“The Spring House for Spoiled Rotten Teens,” by Mike Fowler

Aug 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Here at Spring House we provide a supportive environment for up to thirty spoiled rotten teens, with the youngest age 16 and the oldest 19, who are not yet so lazy as to require hospitalization or life support. Experiencing the emotional and physical upheavals of youth along with the cognitive and bodily failings of advanced age, or claiming they do, these teens suffer the worst of both worlds. They need help with bathing, dressing, homework, applying for jobs, getting out of bed at some point and saying a kind word. That is where we at Spring House step in. Our staff provides that assistance and more, often while dressed as popular superhero characters. We find that injecting a note of the teens’ home, where they lived most of their lives as children and young adults, is helpful in maintaining an aura of warmth and familiarity. Not many of our teens had parents or prior guardians who dressed as superheroes, perhaps, but we imagine some did.

What is life like at Spring House? Even teen deadbeats like to get out, and we provide that opportunity. A trip to the theme park across town is now an annual event held each fall, and allows our flighty and all but bedridden teens to get a taste of sunshine as they line up to ride a reduced-scale train and pet a shaggy llama at the corral. On the banks of a shallow pond they can pretend to fish, and then watch our staff fire up the on-site grills for a weenie roast. Stressed-out teens like to shop, too, and with real money, not just the phony paper from a children’s game with a fake register and bogus merchandise that some bring with them to pretend-shop. We organize weekly expeditions to Valu-Mart for closely supervised purchasing in a real-store setting, and teens can pick up snacks, temporary tattoos, over-the-counter pimple medication, teeth whitening kits, pregnancy tests and other desired articles as approved and deemed safe. We encourage all teens to participate in buying activity, as this grows a sense of self-worth, provided their allowance from family can cover it.

Back at Spring House, and momentarily satisfied by their afternoon “on the town” buying soda and sensible toiletries, our easily bored teens now relax in the rec room in front of two large-screen TVs, where they watch current movies or old TV shows that remind them of more carefree days, such as “Fudd and wabbit” cartoons. Some succumb to naps, as is only natural at their level of slackness, but the staff at Spring House is devoted to keeping them at some pitch of activity. Structure is also important. Last year some too-enterprising teens took lumber from a nearby construction project, and some distance back in the trees constructed a shack with the name ACAPULCO painted over the door. The amount of prophylactics, panties, butts, beer cans and vodka bottles found inside was brought to everyone’s attention and publicly frowned upon. Our staff, led by Pete dressed as Spiderman, dismantled ACAPULCO in a single afternoon. At Spring House free enterprise and self-expression is encouraged, but within responsible limits.

Barney is one of our whiny and all but immobile teens. Once prominent in his high school drama club and tennis team, Barney came to us at 17 in a turtleneck sweater heavy with food stains, refusing to take his PSAT and offering every excuse imaginable for just hanging around and tormenting the family of raccoons out back with a broom. He acted out his stunted manhood with curses and come-ons to all female staff while waving a broken Gameboy. After six weeks with us Barney is wearing fairly clean clothes, showering unsupervised and putting away spare change from his cigarette allowance to buy a bottle of cologne. He wants nothing more than to get a pair of blue contact lenses—he hates his natural hazel eyes–and then to pass his driving exam. He’s failed six times, but will take one more fling at getting his license before he “acts out his desperation,” as he puts it. Barney would like to work with children some day: spanking and confining them, he says with a smile. He would also like to have a girlfriend, especially one who likes his cologne and will bear with him while he grows facial hair. He thinks he can manage a mustache without overextending himself.

One of the most beautiful occasions at Spring House is Sunday family visit day. Our fragile and resentful teens find the presence of their families stressful and painful, but our policy is to enhance comfort and sociability on all sides. The smoldering, barely communicative teen has the option of dressing up in her Sunday best for the event, or relaxing in casual pajamas. Most often pajamas win out. Together with their parents or guardians the teens will go for a stroll, pet our in-house cat Gertie, and perhaps go out to church and lunch. The teens often show interest in their younger siblings, whom they are seeing perhaps for the first time in months. The younger sibs will have a chance to reacquaint themselves with spoiled sissy or bubba, and perhaps stroke their hand and comb their hair while whispering shared memories.

It’s heartrending at these times to hear the young ones ask if they can take spoiled rotten sissy or bubba home with them. But of course they can’t. These teens will be with us for a long time before they show signs of real life, many until they turn 20, or die.
Defenestration-Michael FowlerMike Fowler has been in Defenestration so many times he practically owns stock in the magazine. And by stock, of course, we mean delicious waffles. He’s all about self-promotion these days, so go buy his book.

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