Welcome to the Childhood (8)
Published Aug 12, 2011

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Welcome to the Childhood (8: All in the Family Oriented)

((Author’s Note: This series continues to mix it up with the series “Occasionally Yours” by TSR’s spladoum. Best enjoyed together. Like cookies and cream.))

Welcome to the Childhood (8: All in the Family Oriented)

((Author’s Note: This series continues to mix it up with the series “Occasionally Yours” by TSR’s spladoum. Best enjoyed together. Like cookies and cream.))
The Simanski backyard (Thursday, June 2, 4:00 PM)
Jesse Simanski has been out in his garden for hours, but this isn’t where he was supposed to have spent the day. When he left the house this morning, Jesse had a list of job interviews to attend.
The first was at Valley Elementary School. Following last week’s mysterious disappearance of Coach Xander Clavell, the school has a new opening for a gym teacher. But before the interview even began, Alvin Carpenter, current principal of Valley Elementary and old friend of Jesse’s late parents, informed Jesse that the school couldn’t possibly hire him. [Alvin:] “I’m sorry, Jesse. I know you’re great with kids. I’d hire you in a heartbeat, but our Parent-Teacher Association would cause the district serious problems if I gave you the job now… due to those compromising pictures in the tabloids.” He said “compromising.” What he meant was ‘naked.’ Most of the world still had no idea who the “Jesse” in the Gwen Glover HOT Tub scandal really was, but quite a few Valley residents had figured it out. Honestly, Jesse didn’t care if the entire world saw him naked with his name and statistics captioned alongside. Unfortunately, there were three consequences to this that he did care about. One: If the national tabloids ever decide to make the specific “Jesse” in Gwen’s HOT tub a person of interest, the resultant public chaos will spill into the lives of his twin brother, his pregnant sister-in-law, and his six-year-old nephew. Two: Jesse can only imagine that thanks to all the media harassment since the event, by now the very mention of his name must be making Gwen Glover want to puke. Which is so not the effect he’d been hoping for. And three: He isn’t going to be able to get a job. Not a ‘real’ job. Not anywhere near his home town. After leaving Valley Elementary, Jesse didn’t see the point in going to any of the other interviews. He came home instead, and he’s been here in his garden ever since, enjoying a peace he hasn’t felt in two weeks. As for Jules Simanski, the last two weeks haven’t been fun times for him either, particularly the ten days since Miss Crumplebottom gave her first grade class the bring-a-parent-to-school assignment. Not that the parent presentations (two per day beginning this past Monday) haven’t been interesting. First was Leo’s dad, who talked about his job as a nurse at Valley County Hospital. Jules had already known Leo’s dad to be a pretty cool dad. Hearing him talk about helping people who were hurt or sick raised Jules’ opinion of him even more. Next was Cat’s mom, who talked about her job running a daycare out of her home. Mrs. Urbano made her daycare sound like a fun place, but even so, Jules thinks he’d still prefer his Uncle Jesse or Windy Whistler to babysit him at his own house, rather than be sent off to a daycare. On Tuesday, Wanda’s dad spoke to the class about being an officer with the Valley Police Department. While Mr. Goddard seemed like a nice enough dad, and his talk about searching for clues and patrolling for burglars was interesting, Jules was still uneasy during this presentation. Not so long ago, the police put his own dad in jail, and more recently nearly did the same to his Uncle Jesse. Both these events have been explained as some kind of mistake, so it seems to Jules the best way for himself and his family to avoid that sort of mistake might be to stay as far away from the police as possible. Also on Tuesday, Lil’s mom explained her job as the owner and manager of the Bachelor & Barakat bookstore. This didn’t sound as exciting as the other jobs Jules had heard about