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Hanging By a Thread with Lilah
Hanging By a Thread with Lilah

Hanging By a Thread with Lilah

BeowulfAnthony E
1 Review

Single dad, I call myself a widower/sort of, my ex is dead to me, she moved to a trailer park with my best friend Ted in Kissammee Florida. I wish her the best of tornadoes and tsunamis. She did leave me with a two part priceless inheritance that's worth more to me than all the gold around Mr. T's neck. Delilah or Lilah and Nate who we just call " Nutso".

Lilah is 7, but she's growing up in dog years. She's a tomboy, but knows how to throw on the charm and how to get extra whipped cream at the Waffle House. Nutso is two, he's still in the diaper stage and I have stage fright. He's like waiting at the bus stop and watching the gauntlet bus speed by instead of stopping, well Nutso is the bus with Sandra Bullock behind the wheel.

Thanks to the Nashville school system and Netflix, I'm able to get by, keep em safe, minus the weekly trip to the urgent care. I fall asleep from complete exhaustion by 9pm every night and my sex life consists of cheering on our unfixed mutt, yes his name is Mutt, who meets more lady canines than the dog catcher.

Work at Mike's Open Mike is anything but the ordinary, we see all the crazies, some with talent some with talons. I'm a short order cook long on orders. Grilled Cheese on Texas Toast with tomatoes, onions, juicy bacon, fries on the interior, and three kinds of cheese is my invention. We call it the triple bypass. It's a dive bar with great acoustics where some of the amazing names in country music started out: like the third Mandrell Sister, Willy Wheeler and the Chitlin's who drove their tour van off the Tallahasse County Bridge.

While flipping cheese, my tattooed female Russian boss, Mike (short for Mikala), told me I had a call from Burl Ives Elementary School. It was a somewhat routine occurance, so I kept flipping and greasing, then wiped my hands with a stained towel and took the yellow touch tone phone line. The principal, Mr. Borstein, had a voice that included a hissing sound similar to Gollum from The Hobbit. He always had to paraphrase everything by saying, "At the end of the day." "At the end of which day? The guy was a moron!"

I jumped on my bike, and when I mean my bike, I'm talking Huffy not Harley. Our car had a long standing relationship with the overalled mechanic who does an overall decent job. I rode up to the red bricked school, and went through a school security guard who reminded me of Dusty Hill from ZZ TOP, he was brushing his hair with a fake switch blade comb, I can't make this stuff up.

As I walked into the principal's waiting room, there was Lilah sitting cross legged blowing a bubble. Annoyed, but not angry in the least, I knew Lilah was a little headstrong, but she had the heart of a horse(little known fact: a horse has five hearts, one in each foot). "Hey Lay Lay I brought you some fries." She opened the greasy bag, "Hey thanks Atticus." She's been calling me that ever since she read How to Kill a Mockingbird at age 6.

Finally Mr. Borstein's mechanical door swung open, he had a button that sprang the door. A little boom box played Baby Blue by Badfinger, he was putting out a long women like cigarette while he waved us in. Out of a manilla folder, he took out a drawing and said, "I am simply appalled, this type of work shows mental instability." The title of the assignment, I would later find out was: What I Want to Do on My Spring Vacation and Lilah, like most kids, was not artisically inclined and her family of four snorkeling looked very much like a mass family suicide.

All of a sudden a linebacker of a lady with a dark bowl haircut barged in. Mr. Borstein introduced her as Ms. Perry our new school counselor. I preceded to call her Counselor as if we were in a courtroom. We walked into Borstein's office and sat in low uneven maroon vinyl conference chairs, while Lilah was directed to a corner table. Ms. Perry pulled out a 500 piece puzzle out of her sleek gray KMart briefcase with a combination lock. "Lilah, here is a puzzle for you to start it has a beautiful blue boat, it's called Old Man in the Sea and it is a book by Ernest Hemingway" said Ms. Perry. Lilah replied, "Ok, have you ever read Treasure Island by Charles Dickens?" "Why yes of course," Ms. Perry snobbishly replied. She handed her the puzzle like it was her prized possession. "Oh great, a puzzle," Lilah replied sarcastically. If they wanted to occupy Lilah for a long time, this puzzle was about 1,500 pieces short, but they would soon find that out for themselves.

Ms.Bornstein, or as Lilah called him, Boringstein, and Ms. Perry prejudged me on account of my greasey white vneck shirt and Smokey and the Bandit trucker hat. These self awarded administrators pointed at Lilah's drawing by tapping their fingers aggressively on the desk. "Yes, this appalling drawing, what do you have to say for yourself or for Lilah?" stated Ms. Perry. Boringstein added, "At the end of the day, we can get you family counseling and have your home safety checked for dangerous objects." I looked at the noose snorkels and giggled in front of them. "We don't see this as a laughing matter, and quite frankly your reply is unbecoming of a man who 'at the end of the day' would like to keep custody of your children," stated Mr. Boringstein.

Finally I wiped the grin off my face and let out, "Well, yes I do agree it is horrific, she's made a mess of my hairline and little Nate has never worn a bow tie in his life. Ms. Perry took off her glasses and brought out the accusations, "No wonder why Lilah is like this--this man has no clue about her fascination with self immolation, yes sir, I will have to report this to DCFS."

I finally bounced back, "Yes, report that my daughter is only 7 and tests at a 15 year old reading level, her only problem is that her drawing of a family snorkeling trip looks a little bit like four nooses, a problem you could have cleared up if if you read the essay on the back.

"Ohh now you're speechless, and suicide are you kidding me? You are playing a casette tape of Bad Finger, yes Bad Finger, did you know their frontman Mike Ham actually did hang himself and you Sigmond Fraud, you gave my Lilah a puzzle depicting Ernest Hemingway who suffered from depression, hemochromatosis, endured electroconvulsive therapy and then shot himself in the head in his basement. Great Job Counselor, for you educators to be so educated about the serious nature of suicide, it is really disturbing that you don't have any clue what you are talking about and if you ever accuse my Lilah again you better have definite proof." Just then, Lilah remarked, "Finished!" She stood up from her completed puzzle, placed her hand in mine and lambasted, "At the end of the day, that sea puzzle made me wanna snorkle and Counselor it was Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson that wrote Treasure Island."


Author Notes: Don't underestimate kids, coming to conclusions should be left to Stephen King.

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About The Author
Anthony E
About This Story
10 Apr, 2021
Read Time
6 mins
5.0 (1 review)

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