaac looked around again. There were a lot of heavy things scattered around on the floor.   “It doesn’t seem likely, does it?”

“So who is messing up my room? Should we search the house?” Charlie asked.

“I would have seen anyone come in from where I was sitting,” Isaac said. “I know no one came down the hall, either. I’ll tell you what. I’ll look around and maybe pick up a bit, and you can get lunch started.”

“Really? Thanks, Dad,” Charlie said. “Can I make spaghetti?”

“For lunch? We could have sandwiches or something easy,” Isaac said.

“But I like spaghetti and I know how to make it,” Charlie said.

“Call me when you need to drain the noodles,” Isaac said. “And be careful.”

Charlie cheered and hurried down the hall.   Isaac looked around the house and didn’t find anyone hiding. Nothing else seemed out of place. When he returned to Charlie’s room, he felt a breeze hit him as he walked in.

He looked over. The window was still closed. Where was the breeze coming from and why did the room look worse than ever? He sat on the desk chair and waited.

After a few minutes, a miniature tornado started up in the middle of the room. It raced around the floor, tossing things left and right. Then it started pulling things off shelves when it leaned near them as it zoomed past.

“A dust devil, of course,” Isaac said. He stood up and it disappeared, leaving behind a big mess. Isaac hurried to the hall closet and found the vacuum. He waited by the desk again, and when the dust devil returned, he quickly turned on the vacuum and vacuumed it.

The vacuum bag was shaking. Isaac hurried out the front door and opened the bag at the end of the driveway. “Go home, little guy,” he said. A blast of air hit his face and then hurried down the street, shaking bushes and tree branches as it flew past.

He went back inside and started picking up in Charlie’s room. Ten minutes later, Charlie came in. “Dad, I’m ready for you to help me drain the pasta,” he said. “Wow, it looks nice in here. Did you find who messed it up?”

“Yeah, I caught the little guy and let him go outside,” Isaac said.

“Ew, was it a squirrel? Did it chew on my furniture?” Charlie asked.

“No, it was a baby dust devil,” Isaac said. “It huffed and puffed at your furniture, just like the big bad wolf.”

“That’s silly, Dad. As long as it wasn’t a squirrel. Come help me with the spaghetti, and I’ll finish up here after lunch,” Charlie said.

“I’m coming,” Isaac said. “And I suppose I could help you out in here after lunch.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Charlie said. “And could you please fix my window screen soon?”

“Of course I will,” Isaac said.