Rusty was quarantined to his room about 3 days ago with the chicken pox. No school. No Homework—just endless days and nights resting in his bed watching cartoons.
On day four, even though his fever broke and he felt a bit better, Mom found several yellow pustules on his back.
"You still got a few that haven't scabbed over yet,” Mom said, lifting Rusty's arms and inspecting his armpits. "Guess, I'll call the school and let them know you'll be out again today.
Rusting leaned back on his pillows and continued watching television. Today it is a marathon Scooby Doo. Yesterday there was a whole day of The Looney Tunes and the day before that—the Flintstones.
Mom brought Rusty his breakfast and went about her daily chores, stopping in only to give her boy his meals and something to drink.
Day 5: Mom went in early that morning to count how many pustules remained. She opened the door and flipped the light switch.
Rusty sat up rubbing his eyes. "What's going...I say, what's going on here?"
Mom lifted his shirt to count the pox.
“Unhand me, wabbit!” Rusty demanded.
“Stop goofing around, Rusty. You know I have to check for pox." She pulled his shirt down. "Yep, still have a few juicy ones. I’ll call the school."
Rusty curled up in his covers and dozed off until Mom came back with his breakfast. She shook him, "Rusty, wake up and eat your breakfast."
Rusty sat up and stared at his plate of eggs and sausage, "Mmmm…my favorite pterodactyl eggs.”
"What are you talking about? Are you delirious from fever?" Mom pressed her lips to his forehead. "You're cool as a cucumber."
"I bet you say that to all the wabbits," Rusty said through a mouthful of scrambled eggs.
Mom shook her. "Rusty, you stop with that crazy talk or I’ll...”
“No! Don’t tell me. It’s the suspense that gets me.” Rusty smirked.
“Now that’s enough, Rusty. No more cartoon talk. I mean it!” Mom wagged her finger at him.
“I hope you know this means war!” Rusty replied, smiling.
Mom sat down on the bed next to Rusty and looked him in the eyes. “I’m not joking. I’ll call Dr. Baugh! And he may give you a shot. Now, stop with the nonsense.”
Rusty lowered his brow. “You bad ol’puddy-tat!”
Mom sprang up from the bed. “I’m calling him right now.” She slinked over the door. “Dr. Baugh’s coming with his black bag, probably full of needles for shots.”
“Go right ahead, you long-eared galoot!” Rusty said.
She opened the door and found her phone and requested a house call.
Pacing up and down the hall, she wondered if her son was losing his mind. Did the chicken pox virus go to his brain?” She looked at her watch. “What is taking him so long? I told him it was an emergency.” She said under her breath.
She peeked in at Rusty. “Honey, how are you feeling?”
“I sure could go for a Scooby snack.” Rusty licked his lips and rubbed his tummy.
The doorbell rang. Mom raced to the door. “I’m so glad you’re here, Doctor. I don’t know what happened he was fine yesterday and then this morning he started talking nonsense cartoon quotes I think I’m not sure I’m afraid the virus is affecting his brain and he’ll be…”
“Slow down, Mrs. Simms. I’m sure he’s fine. Just lead me to him, and I’ll look him over.”
Mom tapped on Rusty’s door. “Sweetie, Dr. Baugh is here to see you.”
“What’s up, Doc,” He said picking up a crayon from his nightstand and nibbling it.
Mom snatched it from his hand. “Rusty, that is not a carrot!”
“Okay, son. Do you know your name?” Dr. Baugh asked.
Rusty replied, “ Pudntain. Ask me again I’ll tell you the same.”
Dr. Baugh looked in Rusty’s eyes, felt his neck, and gave a thorough exam. “Well, you look fine, Pudntain, “He snickered.
“I don’t find this funny, Doctor. What is wrong with my boy?”
“Cartoonitis.” Dr. Baugh said.
“Sufferin' succotash.” Rusty spit out.
Dr. Baugh put his hand on Mom’s back. “Let’s step out into the hall.”
“What is it? Is it serious?” Rusty’s mom’s eyes begged for an answer.
“Let me ask you a question. Has Rusty spent this whole week watching cartoons?”
“Well, yes. I made him stay in bed and he has a TV in his room.”
“Yep, that explains it. It’s clearly a cause of cartoonitis. All that animation has gone to his head.”
“Cartoonitis?! Is it serious? Does he need medication?”
“No. No. It’s not serious.” The doctor smiled. “I don’t even have to write out a prescription. The medication is simply switching the TV to public television. A few days of documentaries should cure him.”