(This was going to be just one chapter, but it got a bit too long for my tastes)
“I want appetizers, Dad!”
“Child, those can go up to ten dollars! Can’t you cut it just this once?”
So far, father-daughter bonding night was a disaster. All Lolly had done the whole night was complain about what she was doing with her father.
“But I’ve always gotten appetizers when we lived at the mansion! Grandma would always order them first thing when we got here.”
Dennis pinched the bridge of his nose. “Your grandmother also once tried to sell you for a can of tuna and a pack of smokes. I wouldn’t trust that woman.”
He really wanted to be home, making sure his son wouldn’t do anything drastic in his absence. He also knew, however, that doing so could result in his daughter pitching a fit.
Realizing she’d persist in this, he sighed and leaned onto his arm. “Which one you want…?”
Sinbad wasn’t sure if his boss would allow him to take another day off work. He was banking on the slight hope that he could bring Shark along to work the next day.
For now, he was reduced to buying snack foods and dinner fixings. Upon walking through the door, he was greeted by the sight of his fiance on the couch.
“Dude, you’ve been laying there since I left!” Shark glanced up at him briefly, then went back to watching TV. “Have you gotten up at all since this morning?”
Before leaving the house, Dennis had informed Sinbad that certain items were locked up as a safety precaution. Either Shark hadn’t heard them, or he just ignored them.
“I got up once,” he said while still watching his show. “I had to use the bathroom.”
Then he said nothing. Sinbad waited to see if he’d get up to put pants on. When he didn’t, he sighed and began unloading his purchases.
If there were one thing Dennis had never excelled in during school, it was math. He sat there, staring at the bill and trying to figure out what to tip.
“Can’t you just throw some spare change and call it good, Dad?” Lolly was clearly impatient to get to the next destination.
Dennis looked up at his daughter and furrowed his eyebrows. “Now, child. Mister Rotter’s co-workers do a good job here. I’d like to tip them just as if I were to tip him.”
“In that case, don’t tip them. Considering all the times I’ve seen him scratching himself, I’d say it evens out.”
He grumbled at his daughter’s unpleasant words, then decided to just put down 5 dollars. He couldn’t tell if it were too much or not enough, but he’d try to learn for next time.
“I guess I should be glad neither of us wanted Hasma…” Sinbad had all the ingredients for that night’s dinner spread out. Shark didn’t respond to this.
“You wanna help with this? I’m thinking Yaka Mein tonight.” Still no answer. Deciding he wasn’t getting anywhere this way, Sinbad turned and approached Shark.
Shark looked irritated when Sinbad blocked the TV. He tried to lean towards the side, but this did nothing.
“It might help if you said something to me, man.” Again, Shark remained silent. “You still upset over what happened last night?”
Finally, he was given an answer, if a quiet one:
Lolly quietly flipped through a tabloid, cringing at how ridiculous some of the gossip sounded. Close by, Dennis was browsing a different section.
“It’s no Barnes and Noble, but damned if this place doesn’t have a nice little selection.” Pulling out a graphic novel, he began to skim through it.
Having enough of reading potentially untrue stories, Lolly put the magazine back and motioned for her father’s attention.
“Can we go now? This place always smells weird.”
“In a moment, child! I have to get some reading material.” She visibly slumped at hearing this. “I’d rather not be stuck in the bathroom with nothing to read but the back of a lubricant bottle, after all.”
Quietly stirring his bowl of soup, Shark remained parked in front of the TV. The only time he really looked up was to watch part of the next episode of his show.
He was joined by Sinbad some time later. Neither of them said anything. There wasn’t even the question of “What the hell are we watching?”
They didn’t even say anything when Shark suddenly got up before Episode 7. Sinbad did give him a confused look, though.
When he left to go to the bathroom, Sinbad heard rustling around for something. He groaned, knowing what he was trying to do now.
Getting up, he stood in front of the bathroom door. He tapped it to try to get Shark’s attention.
“Don’t bother looking, man. You’re not going to find them.” The answer came in the form of a bang against the wood. “Come on, just come back out and let’s watch some more of…”
He went back to see the title of the show, then moved back. “Fullmetal Alchemist. And you always skip Episode 7. What gives?”
Dennis was contemplating his container of buttered popcorn.
He was displeased and upset at being effectively abandoned by his daughter. Apparently, her school friends were discussing something of utmost importance.
They didn’t even stay in the same room. He now sat waiting for Scorch Trials to begin without her.
A phone call distracted him from his gloom. It also reminded him to turn his phone off before the film started.
“Yes, hello?” He kept his voice down so as not to disturb the other movie-goers.
“Hey, boss! Shark hasn’t cheered up yet. And uh, gotta ask something.”
Dennis quick looked up to check if the movie had started yet. “Ask away.”
“You know that show Fullmetal Alchemist? Is there a reason he doesn’t watch Episode 7?”
“Are we talking ’03 or ’09?”
There was a pause, presumably Sinbad checking the year of the series. Dennis patiently waited until he got back to the phone and responded:
Putting the pieces together, Dennis’ face lit up with realization.
“Oh, it’s that one. Well, I can’t really put the reasoning into words. Best you bring that up with him.” He was about to say his good-bye and hang up, then felt the recent events urged him to ask something on his mind:
“Mister Rotter, do you believe that I’m a terrible parent?”
He wasn’t certain if his question stunned Sinbad, or if the other man were just looking for an answer.
“…Why would you ask me that?”
Netflix was left idling, having been backed out of the anime Shark was watching. He hadn’t come out of the bathroom yet to resume watching.
Sinbad didn’t have the tools needed to pick the lock, so he just sat up against the closed door. After he hung up on his conversation with Dennis, he wanted to try to find something to make a conversation with.
“So what’s your beef with episode 7?”
He heard a deep breath before Shark began talking.
“I first watched it when I was nine. You know, when Adult Swim had that whole ‘forbidden’ appeal for me?” A sad, bitter chuckle. “It’s weird, how well I remember it.”
Then he paused before continuing. “It was late at night. Or early morning, I don’t remember that detail very well. I know I had to be quiet. I didn’t want to wake Uncle Bill up.”
“Does this have anything to do with what happened last night?”
“No…Not really, I don’t think. Anyway, I watched that episode, and…” Another pause. “I guess I couldn’t sleep that night.”
Sinbad tried to imagine what could possibly make a TV episode so frightening. “What did your dad say about you staying up past your bedtime?”
“He was more concerned over why I was hiding under his room with my wet pants.”