“Something has been gnawing at the legs of your bed. That’s, apparently, why it broke…”
Zach listened uncomfortably to his father’s distant drawl. Johan surveyed the wreck, trying hard to ignore the circumstances surrounding it. It was easier to think about fixing a broken bed than fixing a gay son.
“So… has Zeus been gnawing at any wood lately?”
Zach eyed the pig, which was affectionately burying its snort against his arm.
“No. Pigs don’t gnaw wood.”
Johan was a pale, red-nosed man with a comfortable plumpness and full red cheeks. He hand almost no wrinkles, and his closely clipped brown hair made his cleanshaven face look particularily boyish. Yet his most striking feature were his eyes, which were a crisp, unwavering shade of blue that pulled a viewer into their gaze with a single glance. Only, Johan had the habit to look at the ground when he talked, which caused people to bend in order to just catch a second glimpse.
“Dad… did mom show you the list?”
“Hmm, this isn’t termite damage, either…”
“Are you okay with me being, you know… I mean, you haven’t said anything---”
“You sure about pigs not gnawing wood?”
He was a quiet man prone to bursts of loudness. But otherwise, he was content to sit back and shrewdly observe while Delilah did the talking. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, everyone listened.
“Yeah, pigs don’t gnaw wood. Zeus prefers fingers.”
“Then we might have a rodent problem.”
Slowly scratching the back of his head and wrinkling his brow, he got up and murmured with certainty,
“Yes. It’s most likely a rodent problem. It smells that way in here…”
Suddenly there was a shuffling sound, causing both father and sun to snap to attention.
“Did you hear that?”
With senses alert and bodies unmoving, they surveyed the ground and air for signs of life. That’s when they say it--- a flick of red fur scurrying out of a box and across the floorboards.
Zach’s mouth went dry.
Without explanation, he emptied the wastebasket and climbed onto the desk with it, a great warrior preparing for the ultimate showdown.
“Zach. Get down from there---”
“Shhh.” Zach peered up for a split second.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s watching; waiting for us to get distracted.”
Johan glanced around, slowly turning to scrutinize each angle of the room. His lower lip popped out skeptically, and his eyes widened like dual camera lenses. After a good five minute’s worth of observation, he demanded in own his silent-yet-strong way,
“What is waiting?”
At that moment the red demon scuttled out of its hiding place, jolting across the floor just in time for Zach to chuck the laundry basket over it.