Tag: movienight

Charlie’s Room: The Apple

One of the apples was different from the other apples in the fruit bowl. Isaac could feel it the moment he stepped into the kitchen. It wasn’t just different in the way that all apples are different from each other.

Some apples have stripes, others spots, others have splotches of color or a subtle variation in hue. The can be all different shades of red or yellow or green, sometimes with little speckles or stripes of brown or white. And then there are all the differences in size and shape and taste.

This apple was different in all of those normal ways. It was splotchy red and yellow, and it was missing its stem. It was largish for an apple, and roundish.

It was also watching him. He couldn’t explain how he knew. He could just feel the weight of the stare when he was looking elsewhere. Of course, when he looked right at the apples, they all seemed completely normal.

He wasn’t sure which apple it was at first. When he walked in, Marianne was next to the fruit bowl, filling a pitcher with water from the faucet. “How was work?” she asked.

“It was fine. Hey, where did you get those apples?”

Charlie looked over from where he was setting the table. “We have more apples? I hadn’t noticed. What kind did you get?”

Marianne turned off the faucet and carried the pitcher to the table. “They had bags of mixed apples at a discount. We eat so many apples that I bought two bags. The apples that didn’t fit in the bowl are still in their bags over there by the fridge.” She gestured towards the fridge with a nod of her head.

Isaac walked over and peered into the half-full bags of apples, but they all looked like completely normal apples. He felt someone watching him again, from the direction of the fruit bowl. He glanced over, and Marianne and Charlie were at the table.

“Can I have an apple?” Charlie placed the last fork on the table and hurried to the fruit bowl. He picked up a large red and yellow apple. It slipped and he just managed to catch it. “Woah. Got it.” He walked towards Marianne.

Isaac was watching Charlie and not the fruit bowl. The apples in the bowl weren’t watching him. That’s when he knew which apple was different. “We’re about to eat dinner,” he said.

“Oh. Right. Maybe after dinner?”

Marianne laughed. “We’ll see.”

But after dinner, Isaac suggested a movie night with popcorn and Charlie forgot about the apple. Isaac did not. Once Marianne and Charlie were watching the movie, Isaac slipped back into the kitchen.

He took the apple out of the fruit bowl and moved the bowl over by the bags of apples. Then he set the apple on the counter by itself. He crouched down so that he was at eye level.

“Hello. I’m not sure if you understand me, but I want you to know that this isn’t really a safe place for you. We eat apples here, and you look like an apple.”

Suddenly two small shiny black eyes were looking back at him. Isaac blinked. He’d suspected this wasn’t a normal apple, but it was still strange to see it looking back at him.

“Is there something I can do to help you return to wherever you came from? Blink once for yes and twice for no.”

The apple blinked twice.

“Okay. Will you be able to leave tonight?”

The apple blinked once.

“Do you need anything?”

The apple blinked twice.

“All right then. I’ll leave you alone. Good luck with your journey home.”

Isaac left the kitchen to watch the movie. They laughed at the funny parts and cheered at the exciting parts and quoted all their favorite lines. When Marianne and Charlie left to get their pajamas on, Isaac took the popcorn bowls back to the kitchen. The apple was gone.

Isaac checked all of the other apples, but none of them watched him or responded when he spoke to him. He decided that meant they were safe to eat. He put them all away and went to read a bedtime story to Charlie.

The next morning, Charlie hurried into the kitchen, his hair still messy from sleep. “Where’s the big yellowy-red apple? I want to eat it with breakfast.”

“It’s gone already,” Isaac said.

“That’s too bad. I guess I’ll eat one of the stripey ones instead.” He did.

Isaac didn’t eat any of the apples. It just seemed wrong somehow.

Charlie’s Room: The Junk Drawer

Marianne pulled the big, blue rubber band off of the bunch of asparagus and dropped it into the junk drawer. She took the asparagus to the table and held it out like a bouquet. “Let me show you the best way to cut up asparagus.”

