A/N: I keep coming up with short, random jokes out of nowhere for these guys and having nowhere to actually go with them. So I've started this as a compilation of all the pointless ideas I come up with that can't necessarily be turned into full-fledged chapters to "Life with the Shortmans." Plus you may have noticed there have been a few times I've written drabbles for these guys and put them in "Dabbling in Drabbles." I've felt kind of guilty about that, like I'm spamming you guys, so from now on, I'll be posting those here. Now you can choose whether or not you want to be spammed. Or in other words, without forcing them in your face, I'll be all alone and screwed. XD
If you ever have any requests of things you'd like to read more of, like you want to read something of Amanda, or Ham, or anyone really, suggestions are welcome. I can't promise I'll write it, but it'll be kept in mind, at the very least.
I really hope you enjoy these, because I love writing them. They're great practice, and great fun. In general, as a status update to the actual fic: I've been working on it religiously. It's about halfway finished, but the only times I have time to work on it really are late, late in the evening and sometimes early in the morning. I'm very busy, so time is key. But I predict an update either this month or early next. In the meantime, enjoy, and reviews are love. Thank you!
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of "HEY ARNOLD!" Zachary and Phillip Shortman are mine, though. Steal and I'm coming after you with a bloody machete.
Partial Dedication: To writergirl97, for her birthday that was not long ago, apparently. I almost didn't know, but now I'll never forget it. It fell on the same day as my brother's birthday. Not only that, but the brother I kind of (without meaning to, but noticed later on and smashed my head into a brick wall about) subconsciously based some of Phil's traits off of. How's that for coincidence? Since it was short notice, though, at the moment this is all I have. Expect something better once I get a little more time to write.
Phil stared intently at the screen, saddled closely by his father as he read over the words. They read at the same pace, leisurely yet attentive to every detail, until an error was found. Phil responded instantly, saying the word before his dad could, "Typo."
Arnold chuckled, fixing the word as he said with quiet humor, "Yeah, I doubt she wanted to say 'She ate fat.'"
Phil murmured a reply but it was unintelligible, his eyes already focused on the next line. Arnold easily fell back into sync with him.
The room was quiet save for the occasional mutter of an error, and the faint click of a keyboard as said errors were corrected. They were lost in the work and, admittedly, the story, as they proofread each line with careful consideration.
If they'd not been dead to the world, they might have heard the vague sound of sneakers against wooden floorboards, warning them of danger. They may have heard the subtle creak, or the scuffle against a rug. They may have even heard the slosh of water. But as it were, they didn't become aware of anything until the loud voice came directly behind them, "Wha'cha doing?"
Arnold jolted into reality, startled, but Phil all but lost it. He jumped on instinct and clung to his father's neck, all but choking him as he took in heaving, panicked breaths. For someone so calm ordinarily, he was remarkably jumpy.
Arnold choked out, patting Phil's still trembling arm, "Zack, don't frighten your brother."
Zack chuckled, leaning his arms against the back of the chair as he looked over to see what was on the screen, one hand tight around a cup of what could only be assumed as water. "Sorry for being curious. But it's not all my fault, Phil would be terrified of butterflies if they snuck up on him unannounced. Even if I wasn't trying, he'd have been clinging to the ceiling fan."
Arnold felt Phil's grip recede then, and craned his head back just enough to raise his eyebrow at his eldest. "So you admit you did that on purpose."
Zack's only response was to smirk. Arnold sighed.
Phil grumbled, laying with his head in his arms on the desk, pointedly keeping his eyes on the mouse, "I'm not afraid of butterflies."
Zack heard him, though, and smirked all the more wolfishly.
"To answer your question," Arnold began swiftly, putting an end to the possibility of any fights breaking out, "we were just proofreading your mother's new book."
"Mom's book?" Zack asked, half his eyebrow already raised. "But Mom writes romance novels…" He bit his lip, eyes sparkling. "And you guys call yourselves men…"
"Don't start…" Phil warned, giving him a scathing look.
