Stick with me, kid
When Charlie is fractious, I look into his furious blue eyes and I threaten to send him places. I do this, of course, in the most soothing and sugared of tones, crooning lovingly, stroking his face with a gentle fingertip as I describe with relish the places he'll go.
Thrilling destinations include:
- ferrying a canary down the deepest shaft in the busiest coal mine in turn-of-the-century West Virginia;
- chained to the back bench of the galley of a leaky Venetian scaloccio, plying the tiniest of oars beside the sweatiest of convicts; and
- a comfortable nest of rags in a Dickensian workhouse circa 1832.
(That last threat usually precedes a spirited mother-and-son promenade around the house, with me bellowing in my best baritone, "One boyyyyyyyy...boy for saaaaaaale!" And then, just for fun, I try to pick Charlie's pocket.)
Sometimes okay, often I threaten to send him to the glue factory.
Sometimes I call him Elmer.
He wouldn't make much glue, I know. Paul points this out to me on a regular basis. "But he'd make," I insist, "at least enough for a glue stick."
He corrects me. "Just enough for a postage stamp."
I privately think we'd get at least two stamps' worth, but there's no need to quibble. The glue factory it is. Hey, the world needs stamps.