When we were kids, my older brother could be classified as a really good brother. When I was a baby, he would give me the toy he was playing with if I wanted it. Later, he let me tag along with him and his friends even though it wasn’t the cool thing to do. And when I was in 9th grade and trying out for the baseball team, he threatened to beat up the entire team when their intense mocking left me in tears at home one night. But this post is not about the goodness of Chris. It’s about something different.
It’s about how he did a typical big-brother thing over and over again and how some years later, I got my revenge.
You see, growing up, Chris seemed to relish scaring me when I was asleep. It wasn’t a nightly thing (that would have been weird), but it was pretty consistent. He got in trouble for it, but when has getting in trouble stopped a kid from doing something they enjoyed that didn’t really cause any long-term pain or suffering? He would take his punishment, whatever it was, wait a couple of days, and then strike again when I was in my glorious slumber, happily dreaming of my close friends at the time: the Care Bears. “How did he scare you?” you ask in a questioning voice.
One way would be to crawl under my bed, after I had been asleep for quite a while, and punch the underside of the bed. This would cause me to wake up, scream, and run into my mom and dad’s room as Chris laughed. Other times, he would get really close to me as I slept and stare. Intently. Then he would whisper my name. I would wake up, scream, and run into my mom and dad’s room as Chris laughed.
The thing he did the most, though, was to pile up all of the contents of my room on me quietly while I slept. I remember one time distinctly because that night, in my dreams, I was being attacked by those furry little turncoats – the Care Bears – who had apparently turned against me. After one particularly vicious attack, I tossed violently in bed, causing an avalanche of stuff to hit the floor. I screamed, jumped out of bed, tripped over the stuff that was now on the floor, and ran into my mom and dad’s room. All the while, I heard Chris laughing over the sweet tunes of his Shaun Cassidy album.
I dreamed of revenge, and although I attempted it many times, it never worked. Until one glorious Halloween night when I was 16 and he was 20.
Chris had been really sick for a couple of days. Perhaps it was malaria, typhoid, the bubonic plague or some other kind of ancient disease. I don’t remember. But I do remember that he had been sleeping all day. I was working at Kroger that night until around 11, and just as I was leaving, I saw it. An ALF mask. A spectacular ALF mask. I knew instantly that it wasn’t just a mask . . . it represented my chance at ultimate revenge.
I drove home, happily listening to a mix tape that I had made featuring Glenn Medeiros, The Boys Club, and Toto. Did I mention how cool I was at 16? Anyway, all the lights were out when I arrived home. Everyone was asleep. Perfect. I silently opened the door, locked it behind me, and put on my mask. I laughed under my breath as I stealthily moved to Chris’s room.
I got to his door and listened. I could hear him snoring. I looked to my parents’ room and heard Yoda speaking, which is what my dad’s snoring always sounded like to me. Everything was just right. I prepared (as all actors should), took a deep breath, slammed open the door, and flipped on the lights, yelling . . .
“CHRIS, I’M COMING FOR YOU!!!”
Chris’s eyes shot open as he saw an alien life form in a Kroger apron – which, looking back, I should have taken off. But I guess the apron didn’t lessen the effect at all, because he leapt to his feet, stood on his bed, and shrank as far away from me as possible. He was terrified. He then screamed, louder than I’ve ever heard him . . .
“Please! No! Don’t hurt me!”
At that point, I took off the mask, laughing. My parents came rushing in, thinking that something terrible had happened. No, something terrible hadn’t happened. Something magical had. They were all furious at me, but I knew that sooner or later, we’d all have a good laugh about this.
And as I lay in bed that night, moments after being put on restriction, having to apologize to the family, and being forced to return the ALF mask, I smiled. Not in a demented way, but a satisfied one. Knowing that I had redeemed a little boy who had been scared to go to sleep. Oh yeah, I had also gotten a story that I could tell forever (perhaps at a rehearsal dinner) and one day blog about many years later.
I slept peacefully that night. I don’t recall what I dreamed about, but I’m sure it involved the Care Bears. Not being terrifying (as Care Bears sometimes are), but frolicking merrily with me in Care-A-Lot.
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.