Friday, October 30, 2009

When alligators and crocodiles invaded our house

My brother once scared the bejeebers out of me, and it wasn't even Halloween. But his trick was very smooth, very Halloween like. (I looked up bejeebers - it is a word.)

Picture of my sweet brother

- he's the older brother of a sweet little sister (me).

This sweet brother has an imagination that would make your toes curl. In fact, when he was 4 or 5 years old, holding on to a grocery cart while my mom shopped for fresh carrots and tomatoes, this sweet brother had a vision that a man was biting his toes.

"Man, Man, don't bite my toes!" he yelled as loud as his 4 or 5 year old lungs would let him. "Man, Man, stop biting my toes!" My mom dropped the vegetables and shooed the sweet brother out to the parking lot, where she quieted him down.

They walked to the car to go home, grocery shopping forgotten (maybe forbidden by the store manager). As mom opened the car door to let this sweet little boy in the back seat, all seemed well. Until mom SLAMMED the car door on Pixie! Or was it Dixie??? Pixie & Dixie were other imaginary friends of my sweet brother's. I don't know if they ever met the toe biting man.

I think Mom killed Pixie - or Dixie. Only my sweet brother saw it happen, and he was so anguished over it that he could never talk about it. And since no one ever saw Pixie or Dixie, we have no idea which one is missing. The biting toe man might know, but he isn't talking to us.

Long after the toe-biting man moved on to other victims and after P/Dixie was buried in our backyard, my dad was transferred overseas. We moved first to Argentina - land of incredible beauty, lots of beef and wine, winter storms with wind and lightning and rain, and lots of military juntas. Military juntas are 'government by committee'(I looked it up). Military juntas don't last long - sometimes just a few days. And then a new junta takes over, and then in a few days another one... you get the picture. (the toe-biting man would have had fun just going after the junta's toes!).

So, our family moves into our new HUGE house. Our furniture is held up in 'aduana' - in customs. The crate of furniture has not been approved to come into the country yet. Just as it is about to, a new junta takes over and starts the procedure all over again. We are living on borrowed furniture, including a velveteen settee that no one is allowed to sit on.

It looked kind of like this.

It was the only piece of furniture in our living room. But no one, especially an unsupervised child, was allowed to sit on it.

One dark winter evening, my parents get their first invitation out with friends. They are invited up the street to a couple's house for a game of bridge and a drink of scotch. That's all, simple bridge and scotch. How could mom and dad say no? It would just be for a few hours and the children will be fine at home. Just for a few hours. Right???

Wrong. A military revolution starts. BAM, just like that, the planes start flying over, explosions are heard a few blocks away near the markets, and the drill starts. My sweet brother and I know to close the shutters and to turn the porch lights off. And BAM, a thunderstorm starts. Rain, wind, lightning, thunder. Lots of rain. So much so that we can see rain coming down the walls of living room. The house is leaking from upstairs!

Oh my, says sweet brother (with the imagination). Oh my. Brenda, sweet sister, sit up here on the settee so you don't get wet. It's ok, put your feet up on it! You know if you don't, you could be electrocuted. If you have your feet in water and touch any part of this house, you will fry!

BAM, the power goes out. Whether by the junta or by the storm, I do not know.

Oh my, says my sweet brother. I better go find mom and dad! Sweet sister, sit with your feet up, stay in the settee. OK?

Oh my, says my sweet brother. I will be quick! I don't want any of the alligators or crocodiles to eat you. Keep your feet up! I can feel them swimming in the water that has started to fill the living room floor. Don't move, ok? Don't go outside either - you can bet the military are waiting outside to kidnap you and hold you for ransom! Dad probably doesn't have money to pay a ransom -so don't move - don't move until I come back, sweet sister.

I will be quick! Don't let the alligators get you at all. They will probably start by chomping your leg off, so keep your feet up on the settee! I will be quick, sweet sister....