Charlie glanced over at Isaac, who was cutting up carrots. “But dad has the cutting board.”

“We don’t need a cutting board.” Marianne held up a stalk of asparagus and began to snap it into pieces.

“Let me try.” Charlie held out a hand for a stalk of asparagus. He quickly snapped it into pieces. “This is fun. Why aren’t carrots so easy to cut up?”

“Maybe they would be if they were as skinny as asparagus.” Marianne picked up a thinner carrot and snapped it in half. “See?”

After the asparagus and potatoes and carrots and cabbage were cut into pieces and added to the soup pot, Charlie took the ends to the compost container in the sink. He turned and pulled the junk drawer open. “Hey, where did the rubber band go?”

“It should be somewhere in there.” Marianne put a lid on the pot. “You saw me put it in.”

“I know. But it’s not there.” Charlie turned to Isaac, who was wiping down the table. “Dad, you saw it, right?”

“I did. Were you thinking about the rubber band when you opened the drawer?” Isaac went to the sink to rinse out the sponge.

“How does that make a difference?” Charlie pushed the things in the drawer around. They made a scraping, rumbling sound as they moved around the drawer. “It’s not here.”

“Close it and try again. Think about the rubber band.” Isaac started drying the table with a kitchen table.

“But that won’t work.” Charlie frowned. “Either it’s there or it’s not. Thinking about it isn’t going to change that.”

“Just try it and see,” Marianne said. “Who knows?”

Charlie closed the drawer. He squeezed his eyes closed and opened the drawer again. He looked down. “It’s right there on top. How did that happen? It wasn’t there when I closed the drawer. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Maybe you didn’t see it,” Marianne said. “Sometimes that happens to me, too.”

“But it was right on top,” Charlie said. He swung around to glare at Isaac, who was hanging up the kitchen towel to dry.

Isaac, feeling the glare, turned to face Charlie. He laughed. “Don’t get mad. It’s just how junk drawers work. Their random structure attracts chaos. Once it reaches critical mass, it functions as a portal to the in-between.”

Charlie stopped glaring. Instead, he looked confused. “Is that like another dimension? I thought those weren’t real.”

“If they are, I don’t think that junk drawers are portals to them,” Marianne said. “I think someone would have noticed by now.”

“People don’t pay attention to junk drawers, because they think they already understand them.” Isaac shrugged. “I think there are more things out there than we understand right now. Sometimes that’s because we aren’t willing to look at what’s in front of us.”

Charlie twirled the rubber band between his fingers. “Huh.” He dropped the rubber band back into the drawer and closed it. Then he closed his eyes tightly and opened the drawer again. He looked down. “It didn’t work. I wanted an ice cream cone.”

“Before dinner?” Marianne smiled and shook her head. “It’s a good thing it didn’t work. After all our effort making the soup, you would have spoiled your appetite.”

Charlie turned to look at Isaac. Isaac smiled. “It only works for things you put in the junk drawer. Otherwise people would have unlimited change, and then our currency would destabilize.”

Charlie nodded. “So it just means that it’s easier to find things and you have unlimited space?”

“As long as the assortment is sufficiently random.” Isaac pulled some bowls out of the cupboard and handed them to Charlie. “Do you want to help me set the table?”

They set the table, and later sat down to a lovely dinner of vegetable soup and crackers. After dinner, they cleared the table, and there was enough time before bedtime to watch a dinosaur movie. They settled in with popcorn.

Partway through the movie, Charlie sat up straight and turned to look at Isaac. “Wait a minute! Is that where you hide the Christmas presents? In the junk drawer?”

Isaac smiled. “Maybe.”

Charlie clapped his hands together. “Now I know where to look for them! I know the secret of the drawer.”

“Only if you know exactly what you’re looking for,” Isaac pointed out.

Charlie slumped in his seat. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Marianne laughed. “Don’t worry about it. Look, it’s your favorite part of the movie.” They turned back to the screen and forgot all about the junk drawer.