(Long story, savor it because I will be MIA tomorrow*.)
I don't know if it had something to do with growing up Catholic and all the guilt that comes with it or if I was just really a good kid trapped inside of a bad little girl. Whatever the case, I am certain no child of six years should tote the baggage of guilt I did.
You know how some cartoons from the 70s and 80s played out a scenario of an angel and a devil on a character's shoulders? I really thought those things were real. So real in fact that I fabricated my very own. I had an angel on my left and a devil on my right. Although in the cartoons, the angel and devil resembled the person whose shoulders they sat upon, mine resembled Cindy Brady from the Brady Bunch.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Cindy Brady was a twit. Yeah, well she was the only one in the world, at the time, who could sympathize with a child of my birth order. Being the youngest in a large family, 10 in all, I guess I thought she could relate. So in an odd little way, she became my conscience.
I would like to now blame Cindy Brady for the following incidents, my cheating situation, the KitKat Bar incident, the confession/communion episodes, as well as the following story.
Buckle up tight folks! The Wayback Machine is out of control today!
Juan was a poor Mexican immigrant who came to my neighborhood one summer. His aunt, already lived in America and offered his family a place to stay. Her apartment was right next door from ours.
Juan was a pretty cool kid. I think. I mean, he didn't speak a lick of English but he always smiled and nodded every time I talked to him. He was my age but would begin school a grade lower because he had yet to learn the language. I helped him with the dialect as much as possible.
That summer Juan learned how to say every bad word I knew. He made me so proud. I always giggled when he said "sheet" instead of shit. And once we got beyond the initial communication hurdle of our origins, we became pretty good friends. I even shared my snacks with him. (If you read "Me And My Big Fat Mouth" below, you know how much I loved sweets.)
Right across the street from my dad's work was a Hostess Outlet store. Every few weeks dad would stop in there and come out with lots of bags of yummy goodness. Juan never had a "host cake" before. Every time I came outside with a snack in hand, I'd let him have a bite. One day it was a Suzy Q, another day a Twinkie. I remember him being fascinated by the three holes of cream at the bottom of the Twinkie. He even tried sticking his finger in one of my Twinkie holes (shut up) but I shook my head and said, "No!" which was the only universal word I didn't have to teach him.
"Loweez, I like mucho."
"I like you too Juan."
"No. I like host cake mucho."
Cindy Brady showed up on my right shoulder. "Ask him how much he likes the host cakes and see what kind of deal you can swing."
Looking to my left shoulder, the angelic Cindy Brady was fast asleep. I looked right, "Yeah, she really looks like an angel when she's sleeping doesn't she? Hurry up and ask El Capitan what he has to trade. See what kind of dinero he has on him."
"You have m-o-n-e-y?"
"Ask if he has a toy."
"Juan, do you have a toy?"
"You know t-o-y."
"No. No toy here. Toy Mexico."
"So this kid came here, all this way, to another country... with nothing? You need more friends!"
There really was nothing to barter with the boy, until one day...
About a week later Juan's aunt came home with a little orange tabby kitten. It was adorable. It looked just like a mini-me Morris cat from the 9 Lives TV commercial. On the very same day, my dad came home with a big bag of twin pack Twinkies for me and Juan.
"Lois, take one to your little friend and you can have the other."
"Thank you Daddy." I was happy and skipped outside to tell Juan the good news. Except his news was better than mine. Out of nowhere, there they were, atop my shoulders, and neither would shut up.
"We aren't as poor as they are! How come we don't have a cute kitten? That's not fair!"
"What a lovely kitten."
"Shut up you sap! We got a plan to work on."
"Whatever it is you are thinking, just forget it!"
I batted my eyelashes at that boy. "Hola amigo!"
"Hi Loweez." He never took his eyes off of that kitten to see me in my pretty sundress or my big smile. He didn't even see that I had two Twinkies, and one of them had his name written all over it!
"Hey, Juan? Can I hold the kitty?"
"Make a run for it. Possession is nine tenths of the law! Hurry!!!"
"You can't steal his pet!"
"Play Let's Make A Deal with him. We've got nothing to lose Lois."
"Juan. look what I have."
"Loweez! One is for me?"
"Sorta. You want to trade?"
"No money, no toy, no have trade."
