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5:27 a.m. - 2003-10-02

ALL THE BOYS LOVE ALEX

THIS PAST MONDAY EVENING

All the kids on the street were playing with a new toy that our next door neighbor had received.

It was one of those cars that they could drive that ran on an actual battery.

Naturally, all the kids wanted to take turns driving it.

When it became Andrew's turn, Alex, the oldest girl on the street at age five, told Andrew he was too young to drive it.

Andrew took this like a man.

He stood and watched Alex drive it around and around the cul-de-sac as she took other kids on a ride.

When it became Andrew's turn to ride with Alex, he was apprehensive about getting in the car and passed on the ride.

When the sun went down, we dragged Andrew inside, kicking and screaming.

He wanted to drive that car.

TUESDAY EVENING

Only a few kids were outside on the street, Alex and a little boy.

The new car had already run out of gas and was being charged up.

Andrew's daddy (the narrator here) had hatched a plan.

What the kids on the street didn't know was that the kid who was "too young to drive" that car actually had two of those vehicles of his own in his garage.

Two years ago, my sister gave me a truck and a motorcycle that run on these batteries. Her son had outgrown them and they were both in great shape.

I put both of them in the driveway to clean them off, having both been stored in the garage for two years.

Guess who comes running to check them out?

Alex.

I guess it's time to add ... Alex is a beautiful little tomboy. She's always wearing something pink, but she's also the first to jump in piles of dirt with the boys.

And the boys on the street are ga-ga over her.

Us parents stand outside while the kids play and comment on how she has all the boys on the street wrapped around her little finger and they do whatever she tells them to do.

So Alex sees the motorcycle and truck and comes running from her front yard to our driveway to see what's going on.

Andrew is playing with his motorcycle which is, of course, dead from not having its battery charged for two years.

"Andrewwww," Alex coos. "I didn't know you had a motorcycle and a truck!"

Andrew just stood there and stared at her.

"They don't work right now," I told Alex. "We need to charge their batteries."

Alex had a plan B.

"Andrew, come play with me!" she said, grabbing his hand and leading him over to her front yard where there happened to be a freshly dumped pile of sand.

Sand is Andrew's weakness.

If you really want to win his heart, you put him in a pile of sand. That's where he's most happy.

And Alex, sensing his weakness, lured him over there.

Y'see ... 24 hours earlier, Andrew was shunned for being too young. He wasn't allowed to play with the "big kids".

But as soon as Andrew shows off his new/old motorcycle that the big kids didn't know he had?

...He automatically wins "Most Popular".

So Andrew and Alex play for about ten minutes in the sand and then come back to our yard.

"Is the battery charged yet?" Alex asked.

"Not yet," I said.

So Alex proceeds to show us how she can do cartwheels and somersaults and back flips and such.

Andrew is mesmerized by this girl. He's standing there grinning as if Dora the Explorer and the Wiggles magically appeared in our yard.

The sun goes down and I have to tell Alex to go home and that the motorcycle will be charged the next night.

She KISSES Andrew on the forehead goodbye.

Andrew BEAMS.

All the boys on the street let out a disheartening sigh.

LAST NIGHT

I get home from work and all the kids are out on the street.

The motorcycle has been charged properly.

Now's the time for Andrew's revenge.

I pull the motorcycle out of the garage and put it in the driveway.

Naturally, all the kids abandon the car that was the hot item two nights ago and flock to Andrew's motorcycle.

"Can I ride? Can I ride? Can I ride?" they all ask in unison.

Shyeah.

The same kids that wouldn't let Andrew ride their car on Monday now thought Andrew was the coolest.

"Let's let Andrew ride first, since it's his motorcycle and he's never rode it before," I tell them.

They're all slightly dejected, but agree that this is the American way of doing things.

Andrew is grinning as he gets on the motorcycle and I show him how to get it to work ... by pushing down on the foot pedal.

He tries it once and it lunges forward about six inches, scaring him a bit.

He instantly gets off the motorcycle, not sure that he wants to do it.

"Can I ride now? Can I ride now? Can I ride now?" the kids all ask again.

Just as I'm about to tell them I want to give Andrew another shot, Andrew grabs Alex by the hand and leads her to the motorcycle.

"Andrew wants me to ride it first," she tells me.

I dunno. Maybe little kids can tell each other this kind of thing through body language.

Or maybe, just like the other boys, Andrew is dumbfounded by this new young vixen on the street.

Having experience with heartbreakers like Alex in the past, I want to tell her that she may use her beauty and charm to seduce all the other boys and play with their toys, but my boy is too smart for her wily ways.

However, my boy's drooling just like the other boys and is more than happy to succumb to anything Alex wants.

Before I can answer, Andrew is pushing her on to the motorcycle and telling her to "Ride! Ride!"

Alex shrugs her shoulders and gets on the motorcycle and does circles in the cul-de-sac.

Andrew joins the other boys in our yard as they all silently watch her ride around, hair blowing in the wind.

I want to tell them all to be careful of women like Alex in the future.

They're like black widows. They'll use you and then eat you alive, smacking their lips over your bones.

But there's no talking to these boys.

They're all clearly suffering from puppy love.

And who am I to rain on their parade?

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