Friday, March 30, 2012

Epic Fail

Chris and Lilly had promised their mother that they would stay in the house if she agreed to let them stay home alone after school while she took their grandfather to his doctor’s appointment.   Chris couldn’t understand what his mother thought could possibly happen to them; after all she’d only be gone for an hour and a half. 

He stood at the window and watched his mother back the Camry out of the driveway and disappear down the street.  

“What do you want to do?” he asked his sister.

Lilly shrugged, “eat a toaster strudel and do my homework.”

Chris smirked and looked down at his very new and very white Air Jordan’s.  “That’s laaaaaaame.  I have homework too, but I’m gonna to do it later. Let’s go to the 7-Eleven and get Slurpees.”

Lilly looked horrified.  “No. Mom told us to stay in the house.  If we go out and get caught, she’ll never let us stay home alone again. I’m going to do my homework.”

Chris looked down at his feet and turning his ankle in and out, checked out the appearance of his Air Jordan’s at various angles.  Bouncing his head to an imaginary beat, he pursed his lips and began to strut around the living room.  He checked out his look in the hall mirror and taking a $5 bill from the cookie jar, turned to his sister and said “Well, you can do what you want. I’m going to get a Slurpee.”

Lilly looked down at her Algebra book and thought about how a smooth frozen Slurpee would feel sliding down her throat. “Do you have any money?”

Chris smiled broadly and pulled the $5 bill from his back pocket.  He held it between his two hands and snapped it tightly.    

Lilly thought about the Slurpee for another three seconds.  “Okay.”  She closed the book and followed her brother out the door. As Chris locked the back gate, Lilly noticed his sneakers. 

“Oh mom told you not to wear those outside yet.  If Dad says no then she has to take them back to the store.”
Chris scowled at his sister.  “Dad’s not going to say no.  Besides, they’re not going to get dirty.  We’re just going a few blocks and back.”

Lilly shrugged “you’re an idiot, but whatever.”

With the 7-Eleven in sight, Lilly stopped suddenly and grabbed Chris’ arm. “What if someone sees us?”

“Lilly you’re such a wuss!  No one’s going to see us.  Who do we know goes to the 7-Eleven at four o’clock in the afternoon?”

Just about everyone, Lilly thought as she let go of her brother’s arm.

“See, no one saw us and nothing happened” Chris held the door to the store open for his sister.  The store seemed oddly quiet for this time in the afternoon. The clerk standing behind the counter turned his head quickly at the sound of the bell jingling on the door.  Chris, presenting his best gansta expression, nodded to him and ambled over to the Slurpee machine.  

“What are you getting?” Chris’s eyes scanned the flavor selections and holding his cup firmly in one hand grasped the lever under the Coke sticker with the other and pulled.  He watched the frozen cola fill up half the cup, then switched over to Mountain Dew until the cup was filled.  

“That disgusting.” Lilly grimaced at the sight of her brother’s undrinkable concoction.  She filled her own cup with 7 UP, slid the straw in and took a long sip, forgetting about the inevitable brain freeze.  

The two walked past the clerk, who was making tiny hand gestures, accompanied by a sort of neurotic chirping sound, as his eyes which were now slightly bulged, followed the brother and sister.

Chris turned the corner of the magazine isle and quickly stopped dead in his tracks.  Staring wide eyed, with his mouth hanging wide open, he dropped the Slurpee, his jeans and sneakers absorbing most of the splash.  Standing before him in the center of the isle were two police officers with their guns drawn and pointing at a young man lying on the dirty tile.  The teenager laid spread eagled on the ground, head turned to the side, arms extended, his right hand just inches from a revolver lying in front of a Good Housekeeping magazine with Sandra Bullock smiling on the cover.  

Chris backed up slowly until he felt his foot step on that of his sister’s. 

“Watch it stupid!” Lilly gave her brother a slight shove and then noticed the activity going on in front of him.  She did a perfect imitation of her brother’s reaction right down to the dropping of the Slurpee.

Chris grabbed his sister by the shoulders and yelled “Run!”  The two ploughed through the door and took off down the sidewalk running as fast as their soaking wet feet would take them.  Once they were a few blocks away, Chris slowed down.  

“I told you we should have stayed home.”

Chris nodded, leaning over to catch his breath. “You’re right.”

Lilly looked at her brothers legs, “you have Slurpee all over your pants, and look at your sneakers.”
Chris looked down at his clothes. “Crap!”  The Slurpee which was no longer cold had splashed all over his jeans and had stained his white Air Jordan’s.

