Fic: Mother's Day
Author: Sosa Lola
Fandom: Goof Troop
Written for: the Goof Troop Family Contest at GoofTroop-MaxBradley
Summary:The gang drives to the cemetery on Mother's Day.
Thanks to izzy-chan13 for being my wonderful editor!
It was a special day, and special days needed special food that could only be found in old hidden recipes. Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandma Goofinia's hot chili chicken curry was the perfect dish for the occasion.
Trying to balance himself on the kitchen table, a chair, the microwave, and a pan, Goofy was finally able to reach the old folded piece of paper taped on the kitchen fan. Fortunately, he was able to snatch the recipe before he came crashing to the floor.
"Ahyuck! Piece of cake!" He grinned, waving the recipe. Then he scratched his head, "Or is that a chicken?"
Cooking was the easiest part, minus the accidents, but Goofy was a pro when it came to accidents. He always came out in one piece; it was not the same case for the kitchen or his own clothes.
"Yikes, Pop!" Max's gasp startled him.
Goofy looked over his shoulder and found Max covering his eyes at the sight of his father's exposed rear end.
Goofy giggled bashfully and used the burning pan that was on the stove to cover his behind, causing the food to spill on the floor. The hot metal on his bare skin sent him flying to the ceiling, yelling his trademark scream. He went halfway through the ceiling with his lower half dangling in the kitchen, "Say, I didn't know my bedroom is on top of the kitchen."
Max's voice drifted up from the kitchen, "I take it Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandma Goofinia's hot chili chicken curry isn't ready yet?"
"Not yet, Maxie!" Goofy tried to push himself up and out of the hole he was stuck in unsuccessfully.
"Okay then, I'll just go ahead."
"Don't forget Peg's present!"
After a few more tries of pushing himself out of the hole, Goofy realized that if he couldn't push himself up, maybe he could push himself down. Using his feet on the other side of the hole, he was able to free himself. Down he fell right on the hot spilled food on the kitchen floor. Needless to say, he created a new hole in the ceiling following that familiar howl again.
A great powerful force sent Pete flying out of the door to the front yard of his house. He jumped to his feet and looked at his fuming wife standing in the doorway, blocking his way into the luxury of his couch in the living room. Whatever portions of anger that had been boiling inside Pete had completely faded away at the sight of Peg's crossed arms, who was tapping a foot with a flash of torture in her eyes.
He waved his arms desperately, "But, Pumpkin Sparkle, this isn't fair."
"It's Mother's Day for God's sake; it's a day to show mothers a sign of appreciation. And it only comes once a year. Your children saved their allowances to buy me twopresents."
"That's because they're two." He winced when the pulps in her eyes burst into flame. "And… and it's Mother'sday. You're not my mother."
"Well, the way I see it, if you don't show me a wrapped up sign of appreciation in the next four hours, you won't have a wifeeither."
"But, Sugar Muffin!" The door snapped shut in his face.
He let out a despairing sigh and turned around to find the little Goof shuffling his feet on the ground uncomfortably.
"What are you doing here?" Pete snapped at him.
"Came for the party," the kid said nervously.
What a shock, Peg invited the Goofs again. Pete's eyes bored into the neatly wrapped up box in Max's hands, "What's that?"
"A present for Mrs. P."
"Why? She's not yourmother."
The boy flinched but smiled anyway, "But it's Mother's Day."
Pete grated his teeth and took a couple of menacing steps toward Max, "Well, let me tell you something about Mother's Day. It's just a Hallmark holiday set to rob my wallet!"
He paused when Max blinked up in confusion at his outburst. Pete calmed himself down and placed a gentle hand on Max's shoulder, "Now, son, listen to me. Mother's Day is an occasion between a man and his mother, see? Just Mothers' way of pay back for the nine months pregnancy and breastfeeding and what not. If you ain't got a mother, you don't need to spend. So, consider yourself lucky and live this day like any other day."
"But what?" Pete placed clenching fists on his hips, looming over the boy, "The only woman you should give this to is in a cemetery."
Max's mouth hung in shock and his eyes stung with tears before he stormed out of Pete's yard and back to his house.
