April 23, 2007

"HAHAHAHA!" I cackled into her ridiculous face, "Too Late!"

To everyone else, she was an angel. To me, she was a nightmare. The bane of my existence. My stupid little sister. Her appearance in my life confounded me, rocked my happy 5-year-old life of leisure. My mother would look at me while I stared in silence at the endless coddling and say, “You’re just jealous.” I was too young to know what the word meant, but I knew enough by her tone that it was something I didn’t want to be. I also didn’t understand the concept of anger, but this was precisely the moment I embarked on my lifelong adventure to Planet Rage.

None of us knew what Katie was in for, getting me as The Big Sister. Every day was a new brand of cruelty, concocted in my child-brain that screamed incessantly how life wasn’t fair. For years, I mocked anything I could wrap my mean streak around: her perfect report cards, her enchanting piano skills, that stupid song she sang to a puppy in a preschool recital that made everybody cry. It was all so disgusting.

One lovely day circa 1982, Mom left us for one of her hour-long shopping trips to the Kroger and I immediately went on the hunt for my victim. No one else was in the house, thus I possessed unimaginable power. I found the little cherub all busy in Katie-land, coloring and imagining and dreaming in that adorable way the innocent do before they’ve been tainted by the reality of the world and people like me. She looked up and saw me, and a flash of happy expectation crossed her tiny face. Good God. She wanted nothing but to please me, to have me gaze upon her with the adoration the rest of the world did. Sister, please. But it was in reaction to this beaming face that I, myself, cocked my fat little head to the side and smiled sweetly. “Want to play a game?”

Why hadn’t I thought of this before? It was seriously brilliant. The bathroom closet. The door locked on the outside. It was jam-packed with towels, sheets, and endless rolls of toilet paper, but there was just enough space for a pint-sized pain-in-my-ass. I could be rid of her forever. Or at least until Mom got home.

“Okay, Katie. So here’s the plan. You’re going to be a fairy princess!”

“Ooooh! Yes! I’m a fairy princess! Mommy tells me all the time!”

“I know. So, listen,” I led her by the hand and with the most sickening sing-song voice I could muster, “You’re a fairy princess who’s the most beautiful princess in all the land, and you’re waiting for your Prince Charming to come and rescue you!”

“Ooooh!” If her eyes got any bigger, I might have poked them out. “So I’m like Sleeping Beauty, or um, um, My Pretty Pony!”

“Exactly! Just like them.” Idiot. We had reached the bathroom, and the closet was right there. “But you have to hide! The lords of darkness are looking for you because you are the most beautiful in all the land and they want to keep you from your Prince!” I opened the door to the closet and she stepped in, arranged herself on the floor and looked up at me with angelic anticipation. Dumbass.

“HAHAHAHA!” I cackled into her ridiculous face, “Too late! The princess has been BANISHED to the dungeon of the lords of darkness! You are DOOMED to a life in the TORTURE CLOSET! Moooowahahahaha!” I slammed the closet door and locked it.

“Kimmie…? But, the Prince is coming to save me, right?” Jesus H. The girl was so pathetic.

I pressed my face to the crack of the door and did that breathy-talky thing, “Oh, sure, he’s coming…but not for 500 years! You’re DOOOOOMED. DOOOOOMED. DOHOOHOOHOOMED!” I threw in one more cackle, kicked the door, and rejoiced in my greatness. I had made the bothersome little sprite disappear and it was time to celebrate with my most anticipated moment of the day: the beloved afternoon snack.

Mid-munch and altogether too soon, she called for me. “Kimmie…? It’s hot in here. I can’t breathe too good.” I threw down my Fritos and stomped to the bathroom. Once again, I jammed my face to crack of the door and blew into it really hard. “There. There’s some air. Now, shut up.”

“I don’t like this game. Can I come out now?”

“NO!” I did my best Darth Vader impression, “You’re trapped in the Torture Closet! HHOWHHAWHH.”

“But, Kimmie…?” she whimpered, “I’m getting hungry. I want a snack.”

“The lords of darkness don’t care about your HUNGER. They want to STARVE you. But, maybe, if you SHUT UP I’ll give you a little of my very own special snack because I’m so nice.” I ran back to the kitchen, grabbed the sacred foodstuffs and plopped myself in front of the closet door. I crushed up a handful of Fritos, threw in a few M&M’s for good measure and proceeded to jam them under the door. Everything kept getting stuck in the carpet, but she was scratching around for those crumbs in the dark like the pathetic little beast that she was.

“There. Now you have to SHUT UP FOREVER. If you make a noise, you die.” Back to my busy life of Hanna-Barbera and nutritionally void food.

Mom finally came home and I helped her bring in the groceries, mostly to dig out all the crap I wanted to immediately begin eating. She looked at me suspiciously. “Where’s Katie?” she asked. I just shrugged and shoved some Fun Dip into my mouth.

Just then, Katie squealed in her squealy little voice. Mom shot me one of her terrifying You-Are-In-Major-Trouble looks and went toward the bathroom squealer. I heard Katie say, “I was in the closet, Mommy. We were playing a game. It wasn’t very fun.” I just sat still, reveling in the few seconds of joy that remained. I still had one Reese’s cup left.

That night, I got one of Dad’s infamous paddle spankings and was banned from the Atari for a week. Katie got to go to Custard Cup and get whatever she wanted. That little shit always ended up on the shiny side of life. Bitch. They say that revenge is sweet, but I’ll take a turtle sundae over the need for retribution any day.

Contributed by Kim Foster

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