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52.1 - Earlier at the Amari Household...

[Set the weekend before Issue #52.  While I don't know if it was ever said, but I feel like Issue #52 took place on a Monday with all the catching up and whatnot (usually the first half on my Mondays) so likely the day before or so.] Jordan squeals in joy as Adam hefts her up on his shoulder and spins her around.  “Oh no!” he says in mock horror, “The Jordan Express is out of control!  Will she be able to right herself in time!” “It's okay!  The Jordan Express has a backup engine!” Jordan announces as she throws her arms out and starts making engine noises.  On cue, Adam stops spinning and, with a dramatic dip, starts walking her around the living room. Khamala peered out from behind the kitchen divider and tried to hold back a smile.  “The Jordan Express better be scheduled to set down for lunch.” Adam doesn’t miss a beat.  A short hop and a brief glide across the sofa brings both the children into the dining area where Adam carefully plops Jordan down into her normal seat.  Mrs. Amari soon enters herself with a plate of leftover egg salad converted into a little more than a dozen sandwiches. “Okay Jordan, what do you want to drink?” she asks. Without hesitation Jordan replies with a quizzical, “Hot cocoa?” Khamala gives a labored sigh.  “Fine, but you’re only getting milk and water for dinner.”  Jordan doesn’t even try to contain her excitement; she’s all smiles and fidgeting in her seat. Khamala turns to Adam, “Adam, can you grab me a cup of tea also?” “Sure, mom.” Adam quickly gathers up everything: a mug for mom and a plastic cup for Jordan, cocoa and tea packets from the cabinet, milk from the fridge, and a little bit of water.  As Adam starts to fill the mug with water, Khamala shouts out, “Remember not to grab one of your father’s mugs, Adam!” “I remember, mom!” Adam shouts back in reply, the thought of his fingerprints scoring the paint his dad’s team mug lingering in his mind. The cups are filled and Adam grabs them both by the bottom, a bit of Keynome energy warming his hands.  “Did you want milk with your tea?” “No, but I’d like sugar with it.” Adam’s head turns towards the kitchen rack and for a moment he considers trying to pull the sugar towards him with the Keynome, but only for a moment.  The Keynome is all power—fine when you need raw strength but not finesse like this.  Besides, the memory of what happened to Tuffy is still fresh and Adam doesn’t want a repeat of that incident. Eventually Adam emerges from the kitchen with both steaming cups in one blue-flame reefed hand and a small box of sugar and spoon in the other.  He starts to set the cups down on the table but Khamala interrupts him with a disapproving noise.  After a moment of thought, Adam gives an apologetic smile and saps some of the heat from the cups before he sets them down—warm but not hot enough to singe the tabletop… again.  Jordan is already munching on her sandwich and Khamala thanks Adam as she lets her tea packet steep. Adam ducks back into the kitchen for a minute before returning with a glass of orange juice.  Before he can even take his seat, Khamala starts speaking, “So Adam, one of the customers at the pharmacy had very nice things to say about you yesterday.” “Oh?” Adam says, his mouth already stuffed with egg salad sandwich. “Chew dear,” Khamala flatly before returning to a more pleasant tone.  “She said you pulled her car out of a ditch.” “Oh, Ms. Anderson.  Yeah, she was really nice.  She'd just picked up food so she offered me a burrito.” Khamala grimaces.  “You didn’t take it, did you?”  Adam gives unconvincing shrug and she groans in disappointment.  “Adam Amari, you cannot be taking every free meal handed out.  I don’t want people to think I don’t feed my son.” “But Mom, you know Keynome keeps me hungry all the time," Adam replies as he gives an exaggerated look at his half-devoured third sandwich. “And this is why we are going to Tucker’s for dinner tonight.  But I will remind you: all-you-can-eat means four plates max.”  Adam frowns and returns to his sandwich. Briefly the conversation turns to school but is interrupted by the sound of the front door unlocking.  Sargent Amari walks in a Jordan shouts an excited "Daddy!"  She bolts from his seat in childish glee despite Khamala's attempts to stop her.  Nassir, with practiced ease, snatches her up in mid-stride and gives her a kiss.  Together they walk back to the table and Nassir plops Jordan down in her seat. Khamala smiles. “How was work, dear?” “Oh fine,” Nassir says, trying to hold back a wry smile, “but you’d think I’d be used to my son showing me up by bringing suspects in by now.”  Adam blushes a little as his dad gives him a playful slap on the back. Nassir takes his seat and Jordan dutifully attempts to pass the plate of sandwiches to him before Khamala takes over.  Mom and Dad trade stories of their night and morning while Jordan interjects with her own thoughts and tangents.  Adam sits silently taking in the whole scene, a deep smile on his face in between bites.
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(I exaggerate. A bit. Everyone here certainly seems sincerely happy, and in a good way.)
Actually, what's remarkable here is that it works on two levels. If this was just an out-of-nowhere first-time story of this household, it is completely legit. Nothing is out of place. It's a happy, loving, everything-is-going-well family. No hints of something-not-right. No snarkiness. No broad nudges.  It's just knowing that this is not in keeping with other things -- not wildly, utterly different, mind you, but just tweaked enough to not fit what I've seen before of the family dynamics -- an utter lack of any of the parental worry or the Adam stress that we've come to know -- lending it a troubling air. Except that why should I be troubled by it when everyone is so happy?
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Doyce T.
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*** Dave H. said: Actually, what's remarkable here is that it works on two levels. If this was just an out-of-nowhere first-time story of this household, it is completely legit. Nothing is out of place. It's a happy, loving, everything-is-going-well family. No hints of something-not-right. No snarkiness. No broad nudges.  Kaylee, this morning, commented: "They need to sort everything out soon, because mean Adam is creeping me out." Me: "Mean? Why is he mean?" Kaylee: "He's just MEAN." Me: "In what way?" Kaylee: "Because he's not RIGHT and it's BAD." Me: ... Kaylee: "NO I don't know why but they have to FIX it." So... yeah. That.     
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Yeah, I really liked it too. There's just a few scary things that really make me worry. I'm really not happy with bad things happening with Tuffy. It's bizarre seeing Adam's dad smiling and being happy. WhyarepowerssuddenlyokayinthehouseandwhyaretheassholesworkingforJasonanywayandwhatthefuckisgoingon--
Doyce T. said: Kaylee, this morning, commented: "They need to sort everything out soon, because mean Adam is creeping me out." Me: "Mean? Why is he mean?" Kaylee: "He's just MEAN." Me: "In what way?" Kaylee: "Because he's not RIGHT and it's BAD." Me: ... Kaylee: "NO I don't know why but they have to FIX it." So... yeah. That.      I am flabbergasted that someone who when presented with someone they barely knew who was concerned about their missing friend immediately offered to help without reservation is considered the "mean" version of that person. *** Dave H. said: Except that why should I be troubled by it when everyone is so happy? This statement pleases me for reasons I won't go into yet.
This statement pleases me for reasons I won't go into yet. My work here is done. By the way, I am always  happy when I can make reference back to "It's a Good  Life," book or TV ep. So points for that, too.  (Alycia is so ending up in the corn field.)