When Toddlers Go Missing

You would think that after yet another raging BBQ at our house on Sunday, the parental unit would opt to take it easy on Monday; you know, to spend some quality time with the kids they neglected Sunday afternoon and maybe give their languishing livers a rest for fuck’s sake.  Shocking that I could be so wrong about something like this.  I should’ve known when I overheard mommy on the phone with daddy about 8:45 A.M.  We were all outside playing because it was so nice already.  I was looking for sticks to poke the dog with, and Leona was quarantined with a barricade of chairs to the cement portion of the patio to avoid any more dog shit baths.  It’s just so nice out today!  mommy was gushing.  And yesterday was so fun!  It’s like, I want to have another party!  My red flags went up immediately.  If mommy wants to have a party, even if it’s just her, some pretzel rods and a bottle of chardonnay, it’s going down (pun completely fucking intended).  Consequently, the hag was whipping up chavelas by 2 P.M. while me and Leona were swimming in the kiddie pool.  Daddy came home soon after, and before you know it, Hot Hallie came over with some wine.  I had barely digested my fucking lunch.

So I was irritated.  I wanted to play naked squirt guns, or naked woofle-ball, or go for a ride naked on my motorized Indian bike, but Mommy and Hallie were too busy looking at some fucking jewelry magazines to care.  Daddy was shoveling in chips and salsa, acting like he gave a flying fuck which over-priced ring mommy was going to buy for herself.  Leona was wandering around aimlessly, also naked, over-tired and whiny because she too wanted to be indulged with some time away from the Mermod family’s overabundance of merrymaking.  You see, here at Inebriation Nation, even the 13-month-olds get fed up once in a while.  Rat Baby is sick of playing Count How Many Ice Cubes It Takes to Make a 32-oz. Vodka Diet.  You know, mommy actually thinks she’s nurturing Leona’s left brain during this lame game?  Unbelievable.

The 32-oz vodka diet is a good Segway into the next part of my story.  Mommy went in the house to make one, uttering a hey babe, watch the baby for me over her shoulder as she shut the sliding screen door behind her.  Leona was still walking in circles in her four-by-four foot play space.  Daddy and Hallie got into some ridiculous conversation about something that had nothing to do with squirt guns, baseball, or me going for a ride on my Indian.  I decided it was about time for the Gusman to make a move.  About fifteen minutes passed by.  Mommy was back out sitting on the patio step with Leona, daddy and Hallie were munching and drinking at the patio table, and I was nowhere to be seen.  Another five minutes passed–we are up to TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES now, people–and daddy nonchalantly asked mommy where her son was.  In the side yard, probably, she answered, but not before a big, delightful swig off of her jug-of-a-cocktail.  Daddy walked without any sense of urgency across the back lawn and to the side yard.  No Gus.  He came back to report to mommy, who actually got off her ass with some resolve.  I’ll check the garage, she said, and I must say, there was the slightest hint of irritation in her voice as she simultaneously put her drink down.  She passed Leona to Hallie.  Because I am known for crawling through the doggie door into the garage and running laps through the kitchen and back out through the patio, I’m sure the hag thought she’d find me there, climbing daddy’s Harley or jumping on the queen bed.  I’m sure she had quite the tongue-lashing prepared for me, too, because I’m not supposed to be out there by myself.  But after a quick peek at all my standard hiding spots, no Gus.  At this point, I felt the level of anxiety go up a notch.  Mommy, Hallie and daddy began to pace through the house with feet that pounded on the laminate flooring a bit harder than normal, calling out for me to come out from my hiding spot.  Hallie wrapped a naked Leona in a towel and scoured the front yard.  Where the fuck is he? mommy shrieked, and for the first time in a while, I heard it in her voice:  She likes me a little bit.  The hag would be seriously bummed if I hitched a ride to Vegas and immersed myself in the Asian underground there.  This made me feel good.  She raced back out to the patio from the kitchen.  She stood there, breathing in and out, in and out.  She looked up, put her hand on her chest like she might faint, and then I actually heard her suck in her breath with comprehension, as if suddenly remembering where she’d misplaced her entire liquor cabinet.  Then, stealth silence.  Like a tiger on the hunt, she darted toward the newest addition to our back yard–the L-shaped bar pushed against the side of the house.  There, behind it, she found me sitting Indian-style on the ground with an open, 4-lb container of Red Vines in my lap.  Throughout the whole debacle, I had probably polished off fifteen of those fuckers.  Plus, I was in prime ear-shot to hear the whole fiasco go down.  I half-grinned at her, knowing I was in trouble, but also knowing that her relief that I was not going to be the Bay Area’s next Amber Alert might get me off the hook somewhat.  She grabbed me, clearly choked up. 

Augusten Timothy, don’t you EVER do that again, do you understand?  When mommy and daddy call for you, you COME OUT from wherever you’re hiding!  We were so worried that someone might have taken you!

I responded by pointing at the Red Vines.  For some reason, this just made her hug me until I about spit out the mouthful I had crammed in when I figured the gig was up.

After everyone had calmed down and grabbed up their cocktails to alleviate the stress of potentially having to file a missing persons report, I was pretty much off the hook.  To be honest, the whole thing almost played out as a fantasy of mine in which the police finally show up on my doorstep to hold my parent’s accountable for some dumbass thing they’ve done that disqualifies them from keeping me under their roof until my 18th birthday.  The fantasy plays like this:

Nice, Charming Policeman who Looks Interested in Adopting Me:  So, how long has he been missing?

Mommy, slurring her words:  About anowerr.

Policeman: And what was he wearing?

(Mommy and daddy exchange nervous looks.)

Daddy:  Umm, nothing.

Policeman:  And how much would you say you’ve both had to drink on this, errr, Monday afternoon?

Mommy: Jusssa usual, ociffer.

Isn’t that an exciting story?  I get taken away for a wild night by some undisclosed Asian third-party, then the parents get taken away to jail, then I come back to my house the next morning to find a beautiful, 18-year-old Vietnamese model cooking me macaroni and cheese and telling me I can have a baba whenever I want it….fuahhh.  Gives the Gusman fucking goosebumps, that’s what it does.  Ehh.  Maybe next time.  When there isn’t a tub of licorice behind the bar on the first shelf.

The moral of this story is, simply, when the Gusman wants to play naked squirt guns, you better fucking oblige.  There’s no telling what’s up his sleeve next.   

