The Ego Trip -- Deleted Scene 2

Author’s Note: In an early draft, I wanted to show readers how generous Beau was, and how he saw himself as surrogate father to his older sisters’ many children (despite their desires to the contrary). I decided to show this in other, less wordy ways in the final manuscript.

 

     The day before Thanksgiving, Beau convinced Annie to beat the Black Friday rush and take the kids Christmas shopping at the Bangor Mall, about an hour’s drive inland. He’d learned the hard way that it was impossible to predict the trends in clothing and toys, so he just gave his sister a roll of hundred dollar bills and asked her to loosely monitor what was purchased.

     Then, as in the past three years, they’d place all the bags in the back of his Expedition along with notes identifying who got what, and he’d wrap up the lot before Christmas day. The deal was, everybody acted surprised, and there were no hassles with day-after-Christmas returns. Beau couldn’t figure out why his approach wasn’t standard operating procedure throughout his extended family.

     While they were gone, he and Marie’s son Sean tackled the job of replacing all the furniture in the room occupied by Annie’s youngest, Andy and Paul. Their seventh birthday was on Saturday—same day as Grandpa’s—and they were hoping for bunk beds to replace the mismatched twins they’d used since they were toddlers. Beau had them look through the Penney’s catalog, giving them the impression it might be something they could ask Santa for. He couldn’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they arrived home this afternoon to find the complete set of maple bunk beds, matching dressers, desks, bookcase and toy chest.

     With Anne’s advance permission, they hauled the replaced pieces to the basement of St. John’s, where a rummage and craft sale would be held in two weeks. Maybe some other family could paint the stuff and bring it new life.

Sean carted all the broken down cardboard out to the garage, to be picked up on the next recycle day. When he returned to the boys’ room, he found his uncle arranging books and trophies on shelves. “Huh. Doctor Seuss. Hadn’t seen those in a while.”

“They were yours, right?
     “Well, yeah. Mine and the rest of us. Guess they’ve made the rounds of Aunt Anne’s kids, too.”

     “They do look a little beat up,” Beau said. “Maybe I ought to buy ‘em a new set.”

     Sean gave him a light shove. “Knock it off with all the spending, Beau. You’re making the rest of us look like tightwads.”

     He stood and turned to face his nephew, who at twenty-eight matched him in height and build. “Do people think that, Sean? Jeez, that was absolutely never my intention. It’s just—I don’t have any kids to spend it on, and I know Anne’s been struggling, trying to get her new business off the ground and all—”

     “Hey, man, calm down. I was just jerking your chain.” Sean chuckled and tossed a few errant stuffed animals on the top bunk. “Let’s head downstairs and check out the refrigerator. There’s probably a ton of great leftovers, and frankly, I think we deserve it.”

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