One Two Three

It’s cold in this house, he said. Freezing. The thermostat is at fiftyty-eight. You trying to kill us? he asked. He turned the heat up to seventy-two. There. That’s where it should always stay. I don’t want it any colder than that. You hear me? Think we’re a couple of polar bears? Penguins? Look. There’s frost on the windows for Christ’s sake.

I like it cold, she said. It makes me feel things. The cold puts me in a mood. I feel at peace under a blanket. I like sipping on hot tea when it’s cold, she turned on the television. Some talk show was on. A man and a woman talking about nothing. Saying words and smiling. Drinking coffee from big mugs. Sitting up right and nice. The woman had perfect blonde hair. The man looked like a child.

Why do you watch that?

There’s nothing else on, she handed him the remote. Go ahead. Flip it around. You’ll see. There’s nothing on.

Then why have it on? he turned it off.


You’re wasting your mind. If it’s not frozen to begin with. Don’t you read? Books. Read books, he said. That’s what you need to do. When you get older, you’ll thank me. It helps your memory.

Dad read. Didn’t help him. The old man lost his mind. Thought he was an astronaut. Thought he was something special. He always did.


Think he was something special.

Your father died, and that’s how you remember him? Some old crazy man.

He said he went to Mars.

Well, maybe he did. Maybe in his mind, he went to Mars. Maybe he saw those craters and that red dust inside his brain. Maybe he transported himself there. Had an out of body experience. You don’t know what humans are capable of. Do you? Or, maybe he was there in another life. Did you ask him?

This is silly. It’s getting hot in here.

Don’t touch that thermostat.

What are you going to do?

Shoot ya, they both laughed.

You’re going to shoot me if I turn down the heat?

Yes. I will.

Have you lost your mind?

No. I have not. My mind is fine. It’s my body that is losing the battle. Don’t touch that thermostat.

She got out of her chair and waddled over to the thermostat. On the count of three, I’m going to turn it down. One…

Don’t you touch it.


I mean it.


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