Bart and Chris

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited by Radio Rancher

Chapter 11 - The Performance

After we had everyone settled for the night, I took Bart to the apartment and showed him how to download music to the IPOD. We put the two Elvis songs that we had decided that he was going to perform, on the IPOD so he could listen to the lyrics and practice singing along with them.

The next morning, he even came to breakfast with his ear buds in his ears and looked like he was playing a guitar. I had another demonstration with David and Dr. Robinson. When I left the house, Bart and Ms. Sweet were working in the dining room.

When I got home, Bart had fixed lunch for us. Ms Sweet had someplace she needed to be. After lunch, Bart decided to go outside and work and he had the ear buds in his ears and the IPOD in his pocket.

I watched him from the window in the kitchen as I was starting dinner.

He was trimming the bushes and he even edged the grass along the sidewalk with a manual edger. It looked like he was talking to someone because his mouth was constantly moving.

Doctor Robinson brought the children home from school and I was ready for them. As soon as they were seated, I placed a single animal cracker in front of each of them with a tiny container of juice, "I hope you children realize how hard I worked to get this snack ready for you. I have been working on it all day."

Bobby looked at me, "Geez, it's too bad your day only started at two o'clock. I suppose you haven't even thought about dinner."

I laid my head on the counter, "Bobby, please don't tell your Daddy and Uncle Tip that I have been sleeping all day. I'll try to do better tomorrow." I pulled out a dish of warm baked apples and they each devoured one.

Chris looked at me, "That's much better Dad. What do want us to do when we finish?"

"After I check your folders, I want to go out and get some sunshine. Bart is in the yard working, so he can watch you until Dr. Tip and Mr. Ty get home."

I was surprised when Chris came in, "Dad, can I help you, please?"

"Chris, where are the other children?"

Chris just shrugged his shoulders, "They're playing with Dr. Robinson's grandchildren. I just wanted to be alone with you. Dad, why does Bart keep moving his mouth like he's talking. Is he sick or something?"

I put my arm around Chris, "Chris, your brother is practicing for his show on Saturday night. When he's ready, we'll have him show you and the other children what he is going to do. It's good for him to have something to do since everyone else is so busy."

After Bart and the children did the dishes, Bart announced, "I have some things I need to do before Ms. Sweet gets here tomorrow. Dad, can you show me how to do a search on the computer?"

I took Bart to the apartment and showed him how to do a search on both Yahoo and Google. I looked at him, "Do I need to block the porn sites?"

Bart started to laugh, "Dad, If I find a site that I don't think you should see, I'll have you show me how to block it."

Bart didn't reappear and I was getting concerned and when I got to the apartment, he was busy writing down some information from the screen. He looked up at me as I entered, "Dad, you're going to have to explain what this really means. It seems as if it is in a foreign language."

I looked at what he was seeing on the screen. "Bart, why are you looking on the physiology of a teenager?"

Bart looked at me, "Dad, Miss Sweet said I should look up what makes a teenager think as they do."

"Bart, let me see what she asked you to do?"

Bart handed me a textbook and I read the question, "Son, this has nothing to do with physiology. It has more to do psychology. What did you put into the search box?"

He told me what he had done and I could understand why he got what he had. I started to type a new search, "Bart, let's try this, even though it's very broad. `Why do teenagers think as they do?'"

I was amazed at the sites that appeared, "Bart, look through some of these sites while I get the other children ready for bed. If you have more questions, I'll try to answer them."

I took some clothes for Chris, so he could take a shower with Bobby and Billy. Then I got the two girls in the tub and kept checking between the two bathrooms. When everyone was dressed, I took them to the kitchen. Tip and Ty had fixed them a bedtime snack. Tip and Ty took Ty's four children to bed and I took Chris to the apartment. I made sure he brushed his teeth good.

He went and hugged Bart, "You ain't nothing but a hound dog cryin' all the time."

Bart grabbed Chris and hugged him and sang, "And you ain't no friend of mine."

Chris hugged him again, "At least you didn't start singing love me tender, love me sweet to me."

I looked at Chris, "Christopher, why did you say those things to Bart."

Chris was frowning, "While he was working outside he was singing those stupid songs. Who sings songs about a hound dog? At least he could have sung `Itsy Bitsy Spider' or 'How Much Is That Doggie in the Window'. Who cares about hound dogs and love? Yuck!"

