"Theo, where's the paper

"Theo, where's the paper?" Cliff asked; he was seated at the kitchen table. Theo handed him a paper, and sat down.

Cliff looked at it strangely. "No, I meant today's paper. Not yesterday's."

Suddenly, Vanessa rushed into the room, paper in hand. "Look, Theo. Your party got made the headline!!"

Theo let out a sigh, Vanessa had just blown it.

"Let me see that," Cliff said to her. Then he read the article out loud, "Last night, Theo Huxtable threw The Party Of The Year. People came from everywhere to see this party. There were people there that Theo himself didn't even know ..."

Claire came in the room at this point, while Cliff was still reading, "This party was great all the way through. From the dancing, to the food, to the rush out at the end. So, just as this party was surprisingly short, it was also surprisingly good! Can't say much else but, you should've been there."

"What was that all about?" Claire asked.

Cliff looked at her, "Theo threw a party last night." Then he remembered what Theo had asked him before. "Was that the party I said you couldn't have here?"

"Well, it was ... uh ..." Theo mumbled.

"Just answer me," Cliff said.

"That was it," Theo said, looking down at the floor.

"Then ... why - did you throw it?" Cliff asked.

"There was no other place for it," Theo told them, looking up.

"Did you check that out?" Claire asked.

"No," Theo said.

"Then, how did you know?" Cliff asked.

"I'm sorry," Theo said. "I didn't expect the party to get out of hand. I just expected a handful of teenagers. Not a couple rooms full. I didn't mean for it --"

"No!" Cliff exclaimed. "You shouldn't have had the party in the first place. If you hadn't, you wouldn't have had this to worry about, would you?"

"No," Theo said quietly.

"And you knew about this?" Claire asked Vanessa.

"Yes," Vanessa slowly admitted. "Me and Rudy came home in the middle of it."

"You were supposed to be at your friends' house down the street."

"We were, but they sent everybody home. Nobody could hear anything."

"Why not?" Claire asked.

"Well ..."

"It was because of the party," Theo finished for her. "I had the music too loud."

"You could hear the music all the way down the street?" Cliff asked.

Vanessa nodded. "Okay, you can go to your room."

Vanessa quickly went upstairs.

"Dad, I promise, I won't --"

"You won't be going out for another two months," Cliff said. "That should give you enough time to think about 'listening to your parents'."

"Yes, Theo. Two months. Now go up to your room," Claire said.

"Okay," Theo said.

"And Theo," Cliff said. "Not only will you not go out of the house. But you won't be using the phone, either."

"What if somebody calls me?" Theo asked.

"Then we'll tell them you're grounded. But you won't be using the phone," Claire said.

"Okay," Theo grumbled, he really didn't want to make his parents more angry.

That night, when Cliff and Claire were crawling into bed, she asked him, "Do you think this'll teach him not to do things like that anymore?"

"Claire," he said. "He's 16. Do you remember being 16?"

"Yeah," Claire said. "So far, he's being just like you."

"Just me?" Cliff asked.

"Well..." Claire started.

"It'll take a lot more than this to make him learn, but at least - for him - the teen years are almost over. He'll mature. I just hope it happens before we die!"

"And you have to admit," Claire said. "This is the first bad thing that he's done. Some kids start doing things like this earlier."

"Yeah," Cliff said. "Look at Vanessa. She had agreed to keep this secret from us, and she's only 12. We might have a problem with her. Just like with Denise."

"Cliff, we're still having problems with Denise. Sondra wasn't too bad. How do you think it'll be with Rudy?"

"Too early to tell, Dear. But having 3 older sisters, and one older brother, maybe she'll learn from 'experience stories'."

"Too bad it doesn't work that way," Claire said.

"Yeah," Cliff muttered.

THE END

~~~~~

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