And out the door he goes. Out into the darkest night, leaving me behind in the darkest house. A house that is flooding, filling higher by the minute. A house teaming with alligators and crocodiles on the inside, surrounded by the military with submachine guns on the outside. A house with no electricity - and even if it did have electric, I would be electrocuted just putting my feet on the floor. A house with one nice piece of BORROWED furniture - forbidden furniture - and here I am sitting on it, with my feet on it.

I sat in an upright fetal position for 10 minutes. For 15 minutes. For 20 minutes. For 30 minutes. Did the soldiers get my brother? Did he have to fight alligators and crocodiles all the way to the neighbors? Did he get struck by lightning? Was he being held for ransom that dad certainly couldn't pay?

Oh, sweet brother...

If anything happened to sweet brother, I would just die.
I just know it!

Sweet brother got to the neighbors. They still had electricity. They still had scotch. They still had bridge to play. They still had home-made chocolate cake. So they had more scotch. And they played more bridge.

And suddenly they remembered to ask my sweet brother where his sweet sister was.
I was rescued just before my bladder exploded.

Here's my sweet brother. He thinks he is saving victims from the Loch Ness monster.

Don't ask me about the Lock Ness story. I wasn't there. Only my sweet brother was...


altadenahiker said...

Oh nooooooo. Is he still that brilliantly awful? Did you ever get revenge? This is wonderful storytelling.

allhorsestuff said...

You are sooo funny and I can't help but hink of your Sweet brother and those childhood pics...does he just love being featured here?!!Teehehe!
Sooooo did you get in biggie trouble? funny that the Nieghbors home stayed intact- though the bombing invasion/storm!

Be well sweet sister!

Jedediah said...

I giggled myself silly while reading your post. You are a great storyteller.

You asked about bookscorpions: I would guess that they do better in older books since they probably find more prey in those, booklice prefer old books because they feed on mold.
I have never seen a bookscorpion in a library, but I have once seen a bookworm, in a library that had century-old editions of the Talmud. The librarian almost screamed when I told her, depending on the kind of bookworm they can do a lot of damage in no time and they are hard to get rid of.

Mister Earl said...

That's a great story, Brenda. One time for no particular reason I told my sister that I used to take ballet lessons before she was born. I guess I just didn't like the fact that she had something she was doing that I wasn't part of. She said boys don't take ballet. She began to ask questions and this morphed into the story that I used to be a girl, and it got more complex. Everyone was born the opposite of what they were, and at a certain age they changed to the opposite. So if you were a girl now, you were born a boy I never thought she was buying this, but to this day she claims that it scarred her for life.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Oooh, great one, Mister Earl. I can see your sister's fear! It is a thoroughly creepy thought.

Kacy, I didn't get into trouble for my feet up - I think that is because of the volume of scotch consumed by the adults. Mom totally forgot the rules of the house. In fact, she almost forgot the house.

Karin, my only revenge is in telling these stories. He never denies they happened; he just ignores me. Typical big brother.

altadenahiker said...

Scotch has that effect. And look what you got Earl to own up to.

Queen B. said...

hAAAAAA ! *cute post!*

Anonymous said...

Great Storytelling B~! When you first started with the toe biting man I thought of my younger brother. He, too, had imaginary friends only his were, of all things, SKUNKS from Florida. Go figure. Looking forward to the next story! P~

Mister Earl said...

And really, she keeps bringing it up.

Joanne Casey said...

The great unlimited imagination children have. It's a pity we have to grow up.

Mister Earl said...

Oh, it gets better. Our mom would jokingly tell us that we were acting like mental patients, so my sister and I created an entire mental ward. We had about 20 characters that we would play, each with their own names and personality traits. The problem seemed to be that these characters were on the ward because they had nails in their heads, so between hijinks, our characters would sometimes have operations to have the nails removed from their heads. Have I said too much?

FA said...

I should be working, but I'm fascinated by your recent posts so I have to read more. I have to get here more often!

Buenos Aires Photoblog said...

You're such a great story teller. Wonderfully visualized, too!