Pete snickered, "That should get rid of them Goofs."
"PETE! YOU'RE STILL HERE?"
Pete winced and then looked back at his house, watching Peg shooting daggers at him through the window. He should have snatched that present from Tiny Goof before he ran off.
He eyed the tree house in interest. "Say, maybe the boys got something useful in there."
Goofy had to get the chicken curry right this time, or else he'd be running out of ingredients and his trips to the supermarket usually took more hours than cooking. He thought it better to add more chili pepper, 'cause if it didn't set their mouths on fire they wouldn't need to drink all the water in Pete's sparkling pool.
The ingredients jumped out of his hands when he heard a sudden creaking noise of the front door followed by footsteps rushing into the house.
No answer. Goofy slipped out of his torn apron and peered out at the hallway, "Max?"
The front door was wide open, which increased his confusion and worry. Dear God, let it not be burglars again.He didn't have time to repair the old traps from last time. Pushing the door shut, he noticed Peg's present lying on the stairs. Fetching the present, he made his way up the stairs toward Max's room.
He stopped midway when he noticed his clothes flying out of his bedroom. Dodging his favorite orange sweater as he walked into the room, Goofy found Max digging into his closet, "Say, what are you doing here, Maxie?"
"Looking for her picture."
A shoe smacked Goofy's nose—"Ouch! Whose picture?"
"How come you never showed it to me all these years?"
Goofy used the door as a shield against the next flying shoes, "Showed you what?"
This time Goofy didn't dodge a flying sock and it ended up hanging on his muzzle, "Oh."
He stared right into Max's accusing eyes and his grip on Peg's present tightened, "I'm sorry, Max. I don't have a picture of her."
"You don't?" Max asked incredulously.
Goofy made his way through mountains of clothes, placed the present on the nightstand, and then sat on his bed, "I lost them during the house explosion in 1987 you know, before we moved into the trailer."
Max sat next to his father and frowned up at him, "How come you never showed them to me beforethe explosion, Pop?"
Feeling something in his chest swelling, his eyes stinging, Goofy tried his best to keep his emotions under control, "You were too young. I didn't wanna upset ya."
A piercing scream snapped them out of their conversation. Through the window, Goofy saw Pete flying through the air and landing on something metal.
"Oh, I really hope it's not what I think it is." Goofy looked out of the window and then breathed a sigh of relief. Pete had just crashed into his old car. "My little daisies are safe and sound, ah-yuck."
The unfamiliar look of sadness on Goofy's face broke Peg's heart to pieces, but not as much as a depressed Max clinging to his father's leg and hiding his face from her. They'd never brought up Goofy's late wife, other than a curious Pistol asking about it that one time. Peg made sure her family kept their mouth shut in front of Goofy and Max, especially her bonehead of a husband, who started whistling innocently upon her defiant stare. Butt-kicking his glaring kids into the house, Pete attempted to escape inside but Peg grabbed his ear and dragged him out. She wouldn't be surprised if he had a hand in Goofy's change of plans for today.
"So, you see, Peg, we won't be able to attend the party after all." Goofy handed her the Mother's Day present and gave an apologetic shrug.
Peg leaned against the doorframe of the front door and admired the tiny teddy bears on the wrapping paper, "That's all right, Goofy. Sorry about your car." She threw a pained glance at what remained of the automobile.
"Yeah, it's so trashed you could hardly notice. That poor old thing. I got it when…" He paused and threw a swift glance at Max, "I'll fix it when we get back."
Peg bit her lower lip, "Well, since Pete broke your car, you should take ours." She completely ignored Pete's shocked exclaim of protest.
"It's all right, Peg. We can take a taxi."
"Don't be silly, Goofy. That will cost a fortune! Listen, you look worn out. Why don't we drive you there?"
"But, the party…"
"Without the two of you, it won't be much of a party anyway. We can go for pizza afterwards."
Goofy sighed and side-hugged Max tightly. "Thanks, Peg."
Pete inched closer to Peg, rubbing his gloved hands together, "So, uh, no party then, huh?"
