Charlie’s Room: The Novel

“I can’t believe it’s still so cold,” Marianne said. “It will make Charlie’s field trip to the zoo a little miserable.”

“They did schedule it in March,” Isaac said. “They should have expected it to be cold.”

“I imagine they got a good deal on tickets or something.”   Marianne sighed. “Now we’ll all freeze.”

“You didn’t have to volunteer to chaperone,” Isaac said.

“Of course I did. You’re just jealous. You have a boring day ahead of you,” Marianne said.

“At least I’ll be warm,” Isaac said. “Besides, I’m meeting Cousin Reginald for lunch.”

Marianne made a face, and then laughed.  “I’ll take my day, cold and all.”

That evening, Charlie had lots to say about the zoo. The polar bears had been especially active, and Charlie was certain that a tiger had been stalking him. “And the birds came right up to us at lunch and took the food right out of our hands,” Charlie finished.

“They were pigeons,” Marianne said.

“Ah.” Isaac nodded.

“So, how’s Cousin Reginald?” Marianne asked.

“He’s invented face muffs and he’s trying to patent them,” Isaac said. “It looks like he has giant fluffy blue eyebrows and a big fluffy blue mustache.”

“That sounds cool,” Charlie said. “I’d wear that.”

“Great. He’s promised to make some for all of us,” Isaac said. Marianne groaned and Charlie cheered. “Unfortunately, we can’t have them until he has his patent.   He’s afraid of rival inventors.”

“Awww,” Charlie said.

Marianne nodded. “That makes sense.”

“While waiting to hear back, he wrote a novel. He insists that it will bring the world together and usher in world peace,” Isaac said. “He gave me a copy. I’ll go get it.” Isaac stood up.

“It’s published already?” Marianne asked. Isaac paused in the doorway. “Isn’t that pretty quick? He didn’t mention it before now.”

“He says that publishing companies are too mainstream.   He self-published,” Isaac said.

Marianne rolled her eyes. “Of course he did. He and his second adolescence.   He acts like anything normal is a bad thing. Go on then, go get it so we can see it.”

Isaac left and returned with a huge paperback book.   The cover was black with red writing that said World Peace. Isaac set it on the side table with a thump.

“That’s a big book,” Charlie said. “Do we have to read the whole thing?”

“We can at least read the first few pages,” Marianne said.   “It looks like he put a lot of effort into writing it. Besides, I’m curious to hear how a book can cause world peace. Why don’t you start reading, Isaac. We have some time before dinner is ready.”

“All right,” Isaac said. He started reading. The oven timer woke them up a half hour later.

“Did we all just fall asleep?” Charlie asked.

“I didn’t even read past the first page,” Isaac said.

They all looked at the book. It had fallen off Isaac’s lap and somehow landed on the floor face up.   “That is a dangerous book,” Marianne said.

“I like it,” Charlie said. “Read it to me the next time I have nightmares, Dad.”

Isaac laughed. “I’ll leave it on the bookshelf in your room.  Let’s have dinner, and then we can write Cousin Reginald a thank you note for his gift.”