“Dude!” Sebastian elbowed his brother. “Can you believe we’re on our way to Ireland?

“I can’t get my seatbelt fastened!” François fumbled with the clasps. “Here, hold Pendragon.”

Sebastian gently hoisted the mini-man from François’ lap. “There’s the little-bitty monkey-guy…goo-goo!”

“Don’t call him that! It hurts his feelings.”

“I’m just joking, Dude. Monkey…homunculus…get it?”

“Duh?” François rolled his eyes. “‘Okay. I’m all set.”

“Here ya go.” Sebastian passed Pendragon back. “You know what else I can’t believe?”


“That Mom & Dad let him come with on our family vacation–even though we have to sit in coach while they’re in first class.”

“Mom’s crazy about him, Dude!” François grinned. “No way would she trust a babysitter with this precious little bundle.” He bounced Pendragon on his knee. “Whee! Horsie ride…badoomp badoomp badoomp….”

“Yeah, that’s weird in itself.” Sebastian squinted his eyes. “Personally, I thought she’d be grossed out. I mean…wtf, right?”

“Whaddaya mean, grossed out & wtf?”

Look at him. Yikes!” Sebastian chuckled. “And he wasn’t even potty-trained, for Cripe’s sake!”

“Neither were we, Sebo…if you recall.” Françoise countered. “Anyway, Mom’s maternal instincts must have kicked in. Notice how she sent Dad for diapers and Gerber’s before he even finished his cake.”

“Yeah, then he comes back two hours later, toasted, carrying a bag of Depends and a McDonald’s Happy Meal! “BWAHAHAHA!” 

“I know, right? Dad kills me.”

“Seriously, though. Do you ever get the feeling that Dad doesn’t like us?”

“All the time.” François shrugged. “I think he wanted girls.”

“Oh, well! Hey, here comes the flight attendant. What should we get for Pendragon?”

“Hmmm. Well, he seems partial to the dark liquors. Remember the night he raided the liquor cabinet?”

“…and we got blamed!” Sebastian grimaced.

“Yeah, but I liked when we found him underneath the sink, playing with his toes. Mom was so proud of him. I guess it’s a big deal when babies find their toes.”

Sebastian shook his head. “Dude, how could he miss them? His toes are the size of my fingers!” Sebastian pressed his right hand to Pendragon’s left foot. “See? Freakin’ gunboats.”

“YeeeeeeHeeeeeeHaaaaaawwwww!”  Pendragon shrieked, smiling his toothless, gummy-drool smile. “YeeeeeeHeeeeeeHaaaaaawwwww!”

Passengers in all directions turned to stare at the odd trio.

“Sebo! Knock it off!”

“Ooops!” Sebastian whispered. “I forgot he’s ticklish.”

The flight attendant approached warily.

“What can I get you bo…” She gasped as Pendragon reached his giant hand toward her flight pin. “Oh, my! What an…unusual-looking….child?”

“Yeah, he’s somethin’ else, isn’t he Ma’am?” Sebastian snickered.

“Is it, I mean he, your little brother?”

“Not exactly. Frankie here,” Sebastian motioned his thumb at François, “incuba…”

“Uh, we’d like to order some drinks, please.” François interrupted.

“I suppose…” The flight attendant eyed Pendragon with suspicion. “What would you like?”

“Two ginger ales and an Irish coffee.”

“How old are you boys?”

“I’m twelve and Sebo’s thirteen.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Oh, the Irish coffee’s not for us,” François explained. “It’s for Pendragon.”

Pendragon.” She repeated. “That’s its name?

He is not an it.” Sebastian fired back.

“Are you boys flying alone, or is a parent or guardian somewhere on this airplane?”

François spoke before his brother had a chance to mouth-off. “Our folks are in first class, but please don’t bother them. We’ll settle for two ginger ales and a black cuppa joe for Pendragon.”

“Coffee? For a…for that?

“Yes, Ma’am. If Pendragon doesn’t get his java fix, he turns into a little monster!” 

“Okay, okay… I get it.” The flight attendant glanced around, grinning. “The jig’s up, kids. Where’s the camera?”

“What are you talking about?” Sebastian inquired.

“C’mon! I’ve seen these shows a million times on TV. And this is a baby in disguise!”

No, wait!” François tried to shield Pendragon, but it was too late.

The flight attendant grabbed Pendragon’s nose and tried to remove what she thought was a mask. In turn, Pendragon, overcome with fear and cranky by nature, fought back the only way he could: by attaching his massive, blubbery lips to the woman’s forearm, and sucking. Hard.

She yelled, screamed, and waved her arms like a spastic baboon, but Pendragon couldn’t let go.

“Dude!” Sebastian exclaimed. “Lookit ‘m go! He’s hangin’ on like a pit bull!”

“Dad’s gonna kill us….” François sighed.



Susan Marie Shuman


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