so far, but at the end of the presentation Mrs. Bachelor gave every student a copy of “The Warlock of Palladia” to keep, and that was very cool. On Wednesday, Henry’s dad talked about his job as a repairman. Mr. Hatch made the class laugh a lot, talking about the mishaps that happened to him on the job. Like the time he flooded the entire first floor of the Landgraab estate while trying to fix their dishwasher. Also on Wednesday, Sandi’s mom talked about her job as a chef at the Little Parisian Bistro. Mrs. French told them about all the famous celebrities who came to the restaurant to eat, and at the end of the presentation she gave the whole class a slice of her very tasty cherry cobbler. Then there was today, when Devlin and Angelo brought both their parents to class. Their dad owns a big business company and does meetings and mergings and brokerings and other stuff Jules doesn’t understand, although Mr. Alto talked about all this for a very long time. Devlin and Angelo’s mom is a member of the Valley City Council. This is apparently a very important job, although even after the presentation Jules still doesn’t know what a member of city council does, other than be very important. Jules is supposed to give his presentation tomorrow, the last day of school. He is the only student left to present, because Holly Porter will not be bringing anyone to class. Holly has no parents, or even a guardian other than the staff of the orphanage where she lives, so Miss Crumplebottom gave her a book report to do instead. Jules still hasn’t told either of his parents about this assignment. He wants to bring his Dad, but the Alto brothers have made it clear what they will do if he does. They’ll try to upset his Dad, by asking mean questions. And if he brings his Mama, who used to be a maid for the Alto family, they’ll be mean to her, too. What Jules desperately needs right now is the advice of a grown up. In the past, if he couldn’t figure something out and he couldn’t go to his parents, he went to his Uncle Jesse. Lately Uncle Jesse has been having problems of his own, and Jules hasn’t been able to find a good time to talk to him about any of this. But time is running out. And so, since 3:30 PM when he got home from school today, Jules has been watching his uncle in the garden. Uncle Jesse is singing “When I’m Sixty-four” to his plants. Jules knows this song, because his Dad and his Uncle Jesse taught it to him. Grampa Simanski used to sing it to Gramma Simanski, before they died and went to the graveyard. [Jesse:] *sings* “Send me a postcard… drop me a line… stating point of view… indicate precisely what you mean to say…” *pause* “Something on your mind, Jules?” At last, this is the invitation Jules needs to share every miserable detail of his past two weeks. Jesse listens to the entire outpouring without interrupting, asking his first question only after Jules has finished.
[Jesse:] “Your friends told you about Pinnacle Campgrounds?”
[Jules:] “Yes. I asked them to, Uncle Jesse. Everyone knew about it but me.”
This lands Jesse a load of regret. Jules shouldn’t have had to learn about the way his grandparents died from anyone but his own family. They hadn’t told him yet because they’d decided he was too young, completely disregarding the fact the rest of the world is rarely so kind. The meteor strike that killed Joe and Julie Simanski was the biggest natural disaster to happen in Valley in several generations. That paired with the subsequent nine years of problems (real or imagined) of Joe and Julie’s orphaned twins… well, the town still hasn’t shut up about it, and Jesse, Jono, and Dani all knew that. But they’d let this happen to Jules anyway, so shame on them. And shame on Nick and Vita Alto for raising their kids in their own demented image. But this shouldn’t have surprised Jesse either, considering his sister-in-law used to come home ranting about those people nearly every single day of the three years she worked for them. [Jesse:] “Jules, your dad and I should’ve told you about what happened to our parents. It was wrong and it was dumb that we didn’t.”