I picked up Chris, "Come on, Mister, it's past your bedtime. Let's get you into bed. Bart, you'd better go downstairs in case Miss Victoria Sweet calls, and please limit your call to ten minutes."

I carried Chris into the bedroom. When he was hugging me he asked, "Dad, why was Bart singing those silly songs?"

I hugged Chris, "Bart is trying to get ready for Saturday night. He's very nervous about performing. Just be patient with him. Now go to sleep Little One and let me do the worrying."

As I was going down the steps, Bart was coming up, "Tory could only talk for a couple of minutes because her parents were expecting an important call. I'm going to take my shower and go to bed. I'll be quiet and not sing in the shower so I won't bother Chris."

I hugged Bart, "Just make sure you clean any mess you make in the shower. We wouldn't want Chris to see it, would we?"

Bart fell against me, "Dad, you have a warped mind. I'm not going to clean up your mess either."

I was laughing as I went to the living room to check with Tip and Ty and see if they had anything they wanted me to take care of. They had nothing so I went to make sure everything was ready for the morning and to wait for Zack's phone call.

I was beginning to get worried when he hadn't called by 9:30. It was almost 10:00 o'clock when he called, I was a little concerned, "It's about time you called. Did you have a hot date or something?"

Zack recognized the edge in my voice, "Mark, chill out. I was invited to a dinner for a visiting dignitary and you don't say no to the dean. I was bored to tears. What happened there today?"

I told him what had transpired and all he could say was, "I wish I was there to take another bronco ride. I'll talk to you tomorrow, I'm still not ready for tomorrow. Mark, I love you and don't forget it."

Thursday was almost a repeat of Wednesday except that Bart worked on his work for Mrs. Sweet and then cleaned the bedrooms and the apartment while he was singing along with the IPOD. I was surprised when no one commented on what he was doing. Obviously, Chris had told Ty's three oldest children what was going on.

As we were finishing dinner, Bobby looked at Bart, "Bart, we want to see what you are going to do on Saturday."

I was a little surprised by that request, "Bart, why don't you go put on your costumes and bring my laptop down and you can show the others what you are planning on doing Saturday night? They can be your critics and make suggestions as to how you might improve what you are planning to do. The rest of us will take care of the dishes while you get dressed. We'll meet you in the living room when you're ready."

Bart appeared in his sparkly suit and Barbie piped up, "Wait until you see what he does with his clothes. It's like he is putting them in the trash."

Bart handed me the laptop and I booted it and started to play the songs so Bart could lip synch with the lyrics. Bart had gone into the next room, so he was out of sight until the music started. When the music started he came running into the room, and grabbed the guitar prop and got ready to sing with the words.

I inadvertently put on the instrumental version of the song and Bart was totally confused for short time but reacted nicely and started to actually sing `You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog.' After the song ended Bart did as Mike at the costume shop had suggested and when he flipped around for `Love Me Tender' he fell to his knees and looked at Becky and started to sing.

When he finished, Tip surprised us, "Bart, I don't think you should lip synch. I think you should do it as you did for us with a few changes. I think you should exaggerate your movements so that those persons in the audience will be able to see them. I don't know how big the place where you will be performing is, but I'm sure that it's going to be bigger than our living room. You want to make sure your audience is wowed by your performance."

Bart was very gracious, "Thanks for the criticism and suggestions, Uncle Tip. I'm a little concerned about singing without the words. What if I forget the words?"

Chris responded, "Bart, if you forget the words, you can repeat what you just sang and move your body so that people think it's part of your act."

I decided to break up the show, "All people who are not yet a teenager need to report to the kitchen for a bedtime snack before you get ready for bed."

After the snack, Tip and Ty took Ty's children to bed and I pushed Chris up the stairs to the apartment. I decided to save time and take a shower with him to make sure his hair was shampooed properly. I guess I was a little rough because he complained, "Dad, that hurts!"

I hugged Chris and laughed, "I was making sure I got all of the cooties out of your hair. I don't want them crawling around on our bed. They'd probably invite all of the bedbugs to join them and we would be scratching all of the time and you would look like you had chicken pox because you are much more tender than I am."

Chris poked me in the stomach, "Dad, you're being silly."

I got out of the shower and Chris followed me. I dried him and he went to get his clothes on and I was thinking, `Zack and I have two rather remarkable sons. Please don't let anything happen to them.'