Posted in The Uncouth Son | 1 Comment

A Double Shot of Double Standard, Please

I have discovered a valuable piece of information.  I can’t do anything right, ever.  And Leona does everything right, all the time.

Clearly, I spend most of my days cohabitating with a baby gorilla who is at this very moment dipping her entire hand in her peach yogurt and squishing her fingers together to make a slippery noshing sound.  In less than two minutes, she will condition her curly brown locks with these repulsive hands.  Then, she will grunt like a rhino and kick her legs against her high chair to signify she is finished with this primitive morning ritual.  Yet, mommy thinks she is the brightest, most intelligent little sea monkey in all the land.  And I’ve accepted this.  I mean, I also cohabitate with a mother who thinks that cocktail, singular, means roughly the same thing as four pint-sized vodka diets and half a bottle of white wine.  As these “quirks ” about mommy settle in as part of my reality, I come to expect less extraordinary things from her.

My point is, I don’t understand why Leona is hailed for things I get time-outs and face-flicks for.  I know I’ve pondered this with you all before, but it’s getting drastically worse, and I feel the whole damned situation needs immediate attention.  Yesterday, Leona emptied all the brown grocery bags from one larger bag by the trash cans and spread them all out on the kitchen floor.  Then she laid in them and flailed her arms and legs, giggling.  Mommy cooed at her and took a picture.  I came over to get in on the fun, and the moment I laid down and started kicking my legs next to The Rat, mommy picked her up and told me to knock it off before someone got hurt.  What the fuck?  I told her I just wanted to play with Leona and the bags, and she said put them back where they belong, please.  I sat there, dubious and flabbergasted.  NOW, she snapped, annoyed.  I went from just wanting to play with my baby sister to picking up a mess that I didn’t even fucking make.  I hate cleaning my own shit up, let alone Princess Fucking Rat Brat’s shit.  Undoubtedly, this was an injustice.

There are many examples of this in my everyday life.  During bath time, Leona is encouraged to splash and play and laugh and be loud.  She and mommy giggle and get one another wet.  If I yell, I am shushed.  If I splash, I am barely given a warning before I am removed from the tub with swift, brute force–like, when your socket asks your shoulder, where the fuck you going, man?–and I am standing in my room soaking wet, shivering, with my pajamas in a pile at my feet, wondering what the fuck just happened.  If Leona throws something in the house, mommy tells her what a good girl she is, and asks her if she’s going to be mommy’s little softball star?  If I throw something in the house, I get either a time-out or some sort of degrading verbal assault, like, Hey Einstein, you know we don’t throw in the house.  Do it again and I’ll throw YOU in the trunk of the car for an hour.  Talk about mixed signals.  I’m either too smart (Gus, you know better, dammit!) or too stupid (Use your fricken head, will you?) to know which rules to follow and when, what applies to me and what doesn’t, or what mommy just made up for the hell of it because she is a grouchy, hung over, asshole who has a penchant for grossly abusing her power.  It’s no wonder I spend a lot of time on that hairy, fucking time-out rug.  If my boundaries were as clear as mommy’s favorite beverage, this would hardly be an issue.

I don’t know.  Is this a vagina thing?  Is it a 13-month old baby thing?  Where does the prejudice end?  How am I supposed to live in an environment where the only thing I know how to do right is poop in the toilet and lean over the table when I eat my Rice Krispies?  That’s it, this is my life?  A hokey pokey dance over eggshells?  Damnation if I do, damnation if I don’t?  Incongruity and inequality?  Sexism, agism, alcoholism?  I want a new fucking hand, dealer–what in the hell did the Gusman do to you?

Whatever.  I’m emotional today.  Thanks for listening.  I am pulling for a garage sale next month in the hopes that Rat Baby will end up in the ten-cent box.  Or get stolen by a fat man in a chicken suit and sold to a Japanese museum, just like Woody almost did.  I think Leona would love Tokyo.  Wait a minute, I have this backwards.  I’m the one who would love Tokyo. Me and a little geisha princess, some California rolls, and a samurai sword with my name engraved in it?  Hell yes.  That’s the hand I wanted, dealer.  Miles away from the hairy rug, the hag, and the yogurt bomber?  Sweet land of liberty, it’s settled.  MY ASS is going in that ten cent box next month.  Bring it on, chicken man.

Disclaimer #1:  This fantasy is a result of my lazy mother putting me in front of the T.V. too much.

Disclaimer #2:  It is my contractual obligation with mommy to inform you that while I feel that my time-outs, tongue-lashings and ear-flicks are unfair and unwarranted most of the time, there are still some–okay, LOTS–of occasions when I deserve a baseball bat to the head.  That said, I still think my life is one, giant kiddie pool of floating turds.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | Leave a comment

A Poopy-Fingered Rival is Born

It’s been a bad week.

The tables seem to be turning and I’m not happy about it.  Thus far, Rat Baby has been the apple of mommy’s eye since the blessed event of her arrival.  Soft blankies, whispered sweet nothings, enough adorable pet names to make you lose your breakfast burrito, etc.  (Who the hell calls a human being a peach pie?)  It’s been no secret that I found the behavior of my mother and those around me that I used to like a little bit more utterly reprehensible since Leona climbed out of that fucking uterus and into the center of my world.  But I’m not here to bitch about all that has been bitched about before.  Siblings suck my ass, and that’s just the way it is.  I feel like I’ve warmed to the idea of not drowning her via swirly in the guest bath or feeding her toilet bowl cleaner for lunch.  I’ve made progress.  I’ve even entertained an alliance with The Rat.  But I’m beginning to think she needs my help about as much as mommy needs another handle of vodka in the liquor hutch.  Rat Baby has some serious shit up her sleeve.  She is not a good kid.  She is stealing my game and making me look like I spend my time singing the word of the Lord in the Vienna Boys’ Choir.