Peg glared at him, "You're stillgetting me a present!"
He smacked his face and grunted.
PJ squirmed in the backseat of their car, trying his hardest not to pay attention to the grumblings of his dad next to him. Mom had taken the wheel, not trusting Dad to drive after the accident with Mr. G's car – PJ was glad his dad didn't bring up the subject of that fireworks stash hidden inside the pillows of the tree house, which was the real reason behind the car smash.
The muttered curses usually tempted PJ. The foul language he'd hear from his dad was the only thing he could brag about in school. This time, all he wanted was the bliss of window-distraction, which he couldn't have since he idiotically thought he'd win a bet against Pistol. Now he was stuck in the middle seat between a grumpy father and a tiny sister who was using his thighs as a table for her tea party with her dollies. That little weasel never looked outside the window even once.
He then stared at the back of Max's head in the front seat; sitting right in front with Mr. G taking the passenger side. This whole situation was seriously awkward – emphasis on the word "serious."
There was no room for deep stuff in his friendship with Max. Most of the time, they'd be shooting water balloons at Pistol and their pets or reading comic books for free in the aisles of a bookstore before getting caught. Excruciatingly awkward discussions, like why Mr. G never gave Max any chores to do around the house while PJ slaved day and night at home, were better off swept under a rug. Now the closest PJ ever came to put the words "mom" and "Max" in the same sentence was when Max had lied to Miss Pennypacker about Mr. G getting married. PJ had said that Max probably needed a mom, because, well, every kid needed a mom, right?
But talking about Max's birth-mother? Out of the question. PJ's mom had made sure that the subject was entirely taboo.
"I'll have to make a stop at that gas station," Peg said quietly, pulling over.
Thank God; this kid needed a breather. Visiting a dead person at the cemetery wasn't exactly a picnic. This whole trip was killing him—the not-talking-thing coupled with the droopy faces and the load of gopher on his chest, reminding him of the trips home from school on Report Card Day… It was time for a Time-Out.
The second the car stopped, PJ tripped over Pistol and her teapots and cups and flew through the open window. After several failed attempts to free himself, stuck in the narrowly opened window, Pistol was generous enough to punch him out. Obviously, she was in it for revenge.
Finally, there was some air to breathe, albeit it had a mighty stench of gasoline. But this was much better than being inside the car.
The air he breathed in was knocked out of him by the "gentle" pat his father gave him on the back. The blow sent him crashing down, his face scrapping up against the rough ground. Rubbing his aching nose, he glared up at his father who paid him no attention as he was busy leering at the convenience store.
Was his old man thinking that he'd find a Mother's Day present at a convenience store in a gas station in the middle of nowhere? As Dad strode toward the store with a glint in his eye, PJ rolled his eyes. Of coursehe was.
"Mommy Mommy Mommy—can I have a fifty dollar bill? Can I? Can I?"
"Fifty?What for, Pistol-kens?"
"Why, for snacks, obviously. It's a road trip requirement, and there's like six of us, and it's a long way, and we need our sugars and carbonadates."
"Carbohydrates," Mom corrected.
"That too!" Pistol said in excitement.
Mom shrugged, "Oh, well, better take care of the powerful hunger of a snack attack."
PJ smiled at Pistol gratefully and walked over to where they stood as Mom handed the car keys to Mr. G. "Goofy, would you please stay with the car while we go snack-shopping?"
"Sure thing, Peg."
Mom looked down at Max with a warm smile on her lips, "Max, sweetie, are you coming with us?"
Max glued himself to his father, "I-I'll stay with my dad."
A flash of hurt crossed over her face. Come to think of it, Max seemed to be a little apprehensive around Mom throughout the trip. What was that all about?
Mr. G crouched next to Max and ruffled his hair, "Go with them, son. Get your old man one of them sugars and carboh-carbo-what Pistol said."
Max shrugged and walked toward them, or more accurately, toward PJ. With a gulp, PJ turned away and made his way into the store. He quickened his steps when Max called after him and hid behind one of the aisles. There was a sour feeling of guilt crashing down on him–then it hit him—the painful feeling of slow death in the car was because he was too scared to talk to Max. Too scared to say or do the wrong thing. And much too scared to have the serious moment.
