Laura Seitz, Deseret News
There is one word to describe why I’m cowering in the commode. The word is “sanctuary.” I escape to it when the grandkids invade, like right now.
When the little rascals get together at our house, they dance and hoot at the decibel level of a Justin Bieber concert, then look around for an easy target to toss to the volcano god. That would be me.
When it comes down to a choice of fight or flight, I gallop through the storm, eyes bulging, and fling myself through the privy door.
My sanctuary is also my fortress, which is a gross exaggeration because its flimsy door could be breached easily by a 4-year-old with a chopstick. My only weapons are a plunger, a 2-year-old Readers Digest, and a can of mace-like deodorizer. Oh, and a roll of tough, steel-belted toilet paper to tie up prisoners of war, in the slim chance that I catch any.
Don’t underestimate the importance of toilet paper. Wars have been lost over it. Shakespeare wrote that Richard III lost his kingdom when a near-sighted archer shot his horse. That’s nonsense. Richard ran out of Charmin to squeeze and hollered, “A roll, a roll, my kingdom for a roll!" I wasn’t going to make Richard’s mistake.
I cringe in my cramped hideaway, listening nervously as the mob of marauding munchkins twists through the house like a hungry tornado, screaming and ranting, their tongues darting through the gaps where their pointy little front teeth should be. They are pint-sized zombies on steroids, only faster.
The co-commanders of this mutiny are Jarom and Riley, conniving cousins who lead the local chapter of the mac-and-cheese militia. Jarom is nicknamed “J-Man,” after the Juggernaut who crashes through walls in "X-Men 3." He is a self-styled warrior with a passion for tearing around with a pasta bowl on his head and a stick in each hand. Riley’s nom de guerre is Bride of Chucky, after the wife of a demon-dominated doll with zippers on his face.
Soon, they are scratching and gnawing at my sanctuary door, their eager fingernails grinding the wood into sawdust. In a squeaky voice, I croak, “There’s nobody in here but a talking can of deodorizer.” The scratching stops while they consider this new possibility.
Jarom: “Is there such a thing as talking deodorizer?”
Riley: “No, Grandpa’s lying.”
Jarom: “Why would Grandpa lie?”
Riley: “He’s a coward.”
Riley presses her face to the door and, in her sweetest voice, asks, “Grandpa, would you come out and play with us?”
I put down the plunger, resigned to my fate.
Volcano, here I come.
Larry Alan Brown is a resident of Alpine, Utah. Email: email@example.com
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