Ricky had been living with his stepdad and Whisper for about three weeks now. During this time, the three of them had been getting along well. Harold was overjoyed that Ricky was now living with him. Harold had never felt comfortable living by himself, but now he had both his son and Whisper around to mitigate his loneliness.
Last week Whisper had a You Tube app open on Harold’s Amazon fire stick. She went to the YouTube search engine and typed in Guns N Roses. She found her favourite Guns N Roses song, Sweet Child of Mine and started to play the track. Harold was sitting in his prized, white Lazy Boy chair. He was reading the novel, Cujo by Stephen King. Ricky was sitting on the couch across from his dad. He, too was reading his own paperback copy of the same book about the rabid St. Bernard. A cute little puppy was sitting contentedly on the floor at Ricky’s feet. Ricky had named the dog Buster and about a week ago asked his dad if he could keep the puppy. Buster had been sitting on the back steps of Harold’s house. The little pug was trembling in the cold and was whimpering with anxiety. Ricky had just returned from Pals, the corner convenience store when he saw Buster. In spite of the fact that Ricky had problems with his behavior, he had not lost part of his childhood innocence. Deep down, he was still a sweet kid who loved animals and little children. When Harold and Clarissa were still together, they took in an old stray tomcat that they named Beater. Ricky had loved the big old tomcat who was now staying with his mother, Clarissa. Unfortunately, Ricky had a very strained relationship with his mother and rarely visited her so he didn’t get to see Beater too much now.
Buster, like most puppies, was very lovable and had already grown very attached to Ricky. The dog liked Harold too, but appeared to have established a stronger bond with Ricky. This was likely because Ricky would take him for walks on a daily basis and would also play fetch in the backyard with Buster. Buster was a very cuddly and affectionate puppy would often come to sit in Ricky’s lap and beg to be cuddled. Ricky would often think the dog’s life was much easier and happier than the existence of their human owners. When Ricky petted and stroked Buster he would kind of be in effect be enveloped by a beautiful trancelike state where parents didn’t get divorced and no one had to go to jail.
Ricky turned towards Whisper and asked, “Do you want to play a game?”
“What game?” Whisper asked.
“It’s a game I just invented. I think I’m going to call it Jukebox.
“Howdo you play it?” Whisper asked.
“I’m making up the rules as we go along. You actually gave me the idea for the game, Whisper,” Ricky answered.
“Gee. Could I play too? Do you think I’m too old for this game, Harold asked with a grin on his face.”
“No, of course you can play, Dad. Actually the rules are very simple. One player uses the search engine on YouTube to find either the name of a song or the name of a band. Meanwhile the two other players go to the kitchen and listen to the song that has been selected. The first player to yell out both the name of the song and the name of the artist who performed it wins and is awarded either one or two points. You score one point for the name of the song and one point for the name of the performer. If the player is right on both counts they are awarded two points If you only get one of the answers right the player gets one point. Time is up at the end of the song and no points are scored,” Ricky explained.
“Hey, Ricky, this game sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Harold, I thought I saw a whiteboard in your office downstairs. Can I bring it up to the living room? We could use it to keep score.”
Harold sat up in his lazy boy chair. “Do you mean the whiteboard I used to use when I was active in Amway. I would take the whiteboard with me when we were showing the plan to prospects. Yeah, I believe there is still a pack of erasable coloured markers in my old desk to the left of the whiteboard. If I remember correctly, there is also a whiteboard eraser and cleaning spray in that old desk too. Why don’t you both you guys go downstairs and bring the game equipment up to the living room. In the meantime, I’m going to put a bag of popcorn in the microwave.We’re going to have ourselves a little party this evening,” Harold said.
When Ricky and Whisper brought the whiteboard and the supplies upstairs and got themselves comfortably seated once again, Harold asked another question.
“Can I add a new rule to the Jukebox game?”
“What’s the new rule?” Whisper asked. The sweet aroma of popping kernels was now drifting into the living room.
It’s more like an amendment or a rider placed on the original rules. Here it is. The song that is selected can only be chosen if it falls between the decades of 1950 up to the decade of 2000. You guys probably know a lot of the old songs, but I stopped listening to contemporary music when the Seattle grunge pop era ended sometime during the nineties,” Harold explained
“I think that Whisper and I can agree to that stipulation,” Ricky answered.” She and I discussed our tastes in music one day last week when you were out running errands. The funny thing is that neither of us likes the current music scene either and we both like old-time rock ‘n’ roll music from the 50’s, 60s,70s. 80s and the 90s. We even like several of the same bands such as Led Zeppelin. the Beatles, Motorhead and Bob Dylan. The list goes on and on.”
“Thank you guys. It sounds like we may have a very interesting and competitive game of Jukebox starting shortly. The microwave popcorn should be ready in under a minute,” Harold said.
Both Ricky and Whisper hadn’t seen Harold look so happy in a long time They gave each other the knowing nod.