Randy and Pete were very good friends, despite the fact that Randy was a lot older than Pete. Of course, they fought a little bit of the time, but George was a good, strict father, who never wanted his boys to be angry at each other.
George was a strong, efficient man who loved to assign everyone a job to do in their little family. His job was to provide for his family, and to enforce discipline over his sons, who were never all that bad.
Barbara's job was to vacuum and cook and clean and sew for the family. Some would say she was more of a servant than a mother figure, but that wasn't for them to decide, because Barbara enjoyed it.
Randy and Pete were expected to make good grades, be kind to animals and elderly people, and make sure not to anger their father too much.
"Good morning, Mother," Pete said, sitting down at his usual chair at the table, which was covered with a crisp white table cloth and had a small vase of daisies sitting in the center of the table, among the butter and salt and sugar and other staples of the breakfast table.
"Good morning, Pete," she replied happily, pouring orange juice and buttering toast at the same time. Isn't she amazing? "How did you sleep, Pete?"
"Very well, Mother, thank you for asking." Barbara sat the toast and the glass of fresh squeezed orange juice on the table in front of her youngest son. George walked down the stairs, dressed in a clean suit and sitting his briefcase down on the kitchen counter.
Soon Randy had finished getting dressed and ready and had hurried down the stairs to get some of the bacon that he smelled his mother cooking. He couldn't wait to eat that wonderful, crispy pig meat.
It was all perfect in the moment that Randy arrived in his kitchen and sat down his school books, but only for a second.
There was a loud BANG, and huge pieces of the ceiling plummeted into the Applewood family's kitchen. But the pieces of plaster were not the only thing that fell onto the just-mopped floor.
"Aww, crap!" a screechy voice rasped. "Now how did this happen?" A frazzled looking woman covered in dust sat in the middle of the kitchen. She was dressed in black denim jeans and a black t-shirt, with flaming red hair and a long, pointed nose.
"I don't know, Ma, we was just eating our TV dinner breakfast when we got here!" a small boy whined. He was dressed in Army fatigues and he too had the same red hair and pointed nose like that of his mother.
"You two are idiots," a young girl drawled. She was the only one in the family who didn't have the bright red hair of her mother, father and brother.
"Don't you talk to your mother like that, Tara!" a big, burly man with red hair snapped at her.
"They don't have two brain cells to rub together," Tara muttered under her breath. Randy took a good look at her. She had long brown hair, which she must have gotten from her grandparents. After all, he knew all about genetics, because he thoroughly enjoyed science class, as he did most of his classes. And she also had a short, large-ish nose. She wasn't as sickly thin as her mother or brother but a little pudgy. She wore a pair of flared blue jeans and a tie-dyed t-shirt for some gas station she had visited.
"We do too!" the brother yelled.
"Go shove it, Jason," Tara shot black.
"ENOUGH!" the father roared, standing up to look George in the eye. "I'm Alex Clarke. This is my wife Elizabeth. Where are we?"
"Well, that's simple enough," George said thoughtfully. "You're in Pleasant Acres, the most wonderful, calm town in the world!" Jason and Tara stared, agape, at each other.
"Listen, I don't know what you're trying to pull here, buddy!" Alex yelled, stabbing an outstretched finger at George. "We're from Kansas City, and we don't LIKE things calm!"
"Oh, why, I'm very sorry," Barbara piped up from behind her husband.
"Well that's just fan-tas-tic!" Elizabeth whined. Randy was quickly learning why Tara constantly seemed aggravated with her mother; because Elizabeth Clarke could be QUITE obnoxious and VERY annoying. No, he mustn't think that. He didn't even know her, and she was probably a nice enough lady once you got to know her. No one is entirely bad, right?
"Mom, you aren't making a good impression," Tara said to herself more than anyone, but everyone heard her anyway. She shrugged her shoulders, still not having got up off the floor, much like her brother Jason.
"Do you mind?" Alexander barked. "We're trying to figure things out!" Tara rolled her eyes.
"Whatever you say. Go ahead, make everyone think you're insane," she said under her breath, standing up. She offered a hand to Jason and helped him up.
Soon, Randy found her thrusting her hand out for him to shake.
"Hey. Tara Clarke," she introduced abruptly.
"Hello there, I'm Randy Applewood," he said, trying to be polite. This was just too strange. How did this dysfunctional family manage to fall into HIS kitchen?
"Applewood?" Randy nodded. "Whatever you say, man." Randy had never met anybody like Tara. She was in no way ladylike, or giggly or anything like the girls who went to his school. And he found himself liking that.
"Tara?" Jason asked, pulling at the bottom of the gas station t-shirt. "Has mom gone insane?"
"Jason, Mom always WAS insane. Haven't you noticed that before?" Tara asked, semi annoyed. "Go see who that little dude is," Tara ordered, pointing at Pete. Oh no, Randy thought. Pete would not know what to make of these new people. They certainly were a lot different than HIS family.
"So, um, how old are you?" Randy found himself asking.
"Oh, I'm fifteen too!" Randy blurted.
"So, you go to school in the middle of the summer?" Tara asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Of course not. I just like to carry my books around. I love to read," he explained, feeling a blush creeping into his cheeks.