A moth fluttered around an outside light as Larry and Lorraine snuggled on their porch swing, finally taking a rare moment to be alone.
“Did we screw up our kids?” Larry asked.
“What?” Lorraine asked. “No.”
“One’s a punk rocker who might be a closet Lycan supremacist and the other’s an overachiever who is going to work himself to the brink until he has a heart attack at forty,” Larry said.
“Those are…” Lorraine struggled for the right word. “…over-generalizations.”
“I don’t know,” Larry said. “You work hard. Do the right thing but poof, before you know it, time is gone and your kids are about to go out there in the world and you just know they’re going to fall flat on their faces. And all we can do is…”
“…let it happen,” Lorraine said. “Falling flat on your face is just part of growing up. It’s how we learn.”
The couple sat silently for a moment, before Larry blurted it out. “You still glad you married me?”
Lorraine shook her head. “What a silly question.”
“I’m just saying,” Phil said. “You had options. Bob Robinson.”
“Oh, everyone in our class knew that, Phil,” Lorraine said.
“But he was over your house all the time.”
“Because he was raiding my closet,” Lorraine said. “Jerk never gave back half the things he borrowed.”
“Carl Campbell,” Phil said.
Phil drew another name out of his mind. “Mike Robinson.”
Larry was shocked. “What? When?”
“Three years after graduation,” Lorraine said. “You know how he was. An adrenaline junkie. Loved to shut his lights off and play chicken with other cars. It caught up to him.”
“Dexter Wainwright,” Larry said. “Now that guy was something. And good looking. Captain of the football team. Had his own car. His parents were loaded.”
“Jesus, Larry,” Lorraine said. “If you loved him so much, why didn’t you marry him?”
“I’m just saying,” Larry said. “He was sweet on you…and he could have given you a better life than a shit hauler could have provided.”
“Didn’t you hear the vampire Phil?” Lorraine asked. “You prevent the plague.”
Larry laughed. “I do, don’t I?”
“You do,” Lorraine said. “And you’re nicer to be around. I went on three dates with Dexter Wainwright and the only thing we ever talked about was Dexter Wainwright.”
“Well,” Larry said. “Out of all the closeted werewolves in Seacaucus High, Class of 1950, I’m glad you picked me.”
Lorraine kissed her husband on the cheek, then patted his arm. “Me too.”
Mr. and Mrs. Lumpkiss sat for a while. Eventually, they noticed they weren’t the only ones outside. Across the street, an elderly woman sat on her porch. Her hair was as white as snow and though it wasn’t particularly cold out, she was wrapped up in a shawl. Her eyes were squinted, as though she could barely see. Next to her sat a buff, younger man. He whittled a piece of wood, whistling all the while. Once in a while, he would drop what he was doing to tend to the old lady’s needs. He’d rub her feet or bring her a glass of water, then inevitably return to his whittling. At one point, he stopped long enough to engage the old lady in a long, passionate kiss.
The Lumpkisses appeared dumbfounded.
“OK,” Larry said. “I’m just going to say it.”
“If you must,” Lorraine said.
“Those two are weird, right?” Larry asked.
“I don’t know,” Lorraine said. “Maybe? To each their own, I guess. If they’re happy, then they’re happy.”
“How could that young buck possibly be happy with that old fossil?” Larry asked.
“Wait a minute, buster,” Lorraine said. “Pretty young women marry decrepit old men who can barely keep their heads up all the time and no one ever bats an eye and no one ever says they’re weird.”
“Oh, they’re weird alright,” Larry said. “But that, I get. They’re doing it for the money. Those old men shell out the cash and the young women live it up. Maybe they’re even doing it as an investment. Put their time in and maybe the old fart will kick the bucket, leave them all their dough.”
“I don’t think Anita Jenkins has a lot of dough,” Lorraine said.