Twizzlers, M&M's, Skittles, Cheetos, Cracker Jacks, and Pixy-Stix.
Pistol filled the trolley with all kinds of delicious junk food. Mommy eyed her choices in disapproval and pushed the trolley toward the section of icky veggies. Pistol rolled her eyes and stood before the chocolate bar shelves, regarding them with a critical eye. Mommy would not approve of her taking everything in sight, so she had to choose wisely.
She needed a second opinion. Where did PJ disappear to?
Turning around, she found Max staring ahead at nothing, hands in pockets and face sad and pathetic. Something inside her chest hurt and there was a heavy feeling in her throat. She looked back at the stacks filled with chocolatey goodness and grabbed a Snickers bar.
Walking over toward Max, she handed it to him with a toothy grin. Max looked at it in confusion for a second and then accepted it. There was a hint of a smile on his lips that made Pistol happy with herself.
She grabbed Max's hand and dragged him behind her, "C'mon, let's find Mommy."
Mommy was at the freezer aisle, picking drinks. Pistol peered at the trolley and noticed that most of the yummy snacks she'd picked were replaced by nuts and dried fruit. She picked up a carrot and her face twisted in disgust, "Mommy, are you serious?"
"Gotta have something healthy on the way, sweet-cheeks. Max, what kind of soda does your father like?"
"Pepsi is fine," Max said, then took it back, "Oh, no! Not Pepsi, it gives him painful boils."
"Gives him dehydration."
"How about we just ask Mr. G what he wants?" Pistol suggested as she regarded both of them in boredom.
Max started to walk toward the exit, "I'll go ask him."
Pistol pushed him back in his place, "No, you stay here. I'll go."
"He's my dad."
"It's my idea."
"Pistol, you can go. Max, hon, I want you to help me…"
Pistol didn't hear the rest as she ran out of the store like a flash. Outside, she noticed Daddy blowing a spleen again on two strange men. If he didn't get Mommy a present in the next hour and a half, he'd be dead meat.
Their car was still there, but Mr. Goof was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he took a nap inside the car. Pistol jumped up and down, but the window was too high. She tried opening the door; it clicked and it opened. Mr. G shouldn't have left the car doors unlocked like this.
Nobody was in the front seat, so Pistol jumped to the backseat, but didn't find anything except for the dollies waiting for her. Wait, where was Bunny?
Oh, poor Bunny was lying down on the floor mat. She leaned down to pick him up when, suddenly, the engine started. Pistol lost balance and fell down next to Bunny.
She heard a loud ugly laugh from the front seat, "Those schmucks! Can't believe we were able to fool 'em again."
"They ain't bright, Wally. They never were."
Pistol's eyes widened in horror. Kidnappers! They didn't know it yet, and she had to make sure they wouldn't. She zipped her mouth shut and held her breath for as long as she could before she almost passed out, and then a sharp gasp escaped her lips. She smacked her hands on her mouth when she released the loud noise.
"What's that sound?"
Pistol bit her lip.
"Hey, Wally, lookie there. It's a little girl."
Pistol jumped to the backseat and poked the kidnapper's nose with Bunny, "Step away, you thief of cars and little girls and dollies! I got a bunny and I'm not afraid to use it!"
The kidnapper's eyes went wide with shock. Pistol smiled, Way to go, Bunny!
"Yo, Wally, someone is tailing us," Kidnapper whose name Pistol didn't know said to Wally.
Pistol looked back and saw Daddy rushing after them in a white van with Mommy in the passenger seat and PJ and Max in the backseat,
She squealed in happiness, "Daddy!"
"The dweeb is your father?" Kidnapper said.
Wally brought out a knife, "Just like last time." He threw the knife at the van Pete was driving, but he turned the car to the right and the knife missed the tire.
Pistol clapped, "Go, Daddy!"
"Watch it! A bump on the road!" Wally shrieked.
Pistol grabbed the seatbelt and stared desperately at her parents.
