(This is the fourth chapter of this short story. Follow the links below to read the previous chapters)
http://wp.me/p5AbPX-Ox chapter 1
http://wp.me/p5AbPX-OH chapter 2
http://wp.me/p5AbPX-OL chapter 3
Since you last saw me curled in the fetal position outside my mom’s bedroom door, I guess that’s as good a place as any to get started again.
Let’s see… I’m looking across the hall, in the recesses of my mind, and I see “the boy’s room” as they referred to it. In all fairness, until I was about 12 years old it was my room too. Or at least it’s the room I slept in. Did I have a room of my own, especially since I was the only girl? Actually, I did, but don’t forget I was the “middle child”, so expecting it to be furnished, appropriately, was another story. First, I’ll share my childhood memory of the room the three of us shared, then I’ll tell you about “the other room”.
There was a set of twin beds separated by a three- foot span of floor space between them. Looking back, I can picture Chuckie in the bed farthest from the door and Little Renny nestled all snug as a bug in the other one. Oh, you’re getting good. You guessed it. I was able to tell you about the distance between the beds because that’s where my mat was. It was a thick and fluffy mat with colorful butterflies and red and black lady bugs on it. Little Renny’s live bumble bee collections (jars 1 and 2) were housed, lids off, under the beds and if I didn’t do too much tossing and turning I could make it through the night with only a few stings.
I’m surprised I’m able to conjure this one up but let me tell you about the night I remember getting shocked and stepped on then stung in the nose… 4 times… in the same nostril.
It was a cold and rainy night, and in the country nobody had central heat or air. It was either window units, electric heaters and fireplaces or hand held fans and electric blankets, or a combination of all that. Well, in our house, we had the latter which turned out to be unfortunate, for me… per the norm. I was on my mat, trying not to disturb the bees, when I felt a sharp burning sensation that seemed to be moving from my toes up toward my face- on both sides. At the same time, my arms and legs stiffened up on me and I started trembling uncontrollably. I can remember Lil Renny looking over the edge of his bed, directly into my eyes. He looked as if he was seeing a ghost. The next thing I knew I was hearing an almost unbearable screeching noise coming from the right. My head was locked, but I managed to move my eyes just enough and just in time to see Chuckie screaming and bearing his tooth at me. (He’d lost so many teeth that year and so fast that mama had resorted to making me chew his food up then feed it to him). He was pointing toward my feet and when I looked in that direction what I saw horrified me too. His big black shepherd, Princess, was in full squat relieving her bladder on top of, around and through the chewed up electric blanket that I’d been so graciously given after Lil Renny used it until the electric wires were shredded and showing. The open wires and my little metal leg braces were in a tangled mess fighting to let go of each other with neither one having a mind to actually ungrip the other. The boys’, as I knew them, became nothing more than screaming, sniveling useless little pansies… but man oh man, could they move! They jumped up, in tandem, and stomped all over me trying to get out of that room. What made it even worse was the fact that they too felt a shocking jolt when their feet touched my face. The jolt caused them to jump up, and with all things going up… they must come down. In this case – right in my gut which was a brief, barely felt stomp that I must admit pailed in comparison to the first two. They made it out of that bedroom door in record time – about the same time that the shocking sensation subsided and the bumblebee stings began. They came at me like bats out of hell. No amount of swinging, swatting or swearing would stop that onslaught of furious creatures and apparently, they thought my nose was a hive. They flew inside my left nostril, one at a time, mind you, and stung me so hard my dead man eyes watered and my smutty throat burned. When I thought it was over for me, I saw my mama run into the room and grab the first thing she could. I guess the fact that it was Chuckie’s baseball bat didn’t even occur to her until she saw the blood. It took 47 stitches to close the gap mama created with that bat that night – but that’s ok. I just wish she’d used a different color fishing line and a smaller needle to do it.
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