“That’s my point,” Larry said. “And those two aren’t even married. They’re living in sin, so Calvin’s doing all this work taking care of her old, wrinkly hide and he may not even get her house when she keels over.”
“I don’t know, Larry,” Lorraine said. “Sometimes love doesn’t make sense.”
“You really think those two are in love?” Larry asked.
“Beats me,” Lorraine said. “Why don’t you go over and ask them?”
“No way,” Larry said.
“Maybe we should invite them over for dinner sometime,” Lorraine said. “We’ve lived next door to them for fifteen years and we’ve barely said boo to them.”
“Supernaturals can’t be fraternizing with the humans, Lorraine.”
“We don’t have to reveal anything to them,” Lorraine said. “You’d have to keep an eye on that temper, though. One wolf fit in front of them and we’d have to move.”
“I don’t want to move,” Larry said. “I like it here.”
Larry stared at the odd couple who, at the moment, were holding hands. Calvin had put down his whittling and was lost in the old woman’s beady eyes.
“I’ve got to know more,” Larry said.
“Then ask Mitch next time you see him,” Lorraine said.
“I barely ever see him,” Larry said. “And I don’t know if I like the idea of Mitch hanging out with…well…whatever the hell is going on over there.”
“He’s just playing video games with Miss Jenkins’ niece,” Lorraine said.
“Where’s Claudette’s mother?” Larry asked. “Huh? And where’s the father? Probably a couple of druggies who overdosed in a junkie house somewhere. Ever think of that?”
“Maybe,” Lorraine said. “Or maybe they were two nice people who died of natural causes. Or maybe she died in a car accident and he died in Vietnam. Just because they’re black, you went and assumed the worst possible scenario, Larry.”
Larry turned red faced. “I did not!”
“You did,” Lorraine said as she patted Larry’s back, calming him down. His face resumed normal.
“Alright,” Larry said. “I did.”
“You’ve got to work on that,” Lorraine said.
Larry sat and sulked for a minute, then stood up. He walked into the house. “Come on. I’ve got an idea.”
Curious, Lorraine followed Larry into the kitchen, where he packed the remaining cherry cobbler into one of his wife’s Tupperware containers, then called for his daughter. “Whitney!”
The kid entered the kitchen. “Yeah?”
“Got a spy mission for you,” Larry said.
Whitney smirked. “What?”
“Take this,” Larry said as he handed over the cobbler. “Tell Miss Jenkins your mother made too much and she wanted her and Mr. Hill to have it. Then ask if you can play a couple of games on that new fangled video-game-a-ma-jig with Mitch and Claudette. Don’t snoop around but pay attention, observe, and report back here in twenty minutes.”
Whitney was flummoxed. “That’s…but…they aren’t…I mean, they are but…I…I don’t know, Dad. I don’t want to cramp Mitch’s style.”
“Cramp it,” Larry said as he pointed to the door. “We’re Lumpkisses. That’s what we do.”
“Ugh,” Whitney said as she stomped out the door in a huff. “Fine!”
Lorraine shook her head at her husband. “Suddenly, Dexter Wainwright is looking better and better.”
Larry smiled. “But I doubt Dexter Wainwright is half as skilled in the art of amore.”
Lorraine wrapped her arms around Larry’s neck. “Ooo, I love it when you speak Italian.”
“Molto bene, mon cheri,” Larry said.
“Now you’re mixing languages,” Lorraine said.
“Sorry babe,” Larry said as he picked up his wife and hurled her delicate frame over his shoulder. “You know me, I’m just a big dumb wolfman.”
Lorraine laughed and playfully slapped her husband’s back. “Put me down, you big goof!”
He did so and together, the couple ran upstairs, headed for their bedroom. They shut the door behind them.
“Ahhwoo!” Larry said.
“Oh, no!” Lorraine replied. “A big, bad, wolfman! What are you going to do me?”
“I don’t know,” Larry said. “You look like a mummy to me, so I think I shall have to unravel you!”