[Jules:] “It’s okay, Uncle Jesse. I know bad stuff is hard to talk about.”
[Jesse:] “Yeah, it is. But that’s what family is supposed to be for, Jules. Being able to talk about the bad stuff, not just the good stuff.”
[Jules:] “Should I tell Dad about Devlin and Angelo and the presentation?”
Jesse has to give this some thought. He knows his brother is, in many ways, mentally healthier in the last two months than he’s been in nine years. Jono is finally moving past the Pinnacle Campgrounds experience, and forewarned, Jesse is fairly sure that Jono could handle these Alto brats.
But not entirely sure. And if something went wrong, having Jules witness it would be much worse for Jono than the fact he’d publicly lost control. Of that, Jesse is certain. And there is this one other option.
[Jesse:] “I’ll do your presentation, Jules.”
[Jules:] “But… Miss Crumplebottom said I have to bring Dad or Mama.”
[Jesse:] “So I’ll pretend to be your dad, and she’ll never know the difference.”
[Jules:] “You can do that?”
[Jesse:] “Sure I can. Your dad and I used to do it all the time.”
Jesse doesn’t mention the last time he and Jono pulled a successful switch, they were the age Jules is now. No reason to worry the little guy more than he already is. [Jules:] “But… you really don’t look like Dad, Uncle Jesse.”
[Jesse:] “You think I don’t, huh?”
Jules shakes his head apologetically. Jesse laughs, and then he winks.
[Jesse:] “Don’t worry, Jules. It’s just the hair, and Peggy Sue can fix that. You’ll see.”
Rose Tint Your World beauty salon (8:00 PM)
When Jesse called to explain the situation earlier this evening, Peggy Sue Primrose agreed to help without hesitation. She’d told Jesse to drop by the salon after business hours, but when he arrives it isn’t Peg that comes to the door to let him in. It’s Windy Whistler, who as it turns out has decided to learn the beautician trade as Peg’s apprentice.
Jesse hasn’t seen Windy since her graduation party, when she confessed her attraction for him and he, in a word, freaked. So this is awkward. Much.
[Windy:] “Hi, Jesse…”
[Jesse:] “Hey, Windy…”
[Windy:] “About the other night…”
[Jesse:] “Yeah, about that…”
[Windy:] “I shouldn’t have pressured you like that…”
[Jesse:] “I shouldn’t have flipped out like that…”
These two have been like family for nearly nine years. Now Windy wishes to make their relationship romantic, and Jesse does not. The situation is what it is. There is no one at fault. They can let the differences in their feelings ruin their previous friendship, or attempt another option. Starting with this:
[Windy & Jesse:] “I’m sorry.”
[Peg:] “Soon as you two are done clearing up your bad mojo, let’s get started shall we?” Jesse sits at Peg’s workstation, somewhat uneasily, while Peg and Windy prepare for this rather unique makeover.
[Peg:] “So how does your brother affect that hair style of his anyway? Sewing scissors and the bathroom mirror?”
[Jesse:] “Kitchen scissors and the bathroom mirror. But Jono’s hair is longer than mine, so I shouldn’t see you picking up ANY scissors, Delilah.”
[Peg:] “Yeah, yeah. Calm yourself, Samson. Have I ever given you cause to whine about one of my haircuts?”
Jesse mutters and fidgets while Peg compares a picture of Jono to the top of Jesse’s head.
[Peg:] “You know, this would’ve been a lot easier a couple of months ago when hardly anyone had seen Jono in years. Then we wouldn’t need to make you look like Jono, we’d just need to make you not look like Jesse.”
[Jesse:] “What are you talking about? Jono hasn’t been out that much.”
[Peg:] “He was at this year’s Valley HS graduation ceremony. Last week he was seen at the library with Jules, and just yesterday at Bachelor & Barakat with Dani.”
[Jesse:] “How the hell do you know that?”
[Peg:] “Jesse. Until this spring your brother was a total recluse. I mean, there’s been a rumor around town for years he wasn’t even alive anymore and you and Dani were covering it up for your own reasons. The naughty kind.”
[Jesse:] “Oh, please.”
[Peg:] “Hey, I would’ve been one of the gossips spreading that rumor if I hadn’t personally seen your brother alive on a regular basis.”
[Jesse:] “Shut up, Peg.”
[Peg:] “Just saying.”
