Green Peppers (Part 2)

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Hey, Dad.” Rhett set his trumpet case down on the table and took a swig of water. His father was sitting on the head chair, back erect and hands clasped together. Rhett’s stomach clenched, and he thought of all the possible reasons he could be in trouble.

“So.” His father, Brad, spoke, finally. “Went on Main Street tonight? What were you doing?”

“Uh…” Rhett realized it was too late to lie, as he had walked in the door with his trumpet. “I was playing with the Jazz Band. Extra-credit stuff.”

Brad sighed. “Rhett!” He stood up, and the expression on his face was angry. “I explicitly told you, no playing on school nights! What about your grades, huh? I’m sure your teachers gave you homework over the weekend—when are you supposed to get that done! Every little bit matters, son. Every math problem you do, every test you take, every tardy or absence can mean a mountain once you get to the high school next year! And unless you want to—”

The door clocked open. “Hello?’ In walked Rhett’s mom, Marlene. She was tall, really tall, over six feet, and had long wavy hair and chocolate brown eyes. However, years of living on a music teacher’s salary and a no-name job husband had taken its toll. There were dark bags underneath her eyes and traces of gray in her beautiful dark hair. Her pale skin was paler every day, and she looked tired, but cheerful, as she entered the house. However, the smile slid off her face when she saw Rhett and Brad standing up, Brad shouting at his son and Rhett with his arms crossed, fists clenched.

“What is going on here,” Marlene asked, looking from husband to son with a look on her face.

“Well—Rhett was just—” Brad spluttered.
“I played a solo tonight in the town square.” Rhett stated with a stonelike face.

“Congrats, honey! But…”

“Completely unacceptable!” Brad finally recovered from the shock of seeing his wife early from her vocal seminar. “Our son has to remain at home on school nights, studying. I’m sure he has tests, and homework—”

“I completed all my math worksheets, diagrammed a map on World War II, and finished the rough draft for an essay. All due tomorrow.”

There was a silence. Then,

“Well, what about sleep!” Brad thundered. “Come into the house at ten o’clock and—”

“Dad, every Monday the school has a late start because of the weekly staff and faculty meeting. School starts at ten. So even if I went to bed at eleven, I could get up at nine and make it to school with 10 hours of sleep under my belt and time to spare.”

“Well…well…” Brad shook his finger, then sighed, stooping.

“Rhett, sweetie,” Marlene said softly, putting her hand on her husband’s shoulder. “Rhett, go to bed. You have a Monday ahead of you.”

Rhett, grabbing his trumpet, and entered his tiny room in the tiny house, wishing he could hate his father. But all he felt for Brad was love, love and admiration, no matter how many times his dad yelled at him. His last thought when he turned out the lights was of Genifer, and that girl her had met today…Charlotte, he thought her name was.





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