Monday, May 18, 2009

Writing Assignment 5

This week's topic: Stowaway child (thanks A LOT, Jon)

As always, feedback optional but welcome. (Luce, bring it on. I can take it)


I was in a dark place; the darkest of places, really. I was folded like cheap lawn furniture in the locked trunk of my mother’s Hyundai. With nothing but time--and a little bit of grease from a nearby tire iron--on my hands, I was forced to mull over the events that had brought me to this, the lowest point in my twelve short years on the planet.
I wasn’t exactly born to privilege. While karate lessons and hundred-dollar sneakers seemed to be creature comforts for most other 12 year old boys, for me, they were just part of a long list of luxuries I’d learned to live without. I didn’t mind, mostly. But family vacations, or the lack thereof, were always a real sore spot for me.

Summers were long and boring. Mom and Dad worked the typical ten hour days. They saved money on sitters by leaving me in the care of an older sister who, as far as I could tell, hated my guts. This could have been attributed to the many hours I spent torturing her cat and reading her diary, but who’s to say? Returning to the drudgery of school in the fall might have been a welcome reprieve, were it not for the endless stories of fun-filled family vacations as told by my classmates. It just wasn’t fair. They had their tales of Florida beaches and California roller coasters. I had four days in Las Cruces on Aunt Kathy’s backyard tire swing.
So when my parents announced their upcoming road trip to Las Vegas, the one they’d be taking without us kids, I knew I needed to take action. The usual whining and begging got me nowhere fast. They refused to budge. They left me no choice but to resort to my plan B, my drastic measures.
Their decision to take Mom’s car and not Dad’s pickup fit perfectly into my scheme. Stowing away unnoticed in the back of Dad’s truck would have been darn near impossible. But with a little effort, I could squeeze my skinny little rear-end into the trunk of the Hyundai and no one would be the wiser. Sure, they’d be mad--okay, furious--when they got to Vegas and discovered my complete disregard for their authority, but they’d also be stuck with me. For a weekend in Vegas—half-naked show girls, warm weather, swimming pools, Elvis impersonators--I could live with the possibility of being grounded for eternity. I mean, I only got grounded for a week when I got caught with those matches and lighter fluid behind the school. This was way worse than that. I was gonna get it for sure.
I knew I would need an accomplice to carry out my plan. And though her disdain for me made her a less-than-reliable accessory, I suspected big sis would find it in her heart to help me if it meant a shot at locking me in the trunk of a car. I figured this would be an irresistible offer for her. Sure enough, she was willing.
My parents’ road trips always began at an insanely early hour of the day. I would need to secure my spot in the trunk well before sun-up to be sure I wouldn’t get caught. Big sis set her alarm for 3 a.m. and sneakily escorted me out to the carport where mom’s car was parked with bags in the back seat and ready to go. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy helping me stuff myself and my overnight bag into mom’s trunk, already crowded by the spare tire and toolbox that were permanently housed there. She wished me a half-hearted “good luck” and began to close the door. Her sideways grin and the chomping of her bubble gum were the last things I saw and heard before the heavy door slammed shut over my head.
I probably should have been more worried than I was at this point. Being a one-dimensional twelve year old boy, thoughts of oxygen deprivation and possible rear-end collisions had only briefly occurred to me. After only a few minutes of discomfort in the darkness, I began to feel sleepy. I dozed off quickly and awoke some time later, not sure how long I’d been out or how much distance we’d covered. I was sure of one thing: we weren’t moving. The fog in my head began to clear as I heard the shuffle of footsteps moving toward the back of the car. My heart pounded wildly as I at-once considered the heap of trouble and the fantastic vacation which were both just seconds away from beginning. Perhaps my parents would be generous and apply the “what happens here stays here” rule to my circumstances. That kind of charity was more than I could have or should have hoped for.
The next thing I knew, the key was jiggling in the lock. The trunk slowly opened and the bright mid-morning sunlight filled my eyes, silhouetting the figure standing over me. I was suddenly more afraid of the impending consequences than I had expected I would be. My hand moved over my eyes to shade them from the sun’s blinding light and my vision came into near-perfect focus. What I saw left me puzzled and horrified all at the same time.

“Guess what, dork. They took Dad’s truck after all. They left four hours ago. I meant to tell you before but I kinda got busy.”
With that, big sis once again gave me that wicked sideways grin, then spun around and headed back toward the house, her sinister laugh fading as she walked in the front door and left me lying in the trunk trying to process the events of the past ninety seconds.
Yup, she hated me.

1 comment:

Deb said...

You have a talent for it. Remember the little people when you make it big...