A Twelve-Year-Old’s Growth Spurt

Charlie crashes through the side-porch kitchen door, makes a b-line for the refrigerator. He’s been at a friend’s house—-jamming, watching the show, “Psych,” playing kitchen soccer (“The Mom actually lets us play soccer in the kitchen!” exclaimed Charlie The Kid after his first hangout at this particular friend’s home. “Isn’t that cool?”)

Cassie: You’re back so soon! What are you doing in the refrigerator?

CTK: Looking for something.

Cassie: What?

CTK: Hamburger buns (pause) or English Muffins.

Cassie: Why?

CTK: To eat with Hamburgers.

Cassie: For dinner? You’re eating dinner at A’s house tonight?

(He’s already heading back in the direction of the door, package of English Muffins found and squeezed in his good hand, not the one sheathed in frayed bandages from a broken thumb.)

CTK: Yes.

Cassie: But it’s not even three o’clock. You’re planning dinner already? That’s all the English Muffins. You’re taking all the English Muffins?

CTK: Yes, Mom.

Cassie: Is A’s mom home? Did she invite you for dinner? At three o’clock?

CTK: (with his broken-thumb hand on the doorknob) Alright. The English Muffins are actually for a snack.

Cassie: Oh. You’re having toasted English Muffins for a snack.

CTK: Yes. With the hamburgers.

Cassie: Wait. What? You’re really having hamburgers for an afternoon snack?

CTK: Yes. I’m starving.

Cassie: Didn’t you eat lunch? I made you a giant turkey club with bacon sandwich for lunch. And chips. And homemade cookies. It was a big lunch.

CTK: Not really. It felt like air.

Cassie: It felt like air?

CTK: Yes.

Cassie: Well it just so happens that we were going to have hamburgers for dinner tonight. Now you won’t have an appetite for the dinner this evening.

CTK: Oh, I’ll have an appetite. It’s not a problem. I could probably eat five burgers right now.

Cassie: So Shaggy, A’s Mom is just going to make you guys some burgers in the mid-afternoon?

CTK: (smirking at the “Shaggy and Scooby Doo” reference) No WE’RE going to do the cooking. She’ll just oversee. She’s relaxed like that (he says pointedly); she lets us create freely in the kitchen.

Cassie: Can’t you just have a couple bowls of cereal and call it a day?

CTK: No. I need some beef. To block the gnawing feeling. My stomach is biting itself. You know that feeling? You know what I mean?

Cassie: Hmmm, I guess. You’re not cooking the burgers by yourselves on a grill, though…right?

CTK: No, no, no. In a fry pan. I’m going to show A about sliders. Can I take an onion? (Charlie goes over to the area on the kitchen counter where I keep onions, garlic and such. He grabs a large Vidalia.)

Cassie: You’re taking an onion?

CTK: Yeah. I gotta go, Mom. I’m starving and I need to get back to A’s house. I’ll probably lose three pounds running back there and then I’ll pass out.

Cassie: Okay. Wait. Who has the beef?

CTK: THEY have the beef. Gawwwwd, Mom! This is taking forever to explain it to you. Can I just go already?

Cassie: Okay! Bye. Enjoy your snack.

CTK: Thanks!

(He slams the kitchen door, practically flies off the porch. With an onion in one hand and a package of English Muffins in the other, he trots down the sidewalk at a steady pace, turns left and disappears round the bend toward his friend’s home.)


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