An unexpected bump in the road! It sent PJ and Max bouncing from the backseat to the trunk. PJ figured he should pitch this to a commercial company about seat belt safety. He rubbed on his sore head and jumped from the trunk to the backseat and then to the front seat.
"What are you doing?" Peg exclaimed when he tried to exit through his mother's window.
"I'm gonna save Pistol just like I'd saved Max before."
"I'm coming with ya!" Max jumped right after him. "You can't be Phony without Baloney, my man."
She folded her arms over her chest impatiently and glared at her husband, "Why don't you go with them and the three of you can be Gweazly!"
Dad clutched the steering wheel, "But, Peppermint—who's gonna drive the van?"
"I will, you big chicken!"
"Don't worry, Mom," PJ assured her, "Max and I can handle it."
They clambered their way to the hood of the van with a bit of difficulty. When PJ's gaze locked with Pistol's, he placed a finger on his lips in warning. She sealed her lips and remained silent. When the van was at a close distance to the car, PJ grabbed Max's hand and they leaped onto the trunk.
The happy smile on Pistol's face warmed PJ's heart as his mind started to race with ideas on how to save her.
"That's weird," Max yelled next to him over the din of the running motors, "I think I heard my dad."
PJ bit on his lower lip when one of the crooks saw them on the view mirror and grabbed Max's hand again, "Jump!"
They jumped on the top of the car and landed with a loud thud.
"I'm sure they heard that!" Max said with concern.
"Time for the Bumpinator." PJ held Max's hands for balance as he stood stiffly on the moving car. When the crook's head popped up from the side of the passenger seat, PJ bumped him out of the car and into the road. They shifted to the other side, anticipating the other one to take a peek as well. He did and was bumped away for good.
PJ and Max hollered in victory and high fived each other before the car took a sudden turn. Max almost fell off of the car; PJ grabbed his foot just in time. Held upside down, his best friend was able to peer inside the car, "Peej, your sister took the wheel!"
"Pistol!" PJ screamed, smacking his face with his other hand when he heard her wild, happy giggles. With a grunt, PJ pulled Max up to the top of the car and now the two of them tried to keep themselves from tripping over.
PJ crawled to the front and peered down at Pistol through the front window. He tried to reason with her with a scowl, but Pistol wiped his face with the windshield wiper. She'd never wise up.
"Pistol, look out!" Max shrieked.
PJ yelled in terror when they crashed into a tree. The blow sent PJ flying back, banging the trunk open, and then landing on his butt on the street.
The last thing he saw before he passed out was his closest friend flying over the cemetery fence.
"My head," Max whimpered, pushing himself into a sitting position and rubbing on his throbbing head with both hands.
Opening his eyes, he froze in place when he saw the gravestone in front of him: Penny Goof. 1951 – 1981.
His lips parted in shock and his heartbeat quickened. There it was: what he came over to see. He unconsciously rose to his feet and just stared. The universe around him paused, still and motionless. The only sound he could hear was the raging of his heart; he saw nothing but the name carved in stone.
He used to ask so many questions back then, but Dad had always managed to change the subject. Then came the time when he stopped asking all together. He barely noticed her absence; his dad keeping Life busy with his crazy antics and non-stop escapades. For so many years, Dad had been able to fill in that void skillfully, playing the roles of both a mother and a father without any complaints. He rarely thought about needing a mother, thanks to his father's devotion and love.
A gentle hand clasped his shoulder and Max found himself lost in Mrs. Pete's warm eyes, "Oh, Mrs. P." Max jerked away from her grip,
She sighed, "Max, have I done something wrong?"
"No, why would you say that?"
"'Cause whenever you see me you act like I'm Cruella de Vil." She crouched to his height level, "What's the matter?"
Max lowered his gaze to his feet, "It's just that… Mother's Day should be about being thankful to your mother. And, you're not mine. The only woman I should get a present for is, well…" He glanced at the gravestone.
"Let me guess, the wise man who told you this has a big ball of jelly for a stomach and his initial P stands for Pin-head."