For example:  After mommy picked me up from school the other day, we had to go to the store.  Leona was fussy because mommy had to wake her up from her nap to come and pick me up on time.  So, to entertain the whiny, crusty-banana-faced brat in the cart, mommy gave her a single yogurt cup to play with.  The Rat loves yogurt.  Recently, mommy has been giving her free rein with a spoon to demolish her breakfast yogurt any way The Rat sees fit.  It’s disgusting.  I have to sit there and primly munch my cinnamon toast while watching my baby sister take an upper-body bath in pink, chunky, dairy product.  Hey, I may be an asshole sometimes, but I am a very tidy eater.  Mommy calls me an O.C.D. priss, which I think means ‘someone very cool from southern California,’ because I line up all my orange rinds and crusts in a perfect row on the table when I finish them and I rarely need to get my face washed with a mildewy kitchen cloth.  (There’s probably a correlation there.)  Anyway, I digress.  So, Leona had the yogurt cup in her cart seat, mommy was ringing and bagging our cart of groceries in the self-checkout lane, and I was fingering M&Ms, packets of gum, and Snickers bars with wistful eyeballs and a yearning heart.  Mommy put her cash in the machine, grabbed the receipt, and turned around to find that Leona had eaten through the foil on the yogurt cup like a woodchuck in heat, and was now tipped back like mommy at a kegger chugging the creamy goodness.  Yogurt was everywhere–on her face, dripping down her arms, between her chin and neck, in her mini-pigtails.  You have to be kidding me, Leona!  mommy snapped, rushing to her side and digging through her purse for wipes.  Leona straightened up from a swig, grinned, and breathed a resounding ahhhh like she had just finished off an ice-cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.  I stood there by the P.O.S. tower of chocolate and watched, amused, impressed, and slightly envious that I never thought of doing this before.  Mommy found a used Kleenex in her purse and made a futile attempt to clean the mess.  Four seconds later, she dropped an f-bomb and hissed let’s go, Gus, but not before remembering that she had to pay for the yogurt that Leona annihilated.  She pulled the cup from Leona’s wet, slathery fingers–Leona screamed bloody murder–and mommy scanned the yogurt.  Since she had nowhere to put the messy cup, she just handed it back to Leona to shut her up while simultaneously licking yogurt off her fingers and pulling change from her wallet.  All the while the check-out lady was watching mommy with a sad mix of embarrassment, pity, and delight.  Finally, we left.  There were beads of sweat on mommy’s forehead.

But that’s not all.  When we got home, mommy decided we all needed to play outside for a while.  She was watering the flowers while me and Leona were tooting around the lawn, looking for woodchips and snails.  Alongside of the house, we happenstanced upon a nice plot of mud–the soil that gets dripped on right underneath the hose connection–and since mommy was so busy admiring her pansies, I did not feel it was my duty to prevent Leona from scooping a big mess of that mud up and putting it in her mouth.  It was hilarious.  She chewed, and gave me her crinkly face that sort of makes her look like she’s special, then she started sticking her tongue in and out, in and out, so some of the mud drooled out of her mouth onto her chin in a black, saliva-y slobber.  It was the perfect mix of gross and awesome.  All the while her eyes were alive and bright with mischief.  I giggled, so, eager to make me laugh some more, she giggled and went in for another scoop.  This was when mommy noticed.  She bolted across the yard and lifted Leona up from the crime scene.  Dammit, Gus! she roared, and my mouth fell open.  What.  In the Fuck.  Was she yelling at me for?  I wasn’t spitting out earthworm burrows with a shitty grin on my face!  You know better! she continued shouting as she walked Leona through the patio door to the kitchen to clean her up.  I picked up a rock and threw it in the direction of her bitchy, accusatory tone.  So much for an alliance.  I don’t want The Rat on my fucking team if I’m taking all the heat for her bullshit.

To round out the day, Leona took a nose dive in some dog shit.  This was by far the most heinous offense.  Mommy left us alone for two seconds to pull some weeds, and that was all Leona needed to bathe herself in some serious dog stank.  I feel as though this was God’s way of punishing mommy for blaming the mud-pie eating on the Gusman.  Upon noticing that we had made our way to the side-yard, a.k.a. Official Shit Station for Brisket, she sprinted across the lawn in what seemed like slow motion.  Leona was crawling, and mommy scooped her up from behind at lightning speed to find the entire front of her Daddy Loves Me onesie smeared with poop.  What was more, The Rat had two gigantic turds squished between her fingers in not one, but both of her hands.  Mommy actually screamed, panicked.  With gagging yecht sounds every two seconds, she did the straight-armed, poopy-baby sprint across the yard into the house.  I found them five minutes later in the bathroom.  Piles of poop-stained wash-cloths and hand towels lay in a stinky pile in the sink.  Leona was crying, and mommy looked like she was about to.  Eventually, both of us were in the bath tub covered in suds, and all was well again.  Daddy came home early that day.  He popped his head into the bathroom and asked why the hell we were getting baths at one in the afternoon.  Mommy gave him something of a murderous look, squinched her eyes up into little poison slivers, and disappeared into the kitchen.  Apparently, daddy had reminded her that it was after noon.

So, you see I have some strong competition.  This day happened in the wake of me getting my toy drawers back in my room after two weeks of them being stashed in the garage, high up on the naughty boy shelf.  Mommy and daddy have not locked me in my room lately, so I have not been forced to hurl my belongings at the closed door; this apparently warrants me getting my puzzles, dinosaurs, and art supplies back.  Leona has taken full advantage of my sporadic bout of good behavior by lashing out with some of her worst antics to date, and now I am getting less attention than ever.  This might mean war.  She is supposed to be the angelic, obedient, sweet Princess Rat Baby for all the days of her life.  ME, I AM the Uncouth Son.  The Gusman is the big prick on THIS block.

Ain’t no little poopy-fingered, mud-eatin’, yogurt suckin’ bitch sister gonna take that title away.  You’ll see.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | Leave a comment

Goodbye Gramma, Hello Lousy Mommy

It’s a sad, sad day in the Mermod home.  Gramma Mic tucked me in last night, and was out the door by 4:30 a.m. this morning.  I woke up and asked mommy if I could go cuddle with her, and mommy sniffled at me that she went back to Michigan.  Poor mommy.  She really is a train wreck when Gramma leaves.  After getting me my milk and settling in to snuggle with me on the couch some time later, mommy kissed me on the forehead and told me she loved me, and then she sort of pleaded with me to be a good boy today because she was very sad and she didn’t want to have to be Mean Mommy.  I took her face in my hands, kissed her on the cheek, told her I loved her, and said, okay, I will be a good boy today, mommy.  I promise.  We can be friends alllll day.  Secretly, my mind was already racing with terror plots.  It’s actually somewhat insulting that mommy would stoop so low as to beg me with this sort of tearful, pathetic desperation to behave.  Since when do I just do whatever the fuck she asks me to?  Umm, since never.  So, grab a Kleenex and turn that frown upside down, hag–time to earn some parental respect this bright and early morning.

