I am hip deep in laundry. There are 17 more shoes than feet in our front hall—not pairs, just single shoes. There's a kid I don't know sleeping on the couch.
There's a dog I don't know drinking out of my toilet. My fridge is loaded to the gills with old Chinese food and outdated Gogurts. I'm out of bread, eggs, milk, hot dogs, and ho hos. I haven't shaved in four days. I have no clean towels.
I wander into my son's room where he's fallen asleep like a true warrior in a puddle of drool surrounded by a crenelated edifice of soda cans and spent Instant Smack Ramen bowls. It's snackhenge.
The dinner table is piled to the roof beams with clean clothes. I put them there with the admonition my kids ought to put away their own duds. They just started changing in the dining room. There's a Wii avatar staring at me from the flatscreen.
He seems angry, impatient, like he's been standing there a long time. He's looking at me like he's thinking "Well? What are you going to do now?"
What am I going to do? The only sane thing left. This experiment called "summer" has run its course and it's an epic fail. I know when I've been beat. I grab my keys, my giant leather manbag, my Panama hat, and I walk out the front door.
I've been a slave for nine long weeks. A kept man. A minion for my miniature overlords and I've had it. I need to refill my man card. I go to my favorite cigar lounge and disappear into a deep leather chair under a cloud of fine Nicaraguan smoke. I break out a good book. I order a cup of coffee so strong it can bend time. I wallow deeper into the leather, tilt my hat down over my eyes, and crack the spine on the book.
Then the texts begin.
Dad where are you?
Srsly. I'm hungry.
LOL, dad. You're funny. Danny needs a ride home and his dog pooped in the kitchen.
It's a good cigar. I mean, really, really good. I keep smoking and stare into the haze
until my phone vibrates a hole in the chair.
Dad, Connor is grubhubbing a pizza. Can I get a pizza?
LOL. Hilarious. I'm starving. Some dog pooped in the kitchen.
The thing about a Partagas Maduro is you have to take time to smoke it right. You
can't smoke it too fast, it's like fishing. You have to—
Hon? The kids seem concerned about you.
It's been a long summer. You probably need a minivacation.
Our house is full of kids and dogs and they're all starving to death. Maybe you should—
If you quit your duties . . . I'll quit mine.
I'm back at the house in ten minutes flat.