He stood in the doorway. He had been a judge for over twenty years, a lawyer before that. He had never taken a case for someone he knew to be guilty, his conscience wouldn’t allow it. As a judge, he was hard, but compassionate. Always bringing the guilty to justice, but always giving them every chance to turn their life around.
Right now he was tempted to sneak back to his office and leave this for Martha, it shook him to his very core. He had never backed down from a situation in his life. He looked into the kitchen, forcing himself back.
He cleared his throat, loudly, his two grandchildren looked up from the floor, sudden sweet, blank expressions on their faces. However, Sam had Jenny’s nightshirt bunched up in his fist, Jenny was holding on to Sam’s ear as if it were a handle. Beyond them, cabinets open, food everywhere. A box of cereal seemed to have been flung across the kitchen, eggs were broken on the floor. There was bread, still wrapped, squashed, and there were muffins everywhere. The moment stretched on.
“What’s happening here?” Grampa asked, calmly.
“We wanted to make you and Grammie breakfast,” Jenny said, smiling, apparently having forgotten she was still holding her brother’s ear.
“Was there a problem?” he asked, again very calmly.
The two kids suddenly looked around as if they had just beamed into the situation. “Ah,” Sam offered finally, “we couldn’t agree on what to make…?”
The judge sighed. “If you clean this up completely, and silently, we will go out to breakfast.” He turned and left.
Martha stood in the other kitchen doorway, unnoticed. She turned, quickly clamping her hand over her mouth to keep anyone from hearing her laughter, and hurried back to bed.