This story is partly true, but I did a fair bit of adapting and combining.
It should have been easy. Mama drove away to her appointment. After the appointment she was to pick up Papa, and they would come home in about two hours. I would have supper ready.
I locked the door, and headed for the kitchen. I passed my computer genius, ginger-haired brother, being brilliant in front of his laptop with occasional pauses to make weird faces or imitate the voices of motion picture villains. My floppy dark-headed brother, a natural at the blarney, melted on the carpet. The little sister ran past, her hair like a wild nomad’s, pink flip-flops sticking to her feet and pulling off with a sound like pulling off a sticker. She hated hairbrushes and socks.
I put rice and water into a pot, set it on the burner, and turned the stove on. Now I deeded to do nothing for a quarter hour or so save waiting for it to boil. So from the well-stocked box of library books I chose one with a hooded archer on the cover and began to engulf the contents.
The doorbell rang. Now we were not the sorts to have visitors drop in; and I was under orders that if anyone tried to come into the house when no parents were present to call 911. I looked out at the driveway, discreetly; though as my two younger siblings were screaming the fellow could not have thought the house was empty. Unless he took it to be badly haunted. A well-mired pickup I had never seen before was parked in the driveway. He rang the bell again.
My heart throbbed as I dialed the number. As I explained the emergency, my brother shrieked that the pick-up was leaving towards the town.
I barely concluded speaking with the dispatcher before the rice began to boil over. I turned it down and set the timer. Then, still nervous, I went to my bedroom and drew my sword.
My sword has never been used for feats of valor. But it is long and heavy. So I carried it into the kitchen and laid it on the table.
This was November and I had not been expecting visitors. I wore a red tartan skirt, a brown turtleneck, a vaguely doublet-like velour vest with a hole I had been too lazy to fix, and a leather belt to cement the Auld Scottish look. Then I had done my hair like an elf from my favorite fantasy films, because I liked to do my hair like that.
And that is what the kindly sheriff’s deputy saw when he arrived. My siblings ran to hide in their bedrooms, because they dislike visitors in general. So I spoke briefly with the enforcer of justice, he left his card for my parents, and he departed.
I stirred the rice. My younger brother screamed. I ran down the hallway. The boys ran out of their bedroom and past me, yelling, “Giant spiders!”
The spider was aloft, dangling. It was at least three inches, and I did not want to deal with it. I trotted for the vacuum.
The spider had crawled into a hole. One leg protruded. I made a face at the carpenter who had built the cranny, turned the vacuum on, and shoved the tip in, stretching. I deserve a Guinness World Record for worst stretcher, incidentally. After a couple minutes I removed the nozzle. No legs. Hopefully the thing was swept.
In the kitchen the rice timer had gone off. After washing my hands I stirred it. It was burnt onto the pan, glued almost.
“They’re home!” screamed a brother. They all emerged and ran down the stairs to the door.
Loud storytelling. The day had been busy.
“What’s that on your hands?” Mama asked my sister.
“Marker,” she said.
“I’ll go make sure it’s capped,” I said, and entered our bedroom. Blue permanent marker decorated the bedspread, the curtains, the walls, my white blouse, and the quilt Mama had sewed when I was a baby.
It was such an easy day.
Copyright© 2014 by Abigail Leskey
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