Zack put his free hand to his mouth to try to hold back his laughter, but his eyes said all that needed to be said. Phil glared at him heatedly, enough so that Arnold feared the room would catch fire.
"Phil's being paid," Arnold explained.
"Plus it helps," Phil went on to add, his glare softening a bit, but barely, "I'm going to be a writer one day, and Mom's been on the bestseller list a few times. It's good to study."
"Ambitious," Zack teased, hooking his foot over his other leg as he took a sip from his drink. "I look forward to the eye-twitching that will no doubt ensue for the next forty-eight hours. Oh, and," he held up his cup to Phil, a smirk dancing at the corners of his lips, "all that lovely romantic fiction you'll be writing years from now."
"How dare—" Phil began, looking ready to start screaming as he gripped the arm of Arnold's chair with a whitening hand.
Arnold grabbed Phil into a quick hug, catching him off guard as he went stiff as a board. He let his grip go a little looser, giving him the option of pulling out of it if he wished, and patted him gently on the back. "Phil, relax, no killing your brother. And Zachary," Arnold sighed, snapping his eyes to Zack's laughing ones with a stern look, "if you don't stop…" Phil pushed away from him then, interrupting him, his tongue stuck out.
"Yeah, yeah," Zack waved him off, smirking purposely at Phil, "he'll call in the fighter pilots, King Kong will go on a rampage, the Earth will collide with the sun in a fiery explosion and all humanity will be doomed. I know the drill. Phil doesn't do romance." He smirked then, all sharp teeth and mischief. "He just reads up on it all the time and obsesses over Casablanca."
Phil's face went blank.
Arnold sent him a disapproving look. "Zacha—"
"Up, up," Zack interrupted, holding up his cup as he took a step back, "I speak only the truth. You scold me all the time for lying, you can't scold me for honesty too. It's only fair. All I did was agree Phil won't be writing any girly chick flicks in his future. But if not that, then I know just what he can put in one of his movies." He grinned then, crookedly, and grabbed hold of the back of his dad's chair. With a bit of strain, he managed to pull it back away from the table with the laptop sitting upon it, as well as away from Phil, and then, simply, sat his cup of water on top of his dad's head. He gestured grandly to it. "Ta-da!"
Phil stared at him, his eyes very slowly switching between his beaming face and the cup sitting effortlessly on their father's head. Arnold's face was tight, his lips pursed ever so slightly, as he carefully moved his hands up to retrieve the cup from his head. "Zachary…" Arnold said very slowly, quietly, "what are you talking about?"
"Your head." Zack grinned all the more bright. "It's gigantic. And flat. It makes an excellent table. How's that for comedy? Wouldn't that make a great comedy skit? You could, like…" he shuffled his hands, as if searching for words in the air, "use it for the table on Thanksgiving or something. A table cloth, some flowers, it'd be hilarious."
Arnold and Phil shared a look, unmoving.
"Can I kill him now?" Phil asked calmly after a moment, tone a bit lower than usual.
Arnold blinked at him, eyes still half-lidded and blank, before he shrugged very slightly and sat the cup of water on the table. "Be my guest."
"Hey now, you guys," he heard Zack say with that smooth, slippery tone of his, "I'm a lover, not a—Oof!" Arnold heard a loud clatter behind him, followed by a cackle, but he was already busy reading over the next line of the novel.
She ate fast, shoving the eggs down her gullet in six seconds flat before flying out the front door. Being president of the United States wasn't an easy job, after all, and she had much more pressing matters at hand than breakfast.
There was always something calling for her attention, something that had to be done quickly in order to keep the delicate balance of her country even and secure, or her kids safe and happy, for that matter, but this was even more important than that. More important than famine, or the education of their youth, or even the jobless and homeless people fraught across the country.
Her husband was missing, and without him, the household and her entire world would surely be thrown into chaos.
Or at least, more so than it usually was…