Friday was a routine Friday. I had the play group and Bart and Ms. Sweet were doing their thing. After the other children had been picked up, Ms. Sweet came to me. "Mark, has Bart shown you what he has written in the journal that I asked him to keep?"

I shook my head, "Ms. Sweet, I have not read the journal. I have tried very hard to not interfere with what goes on between you and him because I don't want to upset the progress that you are obviously making. He no longer seems so timid. He does things that need to be done on his own. When he has needed help he has asked. Is there a problem?"

Ms. Sweet looked at me, "Mark, I wish you would call me Amber, I know it will be difficult, because of our age difference, but we are both professionals. I am astounded at the progress that Bart has made in a week. I'm a little concerned about what might happen tomorrow night at the Pizza Palace. If things don't go well, he could be devastated, and everything that we have tried to do will be undone."

I decided to be funny, "Amber dahlin', our son is so prepared that you would be screaming like you did when you first saw Elvis. He put on his show for us last night and he will be fine. Even Chris offered him some good advice."

Zack came tooling in about 4:30, so I sent him to check on the children while I finished dinner. As we were eating, Bart started to complain, "What do I wear to this party? Do I really have to be home by eleven?"

Zack nodded, "Son, if Dad Mark said you have to be home by eleven that's your curfew. As far as what you wear, wear what you think people will be wearing. We don't know this mysterious Victoria Sweet's friends, so we can't help you much there. It would be better to be over dressed than underdressed. They would probably laugh if they saw you without any clothes."

Chris looked at Bart, "Bart, you aren't going to go naked are you? That would scare everyone away."

Bart was blushing, "Christopher Warren Leavitt, I'll get even with you for that comment."

Bobby, Chris and Becky were doing the dishes as Billy and Barbie helped us clear the things from the dining room table. Bart returned wearing a pair of khaki pants and cotton button down shirt and a sweater.

Zack looked at him, "Mr. Bart, if no one else will dance with you I will."

Before Bart could reply, Tory arrived to pick Bart up. Her only comment was, "Bart, the ladies are all going to be chasing you. You better behave, or you will be walking home. Don't worry Mr. Leavitt and Mr. Jackson, I'll have him home early since I have a curfew of 11:00."

After the two teenagers left, I fell against Zack, "I guess we're not the only mean parents on the planet."

Tip and Ty had a function that they were invited to, so Zack and I got the children ready for bed. Chris surprised us and crawled into the bed where Bart was sleeping. I was concerned but Chris looked at us, "Dads, don't worry, Bart won't hurt me."

Saturday was a normal day until it was approaching the time for Bart to go to the Pizza Palace. He hardly ate any dinner and as soon as dinner was finished, he started, "Dads, can one of you take me to the Pizza Palace so I'm ready. I don't know when I'm going to be performing. If I'm first, I need to get dressed."

Zack tried to calm Bart down, "Son, relax or you're going to be so nervous that you are uncomfortable and not be ready to perform. The audience will pick up on your nervousness. Dad Mark, Tip and Ty assure me that you are more than ready. Go get your clothes and I'll take you and find out what the schedule is and come back and get Dad Mark."

Chris started to complain, "Why can't the rest of us go? We want to see how he does."

Ty looked at Chris, "Chris, we're going to take you to a movie. The Lion King is playing at the theatre down the street. We thought you would like to watch that more than watching teenagers pretending like they are singing some old songs. Besides, we have already seen what Bart is going to do, so we would get bored."

Zack returned from dropping Bart at the Pizza Palace. "Guess what, Bart is scheduled to be the last contestant. He'll probably be a total basket case by the time he goes on. He forgot his CD and he wants us to take it to him. We had better go shortly or he'll be a nervous wreck."

I went to the apartment and picked up the only CD I saw. As we were getting ready to leave for the Pizza Palace, the phone rang. Zack answered, "Okay Ms. Sweet, we'll stop by and pick you up. We're leaving now."

When we got to the Pizza Palace, the place was packed. When we walked in, we were met by Marci from the Costume Shop. "Hey Mr. Leavitt, good to see you again. Who do you have with you?"

"Marci, I'd like to introduce Bart's tutor, Ms. Amber Sweet, and his other Dad, Mr. Zack Jackson."

The expression on Marci's face was priceless. She recovered nicely, "You sure could have fooled me, Mark, I figured you would have every skirt in town chasing after you."

Marci waved to her husband, ""Hey Mike come meet these people."