What better way to break mommy down than to tag team it with Rat Baby?  Leona has been making some serious strides in the little prick department, and I’ve got to hand it to her–we are only weeks away from a major power shift in the day-time household.  She even pisses me off sometimes.  First of all, she eats like a fucking hippopotamus.  She hammers her own breakfast before I’ve had three bites of mine, and before I know it, mommy is pulling forkfuls of eggs off my plate and plopping them down on that little heifer’s tray.  If mommy brings me a snack in the afternoon and puts it on the coffee table, Leona cockroach-crawls over to the table in less than three seconds, pulls herself up, reaches for my plate, and does that annoying whimper-sniff that tells me she is either going to get some of my food or she is going to scream.  This realllly bothers me.  I just don’t like it when she hovers over my food.  Frankly, I don’t even like it when she eyeballs it from twenty feet across the room.  She’s like a creepy little meerkat, all standing tall with her head cocked in a queer way in the direction of my grub.  Fucking makes me nutty.  I guess this aversion goes along with the whole I-don’t-like-it-when-Leona-starts-crawling-down-the-hallway-when-I’m-pooping thing.  We all have our quirks.

The point is, Leona is proving herself a worthy adversary, only now, she isn’t just my adversary.  Mommy exudes much negative energy on her.  Time-outs are just around the corner for the Rat Princess.  Last night, she pulled a whole box of open brown rice out of the cupboard and emptied it on the floor.  That was pretty awesome.  Mommy muttered something about child-proofing, but I reckon Leona will be able to get knocked up by the time mommy gets around to actually child-proofing.  She is either too cheap or too lazy or too stupid to ever do it.  I imagine it’s a lethal combination of the three.  Leona has pulled that same box of rice out of the cupboard fifty times, and I’m not shitting you.  Get a fucking clue, mommy dearest.  Rat Baby is also throwing mild tantrums.  Mommy will refuse her the booby and Leona will whine and flail both arms on the couch over and over again.  We laugh at her.  It’s good to laugh at some other punk for a change.  I mean, I crack myself up, but sometimes it’s good to be in the hag’s good graces for a quick moment.

So, to frazzle mommy, I got Leona to knock over all the candles in the fireplace.  Mommy was sitting on the couch in her best depressed slouch, zoning in on her phone.  Probably asking for everyone’s pity on Facebook, because boo-hoo, Gramma Mic left.  We were threatened no less than ten times to stop playing in the fireplace.  Finally, Lazy Ass got off the couch and removed both of us from the sooty, cobweb-infested shit-square that is our fireplace and feigned some sternness.  Next, we made our way into the kitchen, where, behind the pit bull’s bed sits a nice, new, indoor plant that stands about four feet tall on top of an empty wine rack.  (The wine rack is stocked with mommy’s checkbooks and other random paperwork as opposed to actual bottles of wine because, well, you figure it out.)  The dirt inside the pot was moist from a thorough watering yesterday, and the two of us proceeded to tribal paint one another’s faces with potting soil for a full four minutes before mom heard Leona giggling from her slouch in the living room.  Little bitch ruined it, because I was in what I knew was a well-deserved time-out moments later, and Leona had been banished to her high chair with no food.  At this point, I saw the anguish in mommy’s eyes.  She looked at the clock–7:36 a.m.–and I’m pretty sure I saw her fingering the pack of smokes in her robe pocket that she’d brought in from the rain outside earlier.  It is moments like these that I almost pity her.  It’s like she’s not even a contender on days like this.  She just waits around for noon, and then she feels so guilty about wanting to crack a bottle of wine open then that she forces herself to wait until 2 p.m., and let me tell you, all of us would be better served if she just dealt with the guilt.  I don’t know.  I don’t get it.  Maybe someday, I will want to smoke cigarettes before The Price is Right is on, and have cocktails with my eggs and toast just because my hag mother got on a fucking airplane back to her swamp, but I have to admit, I’m skeptical.  Empathy escapes me in this moment.  So she’s just gonna have to deal and pop some happy  pills to get her through the day.

On another note, I got the hand, foot and mouth disease.  Incubation period: 6 days.  Gusman gets it on DAY 7.  That’s what I call total fucking bullshit.  The fever came one day after The Fungus Among Us post.  Mom said that’s karma.  I say Karma sounds like a hot chick from Tibet who wants to karm-on over to may place and nurse me back to health.  Holllla.

Peace out, y’all.  I’m gonna go kick Uncle Nate’s ass in a pillow fight.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | Leave a comment

The Fungus Among Us

It doesn’t sound good, but it’s the truth.  I am surrounded by blistery, pustule-laden siblings and cousins.  Ever heard of hand, foot and mouth disease?  Not to be confused with hoof and mouth disease–that’s the shit cows and sheep get–hand, foot and mouth disease is a virus that gives you a fever for a few days, then rocks your world with mouth sores and a gnarly rash on your hands and feet.  I had it last summer.  Mommy told me it was because I must’ve gotten poop in my mouth.  Of course, she is a lying bitch.  I don’t eat poop.  As you know, I’ve expressed interest in poop on several occasions, especially when I heard that poop sandwiches are all they serve in jail (and you can go to jail for dropping your Costco receipt with a smiley face on it in the parking lot in the state of California…just ask the lying bitch), but seriously, I don’t eat it.  Anyway, Lucien and Sienna got it from daycare, and me and Leona came over to play with them one day, and now Leona has been infected.  My poor baby sister has this boily looking rash all over the backs of her thighs and arms.  It looks like a highly unpleasant venereal disease got bored under her diaper and decided to come out and explore the quadricep region.  Mommy came home from the store today to find Leona crawling naked around the backyard in the 86 degree sun.  She gave daddy a pissy comment about frying our daughter like a gizzard, and then proceeded to spray The Rat from head to toe with some SPF 1000.  She practically lathered her up with that shit, worked it right into those blisters, and thirteen seconds later Leona was screaming like a tea kettle full of bleach and ammonia.  Another Mom of the Year Award headed her way very soon.

Anyway, mommy had to walk around with a cold cloth on Leona’s ass for about twenty minutes, apologizing profusely, looking at her with a desperate mix of love, remorse, and pity, but let’s not kid ourselves, every so often she was tossing a look over her shoulder at the outdoor bar.  Since then, Rat Baby has been collecting massive doses of Tylenol, booby on demand, all-she-can-suck-raspberry lemonade ice cubes out of her meshy suck bag, and just all-around nausea-inducing doting.  I do pity her somewhat, but I feel as though maybe some special treatment should be coming my way because I don’t look like I have ground turkey climbing down my legs.  Everyone is sick but the Gusman.  Does this not warrant a reward?  Some licorice sticks?  A pack of gum, maybe?  Nope.  Not in this house.  I barely get a second thought for being strong enough to fight the fungus among us.  Instead, mommy drops some bullshit about me having built an immunity, but the only thing I’ve built lately is a massive pile of toilet paper in the guest bathroom after I unraveled one extra-large roll of Cottonelle.  That was awesome by the way.  It was like a fluffy, marshmallow tower.  And P.S., mommy does not like towers of Cottonelle.  Either way, no matter what it is exactly I built, I think I should get some candy for building it.

Tomorrow, we will all go to Auntie Jamie’s house and have a BBQ.  I will be the only kid without canker sores in my mouth or pimply arms and legs.  Oh, wait, mom just pointed out that I have ringworm on my legs.  Ahhh, fuck.  I forgot about the ringworm.  But hey, don’t worry, it’s not actually a worm and they don’t crawl into your butthole while your sleeping at night.  That was a relief to discover.  Anyway, yeah.  So I guess we’re all sort of…fungalicious.  Maybe if we all drank as much as mommy, our immune systems would be more like eastern European fortresses.  Maybe a little vodka in the orange juice every morning with our eggs and herpes of the tongue and Syphillis-leg would be a distant memory.  Just a thought.  I find it highly unlikely that mommy would share any of her vodka anyway, so this would probably be a long shot.  Either way, I hope all of you can learn from our present situation here in California:  Cover your mouths when you cough.  Wash your hands after throwing dirt rocks at your kid sister.  Don’t try to clean the urine-spill on the toilet seat with your hands.  Don’t share a sippee-cup with anyone who has a hose nose.  Don’t make out with your cousin.

And don’t eat poop.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | 1 Comment

Mommy’s Little Outdoor Helper

Two days ago, I got home from hanging at auntie Jamie’s house with Sienna, and mommy and daddy were verrrry excited to show me something in the back yard.  Come here, buddy!  You want to see something sooo cool?  Immediately, my mind sought out the potential–incredible, cool, backyard things like an industrial-sized slurpee machine, a swimming pool full of popcorn and M&Ms, an Asian brothel, a carousel of live ponies, a Tyrannosaurus Rex–you know, actual cool things.  I walked out there with bated breath, my eyes wide like frisbees with wonderment, my mouth half-open and ready to squeal in delight.  When they both pointed out the large, L-shaped structure pushed up against the house where the BBQ used to be, I wasn’t even sure what it was to be honest, but I’ll tell you right now it wasn’t a fucking T-Rex.  I looked at it, then at mom, then at it again, then at daddy, and I raised my eyebrows and shrugged my shoulders.  It’s our new bar! cried mommy.  Whatta ya think, bubba? gushed daddy.  What do I think?  Seriously?  They wanted an honest answer?  Well, what I think is now that mommy has a bar in our backyard fully equipped with a mini-fridge and four bar stools, cirrhosis is inevitable.  What I think is where the fuck am I supposed to ride my bike?  What I think is there are going to be a lot of days this summer when mommy can’t help but look longingly at the bar while she is doing yard work, and surely, she will open a beer at 10:30 a.m. because she’s “thirsty from pulling weeds.”  What I think is Leona will be pole-dancing with the umbrella pole on top of the patio table regularly because mommy will be too drunk to chaperone.  What I think is my parents are fucking retarded for thinking I would give two shits that we have a bar in our backyard.  I would almost rather the cool new thing in our backyard be a new baby brother, but, like, an outdoor one.  One that just lives in the backyard all the time and doesn’t come in at night.

The upside here is that while yes, my parents will be splitting child-rearing shifts in the evening to hit up an A.A. meeting by, say, August at the latest, the new bar is grounds for parties.  I like parties.  Parties usually entail bottomless bowls of junk food, late bedtimes, extra sugar, and oh, people who actually want to play with me.  Yesterday, Uncle Nate and Hot Hallie and Sean came over for a bar-Christening BBQ.  Good times were had by all, especially daddy, who just got off a month of antibiotics and, consequently, sobriety.  Mommy kept calling him “special” all night, so I was waiting for the cake, because usually special people get a cake at parties, but all they did was open more bottles of wine.  Lame.  But I got to snuggle with Hallie before bed, and we did some serious pillow-talking.  She asked me about my dreams–as in, what do I like to dream about at night–and I gave her some bullshit about fruit snacks and unicorns, but let’s just say that was the extremely G-rated version of what I was dreaming of in that moment.  Yeaaahhhhh.  She was a good tucker-inner, if you know what I mean.  So, kudos to the new bar I suppose because my mom’s hot friends get to practically sleep over after a day of eating and drinking, and that is A-okay with the Gusman.

In other news, today was the first day I didn’t get one, single, time-out at school.  Busted for hitting two different kids last time, I had to be on my best behavior today.  A play-date with cousin Sienna depended on it.  When mommy came in to get me, I announced loudly that I didn’t have any time-outs today!  Nada, zilch, zippo!  I used my best outdoor voice to make this declaration.  She threw me a fake smile and said great job, buddy, I can hardly believe it in a tone that sounded to me like shut-the-fuck-up-about-your-excessive-time-outs-in-front-of-all-these-parents, and that was sort of the icing on the cake.  You know what?  One day, she will just own the fact that I’m a dick and she won’t try to hide it from other people.  What.  A waste.  Of energy.  I might be troublesome on occasion, but there are a lot of perks to being the mother of the Gusman.  I am a great snuggler.  I am very tough.  I love to shoot stuff with anything that I can turn into a weapon with my mind.  I can belch on cue.  I know how to talk to Leona better than mommy does, and let’s just say she’s going to be looking into foster homes sooner than later as well.  I eat the shit out of broccoli, and I know that EVERY mother wants a son who eats the shit out of broccoli.  I know how to effectively use sarcasm.  I’m a good kisser.  I like it when people hit me in the face with a pillow.  (This is a major plus in the Mermod home.)  You see, mom, I’m a shit, but I’m just a fucking loveable shit.  Stop fighting it. 

