Fish are the stupidest pets.
I wanted a dog. I thought I made that clear. One as cool as Gabe’s – a mutt really but they call it a Borador. That’s a mix between a border collie and a Labrador retriever. He’s so smart, he herds cats. At least, that’s what Gabe says … I’ve never seen it. But Bounder is loyal and has “boundless energy,” and wasn’t a stupid fish.
I could have dealt with a cat, or maybe even a snake. But the stupid ‘rents got me a fish.
“Prove to us that you can take care of this, Son,” my dad told me. They made a deal out of presenting a large bowl with a single stupid goldfish swimming endless circles to nowhere. “If you can remember to feed it, and change its water on time, then we’ll discuss getting a dog. Don’t overfeed it, though. Responsibility… “ he droned on.
Turns out that a goldfish dies when overfed. Really, 18 hours is probably some kind of record!
I don’t know if I have ever seen Mom this angry.
It’s a little bit worse, I decide, than last summer when I discovered that my magnifying glass could concentrate the sun into this magnificent laser-beam intensity that fried ants. No, that wasn’t what made her so mad. It was when I moved on to catching things on fire. Glorious little tongues of flame, so alive! I just didn’t think it would spread so quickly.
And this was just words! It really isn’t fair to get in trouble over words when actual deeds can be worse, right? ‘Sticks and stones,’ right?
It was all so stupid, I had a cut on my palm from sharpening my new jackknife. Gabe and Miguel were admiring the Band-Aid and wanted to see it – so I peeled it back to reveal the angry red line. And I told a little whopper. Really, all I did was insinuate that Dad had cut me as a punishment for doing something wrong – they all know he’s really strict with me. But someone overheard, and told a teacher, and now there’s this whole commotion over whether Dad can come home from work tonight.
Good thing I can stay really quiet.
So this one is on me. Definitely my fault. Isn’t it good to be curious, though?
‘Although,’ I think to myself, ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ And that got me started shaking with laughter. Silently, but still shaking and I had to get a grip.
And. Stay. Quiet.
I was hidden under the trapdoor of the basement entrance at Gabe’s house. It was dusk and I assumed that all the ruckus would die down after it got dark. Gabe’s dad was almost finished, anyways.
I suddenly had a pang of sorrow for Gabe, he had really loved Bounder. But it was so doggone interesting to see what some of those organs actually looked like. I convulsed with soundless mirth… ‘Dog-gone.’
And the brains! So textured and detailed. Nope, curiosity hadn’t killed the cat. It had killed the dog.
Gabe’s dad tossed the shovel aside and tiredly stretched his back. Then he dejectedly moved towards his violated home.
Hey! Know what I noticed in school today? Allyson is getting her boobs.
My hand shot up.
“The Treaty of Versailles,” was my quick response. Mrs. Johnson smiled her agreement.
Oh, I knew the game, now, and I played it. It really was no big deal to excel in school and with that came privileges, and adults’ respect, and a measure of freedom from prying eyes and the questions that arose from earlier incidents.
I grinned over at Allyson. She stuck her tongue out at me but I caught her looking at me again a moment later. Hmm-mmm. Sweet.
She might not be my first, but I think she might be my best.
As they giggle in embarrassment at the topic, Stacie and Kaelyn still look interested.
I am royalty. Invite me to the party, and it’s a success. Popular with teachers, my so-called peers, even with these girls’ moms. I’m headed for college, going to be a doctor. Hell, I could teach my AP Biology class.
I’m careful not to use it myself, but I am also the only local dealer for Hardcore. The newest designer drug -- leads to the most mind-blowing highs after a couple beers and a single pink pill. It also means that I can afford just about anything I want.
I growl to myself, ‘keep focused!’ These girls are almost hooked. And usually a pleasant side-effect of a new female customer is that I get a damn good balling in. And I’m actually quite motivated on these two particular clients because I haven’t had a threesome, yet.
“Everything is more intense. Vivid, colorful. Your sense of touch is magnified. Most women get shaved so that everything down there gets more extreme.”
Yep, these two will buy.
Yep, local boy makes good. Home for the summer from college, pre-med all the way, baby. Everyone is impressed. It’s been parties every night the whole week.
And is this ever going to be a homecoming, tonight. I’ve rented out a trailer. I have it stocked. Beer, wine. Movies. Blankets...
The door opens.
... Duct tape. Rope. Scalpels...
“Good evening, Mrs. Johnson.“Is Allyson at home?”