CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY
“I nearly killed Sandy,” Nash said.
“Hmm,” Bernie said. “I will tell you that one way to fill time enjoyably is to learn new things. I can teach you piano or the violin. If you ask really nicely, Maresol might teach you some of what she knows about cooking. My son is a walking encyclopedia of murder and mayhem. He can talk your ear off about solving cases, but more than that — he really knows his villains. Dale is an incredible young man. He can tell you all kinds of interesting things. He also had a problem with phones for a while.”
“I want to know about Chi Chui,” Teddy said.
“Let’s see if we can get Seth to talk about it with us,” Bernie said.
He looked at Teddy and then at Nash.
“People are our greatest resource,” Bernie said. “Those phones only give you a sense of being connected. They are not a substitute for actual human connections. That’s how they are like drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol substitute for the feeling of being connected. Soon all you have is your drug or alcohol.”
“Or phone,” Bernie said. “Seth knows this first hand. He can talk to you about it. But if you really want to give up your addiction …”
Both Nash and Teddy nodded. Noelle nodded in support.
“Then you need to fill your life with real connections,” Bernie said. “That’s people, knowledge, art, exercise, joy, tragedy — life is big and wonderful. If you want to beat addiction, you must open yourself to the glory and pain of life.”
The boys nodded.
“You’re going to be with us until your mom is well,” Bernie said. “Let’s see if we can’t make a stab at changing things a bit.”
“We have to go back to school tomorrow,” Noelle said.
“That gives us evenings and mornings,” Bernie said. “We’re going to have so much fun.”
When the children gave him a worried look, he laughed.
“But first, we need to get you dressed,” Bernie said. “Come along!”
He moved across the den.
“We have our costumes in here.” He opened a non-descript trunk. “Take what you like. I’m going to start the popcorn.”
Teddy was on his knees looking at the amazing things inside the trunk. Nash was standing over the trunk ogling the odd clothing.
“Where did you get this stuff?” Noelle asked.
“Here and there,” Bernie said mildly. “Your brother, Charlie, called from work. He’s going to join us midway. Tink went to the Castle to see her friend, Ivy. I guess Ivy’s been ill.”
“The toddlers have strep throat,” Noelle said. “Ivy caught it too.”
“Good that she’s taking care of herself,” Bernie said. He gave them a wide smile. “We start in fifteen minutes!”
Smiling at the children, he went into the kitchen to make popcorn. Nash and Teddy pulled odd clothing items out of the trunk. Noelle picked up a wooden sword for her costume. Teddy found a child’s toy bow. Nash picked up a plastic shield. They were laughing and putting on clothing in no time. Noelle stepped into a tulle skirt.
Bernie watched them for a moment and then smiled. He turned his attention to the popcorn.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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