TWEETYCO: Prologue

He just had his second child, he told himself. It’s Friday. Give me a break, woman.

Richard unceremoniously fumbles out of bed without regard for the blanket or comforter – they both become akin to a wad of crumpled-up paper. His bitterness to seize the day is the same emotion he’d have if he ripped a page out of a notebook, crumpling it up like his blanket ball. His sleep, like his discarded notes, becomes another idea that doesn’t make the cut. Although he was beyond elated to be a father and to have an amazing wife, Richard was not a morning person, and he resigned grumpily to the notion that sleeping in near the weekend was exclusive to being childless. What kind of work you do is another factor, but Richard never worked a full-time hour in his life. He had a part-time job once in high school, making virtually no money mopping school bathrooms, but man did he detest that. Luckily (to him) it was a smooth transition to a stay-at-home dad.  He checks his phone: 12:51 AM. Boy, if only he could push 2 PM, he thinks. He’s being a tad facetious but he knows deep down he’d probably sleep until then if he wasn’t interrupted. Richard can hear his firstborn Mason vocally milling about like a child on Jasper Marshmallow Bites cereal (incidentally, that was breakfast for him). The familiar voice of Richard’s wife Jeanette, soft but irritated, is once again audible in an attempt to coax her husband further into consciousness. Finally, she gets a view of her fatigued, soft-eyed Richard waddling into the hallway.

“You gonna change into something nice? This’ll be the third day in a row you wear that shirt.” Jeanette says. Richard wipes the crusty gunk from his eye as Mason Onilittle flies past his parents like the dumb blonde boy he is. That sounds harsh but Mason doesn’t mind any language pertaining to his hair color. His self-given nickname is bluntly “dumb blonde boy”. Richard and Jeanette are working on his confidence. 5-year olds aren’t very good at having that, Richard thinks. Or is that phase around 10 to 15 years of age? Richard shakes his head briefly to snap him out of his internal tangent. “If we decide to do something fun today, sure, honey. I’ll eat something, shower, change my clothes…look, I don’t like making you upset.” he says. Jeanette sighs. “I don’t like being upset myself, but I’ll get over it.” she says. “I would love to do something fun for Labor Day, and I think Mason would too. Though that sleep schedule isn’t gonna serve you well once I’m back at work tomorrow. You can see why I’m upset about that, right? Lily is two weeks old.” Richard blankly nods. Mason makes an airplane noise as he gingerly “wooshes” around the living room. Jeanette points to the kitchen counter that oversees the living room. “I made avocado toast earlier. Eat, freshen up and I’ll see which friends are free.” she calmly adds as she walks to the couch. Richard smirks and quickly stifles a laugh in the form of an exhale. Avocado toast. Isn’t that what millennials live off of or something? He recalls an online article tearing into that generation, and then finishes the thought with an internalized “whatever”. It tastes fine. He’s pretty sure his wife missed a couple key ingredients however. Lemon juice, nutritional yeast – salt to taste. He pulls out his phone and confirms with himself that 40% of that is in this avocado spread. It’s like…too bland or something. He finishes it and proceeds to shower and don clean clothing, throwing his hot sauce graphic tee in the hamper. His son’s wardrobe is mostly green button-ups so he just changes into a new, clean one. Jeanette changed into her red dress that morning, and soon the family is ready to enjoy Labor Day company. Lily is placed into her car seat with a handle, to be carried into the car so that the name of her seat makes sense.

They’re off to see their friends and their friends’ children. Mason silently bobs along to a popular kid’s song coming from his car headphones. “We’re going to see Caitlin and Joey??” Mason belts out. Jeanette turns around in the passenger seat. “Yes hun! You excited to see them? What do you think you three will do together this time?” she says. “Probably watch JohnPutridOrb play horror games on Caitlin’s tablet again.” Mason excitedly replies. His mother warmly laughs to assure her son that it sounds like fun even though she didn’t catch a lick of what any of that meant. Mason would message his young friends how excited he was to see them if he had a device with cellular data, and maybe Caitlin would message him back that she was excited too and would tell him before he got there that the horror game they like to watch influencers play, she got her mom to actually buy the mobile port for her on her tablet and that she was gonna play it with everyone tonight. Mason would have immediately been put off to the idea, but that conversation wouldn’t happen yet because young children don’t need cellphones. Especially their parents phones, while they’re in a moving car no less.

Time passes before everyone knows it, as it does, and the Onilittle family arrives.