[Jesse:] “Yeah? So stop saying!”
[Peg:] “My point is, any sighting of Jono Simanski outside the confines of his own house is serious grist for the Valley gossip mill. And that’s how the hell I know that. Now hold still.” Peg and Windy get to work and in less than hour, the temporary makeover is complete. Jesse is sent on his way with a stern reminder that he better remember to shave in the morning. Valley Elementary School (Friday, June 3 / 9:00 AM)
[Jesse:] “Heya, kids. I’m Jules’ dad. Jono Simanski. Here to tell you about my job as a Computer Security Consultant.”
[Jesse:] “How many of you have at least one computer in your house?”
Every student raises his or her hand.
[Jesse:] “So you all know what a computer looks like. Pretty boring to look at, I know. So let’s pretend it looks like a castle instead, which is way cooler.”
[Jesse:] “Now the boss of the castle, the king, he’s got some important stuff in there he wants to guard from all the pirates and bandits and raiders in the area. So what do kings use to guard their castles? Things like stone walls, right? And lots of knights with swords, and a bunch of cannonball launchers, and bottomless moats full of deathfish and crocolisks.” [Cat:] “Mr. Simanski? What’s a crocolisk?”
[Jesse:] “It’s what happens when a crocodile marries a basilisk. But that’s not important right now.”
[Jesse:] “What’s important is that you all get that guarding this here castle is a great big dealio. You all get that it’s a great big dealio?”
Jesse gets a few nods and a low murmur of agreement.
[Jesse:] “I can’t hear you. Say: Great Big Dealio.”
[First Graders:] “Great Big Dealio!”
[Jesse:] “Bingo. The king doesn’t want anyone getting in there and stealing his bazillion gold and epic loot and exotic pets, so he has to keep his castle under guard at all times. A computer has important loot to guard, too. We call the loot a computer needs to guard ‘information,’ and I’m the guy that builds the stone walls and bottomless moats around a computer, to keep bandits from stealing the information inside. Questions?” The Alto brothers immediately raise their hands. Jesse ignores them. For now. [Jesse:] “Oh, hang on a sec, almost forgot to mention. Right now I work on the computers at the Pennylane Institution of Psychiatric Services. PIPS, for short. Some of you might’ve heard of that place from your parents, but maybe your parents call it something else, like… Loony Bin? Funny Farm? Cuckoos Nest?”
Smirks from the Altos. Smiles and giggles from most of the rest. Jesse doesn’t mind.
[Jesse:] “Yeah, computer security is definitely a great big dealio at PIPS. They’ve got all their stuff hooked up to computers over there nowadays…”
Jesse trails off momentarily, and when he speaks next, his voice is so low only Devlin and Angelo can make out what he’s saying.
[Jesse:] “...which means I can control every lock and alarm in the place, and if you don’t stop picking on Jules, I might screw up one of these nights and let my fellow nutjobs out of the nuthouse and when I do I’ll make sure every last one of them has the Alto address and the cab fare to get there.” [Jesse:] “Savvy, boys?” While Devlin and Angelo gape in terror, Jesse returns his attention to the rest of the class and opens the laptop he borrowed from under his brother’s bed while his brother was still sleeping this morning.
[Jesse:] “Speaking of savvy, who wants to see the trailer for the next Pirates movie—The Scurvy Dogs of Scallywag? Got the unreleased preview right here.”
The rest of the presentation goes off without a hitch, but on Jesse’s way out of the school, Principal Alvin Carpenter meets him at the door. Calling him by accurate name.
[Alvin:] “Jesse?”
[Jesse:] “Aw, dammit.”
[Alvin:] “Not to worry, Jesse. I’m not going to tell on you for masquerading as your brother. I’m sure you have your reasons. I just wanted to say, that was really well done. Giving an entertaining presentation to first graders on computer security… I’m impressed. And I’m inclined to go to bat for you, if you still want a teaching position.” [Jesse:] “It’s not me. It’s Jono.”
[Alvin:] “Jesse. I know you’re not your brother. No need to keep up the ruse.”
