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brimtoast requested a bedtime story tonight in chat. The Green Plastic Bucket story sounded so innocent, and she wanted to discover the hidden mischief! So!


Once upon a time (in 1996), my then-best-friend That Idiot Shawn went from staying with his mother in Alaska to staying with his father (and stepmother, and three half-brothers) in Colorado.

Shawn was the oldest, at 16. All of his half-brothers were younger, ranging from middle school to elementary school to preschool.

One day, Shawn's father, stepmother, oldest half-brother, and youngest half-brother all went somewhere, leaving Shawn home to keep an eye on his middle half-brother, who had a summer reading assignment of some sort. Shawn's middle half-brother was not all about the reading, but Shawn banished him to the living room until such time as the reading was done.

This left Shawn on the phone with me (I believe in the kitchen). I was having a lovely lazy summer afternoon and was enjoying my talk with him.

"I have a green plastic bucket!" Shawn said. I did not doubt this. He had a good number of things around, and sometimes chose to amuse himself with them. "Listen to this sound it makes!" he said.

I heard a tik tik tik noise. Shawn's voice sounded hollow all of a sudden, also. Echoing!

I was not a dumb girl. I concluded that the bucket was now on his head! I told him of my conclusions! He was surprised that I could hear this! The bucket was, in fact, on his head.

tik tik tik

"Shawn," I said, "Do not make that noise with the green plastic bucket on your head. It is loud! It hurts my ears!"

He kept making the noise.

I complained at him.

"I wonder if I can fit my shoulders in here," he said.

He was, indeed, able to fit his hands and shoulders inside the green plastic bucket.

So we talked, me on the phone on the couch by the window in Alaska, him in the kitchen on the phone in the bucket in Colorado.


Finally, he said, "I am getting tired of having this green plastic bucket on my head!" He sounded muffled. There were sounds of a small scuffle.

"What," I asked, "Are you stuck?"

"Shut up," he said.

"You're stuck!" I crowed.

Indeed, his shoulders and hands and head were inside the bucket.

"I will go ask my brother to get the bucket off my head," he told me. There were some unidentifiable fumbling noises. "Shit. The phone cord does not reach!" he said.

Indeed. He was tethered in the kitchen by the phone cord, with the phone in his hand, in the green plastic bucket, on his head. There was little chance his brother would wander into the kitchen, because his brother was in the living room with his book, and told sternly to not come out until the reading was done. And his little brother was not likely to finish the reading any time soon, because he hated it so.

"HEY JOE!" Shawn shouted, from inside the bucket.

"Ow!" I said, as the bucket echoed loudly.

"OW!" Shawn shouted, having gotten more of the shout, being actually inside the bucket and not on the other end of the phone. "Ow. That hurt."

"Yes," I said, and I am afraid that I laughed a lot.

"Perhaps you could drop the phone?" I suggested.

That did not entirely work.

Eventually, Shawn was able to squiggle free of the green plastic bucket, and all was sweetness and light when the rest of his family came home.

I thought that I had heard the last of the green plastic bucket.


Some time later, Shawn and I were on the phone once again. Shawn was in the living room watching TV. There was some movie on.

"Oh, wow, a naked chick!" he said in obvious delight. "Cool! She's -- HEY KAI, DOWN IN FRONT!!" he bellowed, as his youngest brother walked in front of the TV and stood there. "I can't see the TV!" he complained. "My brother is standing in the way."

"He is small, you can look around him!" I counseled.

"I cannot! He has a bucket on his head!" he lamented.

"...The green plastic bucket?" I said.

"Yes."

I died laughing.

By the time his little brother walked away from the TV, the naked chick was gone.


~*the end*~
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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