Tuesday, January 8

The Incredible Multiplying Teenagers

Princefisher II turned 17 last week. We planned a party for Friday, and told him to invite some friends. I arrived home after work at about 5:30 that day. From the street it looked like my backyard was on fire.

"Hi, guys." I said as I walked out the back door. "What are you doing?"

"We're having a campfire." said Princefisher. Sure enough, a crowd of eight or so teenage boys were gathered around a fire ring, their fuzzy facial hair attempts flickering in the firelight, poking the embers with whatever pieces of wood they could scrounge up. Princefisher was in his favorite tribal man get-up, jeans and nothing else, and was pulling on the garden hose toward the fire. I made a mental thank you to the gods that he wasn't wearing the revealing loin cloth he also liked to wear when he and his regular buddies went caveman. I also made a mental note that is was 40 degrees outside.

"Fill my aquarium bucket with water and keep it handy." I said. "And all of you be careful."

"Yeah!" said Teen A, who shoved Teen B, who bumped into Teen C, who proclaimed "Ow!" and slapped Teen A in the head, starting a whole round of "yeah's" and manly pansy slaps.

"Happy Birthday!" I said. Princefisher came at me with a grand gesture of arms flung wide, pummeled me, and crushed me with a hug meant to impress upon his friends that he wasn't a Daddy's boy. "Thanks." he said. I walked back inside while a Three Stooges episode started up outside.

"Hi," said Queenfisher, looking tired. "They've been here two hours already." She pointed to the kitchen table laden with bowls either empty or containing the crumbs of chips and cheese doodles. The counter was lined with dead bottles of soda. The cake was still whole, but it did have some finger pokes in it.

"Next!" Queenfisher's visiting sister bent over the oven and pulled out a pizza. "Number six!" she yelled. Queenfisher popped another into the oven and both stepped aside. The back door opened and a stampede of Teen Stooges trampled me to the ground. By the time I picked myself up, every molecule of cheese and pepperoni had disappeared. I checked to be sure I still retained all my digits.

"Holy crap!" I said. "There's more of them!"

"Yup, that's been happening since it started. I don't know where they're coming from." Queenfisher plopped into a chair. "Why don't you go get changed?" I started down the hall to the bedroom. When I heard Sisterfisher yell "Next!" I ran like hell.

During the two minutes I was indisposed, the fire in the yard went out and I heard thumps coming from the family room. The sound couldn't mean anything good. I walked down the hall to investigate. There were at least a dozen kids now, including a Teenette, who were playing audience to Princefisher and a friend wearing cardboard boxes on their heads, chest, and groin, and aluminum clothes dryer ducting on their arms. They flailed away at each other to no purpose.

"What are you doing?"

"Robot fights." said Princefisher.

"Is the fire out? Did you use the bucket?"

"Yeah. Sean had to pee."

"Next! Number eight!" yelled Sisterfisher. I ran for cover into the living room. I sat down to watch TV, a futile effort, since the sound of a group of teens echoes like coyote banshees in the Grand Canyon. I settled for watching Animal Planet. It wasn't much different from my house.

"We're going to go get more snacks." Queenfisher and Sisterfisher were putting on their jackets.

"What! Are you crazy? You're leaving me alone with them?"

"Yup." The two women dashed out the door, leaving me to my fate. I had a vision of their return, driving by the house and throwing hunks of raw meat from the car for the wild things under my roof. My vision was interrupted by hooting and scuffling from the next room.

"What's going on in here?" I demanded. The robots had shed their skins. Two teens were holding electronic gear and flailing for some other strange purpose. There must have been twenty of them now, although males still far outnumbered females.

"Wii boxing." said Princefisher.

"Well, be careful. Don't knock anything over."

"Yeah!" said Teen J, who tickled Teenette K, who spilled soda on Teen L, who yelled "Jerk!" and butt-kicked Teen J, who knocked over a bowl of popcorn.

"I'm going into my room. You guys can watch TV in the living room if you want." I retreated to some semblance of peace, if rumbles and raucous laughter and thuds and belches can be peaceful. After a while the front door slammed several times in a few minutes. I went to investigate again.

"What's going on out here?"

"Next! Number nine!" I leapt for the shelter of my daughter's bedroom down the hall. Apparently, the snack run had been successful.

"Number ten!" I closed my daughter's door.

"Number eleven!" I fell to my knees and prayed.


I decided I had no choice but to return to the carnage. I peered out the door. All was relatively peaceful. "Hello?" I ventured. An unfamiliar voice returned "They went out front."

I walked out the front door in time to see the Sisters pulling out of the driveway. I ran to stop them, and Queenfisher rolled down her window, but just a crack.

"Where are you going now?"

"To the little casino down the street."

"What about all these kids?" I gestured to the fifty or so soulless entities milling about on the front lawn, playing teentag and whoopwhoop and spitfar and grabass.

"Hey, we watched 'em before you got home and made the food. It's your turn. Just stay in the room, they'll be fine. They don't care about you anyway."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

On my way back I saw a man standing at a podium. He was wearing a straw hat, waving a cane, and unwinding a spool of tickets. "Hurry, hurry, hurry, folks!" he said. "Step right up! Only fifty cents! See the Incredible Multiplying Teenagers! Thrill to the beat of Scream Music! Test your courage against the Hormone Cyclone!"

I pushed my way through the front door. A tide of muscled shoulders and perky bosoms crashed against the walls of my house. thwack whack crack! Even over two-hundred voices I heard the sickening sound of something breaking. "Princefisher!" I yelled, drowning in a fog of Axe spray and Avon's Something. I finally found him and asked what was so loud. It took four tries for me to hear him. "They brought me a pinata!"

Desperately, I clawed my way to the bedroom, pushing a camel and a tapir out of the way.

Within five minutes weird sounds forced me out again. I collected rope, pitons, and carabiners from the closet to scale the mountain of candy wrappers, robot skin, and pizza crusts outside my bedroom door. At the end of the hallway I stood in stunned disbelief. My house had somehow transformed into a stadium full of high-schoolers. Ignoring the jugglers, monster trucks, and trained seals, I screamed "PLEASE KEEP IT DOWN AND BE CAREFUL!"

"Yeah!" said Teen Q, who jabbed Teen R, who backed into Teenette S, who whined "Stop it!" and whacked Teen Q, who fell into a kiddie pool of sand sharks.

I spent the following hours with the bedroom door locked, cell phone at my side.




"Number sixty-three!"

Some hours later, Queenfisher found me sitting in the corner of my bedroom, a blanket over my head, surrounded by fearful and quivering dogs, rocking back and forth, muttering "It's only teens. It's only teens. It's only teens."

Queenfisher assured me that they were gone. The clock told me it was 9:30 pm. Had it really been only four hours?

"Where are they?"

"They went out for breakfast." The sheer illogic of it all was just too much. I fainted.

The next morning, I discovered only 2 beers missing from my fridge.

Way to go, Princefisher. I'm proud of you. Now put some clothes on.


the only daughter said...

I remain forever grateful that my son never wanted birthday parties, the weekends were hard enough. ;)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cool turns 16 in a couple of weeks.



rennratt said...

...and I thought that taking a seven year old to Bullwinkle's was bad.

When she hits her teens, I may go into Witness Protection.

Shari said...

That was brilliant.

I hope you're okay.

tiff said...


I ddin't think I wanted unpopular kids....until now. Holy wah.