Did I hear right?
It was a chilly, late October night in LA as Don pulled up in his brother's driveway. Exhausted, as so often lately, he slipped out of his SUV, pulled his jacket closer around himself and hurried to the front door. Finding it unlocked, he walked in and tossed his keys on the table. He was about to slide out of his jacket when he heard it for the first time. Surprised he turned around and peeked into the living room. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The side lamps were on, flooding the place in a dim, warm light, which his tired eyes did welcome.
There it was again!
Surprised, Don turned to the kitchen door.
Yep! That was where the sound came from!
His dad was obviously washing dishes, as Don could decipher from the cling and clang.
But what was that? No he couldn't be ...? He wasn't ... was he? Singing?!
Don never figured his dad for the singing type, humming maybe, but singing? With a smirk he tried to remember if he had ever heard him sing before.
Dad's voice isn't actually too bad, Don thought. His baritone resonates well off the kitchen walls. Don shook his head with a grin and was about to open the kitchen door with a smart remark on his lips when he made out the words:
"No more lives torn apart, and wars would never start..." The voice grew muffled, then sang out in full gusto again:
"Everyone would have friend, and right would always win .."
Don stopped in his tracks. Yeah, right! he thought sarcastically and rubbed his short hair.
"What the hell is going on?" he mumbled, shook his head, and decided he couldn't bear a "Save the World Song" right now. Not after his last case.
Undecided, he stood in the hall, regretting not having access to the bottles of beer in the fridge without actually going into the kitchen and announcing his presence to Dad. Hesitantly, he moved towards the couch when he looked out of the window and saw light coming from the garage.
Charlie must be home! I could just hide out with my little brother in the garage. With that thought he stepped out resolutely into the chilly air, being thankful for actually grabbing his thicker jacket today. He walked briskly over to the garage and found Charlie working, writing on the blackboards, his head bobbing to the music coming out of his headphones. Don grinned and just couldn't resist the temptation to spook his brother. Cat-like he moved behind Charlie and tapped him on the shoulder. Charlie spun around with a shriek, nearly knocking Don over.
"Don!" Charlie was panting, and then threw up his arms in frustration. "I wish you would grow up and stop doing that!" Don was laughing so hard he wasn't prepared for the angry shove he received. He tumbled backwards, nearly missing the couch.
"Ouch! What was that for?" he asked in mock hurt, rubbing his chest. Charlie just gave him an evil glare and turned back to his blackboard, trying to ignore his brother. But instead of putting chalk to board he sighed and put it down. Angrily he turned around.
"Are you happy now?! I lost my train of thought!"
Don lifted up his hands in defense and replied with a smirk, "Well, don't fret, you'll catch the next one..."
"Very funny!" Charlie flopped down on the armchair opposite Don. "First Dad and now you!"
Don raised an eyebrow questioningly. "What did Dad do?"
"Well, why do you think am I working in this cold garage instead of my warm house?" Charlie replied still grumpily.
Don took a closer look at his brother and realized the extra sweater and jacket, a scarf wrapped around his neck, and the gloved fingers. Charlie always hated the cold.
"Beats me, Bro!" Don shrugged.
"I even need these to concentrate!" Accusingly, he showed Don his earphones.
"I thought you liked to work with music," Don offered, his head tilted with a mocking smile.
Charlie just glared at him. "Don't play dumb with me! DAD IS SINGING!" Charlie articulated every word very slowly in his best teacher mode.
„Oh, that ..." Don tried very hard not to let on how annoying Charlie's teacher mode was to him, not making it too easy for Charlie to get even with him.
„Yes, that!" Charlie emphasized, swinging his earphones at Don, but Don just shrugged to annoy Charlie just a little more.
„Yeah, what's up with that?" Don asked, as innocently as he could.
„You didn't know?" Charlie asked incredulously, but Don just shook his head again.
"Stan convinced Dad to sing in the community choir, since they were desperately in need of male voices," Charlie spat out.
"Oh." Don raised an eyebrow. "But that's a good thing, isn't it? Gives Dad something to do and off our backs."
"But not if he practice 24/7," complained Charlie.
"Come on. It can't be that bad, and Dad has pretty decent voice," Don replied.
"Okay, okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit ..." Charlie gave in.
"A bit?" Don asked mockingly.
"Oh, yes. It seems he has to practice every time I am at home! Apparently, the choir started already in September, and the concert is at the beginning of December. So Dad wants to catch up as quickly as possible," Charlie explained leaning back in his chair.
Don nodded. "That is understandable..."
"Oh, yes, but wait 'til you hear that ridiculous 'Mistletoe Song'!" And with that Charlie pushed his chest out and intoned, "Here I am. Here I am"
Don just watched him with amazement. "You are kidding, right?!"
Charlie shook his head. "Oh no! For real!" With a dead earnest face he continued,
"...standing under the mistletoe. Just look at her ...," and with his cheekiest impression he sang, "I am gonna kiss her tonight!"
Don was laughing so hard on the couch that he was holding his stomach. "No way!"
"Yah, way!" Charlie nodded eagerly now, but could hardly contain his own laughter.
Don grinned at him. "And I thought that 'Save the World Song' was cheesy ..."
Charlie laughter burst out. "Oh no! That's harmless!"
Don joined his laughter. "But you must admit, it is pretty cheesy…" Don sat up straight in the chair with his hand on his chest, took a deep breath, tilted his head up and glanced rapturously up at the ceiling before he bellowed out, "Nooooooooooo more lives torn apart and wars would never start ..." He paused for words, but Charlie easily filled the gaps.
"...And time would heal all hearts!"
"That's it!" Don pointed laughingly at him as Charlie intoned the words in the same mocking manner. Then both of them joined in together:
"Everyone would have a friend and right would always win and loooooove would never end…"
They bent over howling with laugher.
"Well, if you know the words so well," Alan's deep baritone bounced over their laughter, "you might as well join me next Tuesday for choir practice. The conductor will be delighted, and you two clowns will win the hearts of all the ladies there in no time," he added sternly.
Don and Charlie sat up straight, trying very hard to look innocent.
"Oh, Dad…" Don tried to catch his breath and stifled his laughter. "I really don't think that is such a good idea..."
"Why not?" Alan gave his oldest son an inquisitorial glare that stopped Don cold in his giddy explanations.
"Well...Dad... You know with my work-load and odd hours .." Don tried again while Charlie grinned smugly, seeing that his brother's explanation didn't fly at all with their dad.
"Fiddlesticks! You'll just have to make the time, then. And you, young man…" with that he turned to Charlie, who tried to blend in with the chair. "You might as well join him. You know the lyrics already by heart from my practicing it seems!"
"Me?" Charlie asked, incredulously.
"Yes, you!" Alan thundered back. Now it was Don's turn to grin smugly
"You will join your brother and me. It will do you some good to be around people. Actually ..." Alan grinned mischievously, "Most of them are ladies, anyway. Who knows, you two might finagle a date!"
Don just groaned, and Charlie rolled his eyes.
"Well, that's settled then! Seven thirty next Tuesday, at the community hall. I expect the two of you there!" Alan gave them each another stern look, and left the garage with a satisfied smile.
Dumbfounded, Don and Charlie looked at each other, then they jumped up and ran after Alan.
"But Dad ..." Their voices whined in unison.