"Oh yes you do my little burrito."
"Lois, don't. This is wrong! You can't even have pets in your building."
"Shut your trap missy! We've got business to do! Tell him Lois!"
"You have kitty. I have Twinkie. Trade?"
"What? I not trade. Trouble from Tia (aunt)."
"She won't know."
"Score! See you stupid fool! I told you we could do it! Haha! Now we have a real live pet of our very own!"
"We are going to get into big trouble for this!"
"We'll only get in trouble if we get caught so shut your mouth and everything will be hunky dory!"
I lied and told Juan I had to leave right away to clean my room. He didn't seem to care as he was shoving a Twinkie down his throat.
I traded a twin pack of Twinkies for a kitten. It was yet another perfect crime. All I needed to do was hide the evidence.
"Lois! You can't put that kitten in your toy box! He will suffocate!"
"I hate to say it but the twit is right. Oooh, look, a suitcase. Just stick him in there and leave the zipper open enough for him to breathe. God bless Samsonite!"
I pretended to play traveler. I had my Samsonite packed with everything I needed for my trip. I skipped through the house, suitcase in hand.
My mom stopped me in midskip, "Where you going Lois?"
"I am going on a trip. I am a great explorer and I have business to attend to. Goodbye Mother."
All day "El Twinkie" (I had to name him that) stayed inside of the suitcase. When no one was looking, I slipped him some milk. I also stole a can of tuna from the kitchen but I didn't know how the stupid can opener worked so I put him on a liquid diet.
Right before bedtime, I smelled something really nasty. I peeked into the suitcase. I sniffed. I gagged. El Twinkie oozed a bit of cream all over the inside of the Samsonite.
"Mommy? Can I take a bubble bath before I go to bed?"
"Okay sweetie, but you have to make it a quick one or you'll be late for bed."
She filled the bathtub for me. She saw I still had my suitcase and told me not to put it in the tub. I smiled at her.
Once she shut the door, I opened the suitcase. El Twinkie was acting really wild and running all over the bathroom. I whispered to him, "Stop." I think he only understood Spanish because he didn't listen.
I went to pick him up but he was all covered in poop. I bagged him with a towel and dropped him right into the tub.
I could hear my mom coming. I tried squishing him back in the water.
"I told you this was a bad idea! I knew we were going to get caught. One of these days Lois, you are going to have to start listening to me!!!"
I looked right for a little assistance, and there she was sound asleep.
"She's a lot of help now isn't she? Do the right thing Lois before you drown that poor little kitty.
My mom walked into the bathroom and there I sat with a soaking wet poop covered kitty.
"Oh my goodness! Lois! Where did you get this? Why do you have it in here? We can't have pets! You better answer me this instant young lady!"
"Juan gave him to me. And he was dirty so I was giving him a bath."
"Kitties don't take baths Lois! You could have killed him."
She got this look on her face. I could tell I was in big trouble.
"Lois, why did Juan give you this kitty?"
"Because I am nice?" I smiled at that woman but she didn't seem to notice.
"Tell me the truth right now or I am going to spank you!"
"I traded Juan fair-and-square."
"Traded? What did you give him?"
"A pack of Twinkies."
My mom walked out of the bathroom and took El Twinkie with her. I was very sad. I knew that she was going to do one of her meanest mom in the whole wide world acts, I just didn't know what.
Early the next morning, I found El Twinkie sleeping in my bed. We became quick friends. It was obvious to me that he loved me and I loved him too. I wondered why my mother had to ruin such a beautiful thing.
Nobody at Juan's house seemed to notice the kitten had a sleepover and if they didn't even miss him, then I thought they didn't really want him. Boy was I wrong.
That Juan kid was a tough nut to crack. All night he was questioned of the kitten's whereabouts but like a real friend, he didn't tell on me. When my mother knocked on their door, with me hiding behind her, the cat was out of the bag, literally.
The guilt I had about trapping that poor little kitten in a suitcase for an entire day bothered me for a while. That is until... another perfect crime came my way.
* (I'll be loaded down with good wholesome fun tomorrow. No! Not confession! If this wasn't enough, checkout my archives, read the comments sections after each post and see what others had to say. And don't forget to visit the blogs that are linked on my right sidebar. I'll see you all Monday.)