Chris nodded toward his sister’s pants, “you too.”  Lilly looked down at her legs.  Her jeans were wet as well, but not stained like her brother’s.

“Come on, let’s get home and change.”  The two jogged the rest of the way home.  When they were a few houses away from their house, they stopped abruptly as they watched their mother’s car pull into the driveway. 

Chris grabbed his sisters shoulder “Oh no, come on.”

They took a detour through the back yard of their neighbor’s house.  As they entered their own yard, Chris managed to get the key out of his jeans in order to save time.  Just as he reached the top step, Lilly tripped and knocked him over, sending the key flying out of his hand and through the gate, where it lay just out of reach.  

The two stood and looked sadly at the key as heard the front door open.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Martine sat staring at the fish pond.  Over the sounds of grown up conversations, tinkling silverware and light chamber music which drifted out through the open doors of the dining room, she pondered the water and its lily pad tenants.  The sun felt very good on her back and just as it began to verge on being too warm, was cooled by an occasional breeze. 

She was enjoying the sight of the dragon flies as they flitted from pad to pad.  Every so often a carp would make a slight ripple on the surface of the water.  He’s probably looking for a fly or mosquito to eat for lunch she thought.  Martine watched a small yellow finch land on the Hazel which grew in the garden.  She loved Finches.  Their bright yellow feathers were so pretty and were often the only thing she could see as they zipped about the garden like tiny kamikazes.

This is a nice place to be right now she thought, but just as she was beginning to settle down, she remembered why she was sitting alone on the steps, while everyone was inside enjoying their post baptism luncheon.  She scowled at the memory of her mother quietly scolding her, while Gabriella swept up the mess.  While she adored her new little brother, she could not for the life her understand why everyone made such a fuss over him.

She folded her hands in her lap and tilted her head up to catch the rays of the sun, as she had seen her Aunt Celeste do whenever she sat outside on the patio.  Celeste was much younger than her sisters and was always given a glass of sparkling cider, which closely resembled the grown up drinks that her older aunts enjoyed.  Celeste was beautiful and sweet and always told Martine to call her Celeste instead of Aunt because she didn’t feel ready to be called Aunt yet.  Martine liked this because it made Celeste seem more like a cousin than an Aunt.  Cousins were people that you could have fun with.  Aunts were not.  Right now Celeste was inside, probably eating her shrimp salad and behaving appropriately.  Even Jacques, Martine’s Scottish terrier had deserted her for the cool of the kitchen and the possibility of Gabriella rewarding his patience with a piece of ham.

Well that is okay I suppose, she thought as she listened to the bees buzzing about in the honeysuckle.  The sun was beginning to feel too hot on her face, so she put her head down for a moment.  She thought about going back inside and apologizing, but then another breeze came through, cooling her off, and strengthening her resolve.  Maybe I was right to drop the china bowl on the floor after all, and God is making me feel happy and quiet out here on the steps, away from the grown-ups.  Martine knew that was not the case, but the thought did give her some comfort, if only for a moment or two.

She continued to listen to the sounds of the outdoors and decided that the buzzing of the bees went very nicely with the different conversations going on inside and the occasional ‘ting’ of a fork tine hitting a plate was a nice accent.  Adding to this quiet little musical interlude was the growling of her stomach which would rumble now and then.  I am hungry she thought as she visualized the cool gazpacho she had seen earlier in the refrigerator and the shrimp salad being placed on the plates with the tiny little grape tomatoes that she loved and slices of avocado. 

Once again Martine considered going back inside and offering an apology for her behavior.  She was about to get up when she heard the all too familiar “oohs” and “aahs” coming from the dining room and knew that  Christian had awoken from his nap and was once again being presented to the guests.    

Martine stood up and straightened out her dress, but rather than go back into the house, she walked determinedly toward the lily pond, where she proceeded to jump right in, shoes and all.  She splashed around excitedly, making as much noise as possible.  Two little finches that were nesting nearby in the hazel took note and flew off in search of quieter surroundings.  Martine rolled around in the pond, which was only two feet deep, but she was careful to make sure that every inch of her body was covered in pond scum and mud.  It only took a few seconds of her aquatic frolic to bring her parents and most of the guests out onto the terrace. 

One look at the expressions on her mother and father’s faces told her that she had gone too far this time.  Uh-oh she thought, until she noticed Christian, who in the arms of Celeste, appeared to be giggling as he waved his chubby little arms and reached out to his older sister.