[Jesse:] “No, I mean I mostly just copied Jono. That’s how Jono taught Jules, and that’s pretty much how he taught me the concept, fifteen years ago. It’s not me you want. It’s my brother.”
[Alvin:] “I see. Well, we’ll have an opening for a fourth grade teacher in the fall… think you can get your brother in here to interview?”
[Jesse:] “I don’t know. But I’ll sure as hell try.”
Jesse stops by the gym to put his hair back to rights, but doesn’t go home yet. He and Jules have plans to tell Jono everything after school, and Jesse doesn’t want to risk meeting up with his brother and starting the telling early. A distinct possibility, given Jesse’s usual track record where keeping anything from Jono is concerned. And he’s already itching to tell him what Principal Carpenter said. He goes for a drive instead. Terry Whistler, his former boss, is letting him keep his repotruck until he has the money to buy another vehicle. Given his current state of job fail, that isn’t in the foreseeable future. But no matter. He’s in a good mood. So good a mood that the fact this truck still smells like Gwen Glover isn’t bringing on the heartbreak. Much. He ends up at the Pleasant View Cemetery, although there’s really nothing pleasant about this view. The place has turned into a jungle in a bad way. Jesse has considerable difficulty locating his parents’ graves, not because he doesn’t remember where they are, but because all the walkways have been overgrown. Finally standing before the headstones for the first time in seven years, Jesse has to swallow repeatedly to clear the lump in his throat.
“Been a long time, son.”
Jesse gasps and whirls around. For just a second he thought… but no. It’s Ernest Darling, the cemetery caretaker. His first former boss.
[Jesse:] “Hey, Ernie. Man, you spooked me! How’d you sneak through all these freaking weeds?”
[Ernie:] “Place has gone to hell the last few years, hasn’t it? Town cut my staff funding, now that everyone’s using that fancy new boneyard up Fort Gnome way. Just me now, and I’m too old to keep up with the place all by my lonesome. Even when I had the staff, the place never looked so good as when you worked here. Nobody cared to keep it up the way you did, not since the last Goth passed.” [Jesse:] “I’ll fix it, Ernie. Might take me awhile, but I swear I’ll fix it.”
Ernie considers Jesse in silence for a moment.
[Ernie:] “If you really mean to do that, son, why not get paid for it? I’m not going to be around much longer. Docs say maybe a few more months at most. Wouldn’t mind spending my final days retired, truth be told.”
[Jesse:] “I doubt the city council will let me have the job, Ernie. I uh, got into a little trouble recently—”
[Ernie:] “Bullpucky. You just leave the city council to me. My word’ll be good enough. I’ve been burying this town’s secrets since that uppity bunch was in diapers.”
[Ernie:] “Besides, last I checked, the dead don’t give a damn if you wear clothes… so long as you plant ’em a flower or two.” [Director’s Commentary:] The Beatles “When I’m Sixty-Four” can be heard here for free with a copy/paste to browser (can’t say for sure if this link will work for non-US browsers, apologies):

((Special Thanks to:

* TSR artist: Cyclonesue (craptastic garden ground paints)… and many, many other TSR artists mentioned in previous episodes

* MTS artists: LadyFrontbum (open shirt / no undershirt), Claeric (long sleeve shirt accessory)… and many, many other MTS artists mentioned in previous episodes

* Around The Sims: Classroom Set

* TSR’s spladoum for her collaborative creativity … and incredible patience with rats

* Heartfelt apologies to all cc creators that I’ve failed to credit by name, here or elsewhere

> Readers-to-the-end-credits—thank you all once again for riding along all this way. It’s a Great Big Dealio to me, seriously))

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eviSep 9, 2011

Great chapter!\:D

jubeauty2003Sep 6, 2011


TenshiroiAug 23, 2011

I love all this story so much ! thanks for sharing !

Bo0GeRBELLAug 20, 2011

Amazing \:rah\:

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