Here was some parental advice I suggest not using. This wasn’t my most shining moment as a parent, but a supreme court decision had been around for a few years, and it became an excellent tool for child-rearing. Abortions were legalized, and I seized the opportunity. Blain was about ten at the time and had some idea what it was. I expounded on the law for increased parental control. I explained to him in a serious tone the new law included kids up to ten years old, so if you had an unruly child, all you had to do was make an appointment, take them down to the abortion clinic, and that was that.
The abortion threat was effective for a while, until one day it backfired. Pat who was five at the time came running into the house after he and Blain had a sibling skirmish. He yelled and did that stuttering crying thing. “Ma-ma-mommy, Bla-Bla-Blain said da-da-daddy could haul my little ass down to the ha-ha-hospital and get my brains sucked out if I was bad!”
She was furious. “Blain! Get over here, and I mean now! You too, John!” Blain sensed trouble and ran to the garage and hid. Coward.
I knew he had a secret hiding place, then yelled, “Blain, I want a word with you.” He crawled out from under his makeshift hideout.
“What is it, dad?” Blain knew he’d been busted.
“How many times have I told you to stop teaching your brother cuss words?”
“You better be. You got me into a world of shit with your mother.”
“Sorry, dad.” They both headed to the house to meet the wrath of God, and Darlene was his messenger. I went in the house preparing for the worse, and I was right.
Then she exclaimed, “John, what on earth have you been telling these kids?”
I resorted to a marriage survival technique I created, and replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about?” I’ll explain its origin later.
“Brain-sucking, John? Are you serious! They’re our children, for God’s sake!” She embraced Pat and comforted him to calm down the situation as best she could. I told her I’d talk to the boys and straighten everything out. “See that you do. I need to get dinner together. I’ll tend to Pat. He’ll probably be in therapy for the rest of his life.” She gently sat Pat down, then scolded Blain.
“What do you say for yourself, young man?”
“My brother is a rat fink.” Darlene was almost in a complete rage but controlled herself, and again summoned Pat to come to her. He ran back to her arms. Without anyone noticing, Pat stuck his tongue out at Blain, then told his mother he wanted to apologize to Pat.
“Come here, Pat, I want to give you a big hug.” She put him down, and he ran over to him. Blain picked him up, gave him a big hug and whispered, “You ever stick your tongue out at me again, I’ll tear that thing out of your head and feed it to the dogs.”
He wrestled from Blain’s arms, ran back to his mother, and screamed, “Mama, Blain said he was going to tear my tongue out and feed it to the dogs!”
Darlene crossed her arms and shook her head in disgust. “John, you and Blain are incorrigible.”
I was dumbfounded and asked, “In what? If you’re going to insult us, at least use words we both understand.”
“No problem. You’re both imbeciles.”
Satisfied with a less complicated word, I replied, “That’s better, and for once, you may be on to something. I’ll talk to them right now.” Jake had been in the other room the whole time and heard everything and called for him to meet Blain and me to set the record straight. “Boys, I was kidding about having an abortion done to you. I told you those things because I love you, and I want you to be good. Do you understand me?
“Yes sir,” they said in unison.
“But I can still send you away to live with poor people if you misbehave.”
Blain giggled then smirked, “No you can’t, Dad.”
“Wanna bet? Have you seen Billy down the street lately? Hmmm?”
The boys looked at each other, and my comment got Jake’s attention. I could tell Blain was a little nervous too. They didn’t know Billy was visiting his grandparents for a few weeks. It made for a sufficient replacement bluff for the recently retired abortion threat, but it got plenty of mileage while it lasted.