Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Book of Rules

Year 1991
Place Atlanta, GA

I was at Ted’s house when the time came for his four-year-old daughter, Tracy, to go to bed. But Tracy wasn’t ready to leave just yet.

“Do I have ta go to bed?” Tracy whined. “Can’t I stay up longer, puh-leze!”

“If it were up to me, I’d let you stay up all night,” Ted said, “but according to the Book of Rules, it’s time for little girls to go to bed.”

“Are you sure?” Tracy asked.

“If you’d like, I could get the Book of Rules out and show you,” Ted said.

“But I don’t want to go to bed,” Tracy said, with quickly vanishing conviction.

Without getting out of his chair, Ted leaned over and picked up the phone book from the end table next to him. He flipped through the pages as if he were looking for something specific, found a page that looked good to him, and pointed to one of the listings.

“See,” Ted said, “it says right here that at nine o’clock, little girls must be in bed. I wish I could let you stay up longer, but my hands are tied.”

Tracy stared where Ted held his finger on the page, probably hoping to find a loophole, but lacking the ability to read handicapped her.

“Okay, Tracy,” her mother said, “you’ve seen for yourself that it’s time for bed. Let’s go.”

Tracy sighed, knowing she’d been defeated by the all-powerful Book of Rules. She took her mother’s hand and allowed herself to be led to her bedroom.

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