Mike approached us, "Hi Mark, Bart is sitting at the table in the front. I think he needs a couple of beers to get him to relax."

Marci interrupted, "Mike, I called you over to meet Bart's tutor, Amber Sweet, and Bart's other Dad, Zack Jackson. Why don't you take them over to our table? We probably won't have time to sit down tonight. It looks like it's going to be a full house."

I pulled out my wallet, "Bart told me that there was a five dollar cover charge. Where do I pay?"

Marci waved her hand, "It's on the house tonight since you are connected to one of the contestants. Have a good time and we'll join you when and if it slows down."

Mike took us to a table that was adjacent to where Bart, Kevin, Ryan and their friends were sitting. When Bart saw us he and Tory joined us. I handed him the CD, "Bart, this is the only CD I saw. I assume it's the right one."

Bart looked at it and took it the gentlemen in the media booth so that he would have it when it was time for Bart to perform. The band started to play and Bart asked Ms. Sweet to dance. Tory asked Zack and Kelli came and asked me to dance. After the dance, they escorted us to back to the table and I noticed that Tory and Bart were the first couple on the dance floor when the next song began. They were joined by several other couples. Ms. Sweet leaned to us, "You guys sure did a good job when you taught Bart how to dance. I should check to see if the two of you are as smooth as he is."

I looked at Zack, "I think we've just been challenged by Ms. Sweet. Let's show her what smooth is."

Both Zack and I danced with her and she proclaimed, "I declare a three way tie."

At eight o'clock, Mike took the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, it's now time for the entertainment to begin. We have ten performers who have signed up to entertain you tonight. The performer who wins will be receiving fifty dollars plus free pizza for his or her table. The first contestant is Carla Bowers lip synching a medley by Madonna."

She was fair as were the next several contestants. I watched as Bart disappeared when the fifth contestant was announced. I almost was going to go help him but I figured if he wanted our help, he would have asked for it.

It seemed as if the performances were getting better as the evening progressed. Finally Mike came out, "Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready for the great Elvis Presley."

The house lights went down and a spotlight went on and there stood Bart at the side of the stage. He started running and went to his knees and slid to the center of the stage. He raised his guitar over his head, "Viva Elvis."

He bounced up and nodded to the person sitting in the sound booth. When the music started Bart looked a little nervous. But he began to relax and was getting into the routine. When people realized that he wasn't lip synching, but actually singing, they began to applaud. When he finished You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog, everyone was standing and applauding. Bart did as Mike had recommended in the shop. He turned and started to take off his outer layer of clothes and really was exaggerating his body movements and the audience was chanting, "More! More! More!"

When he quickly turned around the girls in the audience went into a tizzy. He nodded to the gentleman in the sound booth and Bart was relaxed this time as he walked over to where Tory was seated, fell to his knees and started to sing 'Love Me Tender'. When he finished the song, he ran off the stage yelling, "Viva Elvis."

The audience picked up and started to chant, "Viva Elvis. Viva Elvis. Viva Elvis."

Mike took the microphone, "The winner of tonight's contest by a unanimous vote of the judges is Mr. Bart Elvis Leavitt."

Bart came running out and slid on his knees to where Mike was standing. Bart stood and Mike handed him a check and the pizza marker for his table."

Mike stopped at the table where we were seated, "What can I get you people? You must be very proud of your son?

Ms. Sweet answered, "Bart is a rather remarkable young man. We're going to be leaving and go someplace where we can get something real to drink. Besides if we stay here, we might cramp the young peoples' style. It was a fun evening. We waved goodnight to Bart's table as we were leaving.

As we were walking out, I hugged Marci and Mike, "Thanks for your help. You probably did more for Bart's self confidence with this opportunity than we will ever know."

Author's Comments: If you want to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might wish to visit

Editor's Notes: It seems to me that Bart is beginning to really shine in his own right. He is thinking more positively about himself, and he is realizing that he is indeed a good person.

It was very special to see Chris trust Bart not to hurt him. That means that the family is becoming even closer.

I am very happy to see that Tip and Ty are still involved in the story, albeit in somewhat of a minor way. I am sure that we all have come to love them and we definitely don't want to lose track of them.

One thing for sure, we always want to keep up with the people that E Walk writes about. They become more than characters that we read about; they become part of our family. Once again, thank you so very much, E walk, for giving us this look into the lives of these very real people.

I'm ready for more, aren't you?

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher