By John McDonnell
Eventually life returned to normal for Dolores, or as normal as it can be when you have an alien for a houseguest, a mother who seems to be living in a different dimension, and a daughter who makes rebellion into an art form.
Speaking of which, Willow showed up one evening with Horst, her hairy, tattooed boyfriend and announced that they were getting married and moving to a trailer park. “We’d like to invite you to the wedding,” Willow said, “but Horst thinks you don’t like him.”
“Why would he think that?” Dolores said, trying to suppress her gag reflex at the presence of Horst sitting at her kitchen table, all 300 pounds of him smelling like a combination of crankcase oil, pepperoni, beer, and various illegal plant essences.
Horst smiled back at her, belched, and took another swig of his beer.
Willow said, “Because you never lend him any money when he asks. It hurts his feelings.”
Dolores wished she had someone, anyone to talk to besides Willow. Murphy was at the bar, and Larry was in the family room discussing soap opera plotting with Edna, who couldn’t understand why the nice young doctor on one of her shows was not available for house calls.
“Mom, are you listening?” Willow said. “It would make Horst feel better if you’d just give us money for the wedding.”
Just then Larry appeared. “Appeared” is perhaps not the best word. He was feeling a bit dicey, and he was fading in and out like a TV picture in a thunderstorm. He was trying for a Marine drill sergeant look, but couldn’t pull off anything more brassy than a bank teller with a nervous tic.
“Larry,” Dolores said. “What’s your opinion of a daughter who asks her mother to approve a marriage that she doesn’t agree with? Should she just throw in the towel and give her blessing?”
“I don’t think I have the mental capacity to answer that now,” Larry said. “I’ve just come from a conversation with Edna. What do you recommend for someone whose head feels like it’s going to explode?”
“Happens to me all the time, dude,” Horst said. “Here, take one of these.” He reached in his pants pocket, pulled out a prescription bottle, and flipped it to Larry, who promptly opened it and downed the whole bottle.
“Dude, I didn’t mean the whole thing,” Horst said.
“What was in that bottle?” Dolores said.
“This isn’t going to be pretty,” Willow groaned.
“I feel. . . strange,” Larry said. “Sort of like my molecules are boiling.” The air shimmered, and he turned into a large pink rabbit in a double breasted black pinstriped suit with wide lapels and a wide-brimmed hat. His big pink ears stuck out the sides of the hat.
“You’re all out to get me, see?” he said. “But I’m wise to ya. You won’t take me alive, dirty coppers. Take that!” He bounded over the kitchen table and pummeled Horst about the head and upper body, mixing in a few sharp kicks, till Horst was a slobbering, sobbing heap on the floor, Willow was screaming, and Dolores looked on, open-mouthed.
Just then Edna walked in the kitchen, and said, “Oh, we have a visitor! How do you do?” she said to the pink rabbit. “You look vaguely familiar. Have we met?”
Larry said, “No, I believe we haven’t--”
“My friend Harriet had a rabbit,” Edna said. “It had purple spots, if I recall. It was the most disagreeable thing, always hopping around interrupting people’s conversations. You look like you have much better manners than that.”
“Yes,” Larry said.
“Would you like to come in the family room and watch TV with me?” Edna said. “I have the most delightful extraterrestrial friend you’d ever want to meet. He stepped out for a moment, but he’ll be back.”
“Okay,” Larry said. He gave Horst one more swift kick, then bounded off behind Edna.
“Speak to me Baby!” Willow screeched, bending over Horst’s prone body. “Are you alive?”
Horst got up with a wild look in his eyes. “There’s no way I’m marrying into this family,” he said. “You people are crazy!” He bolted out the back door, with Willow following him.
Dolores looked at the shambles of her kitchen and decided she would go give Larry a big kiss.