Max shrugged. While he knew Mr. Pete was being his usual jerk self, there was a truth to his words. It wouldn't be fair giving another woman a present that was meant to be for his mother, even though she wasn't there anymore. He never knew her at all; he had never felt her warmth, and he had never heard her voice. She never tucked him in at night, never made him ketchup spaghetti, and never stayed up all night helping out with a school report.
"Well, I guess since we're here… There." Mrs. P handed him the present they'd given her.
Max stared down at the present, "But this is yours, Mrs. P."
She shook her head with a sad smile, "It's not mine, sweetie."
Sitting on her knees, Mrs. P untied the ribbon and helped him rip off the wrapping. Max opened the box and took out the wool scarf his dad had knitted last week. He was captured by the message Dad had sewn at the end of the scarf,
"Best Mother in the World."
"It's beautiful," Mrs. P whispered.
Max looked at the gravestone one more time before holding up the scarf over Mrs. Pete's head and putting it on her neck.
She looked down at the scarf and then up at him in confusion.
"This was always meant to be yours, Mrs. P. You may not be my mother, but I know you, and I know that you are the best mother in the world."
Her eyes glittered with unshed tears before pulling him into a tight hug. Max buried his face in her shoulder and breathed in her fancy, feminine perfume. He hoped his mother would understand and wouldn't hate him for this.
Something twisted inside him when he thought of the pained cry in Mr. Pete's trunk.
Max pushed himself out of Mrs. P's embrace and darted out of the cemetery right toward Mr. Pete's crashed car, heading toward the trunk where he'd heard his father's voice. He found Dad sitting inside the opened trunk, his eyes brimming with tears.
Dad looked up and they stared at each other in silence. Max swallowed, watching the tears flowing down his dad's cheeks. An unbearable pain glistening in those big tearful eyes.
Max hopped into the trunk with his father and side-hugged him, resting his head on his shoulder, "I'm so sorry, Dad."
Dad reached with his arm around Max's shoulders and hugged him back, "Sorry about what?"
"I was so focused on my stupid woes; I didn't realize that this whole thing hurts you more than me."
"I never knew her. But you did and that means you miss her more."
Dad sniffled and wiped the tears from his eyes, "Having them pictures lost was a short-lived bliss." He looked at Max with a forced grin, "But it wasn't fair to her. She should be remembered. I owe her that."
Max smiled up at him, "Let's visit her more often then, Pop."
Dad's tearful smile became more genuine, "Make it our Mother's Day tradition."
Max rested his head back on his father's shoulder, "Mrs. P loved her present."
"Well, she doesn't seem to like Pete's present."
Max sat up straight and looked over at Mrs. P throwing what appeared to be a cheap necklace in her husband's face and yelling at him on the top of her lungs.
"Better go over there," Dad said, slipping out of the trunk and walking toward them.
"Don't Cherry-pick me! See this? Thisis a Mother's Day present!" She held up the scarf Dad had made for her.
Dad stood between them, "Now, Peg, be not the last one to quarrel, nor the first to make up."
Max shook his head at Dad misquoting things again and crossed his legs, watching his father stop the fight. Hearing someone clearing his throat, Max looked at PJ standing awkwardly on the sidewalk.
"Hey," PJ whispered uncomfortably.
Max smiled, "Hey."
"So, uh, you okay?"
"Nothing a slice of pizza won't fix."
"I am seriously hungry, if that's what you mean."
PJ rolled his eyes and jumped into the trunk with him, "Oh, man, don't wanna sound like a bad friend, but are we ready for the mushy-talky stuff?"
Max grimaced and smacked him on the head, "Dude, you've gone right to home run. You skipped a whole base."
PJ clutched his head with a wince, "And we're in what? Second base?"
"We did sleepovers, right?"
"So, what's third base?"
Max smirked and jumped off the trunk, "Doing best friend's house chores."
PJ smiled and followed him, "You know, I think we're ready for this base."
Max draped his arm around his best friend's shoulder and led him toward their parents, "Not until one of us saves the other from an ultimate death."
"News flash, dude-in-distress: I've saved your butt more than your video games collection."
"Depends on the location. The three key words to reach third base is location, location, location."
"That's one word three times."