Alright, it’s time to humor mommy and “go play outside.”  This translates to me throwing mud rocks at Leona in the side-yard while mommy sips a chardonnay at her new bar with a stupid buzzed smile on her face and warm, fuzzy thoughts of how blessed she is to have two amazing children, a wonderful husband, her youthful figure, this beautiful home with an outdoor bar, and a drinking problem.  Whatever.  Bottoms up, madre.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | 2 Comments

S is for Spitting

School’s in session and the Gusman is NOT hot for teacher.  There’s a nice blonde teaching one classroom over, but I got stuck with not one but TWO teachers who got serious beat-downs by the ugly stick.  These are not teachers I will bring shiny red apples to.  Instead, think of the queen who turns herself into an old hag to deliver the poisonous apple to Snow White.  Now, add 100 pounds.  Now, add a mole chock-full of hair to the chin.  That’s one teacher.  Now, pretend that teacher gave birth to a daughter who is her spitting image.  That’s my other teacher.  So that’s my Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Me and two not-hot chicks, a bunch of kids who speak more than one language, and more arts and craft projects than a Christmastime bazaar.  If I have to glue colored strips of tissue paper to one more thing, I’m going to glue my eyelids shut and poop on the big circular letter rug they make us sit on to sing our ABCs.  Do you know what a fucking pain in the ass it is to get glue on your fingers and then have to pick up and take off these retarded little squares of tissue paper?  They’re the size of Dentyne Ice gum.  It’s ridiculous.  Tissue paper art projects make as much sense to me as my teachers in a bikini contest.  The only cool part is pulling off the tissue from other kid’s projects after they’ve worked so hard to get all those fucking squares glued on.  The chicks especially.  They hate me.

I also was not aware that Ugly-Dee and Ugly-Dum would be such tremendous tattle tales.  After the first day, I was denied my baba after mommy learned from the elder teacher that I was spitting at other kids all day.  Now she asks the teachers every time she picks me up if I was well-behaved, and if one molecule of my saliva has landed on a fellow classmate, no baba.  So I have to be careful to do it when they’re not looking.  Which is easy.  Two of them, twenty of us…you do the math.  By the end of three hours, I am itching to get the fuck out of there, so I become the most antagonistic child in the class.  I steal art projects from kids after they are handed back to them.  If we are playing on the floor, I wheelbarrow roll over whoever’s limbs get in my way.  I poke.  I prod.  And every so often, I will catch a glimpse of mommy dearest in the hallway watching through a double-paned glass window that you can’t scream or issue time-outs through.  And I throw her a winning smile and proceed to tackle the small Indian girl sitting next to me on the floor.  Moments like these are sweet.  I can see the swell of anger building in mommy’s face out of the corner of my eye, and so I wave and smile at her again, making sure all the other parents in the hall know that I belong to her–and I chuck a crayon at the window she is watching from.  Then another one.  Then one of my teacher’s takes me by the arm and sits me in my chair.  I look over my shoulder.  Yup.  Mommy is still watching.  And she is pissed.  And it is awesome.

I do have a crush.  Her name is Emma Marie.  The Beast of Blabber who is the younger teacher ratted me out and told mommy that me and Emma held hands all day today.  The Gusman finally gets a little action and I get zero days to enjoy it, meaning, it was twenty fucking questions the whole ride home:

Mommy:  Is she pretty?

Me:  She is beautiful.  This question need not be spoken ever again.  Like the Gusman wastes his time on trolls.

Mommy:  Is she taller or shorter than you?

Me:  I’m taller.  Dumbest.  Question.  Ever.

Mommy:  Why do you like her?

Me:  I don’t know, because her mommy stays sober on the weeknights and doesn’t lock her in her room for twenty-minute increments.  She is really funny.

Mommy:  What makes her funny?

Me:  I don’t know.  She says funny words. 

Mommy:  So you guys laugh a lot?

Me:  Yeah.  A logical yet brilliant assumption.

Then she told me she wanted to meet her the next time I go to school, and I’m thinking I would rather crawl into a hole and die than let my pajama-donning, make-up free, booze-breathy, snot-nosed baby-carrying, puff pastry-faced mother meet my new, hot piece of ass.  It’s bad enough I’m the only cracker in the class–I would at least like to avoid the white trash label until me and Emma have made it official.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get out of this one.  I’ll keep you posted.

I know I’ve been slacking on the blog, but school takes it out of me, man.  I come home and all mommy wants to do is ask me shit about letters and numbers and art projects, and all I want to do is suck on a sippee of milk and veg in front of Dora.  I promise to try not to slack so much.  In other household news, Leona has set a new ten-step record.  Mommy says she will be chasing me through the house very soon, but I think that’s an extreme exaggeration.  She can take ten steps, but her toes are pointed outwards when she does it, and it’s more like a shuffle.  Her knees don’t really bend enough to lift up her feet.  As a result, she sort of walks like a 107-year old ballerina stuck in first position.  And she concentrates really hard.  So, like a 107-year old ballerina who has to poop.  While it is unlikely that she will be chasing me any time soon, it is likely that mommy will have a Ten-Step Party for her.  Any reason to put a keg on the patio.  (Oh, I know.  The “ten step” irony is like a piece of Gramma’s apple pie.)

I must run.  Gramma Mic flies in tonight and I can’t wait to ask her to sleep with me in my urine-y bed.  We are going to have so much fun playing cars and chase and puzzles.  And we’ll eat popcorn together and watch movies.  And I will be such a good boy because when that bitch leaves, she’s taking me with her.  You better believe it.  And Emma Marie is going in my suitcase.

