The Just-One-More-TV-Show Cure
The two Hanover children, Kitten and Sean, were in the living room watching television. Jack Timbertop the Forest Ranger had just caught the crooks who had deliberately set the whole forest on fire, intending to burn Jack and his brilliant, faithful police dog, Blaze, alive. Punch! Smash! went the heavy fists of Jack Timbertop, and the crooks fell down unconscious.
Both Kitten and Sean breathed a big sigh of relief. The brilliant, faithful police dog Blaze sniffed at the two criminals lying on the forest floor. Then he leaped up, put his two front paws on his master's shoulders, and barked right in his face. "Good dog, Blaze," said Jack Timbertop. Blaze whimpered and panted happily.
Mrs. Hanover, who was doing some knitting by the fire, called out, "Children, eight o'clock. Time for bed."
Sean, who was watching a commercial, pretended not to hear his mother. "Snappy Crackles! Jack Timbertop eats 'em on the show. They look real good."
"Very good," corrected Mr. Hanover, who was sitting on the couch reading Field and Stream.
"Well, very good, then," said Sean. "Will you get some tomorrow, Mom?"
"Not until you have finished the Marshmallow Oaty Crunch, Sweetie Pops, Strawberry Twirls, Frosted Fruity Puffs, and Cinnamon Apple Loops we got last week, and the week before and the week before and the week before," said Mrs. Hanover, sighing.
"Not fair, Mother," whined Sean. "Snappy Crackles are Jack Timbertop's favorite cereal."
"It's true, Mother," chimed in Kitten. "He says they're for real."
"Now just exactly what does that mean?" asked her father, shutting his magazine and slapping it down on the couch.
"Well," said Kitten, "I guess it means, uh, means, uh, they're delicious."
"Why doesn't he say so, then?" asked Mr. Hanover.
"Because he's a forest ranger," Sean quickly put in.
"I used to be a forest ranger," said Mr. Hanover, "and I never said cereal was for real."
"Maybe that's because you lived in the olden days," said Kitten.
Mrs. Hanover laughed. Mr. Hanover shouted, "Turn off the television! Turn it off!"
Both children wailed. "But Daddy, next is Detective Danger. It's the best show on television. Everybody watches it."
"Turn it off!" said Mr. Hanover.
Kitten threw herself on the floor and thrashed around like a poisoned dog, howling and crying. Slowly, slowly, as though he were dragging a 200-pound anchor on each leg, Sean began to crawl toward the television set.
"Turn off that television right now this minute!" roared Mr. Hanover.
"Oh Daddy," wailed Kitten, "pleeeeeeeeeeeeeez let us watch Detective Danger. Pleeeeeeeeez!"
"No," yelled Mr. Hanover. "Turn it off."
"But Daaaaaaaaadddddy," sobbed Kitten, "every single person in my class watches Detective Danger."
"I don't care if every single child in the United States of America watches Detective Danger," growled Mr. Hanover. "You are going to bed."
"But not me, huh?" asked Sean hopefully, from his kneeling position in front of the television set.
"Yes you, huh!" said his father sternly. "And turn that TV off now!"
Sighing heavily, Sean turned the television off. Kitten rolled over onto her face on the floor and sobbed convulsively.
"Aw, stop your slobbering," said Sean disagreeably.
"You just be quiet," blurped Kitten, sitting up and scrubbing her fists into her eyes. "It's all your fault we can't watch Detective Danger."
"It is not!" yelled Sean.
"It is so!" shrieked Kitten. "You asked Mom to buy Snappy Crackles and said they were real good and that made Dad mad."
"Aw, you don't know nothin'!" snarled Sean.
"Anything," corrected Mr. Hanover. "Now go to bed, both of you."
"Well, what time is it, anyway?" whined Sean.
"Five after eight," said his father briskly. "Now scat."
Sean slouched across the room and stood in front of his father. "How come we hafta go to bed at five after eight?" he asked. "All the other kids stay up 'til eight-thirty or nine."
"Children need their rest," said Mrs. Hanover gently. "It makes them big and strong, like Detective Danger."
"Well, how come they have Detective Danger on at eight o'clock then?" asked Sean.
"And then comes The Wilson Family (sniff) and after that is Frisky (gulp) and then comes Johnnie Sanders (sniff), Boy Detective," said Kitten, who had gotten up off the floor and was leaning heavily against her mother's chair. "If we're s'posed to be in bed, how come they have all those programs for kids after eight-o'clock?"
"I'm sure I don't know," said Mrs. Hanover, putting her arms around her. "But I do know that your tears are splashing my knitting and you look sleepy."
"I'm not," said Kitten, rubbing her eyes on her sleeve and straightening up. "I feel perfectly wide-awake."
"So do I," said Sean. "I could stay up for hours."
"Well, you're not going to," said his father.
"And don't forget to brush your teeth," called Mrs. Hanover as the children slowly, reluctantly left the room and began to climb the stairs.
Mr. Hanover rolled his eyes up toward the ceiling and groaned. "Television! Ugh! Do you realize, Diana, that in another five years our children won't be able to speak English?"
"Oh, I wouldn't get so upset," said Mrs. Hanover calmly. "My father used to say the same thing about the comic books. He finally banned them from the house, and so of course we went over to the neighbor's and read them. However, the thing that bothers me is this haggling and whining and crying about going to bed every night."
Mr. Hanover said, "I wonder if all the other mothers and fathers in America are going through the same thing?"
"Not according to Kitten and Sean, they aren't," Mrs. Hanover laughed. "According to them, every single child in the United States but them stays up and watches Detective Danger, Johnnie Sanders, Boy Detective, etc., etc., etc. I wonder if they really do?"
"Why don't you call up a few of our friends and find out?" Mr. Hanover said.