“Sis, wake up. C’mon! Get UP!” I tried to shield myself with my Holly Hobby pillow but it was ripped from my grasp.
“Hey, c’mon.” I looked up groggy with sleep. My brother Tommy hovered above me, his curls formed into demon like horns. I looked at the clock. It was 1 am.
“Are the cops here? Is Mike in trouble?”
Our older brother Mike was a good- natured guy as long as he didn’t drink Jack Daniels. The problem was, he drank Jack Daniels all the time.
“Mike’s already in jail remember?”
I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me. “Oh, thank God.”
“Is it Joey?” Not that I cared. Joey was our stepbrother, a recent addition to the family that I found absolutely unnecessary. Joey was on house arrest for some trouble involving an all terrain vehicle and a lot of Budweiser. He got a DUI on a four- wheeler. A four-wheeler! Let me briefly recap; I have three older brothers, one is in jail, the other is on house arrest and the third is dragging me out of the house on a school night ordering me to wear all black, as he slams my bedroom door. I think it’s a safe bet I’m not going to Harvard.
Tommy was waiting outside in Joey’s Chevy Malibu. I wondered why we were taking Joey’s car. Tommy was obsessed with his own car: A 68’ Cougar convertible. It was all he talked about. I think he loved his car more than he loved his girlfriend. She thought so too. She screamed that more than once during their Friday night brawls in the front yard. I think he also loved pot, hash, opium, Budweiser and Jack Daniels more than his girlfriend, but what did I know about love? I had only kissed one boy in my life. And it was her younger brother.
“Why are we taking Joey’s car?” I asked.
“We need something non-descript.”
He probably thought he was a big shot throwing around a word like non-descript, but I knew what it meant. At least, I was pretty sure I knew what it meant.
“Why do we need something non-descript?”
“Jesus Nancy Drew, what are you writing a fucking detective novel?”
I was actually, but that was neither here nor there.
“His car is the perfect getaway car.”
“Right.” I replied, keeping my voice as casual as possible. I was in the 6th grade, it was 1 a.m. on a school night and I was in a getaway car. My life was fucking fabulous!
“Okay, so here’s what we are going to do. You know that guy that Aunt Carrie’s dating?” I nod my head. “Well, he’s got a lot of Marijuana plants he’s harvesting; he’s actually got more than he can handle.” Tommy pulls the car over. “So we are just going to relieve him of some of his crop.”
“You mean, we are stealing?” I asked.
“Well, it’s not really stealing if it’s something that’s illegal anyway. The two cancel each other out.”
I considered this for a moment. He did have a point.
“So what do you need me for?” I asked.
“Well, I’m going to pull up, and you’ll jump out and run to the side of the house. That is where the plant is. It’s in a big planter, you can’t miss it. You grab it, run back to the car. We take off.”
“Uh uh, no way. I’m not doing that. What if he sees me? What if he has a gun?”
“Krissy, he’s not even home. I’ve already cased the place. This is an easy heist.”
“If it’s so easy whaddya need me for?” He sat silently for a moment. Then he spoke very slowly as if I was a small child. Which made sense because I was.
“I’m driving the getaway car. You, on the other hand, can’t drive. Plus you are small and fast. Ya know what your problem is, you aren’t thinking about this logically.” He was right. I wasn’t thinking about it logically. “Look, you can do this and we can share the fruits of my labor, or, I’ll take you home and I’ll find another partner.”
Partner? The wheels in my brain began to turn.
“What, you think I don’t know about all the weed you’ve been mooching from my stash for you and all your degenerate friends?”
My degenerate friends? My degenerate friends, as he so eloquently called them, were the little brothers and sisters of his degenerate friends. But this didn’t seem the time or place to have that debate.
“You know what, just forget it. I should have known you’d be a big baby about it”
“Wait! I can do this. I’ll do it.”
We pulled up in front of Frank’s ramshackle house moments later.
“It’s right there.” He pointed to the side of the house.
“Right there,” was a terrifying black hole of emptiness. Considering I was still sleeping with a nightlight, this posed a problem.
“I’ll need a flashlight.” I said with the kind of authority I imagined someone who burgles marijuana plants in the middle of the night might have. “You can’t use a flashlight. This is a stealth mission.”
He opened my door and shoved me out into the blackness. “Remember- stealth.” I ran blindly, my heart pounding in my chest, every beat sounding like the stomping of Frank’s footsteps. I was certain he was coming to kill me with his giant gun kept handy for local pot thieves. I finally came to a stop by crash bombing into the side of the house. Not so stealth.
If Frank was sleeping, he surely wasn’t anymore. Great. He’s gonna call the cops. Wait, I’m stealing his pot. Okay, he’s not going to call the cops. Oh no, He’s probably going to molest me. Isn’t that what your Aunt’s wacky boyfriends always do? I’d managed to make it 12 years on the planet without getting molested, which apparently was some sort of miracle since all my friends had been molested. Maybe it was because I was “a carpenter’s dream,” as my brother was fond of saying in front of his friends. I knew Tommy didn’t like me but I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to let a guy who always wore the same Hawaiian shirt molest me. Would he? I definitely did not want to get molested. But, if it was going to happen, I figured the upside was I would fit in better with my friends.
I froze as I heard a twig snap under the weight of a man’s boot. I wondered if the molesting would happen right here or if I’d have to go inside his crummy house. I bet he would play the Steve Miller Band the entire time. Great. I felt a big hand around my upper arm. Okay, well I guess it was going to happen right here.
“What’s the hold up? My brother hissed in my ear.
“Oh uh, I was thinking, I mean, I can’t find it, I think it’s gone.”
“Jesus kid, you’re standing right next to it. Grab it and come on.” He stomped off shaking his head, disgusted.
I half dragged, half carried it across the lawn hoping he would come out of the car and lend a hand. But he just sat and watched. Laughing. What a prick I thought.
I was almost to the car when the porch light came on. “C’mon. Hurry up.” My brother opened the back door. “C’mon, jump in the back!” I hauled myself and the plant into the back seat of the Malibu, Tommy pulled away before I could even get the door shut. I looked up and saw Frank on his front porch wearing nothing but a Hawaiian shirt and a befuddled expression. We tore down the street, the Malibu’s tires screaming bloody murder.
“Woo Hoo!” My brother screamed out the window. I jumped into the front seat covered in potting soil. We high-fived one another, celebrating the success of the heist.
“Did you see his face? That was classic! Not bad kid!”
I was glowing. He was laughing. It was magic.
“Hey grab a couple beers out of the back for us.”
And there it was-- I finally impressed my brother. I wasn’t just a stupid kid anymore, he finally saw me for what I was- cool. And even though he didn’t say it, I could see in his eyes that he was proud of me. I took a big swig of the warm Bud, enjoying the bitterness, enjoying our new friendship. He socked me in the arm. “Ow! Whaddya do that for?”
“If you ever tell mom, I’ll kill you.”
Okay, so maybe we weren’t exactly friends.