Shot out to Lucien Walker, my BIG little cousin who is one today.  Thanks for sharing your green alligator cake with me on Easter Sunday.  It was awesome turning the bath tub water green with you, Leona, and Sienna.  But seriously, dude, lay off the pork rinds.  Any more junk in your trunk and we will have to hitch up a trailer.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | 3 Comments

Shot Glasses and Pilates in the Afternoon

The other night, mommy was tucking me into her bed with daddy so I could cuddle with him for a while before I went to my own bed.  We like to have this man time together so mommy can sneak off into the living room and drink with the Real Housewives of Who the Fuck Ever.  Often, I will ask for a drink of water at this time.  Mommy said sure, and went to the bathroom to get me some agua.  She came out with a plastic, pink shot glass that donned the words Bitchin’ Bachelorette in black lettering.  It was like half an ounce of water.  What the fuck was this?  After looking at her with my You’re a Weird Bitch face, she told me that she was sick of me pissing in her bed all the time so I was going to have to drink out of a littler cup at night.  A.K.A. a shot glass.  Anyone else find this inappropriate?  I just thought I would share for those of you keeping track of The Things That Make My Mother Unfit.  And by the way, I have only peed in her bed twice this week.  I don’t see what the big deal is.   It’s hard to fit a keg of urine inside an absorbent thimble without a little leakage every now and then.

I have been fighting my naps again because I know this is the time of the afternoon mommy does Pilates in her room and I very much enjoy doing them with her, mainly because I know how irritating it is for her to share her yoga mat with me and my stuffed Curious George.  Yesterday, after a two-hour stance against the afternoon nap, mommy finally huffed from her bedroom floor that she didn’t care if I got up.  I was instantly geeked to work out with her.  I took off my shirt and propped George up ever so carefully at the end of the yoga mat.

George needs to get off my mat, Gus, mommy said flatly.  She was pretty pissy that I was going to rain on her Pilates parade.

But George wants to work out too! I cried.

George is a fricking stuffed animal and if you don’t get him off my mat I’m going to stick him in the freezer for the rest of the day.  This was a very mean thing to say, because mommy knows how concerned I am about keeping all my stuffed animals warm and snuggly under cozy blankies most of the time.  To save George from a stint with the frozen peas, I placed him under mommy’s comforter on her bed and proceeded to lay down on the floor with mommy.  We did a lot of sit ups, some push-ups, some leg lifts….you know, basic Pilates shit.  Mommy was huffing and puffing and breathing hard.  I told her how easy I though this was.  She grunted a guttural good for you.  She was concentrating very hard on leg circles.  I asked her for a snack.  She said no.  I pretended to breathe really hard like she was and I asked her if I was doing it right.  She told me to stop talking.  I said, this is really fun, mommy!  in a super-duper excited voice.  She looked at me with her dagger eyes without moving her head so as not to mess up her form.  Then I farted and blamed it on her.  At this point, she got up, paused the D.V.D. player and threatened to put me back in my room for a nap because I was making it hard for her to concentrate and she could hurt herself if she didn’t concentrate.  I though about telling her that if she didn’t drink so much, she wouldn’t have that problem spot on the backs of her thighs and she wouldn’t have to do Pilates so much and neglect her son.  And while we’re on the topic of hurting ourselves, let’s talk about that liver?  But I didn’t think this would get me anywhere.  So I agreed to be quiet.  She turned the D.V.D. back on and got into form for her teasers.  Four seconds later, Leona started crying from her room.  Mommy dropped an eff-bomb, and that was the end of our work out.  I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.

In two days, I will go to school.  It’s only for a month, three days a week, from 9 a.m. until noon.  I cannot WAIT to scope out all the new mommy’s that I might choose to adopt me. I am going to choose one without an alcohol bloat.  And one who doesn’t have rancid garlic breath most days of her life.  Then, when mommy comes to pick me up, I am going to scream that she is not my mother, that I am being kidnapped.  If this doesn’t work, I am going to demand someone give her a breathalyzer.  One way or another, this is going to be my way out.  I will send for Leona after.  I’ve kind of gotten attached to The Rat.  Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | Leave a comment

You Wanna Come to the Party in my Potty?

What’s so bad about toilet water, anyway?

So the other day, mommy was making dinner and it was crunch time.  It was Friday, late afternoon.  Daddy had to work late, so mommy had to feed and bathe us and get ready for work, plus make dinner for her and daddy, all in time to basically high-five him as he rolled in and she rolled out.  She was in the midst of mixing brown rice pasta with veggies and garlic, looking a smidge frantic, pulling off the cooking wine every so often, squeezing lemon, sprinkling parmesan, blah blah blah, when I saw an opportunity to utilize her distracted state of mind.  Rat Baby, she loves to follow me.  So follow she did, into the forbidden room of the parental unit, where there are drawers and drawers of beaded bracelets and necklaces to stretch and break into a million balls that serve as perfect choking hazards for Leona.  But I took it a step further.  I led her into the bathroom, a cesspool of germs and bacteria, where miniscule fragments of poop and urine splashes decorate cupboards and shower doors and rugs and tile. There, an open toilet bowl sit waiting for some jolly good times.  After I got her propped up against the bowl, I taught her how to unravel the toilet paper roll.  I saw the glint in her eye and knew that this would be fun for all involved.  Next, we put the unravelled paper into the water.  Here, Leona took over and started splashing and swirling the paper around until long sheets became squishy little spit-waddy globs.  Let’s disregard the fact that we’ve been alone in the bathroom now for over three whole minutes, and it is likely that were I interested in drowning The Rat, it would already be a done deal.  But she’s kind of a sassy little shit.  She likes to get in trouble with me and I need to remember how important an ally is when your mother is an angry drunk and your father leaves you home with her all fucking day.  With peels of laughter, Leona discovered that pulling the squishy globs out of the toilet and littering the bathroom floor with them made an appealing kind of hiss-thud-fart noise.  She really started to giggle as she violently hurled the globs all around her.  And I just stepped back, out of the bathroom, leaning against mommy’s bed, waiting for The Rat to catch some all-holy hell from mommy.  Sure enough, about forty seconds later, I heard the bass of mommy’s oncoming footsteps reverberating off the hallway floor.  Where are you guys? she asked, her voice heavy with suspicion.  She discovered us in all our glory–me, completely out of the picture, watching innocently from outside the crime scene, and Leona, wide-eyed and smiley, drops of toilet water beaded across her forehead and cheeks.  When she saw mommy, she was foolish enough to think mommy would want to play the game too, so she dove into that toilet again for another wad and threw it on the floor in front of mommy’s feet, shrieking with laughter.  Mommy abhorred the whole act, grabbing her up off the floor with a lightning speed that only a mommy has in the face of fecal bacteria.  I thought mommy would throw The Rat against the wall in a fit of rage, maybe put her in a two-hour time-out, or at least slap her hands lightly for immersing them in the poop and pee-pee pool.  But no.  This did not happen.  Instead, she set her sights on me.  It was like slow motion.  She swiveled her head–which I seriously thought would go the full 360 degrees–and rested her black eyes on me.  They were narrowed little slits of bona fide fury.

