When I was a kid. the neighborhood in which I spent most of my childhood was filled with kids my own age or close to it. All of us kids played together after school, and spent our summers catching fireflies (shiny!) and rolly-poly bugs, riding our bikes in the streets, and playing in the nearby creek (which has since been filled in – fucking developers!). We climbed trees, made mud pies, made leaf forts in the fall, made sheet forts using tables and chairs (you know what I’m talking about, I know you do) when it was raining outside, and swung on tire swings that made us believe we could fly.
My next door neighbors went to the same church as my family, and their daughters and I went to summer camp together. Their youngest daughter, lets’s call her Lulu, was my homegirl at that time in my life. We were besties, so when one of us was “attacked” by the other kids, the other would come in swinging. It was a great time to be alive, and it pains me how much I miss it when I think back on how easy life was.
Speaking of pain, let’s talk about Lulu. She turned into Frankenstein one night and I was forever scarred. So was she.
Since we lived next door, sometimes we’d meet at the chain link fence to share barbie dolls or candy or make fun of my brother (still easy) or whatever. One evening, just as the sun set, I was walking from my back door to meet Lulu at the fence with a pez dispenser, when I noticed the rather large, dark gash on her forehead. I froze for a second, my eyes rounding into saucers. I thought, What the hell happened to Lulu? She looks like a monster! I’m not sharing my pez with no goddamn Bride of Frankenstein! Except, of course, I didn’t say “goddamn” in my head because my mother’s god would have sent me to burn in the eternal flames of hell if I had.
I started backing away slowly, so as not to alarm Lulu, the creepy creature of the night. She cocked her head and was looking at me all funny… like she was hungry for brains. I had brains (still do – mostly), so I froze again. I knew Frankenstein couldn’t fly, but what if she was something else? Could she fly? Did she have superspeed? What if all she needed was to use her mind control powers to fling a hammer at me to get to those tasty noodles in my skull? There was a hammer laying on one of my dad’s work tables in the back yard. I glanced furtively at it, and that’s when Lulu made her move. She held out her hands and opened her mouth! I was terrified! I had to get away from her before she unhinged her jaws and swallowed my head whole! Aaagh!
My mom must’ve been watching from the kitchen because she chose that moment to come out and
save me ask me what was wrong. “Looks like Lulu wants to share her candy with you. Why don’t you share some of your pez with her?”
All I heard was, “Blah blah blah, Lulu wants to gnaw on your innards.”
I screamed bloody murder. I pointed accusingly at Lulu and said, “Lulu turned into Frankenstein! She can’t have my noodles!”
Lulu’s mouth opened wider in shock, which I mistook for her jaw unhinging in preparation for the “me” feast. I ran inside shrieking, my mom following me with an apologetic my-kid-watches-too-much-tv look on her face for anyone who might have been watching. I ran to my room and hid under the covers for at least 10 minutes.
I found out later that Lulu had fallen down some stairs and gashed her forehead and had to have stitches. I also found out that she picked out the stitches that night after I called her a monster, and would forever have a scar (like Harry Potter, so it’s okay, right?!) on her forehead.
Lulu never shared her candy with me again. Bitch.