Thundersnow pounded against the window; lightning struck and shone on Rusty’s forlorn face. He wanted to play outside, but even the sun felt it was too cold to shine. The clouds, the snow, the wind, the thunder and lightning came out to play instead.
“Rusty!” Mom called, “Come down, the window’s too cold, you’ll catch your death!”
Rusty sighed and stepped off the window seat. He dragged his feet downstairs. What a wasted Saturday; they wouldn’t even have a snow day off.
The howling wind spattered snowflakes on the window, laughing at Rusty’s ruined weekend.
“I’m bored,” Rusty complained and plopped into his usual chair at the kitchen table next to his little brother. Mickey the Booger always had snot running down his nose.
“Oh, c’mon, it’s not so bad,” Mom wiped Mickey’s nose, “we can still have fun.”
“Where’s Dad?” Rusty smushed his cheek against the palm of his hand, his elbow on the table, as if keeping his face from melting of boredom.
“He’s outside, trying to shovel as much snow as possible, though I think it’s a boondoggle.”
“A what?” Rusty smiled and Mickey giggled at Mommy’s funny word.
“What’s that, Mommy?” Mickey’s tiny voice rang out, the candle of mucus shiny on his philtrum.
“A boondoggle is an exercise in futility, something you do but won’t amount to anything. It’s a waste of energy.”
“Then why is Daddy doing it?”
“Because he thinks if he shovels now, there will be less snow to shovel tomorrow, and because it won’t harden so much.”
“And because I’m bored out of my mind!” Dad’s thunderous voice resembled the pounding tempest behind his silhouette under the back door. Lightning struck behind him and the house plunged into the semi-darkness of the stormy day. Mom helped him with his boots and coat. He sniffed and checked the fusebox.
“Power’s out,” Dad sat down, his cheeks still red from the cold, “can’t even watch TV now.”
“No!” Rusty and Mickey cried in unison.
“Calm down, it’s not the end of the world. It’s only been a hundred years since people had electricity in their homes, and before that, people didn’t get bored.” Dad placed his cheek on his hand, mimicking Rusty.
“How? By sitting and staring at each other?”
“And farting while at it,” Dad said, sending Rusty and Mickey into a fit of laughter.
“Fart!” Mickey’s gleeful voice sang out over the hubbub. Even Mom giggled as she nudged Dad.
“What? Most people lived with parasites and amoebas in their tummies, so I bet there was tons of farting going on!”
The thunder joined in the gales of laughter.
“Okay, okay,” Mom said when the hilarity died down, “what do you want to do? We could play a game?”
“What game? Monopoly? The Booger can’t add yet.”
“Oh, we’ll find something.”
Mom brought out a big box that claimed to contain a hundred board games. Dad brought out the kerosene camping lantern, and the room filled with cozy candlelight.
Rusty stole a glance at the snowstorm; it didn’t rage anymore but howled with mirth. Snowflakes crowded the windows wanting to join the fun.