You KNOW better than this, young man, she spat, shavings of ice in her voice.

My mouth went agape.  Are you fucking kidding me, man?  I have to take the fall for this bullshit?  Leona goes nose-diving into the shallow end of the San Jose sewage system and I’m the one that takes the heat?  I really had no words.  I shrugged my shoulders in a feeble attempt to respond to the preposterous allegations.  Mommy pointed at me.  I thought fire or acid or both might shoot out her finger.

YOU don’t ever take Leona into the bathroom again or you will end up in the longest time-out of your life, do you understand me?

I could only look at her with dubious disbelief.

There are disgusting germs in bathrooms that can make you sick and babies are not allowed to crawl around in them!  Do you understand me?

Maybe a can of Comet and some fucking Sno-Bowl would go a long way, then, hag.

Don’t let it happen again, Augusten.  I’m not kidding.  You’re the big brother.  You’re supposed to teach her how to be a good girl.

Hmm.  Yeah.  I definitely never signed on THAT fucking dotted line.  Regardless, I nodded shamefully and left the room.  Leona was still clapping her hands and giggling while a distressed mommy washed her hands and face.  You know, I wasn’t even that mad after a while.  I have found a vessel in The Rat.  She is going to carry out some of my wrongest-doings ever in life, and it will only be a matter of time before she has to take the fall for doing exactly what I tell her to.  So go ahead and project your rage on the wrong child for now, mommy.  Just wait.  I am molding your precious little Leona into a child villain that will make the Gusman look like he came from the womb of Mother Teresa.  She’s going to break every fucking time-out record I ever set.

Then you can take your pointing finger and shove it up your ass.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | Leave a comment

And the Oscar Goes to…

Who the hell gave mommy permission to lock me in my room?

Those motherfucking strong-willed children books, that’s who.

I am not okay with this.  If I refuse to sit in a time-out anymore, mommy doesn’t chase me.  She doesn’t reset the kitchen timer 107 times because I either throw things at her, say “shit,” or try to kick her in the shins when she walks by.  She doesn’t yell or call me names.  Nope.  None of this.  She simply grabs my arm and calmly walks me down the hall to my room, advising me to cool down for a while.  Immediately, I slam the door and shout that she’s a mean mommy, but this elicits no response whatsoever.  I put my ear to the door and listen.  She is sing-songing to Leona about how I need some quiet time, and it’s not in the fake nice voice that she talks to Leona in when I am being naughty and she wants to piss me off.  No, there is no fakeness.  This is a genuine sing-songy voice with no underlying murderous rage.  It’s like she’s fucking happy that I am being a punk.  Something is off.  Something is seriously off.

I have to take action.  I pull a piece of my racetrack out from under the bed.  I opt for the piece that has the car trigger because it’s the heaviest part of the track.  I start whacking the door with it.  It is very loud.  I chip some paint off the door.  I whack it again and wait.  Still no yelling.  I am about to reallllly put my back into a third whack when mommy opens the door.  Can I have that please?  Thank you! and the bitch walks out with my race track car trigger.  In the next five minutes, I proceed to whack the door with a large rubber triceratops, a Weeble, and a basketball.  All three times mommy breezes in calmly and takes them.  Still no yelling, hitting, name-calling or drinking.  Red flags are going up.  It’s time to bust outta here.  I go to open the door.  The knob hardly moves.  I twist and grind and grunt.  Nothing.  The old hag is hanging on for dear life on the other side.  She is strong.  I yell at her to let me out.  She tells me I need to cool down for a while.  Cool down?  If I wanted to cool down, I would shove some ice cubes in my butthole and drink a slurpee.  No, I do NOT want to cool down.  I want to get the fuck out of this room and punch my mother in the face.

I finally accept that I cannot get out if she is hanging on to the door knob.  So I sit still for a full minute.  Then I tell her I am ready to come out.  Are you ready to come and sit in a time-out properly? she asks.  Yes, I say.  She opens the door.  I stand there, sizing her up in a new light.  She raises her eyebrows and nods down the hall, in the direction of where she thinks my time-out will be.  I decide to slam the door in her face as hard as I can.  Heh, heh.  Time-out my cute little ass.  I wait for her to come storming in to whop me one.  Nothing.  Instead, the door won’t open again.  Dammit.  I tell her I want to sit in my time-out.  She doesn’t respond.  The door knob doesn’t budge.  Shit fuck.  I think the door slam pissed her off.  I resort to tears.  I beg and plead with her to please let me out, that I promise to be good and to sit in my time-out.  Nothing.

What the hell, it’s time for an Oscar-winning performanceI gather all my friends–my giant pink bunny, Doggy, George, and Bear–on the bedroom floor and I break the news to them tearfully:

Guys, we’re never gonna get out of this room.  Never ever!  Mean mommy locked us in here and she’s too strong.  We’re NEVER gonna get outta here, guys.  We can’t ever go play outside, or to the movies, or in Leona’s room. We can’t go to the park, or to Happy Hollow, or Gilroy Gardens.  We can’t go potty.  Oh, maaaan.  We’re stuck in here forever.  We’re never gonna get out of this room.

I repeat this speech to the gang several times until I hear mommy laughing on the other side of the door.  In my severe angst, she has found the joy of laughter.  What a bitch.  Seriously.  I cry a little harder.  I hiccup.  I sob.  And she finally comes in, trying not to look like she thinks it’s hilarious that a three-year-old is entertaining the idea of solitary confinement for the rest of his life.  Are you ready for your time-out, now? she asks.  I have nowhere to go–but to my time-out on the dog-hairy rug in the kitchen.  So I go.

Point: Mommy.  But if I don’t give her one once in a while, it’s just unfair.  Still, it looks like I’m going to have to sharpen the knives in my bag o’ tricks.

Game on, hag.

Posted in The Uncouth Son | 2 Comments