Marcus came home from school a little more excited than usual one day.
“How was your day today? Did you do anything fun?” I asked.
“Yeah! I played fortune with Alec.”
“Cool! What was your fortune?”
“I’m gonna get a new Bionicle.”
“Ha ha – good try.”
“No really! The fortune said I was gonna get a new Bionicle! So can we go now?”
“You know we can’t just get you toys for no reason. You need to wait for your birthday or Christmas.”
“I knoooow! But the fortune said so! Fortunes are true, so that means I get a Bionicle.”
“Christmas, ok? No more discussion.”
The prophecy would not be swept aside so unceremoniously. Every trip to the mall. Every stop at Target. For weeks.
“We have to go to KB right?” his confidence and anticipation never waning, despite repeated, outright rejection.
“Fury, I told you. I can’t get you a Bionicle right now. You have to wait for Christmas. Plus, you have like 50 of them!”
“Ok... but the fooortune...”
By now, this word “fortune” had taken on an almost taunting undertone in its delivery. The same way you’d say “okaay... don’t say I didn’t warn yoooou.”
“Wanna ride your bike today?”
“Ok, and then afterwards get my Bionicle.”
One Friday night, after this fortune thing had become an integral part of my daily interaction with my son, we decided to have family night out at Dave & Buster’s. As is customary, I loaded up the pockets of Marcus’ and my own cargo shorts with as many toys as the seams could withstand. In went Toa Nuju, Toa Matau, a Piraka and a Rahi (I am well versed in Bionicle nomenclature. Comes with the territory). We met up with mom, who drove separately from another appointment. Sometime toward the end of our meal, mom and dad got into a spat about something. I don’t remember what it was, but it was enough for me to take Marcus from the table to partake in a more constructive activity like Skee Ball or shooting zombies. A couple beers and a cupful of prize tickets later, we noticed that mom had left.
The next day, I was figuring out what to make Marcus for lunch. Leftovers! One of the best feelings in the world when you realize that you’re 1 minute 30 seconds on the radiation carousel away from fulfilling your meal shift duties.
“Lisa, where did you put the leftovers from last night?” I asked, scanning the refrigerator shelves.
“I didn’t bring them,” she responded.
“But when we went back to the table, it was empty,” I reasoned (as if that would make them magically appear on the shelf).
“Yeah, well, I didn’t bring them,” she reiterated.
As I stood there, mired in frustration, that feeling quickly gave way to a slow sinking sensation. The kind that makes you want to poop. My mind’s eye quickly reconstructed the scene as I walked away from the table that night. Wife stewing. Leftovers boxed. Twisted Bionicle bodies strewn across the table.
“Uh, Lisa… you didn’t bring anything home?”
When you’ve been beat, you’ve been beat. You take the loss like a man and you regroup for another day. I marched up to my son, head held high.
“Fury, we’re going to Target.”
His eyes lit up “For my Bionicle?”
“For FOUR Bionicles.”
“YAAAAAAY!!! I knew it! I told you the fortune was true, man!”
Damn you, Prophecy! From this point on, ALL portents of the future, from Magic 8 Ball to Panda Express fortune cookies will be duly screened and censored by yours truly before being passed along to any member of this family!