The Day My Daughter Killed Her Grandfather by TJ Alexian

Topic: What the %^&* Is Going On Here?

“Teddy,” said my sister Kerrie over the phone. “You’re not going to believe what Ashes did today.”

Wonderful. What fresh new hell awaits? I sat at my desk at work and felt my stomach tighten.

Kerrie teaches reading at the Middle School that Ashes attends. It’s been a nice arrangement, for the most part. For two years, she’s kept a careful eye on her niece. She even had her as a student in sixth grade, which made the transition from elementary school easier.

She’s also one of the prettiest and most popular teachers in the school. But, maybe I’m biased.

Still, she doesn’t usually call to warn me about something Ashes has done at school. “What now, my love?” I sighed.

“So, you didn’t know Ashes had detention this afternoon?” In fact, I hadn’t. “But instead, the little sneak went up to the assistant principal after school, and told him she couldn’t make detention.”

“She did?” I asked. “Why?”

“That’s the thing,” said Kerrie, drawing it out. “She told him there was a death in the family.”

“A death?”

“Not just any death. She told him her grandfather had died.”

I sat there, amazed at the audacity of my middle child. Once again.

“But here’s the thing,” drawled Kerrie, who had inherited my father’s gift for storytelling. “What Miss Ashes didn’t realize was that I was on the same floor and turning the corner at the same time she was telling him this load of crap. I heard her, too, so I just stopped in my tracks, and I said, really loudly, so she could hear me, ‘Ashes, is there something you want to tell me?'”

I started to grin, picturing the scene playing out. “What did she do?”

“She nearly shit her pants, is what she did,” said Kerrie. “You should have seen the look on her face! And then I took her aside and asked her what the hell she was doing, lying like that. And also, placing a curse on her grandfather like that. That was bad luck, and she’d feel awful if something happened! Then I marched her ass into detention.”

In case I haven’t mentioned it, Kerrie may be a public educator, but she has the mouth of a sea sailor.

I shook my head, still unable to believe what I was hearing. “She told him dad died?” I repeated.

“Well, maybe not OUR dad. She does have two grandfathers, after all.”

“Oh, that’s helpful.” I paused. “Was she all alone and lying to him?”

“No. She was with her friend Alexis.” Ah, that explained everything. Alexis has been her BFF since first grade, and is a future Desperate Housewife in the making.

I hung up from the conversation feeling both thoughtful and troubled. Dammit, why did today have to be the day that Ashes killed off her grandfather? Why do I have to make freaking decisions all the time? Even more, why do kids have to do stupid things all the time? Especially rebellious middle children.

Okay, so focus, I thought to myself, as I sat at my desk in corporate hell. What to do with the knowledge I had just gained? How could I use it to my advantage?

I thought about what Kerrie had said, about “placing a jinx.” Hmmm, maybe there was something there. . .

A few hours later, I arrived back at our apartment, unlocked the door. There was Ashes, spread out on the couch, doing her homework while watching an episode of the Gilmore Girls. Corb was sitting at the computer, playing Sims. As usual, they were bickering.

“Ashes, you’re so lazy!” he was saying. “Get your butt of the couch and throw that wrapper away!”

“Grrrr! You’re such a nag, Corbett,” she said, angrily

“Ashes says she doesn’t have to listen to me because I’m not her father,” Corb said to me.

“I did not!” yelled Ashes.

“Then what DID you say?”

“Hey guys, can you quiet it down for a minute?” I said, my face a picture of pain and sadness. “I received some bad news this afternoon. Someone called me at work and told me something awful.”

I had their attention. “What is it?” Ashes asked.

“Well, honey. . . I don’t know how to say this to you, but. . .” I moved to the couch, sat down next to her, trying hard to keep a straight face. “I just learned that your grandfather’s dead.”

Ashes looked shocked. “WHAT?”

“It was a total freak thing,” I continued. “One minute he was fine. Laughing, smiling. Talking fondly of his beloved grandkids. The very picture of health! The next thing. . .well. . .he just clutched his heart and keeled over. It was like someone had placed a curse on him, or something.”

Ashes shook her head. “No way. Dad, you can’t be serious.”

I lowered my head, overcome with emotion.

Ashes eyes grew wide. “Dad!”

“And you know who it was who told me this, sweetie?” I continued sweetly, building up momentum for what was to come. And then: “Your assistant principal, that’s who.” And then I looked at Miss Thing, knowingly.

An embarrassed grin immediately replaced her look of concern. “It wasn’t that big a deal!”

“It wasn’t? You tried to lie about your grandfather’s death to get out of detention!”

“So what? That’s not so bad,” she said, stubbornly. “Alexis lies all the time to get out of detention.”

“What’s so bad about lying to your assistant principal?” I asked. “Hmmm. . . let me think about that one. No, better yet, let me call your grandmother! Not only is her husband dead, but he actually WAS a principal!”

“Dad…!”

Oh, no. I was seeing this one to the end. I took out my cell phone, and started dialing my mother.

“Hey, Mom,” I said, concern in my voice. “How are you feeling after. . . after what happened?”

I looked over at Ashes, knowingly. She hid her head under a pillow.

“What’s that you say?” I tried to look surprised. “Dad’s ghost is there? In the room, with you? And he has a. . . a few words to say to his granddaughter?”

I handed the phone over. Suddenly, Ashes really was seeing a ghost.

I tell you, it may not be easy making freaking decisions all the time, but when you do hit upon just the exact right one, it can be an awfully satisfying experience.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Day My Daughter Killed Her Grandfather by TJ Alexian”
  1. amyweezie says:

    Great story! I somehow saw a darker ending at first, but I loved how you turned that around. I can see one of my children trying this one day, so it was most useful — and a good read!

  2. TJ Alexian says:

    Thanks, Amy! Nope, my dad is still alive and kicking…no darkness there 🙂

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