Why So Sad? (Part 1 of 2)

The Spencer-Kim-Lewis Family of Willow Creek

I wrote this story for August’s Monthly SimLit Contest, but I was not happy with my editing it down to 500 words. I’ve always wondered why Dennis Kim looks so sad and grumpy, and when I read the family bio (and then noticed they have no memory of this Lydia), a mystery formed in my mind.

Okay, here’s the breakdown: Dennis Kim and Lydia Spencer had a daughter named Alice Spencer-Kim, then divorced. Alice married Eric Lewis and had her own little girl, Olivia Kim-Lewis. They live with Alice’s dad (Dennis, remember?) and Eric’s mom, Vivian Lewis. Hey, no one ever said family was easy!

The Spencer-Kim-Lewis Family Description

The first time I played the Spencer-Kim-Lewis household, Eric Lewis (a glutton) immediately began grilling and set himself and half the house on fire. Eric Lewis is also part of the “Malpractice” household of the (slightly disturbing in my opinion) trailer of the same name (you can watch it here if you dare). This family is everywhere in my saves. I see Dennis as a vendor, a bartender, a massage therapist, and even busking in San Myshuno. This is part of my Sundays in Sulani series, and in Part 2, you’ll discover why. Unfortunately, I don’t have screenshots for this part. I hope you enjoy this story of Dennis Kim.

Dennis Kim had always been a hard worker. When his only child, Alice, married her childhood sweetheart Eric Lewis, they bought the old Cypress Terrace Estate with Eric’s inheritance. It didn’t take long for the newlyweds to realize they couldn’t pay the bills, though, and became obvious the place needed work. Lots of work. The plumbing was old and the electrical needed rewiring. Dennis’ daughter and son-in-law needed help paying their bills, so Dennis sold his small home and moved in with the couple, using the funds to help renovate their large home. When those ran out, he took on extra jobs in addition to teaching, as a vendor at Hogan’s food stalls, as a bartender–he even busked for tips in San Myshuno

Dennis Kim had never enjoyed an easy life. He raised Alice by himself after his wife left. Since Dennis’ parents hadn’t approved of the match in the first place, they refused to help.

Dennis’ tireless efforts to build a strong Simlish department resulted in a newcomer’s receiving the accolades and department chair position.

When Eric’s mother, Vivian, moved in, Dennis gave up his newly remodeled bedroom and moved up to the third floor. (Vivian said it was just to far to climb every day.) They had long since run out of renovation funds, so Dennis lived in the only room not remodeled.

Dennis Kim had never been one to complain. He kept his head down and worked. He arranged buckets to catch the rain from the leaky roof. Eric had grand dreams of owning the nicest home in Willow Creek, but unfortunately, neither Eric nor Alice could keep a steady job. Eric was fired from the Cut ‘N’ Stitch Clinic after appearing in the “Malpractice” video, and Alice’s paintings still didn’t sell often enough. Vivian worked part-time here and there, but she was too grumpy to hold down permanent work. Granddaughter Olivia was a joy to Dennis, though, and so was his career.

Olivia was close to her grandfather. Her mom was engrossed in her own world, not even realizing Olivia’s creative interests. Eric was busy playing computer games and eating snacks. Dennis’ part-time work paid for Olivia’s dance and art lessons, and he made sure she finished her homework.

Dennis Kim had always been overly generous and a team player. The second day of summer, Dennis received an urgent email from the chair begging him to help her write the Goth Grand for Good Reads. Dennis set his own planning aside and spent all his free time working on the grant.

“You are ah-mazing, Dennis!” she cooed. “I’m sure we’ll win this grant. Let me know if I can ever return the favor.”

Dennis turned in his unfinished curriculum at midnight the day it was due. The next day, Buckingham High’s new principal called.

“I don’t know what you’ve been doing all summer, but this is the worst mess I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry, Dennis, but we cannot have this poor quality.”

Dennis protested. “Well, I was working on the grant. Surely the department chair told you about it.”

“She did not. I do not approve of excuses, either. I cannot imagine why you would try to take credit away from all of her hard work to excuse your laziness.”

“Her work?” Dennis felt his face growing hot. “With all due respect, I wrote that plumb grant!”

“Are you calling the department chair a liar?” The principal sounded furious. “I was at the board meeting, Mr. Kim, not you. I saw our illustrious chair present the best grand the said they had ever seen. Mrs. Landgraab herself commended our chair.” He drew in a breath. “You know, Mr. Kim, she has warned me about you. Said you unfairly accused her son of cheating.”

“That Malcom is always whinging!” Dennis came unglued. “If it weren’t for his rich, snobby, in-everyone’s-business mom, that son of a llama’s kid would still be in grade school. He has no business being in my AP Simlit class this year!”

The principal was silent for a full minute.

“I think your tenure with our school is at an end,” he said quietly. “You have been on speakerphone, and Mrs. Landgraab, as school board chair is now asking for your resignation.

Dennis Kim had never been a celebrity. Until now. His face was splashed all over Simstagram, his tirade broadcast on the news. “Teacher Goes Bananas!” the headlines screamed. His reputation plummeted, and not even Hogan’s Grub seasonal food stall in the not-picky neighborhood of Bedrock Strait would hire him.

“Thanks to you, Dennis, your daughter’s family will soon be turned out of their home. Your steady income was needed, but you decided your ego was more important!” Vivian scolded him. “Perhaps you’d better move out before you break your only child’s heart any further or corrupt my granddaughter!”

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