revenge is a dish

I wasn’t quite old enough
to really care
but I was young enough
to pretend like I did.
Alex and I would
clamber over each other
to get to sit where we wanted
while mom buckled our little brother
into his designated spot.
Dad would drive us to the lake
to swim and fish
or to the ice cream shop
or to gramma’s house
or wherever he saw fit at the time.
Sometimes we went for the whole day,
sometimes just in the afternoon
It was big enough that
Alex and I could stretch out
our lean, bony bodies
without sprawling into each other’s space.
We ate every meal in that van
at one point or another
and we always left a little
of each snack behind.
There was gum stuck to the fuzzy mats,
crumbs from cookies, crackers, and chips
caked in every crack,
chocolate melted onto
the velvety seat covers,
candy and sticky soda syrup
fermenting in the cup holders,
not to mention the cheesy fingerprints
marking every surface.

We’ll leave out the blood stains
from numerous picked scabs
and streaks of dried snot
from runny noses.

We practically lived in that van.
When we weren’t off
on some family adventure,
Alex and I would play ‘house’
or ‘doctor’ or ‘fort’
by dragging out
every blanket we could find
and draping them over the seat backs.
We would crawl around under them
until it got too stuffy for us to breathe
and we had to slide
open the windows.
One time he wanted to see
from the top of the world
so he climbed up the tiny
aluminum ladder on the back,
stepping on the spare tire
and smudging the window
with his dirty toes.
When he finally scrambled
onto the roof
mom and dad ran out
with their thick arms pulling
out of their sockets,
reaching and twisting for him
trying to cup his little hairless armpits
and wrap around his
life-filled lungs.

That baby-blue economy van
aroused a lot of emotions.

Dad wanted to get something different.
Something not so blue,
not so economy-sized,
and a bright orange
“For Sale”
sign appeared on the windshield.
Alex and I immediately forgot to worry
that someone might just
take our spaceship,
our time traveler,
our fortress
away from us.
We remembered just as quickly
when the neon advertisement
and dad started
locking the doors.
I would go out there
every day
after Alex had found other things
to immerse his imagination in
and jiggle the handle.
I tried keys of silver
and gold and bronze,
skeleton keys and
keys with no teeth,
all the keys on all the rings
mom and dad carried.
I never found that key,
but eventually dad
went in to complete one
final inspection,
so I asked if I could watch.
I plopped myself down in the back
with a cup of
chocolate pudding
and set to work on it
with my pinky finger
substituting for a spoon
while dad vacuumed and polished.
I plotted my revenge
on the people coming to steal
my wheeled bunker of creativity
and as soon as dad left
to put away his tools
I slid to the floor.
I jammed my strong
pink tongue into the pudding
one last time before pressing
the rim of the cup against
the velvety light blue-gray wall
right under the big backseat window.
I turned the cup
while I pressed it harder
into the furry side,
mashing the chocolaty remains
deep into the fibers.
As I pulled it away
I smiled a devilish grin
while horns sprouted from my forehead
and mentally patted myself on the back
for a job well done.
Dad called for me from the garage
so I exited the scene of my crime
cool and calm
half-heartedly tossing the
evidence into the trash.

Two days later
the driveway was empty,
but I had gotten my revenge.

And boy would they have
a heck of a time
scrubbing at my chocolate circles.

revenge is a dish

Alyssa Medina

Joined November 2007

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