Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bloody Murder

"What's wrong!?" My mom would bark from the bottom of the steps in response to the scream that came from the upstairs hallway.

We would all go suddenly quiet in the upstairs hallway and give the collective evil eye to the brother that screamed.

"Nuthin." One of us would reply from the top of the steps making sure to stay close to the shadows so mom might not recognize the person responding.

"What do you mean 'Nuthin.'?" Mom would ask. Which would then be followed up with "Someone is screaming bloody murder up there."

In the upstairs hallway, heads would snap in an accusatory way towards the offending screamer. Silent whispers of "I told you to be quiet" or "It's your fault" would be directed at each other.

The offender, also clinging to the shadows, half leaning down the steps, would apologize.

"That's enough!" Mom would say without ever clarifying enough of what.

We would wait a few minutes, laugh at the person who was scolded, and go back to our our game of hallway tackle football or our steel cage match. The offending screamer was not hurt but was most likely cheering at a touchdown or a perfect Greg Valentine Figure Four move. If someone was ever actually hurt, required stitches, broke a bone, what have you, we would never scream. We would all be quiet in an effort to cover up the incident; including the brother that was bleebing. Quiet and brothers usually mean someone is hurt. The quieter the bloodier.

Our screaming bloody murder was never really murder.

I never understood the phrase screaming bloody murder. When I was eight, I thought my mom meant that someone was actually screaming the words bloody murder. When I was twelve, I thought my mom meant she wanted to murder someone after hearing the scream. When I was sixteen I thought my mom was trying to be British but without the accent.

Now? Now I get it. Maxfield will scream like he is being fed into a wood chipper if Wyatt knocks over a Lego building. Wyatt will wail, as if he was getting scalped with a hatchet, if Max stands in front of his view of the TV. They both scream like they are being murdered.

Bloody murder.

I appreciate the phrase. I get it's meaning, but since I was once one of the people screaming, I know that 99 percent of the time screaming is not the result of injury or something serious.

No, I try to listen the long moments of silence to know when something is wrong. I will call up from the bottom of the steps. "What's wrong?"

"Nuthin." Max will call from the hallway upstairs.

"What do you mean nuthin?" I say. Which I then follow up with,"You guys have been quiet for 5 minutes now. Who is hurt?"


WILLIAM said...

I know I misspelled bleeding. It is an inside joke for Anonymous.

Unknown said...

So far when someone gets hurt, there is much wailing and nashing of teeth. It is pathetic really.

Michelle said...

It's much the same for girls. If it's too quiet, you know someone is into something dangerous, like my makeup. When the screaming bloody murder occurs, it's usually that one won't share the best pair of high-heeled sparkly shoes. Kind of like a steel cage match, only with more blood.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

The difference here is that H-J would scream as if his arm has been cut off, when all that really happened was a scraped hand. Falling down and getting a bloody knee called for 45 minutes of crying and wailing and screaming... and then he'd finally let us get close enough to gently wash the cut and treat it.
For years I wouldn't know if he was truly injured or simply had his feelings hurt. Now that he is 13 years old, there is much less drama (although I still had to hold him down for his last immunization).

I don't think I could handle more than one kid like that! I'm thankful the other 3 didn't go through that stage.

SciFi Dad said...

Silence is the sound of trouble.

Bogart said...

Can you scream non-bloody murder? Like strangulation or poisoning...they are not typically bloody.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing better than a sock fight or rolling someone up in a mattress to get the screams going.

eclectic said...

Wow. I think maybe you should have rules at your house. Like, at our house, we have very strict rules about NO screaming, NO blood, and definitely NO MURDER.

FilmFather said...

You had me at "Greg Valentine Figure Four."

I totally remember his feud with Tito Santana, who wound up using Valentine's own move on him during one of their final battles.

I also remember putting my younger brother in the figure-four once. His crying indicated to me that he didn't like it.

SoMo said...

In our house when there is a crash the words, "Nuthin happened!" immediately follow. Which means I know no mess was made or was easy enough for them to clean up. When I hear a crash and then silent whispering, I know I need to get the hazmat team to come on in.

Otter Thomas said...

Our son screams give me some food before I commit a bloody murder.

Lois Lane said...

Who knew we would actually ever understand what the heck our parents were talking about, let alone use the same lingidy?!

Lowa said...

My mum used to either say "Bloody Murder" or "Blue Murder". I am not sure which one makes less sense.

Anonymous said...

I don't like where this is headed.

April said...

I'm tucking this one away - it will be a handy reminder in about three years!

Unknown said...

Sweet Pea is our screamer -- usually it's over a "toy injustice" done to her.

When the kids are quiet, Hubs will worry. I thank God. ;)

kalki said...

I love this blog, Poop. This is a classic post, in my mind.

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