Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Oh Brother, Where Art We?

To continue with the last post's theme of bathroom humor, I thought I'd share the story of how my brother and I became prisoners in our own home. William, whom I meant to call something else for anonymity purposes, is also mentally challenged like his family. I've never seen him cook something that didn't come ready made in a styrofoam cup, nor do I have any proof that he knows how to spell. I also remember his first solo attempt at stairs, which involved him hurling his toddler body over the first step. He learned the hard way that legs won't just figure it out on the way down. What a dumb baby, right? Fortunately for him, he can lie like a sociopath and has the largest, brownest, puppy-bear eyes ever seen in a human skull.

His ability to trick adults is rivaled only by his ability to inspire sympathy when he's been caught. There were several occasions in our childhood where I was the only one who knew he was lying. Everyone else was hypnotized by his giant, adorable head.

Do you see what the fuck I was dealing with?
Each time he got away with something (which happened weekly) I had my parents and grandparents before me, begging them to listen to reason. He's evil! He's BRILLIANT! I screamed, like that poor lady who got shot in Basic Instinct. William was Sharon Stone's character and I was the brunette with the Simpsons key-chain that Michael Douglas mistook for a gun. As it was for the dead brunette, my wailing was often for naught.

Even when he did get caught, punishment was another hurdle in the road. One day, Will was grounded for biting the head off a baby bird, or something and my dad told him he couldn't play video games for a week. I was elated--finally, he was paying for his wily behavior. The sun hadn't set before my dad left home and returned with a new X-box and a bright red bicycle for him. Victory was sweet, but it was oh so brief. Parts of my jaw are still on the ground in the driveway where words had failed.

"Wh-what is this?" I asked, realizing I was the last sane person on Earth.

"I felt bad," Dad responded, clearly forgetting the beheaded bird, or blazing cornfield, or whatever Will had destroyed. "Where's your brother?"

I paused and realized I didn't know. He could smell a game console from across state lines, so the fact that he wasn't holding the xbox in his arms like his own child was unusual. Soon enough, we learned Will had absconded through his bedroom window. This should not have come as a surprise to us, since he has never cooperated with any form of house arrest. I have a distinct memory of my dad holding him at arms length in a time-out corner while he thrashed and snapped, his face white with rage. I think his eyes literally turned black until he was released.

Will, age 13, hangs from the ceiling with a live bird in his mouth.
Will calmed down with the passing years. The violent streak was healthily channeled into video games, and his penchant for disappearing yielded no more than worried phone calls. Eventually, he even started to notify us before running off into the night like a wolf-child. Progress is relative. We were even able to withstand each other's company for spurts of time, which leads us back to our main narrative.

One Summer afternoon, I was enjoying a nap, or started to, at least. Since Will and I were at a point where we tolerated each other, we had reign of our mother's house while she and Dad were at work.* I was melting into the couch, dreaming about Oprah when I heard a faint wailing.

"aaaam!" The voice peeled.

I stuffed my face into the couch cushion and tried to ignore it. Seconds later, it grew louder and I heard a thumping noise come from upstairs.

Thump thump thump..."-aaaaam!" It said.

I huffed and rolled over, and managed to yell WHAAT, back up to the voice, which I now recognized as Will's.

"aahhhm-UHK!" He shouted back. I thought perhaps he suddenly forgot how to speak and was making random noises and trying to bang out some secret code through the floor. Speaking of which, why was he shouting through the floor? Had he also developed a delayed phobia of stairs due to the aforementioned trauma?

"aaaAaAaAAM!" He continued.

"FUCK. OKAY." I roared, pissed my Oprah dream would not be continued. I marched up the stairs and at the top step, I realized at once what happened. The bathroom door shook as Will banged and screamed, "I'M STUCK. I LOCKED MYSELF IN!" Had I not just been woken up, I would have loved this delicious moment with every molecule of my body. I was groggy though, and decided to help.

"What do you mean you're stuck?" I asked.

"The door." He said, "It's locked."

"Oh jesus, Will," I started for the handle. "How have you not figured this out yet?" You have to turn it a certain way." I opened the door and saw my little brother standing by the toilet, red cheeked, hair a-toussled.

"Yes, I know how it works, but-" he began.

"Look, I'll fucking show you how to do it."

"No.. No DON'T CLOSE THE-" But I had closed it. Will's mouth hung open, and his eyes widened to the size of dinner plates.

"Watch," I instructed. "You just have to hold the lock still, turn the handle clock-wise and... huh." It didn't work. "Maybe you have to turn it the other way..." Nope. I jiggled the handle some more but it was clear that the door was not going to open from the inside. Our mother's house is about 200 years old, and for a while, this particular door handle must have been jinxed because while at first it worked fine, it became more and more complicated with each passing year. On this particular day, the riddle of how to enter and exit our own bathroom became a touch more complicated. Apparently.

My confusion quickly turned to rage, and out of nowhere I turned and punched Will in the arm.

"OH GOD, why??" He screamed and melted to the floor.

"I don't know!" I yelled back, "I'm scared! We're trapped!"


"All right enough with the name calling. I'm sorry, okay? Someone will get here soon and let us out, right?"

"When, Sam? It's noon."

At that moment I remembered that both our parents weren't due to come home for the next 4 hours. Dad got out of class early, but he taught in Massachusetts, an hour away from our mother's house.

"Oh god," I thought.

The next hour transpired all right enough. Once we had calmed down we were able to laugh at how moronic we were. We tried yelling out to anyone who might hear, but the fine people of William Street were all at work. By hour two, nature started to fuck with us.

"Sam," Will said. "I have to poop."

"Absou-fucking-loutely not you don't." I sat on the closed toilet seat and planted my feet on the linoleum.

"I'm serious, I've been fighting it for so long that I'm afraid to fart."

"What the fuck were you doing up here before?"

"I had chili!"

"Oh god, okay, you can fart out the window." The bathroom window had a screen that we could have popped out and escaped through, if it didn't mean falling 24 feet to our deaths. It did, however, act as a great vent... like it's supposed to, I guess. As I moved to position Will's ass onto the screen, I saw an older woman walk by on the sidewalk below. As I lurched forward to scream out to her, Will farted on the side of my face, burning off 60% of my sideburns and right eyebrow.

"BUAHHHH!" I yelled, blind, deaf, and probably cancer stricken. Through my swelling eye lids, I saw the woman wave happily and walk on her merry way.

"I hope she dies," I said, hoping that I myself was not about to vomit.

Another hour passed and the phone rang about 20 times. "People are going to think we're dead," I said to Will, who was lying down in the bathtub.

"Yep." He pulled back the shower curtain and said, "Sorry for farting on your head."

"It's okay. When we get out of here I'll draw my hair back on with a marker. Do you still have to poop?"

"Nah, I think I swallowed it." I like to believe that this is how the idea for The Human Centipede was hatched.

"That's horrible. Also, hooray."

I found a spot on the floor that was warm due to its proximity to a pipe in the wall, and decided to take a second stab at my nap. Will fell asleep within minutes in the tub, but I struggled to get comfortable. I waited for his breath to steady into its deep sleep rhythm and took the opportunity to braid his hair while he was unconscious. His dirty blonde locks were too short to put into a full fish-tail, but with enough hair ties, I managed to give him a spherical series of stiff pony-tails, kind of like this:

This was more or less his expression when he found a mirror.
After the phone's 234th ring, I heard a car pull up in front of our house. The front bumper parked just so that I could make out the model and make and deduced it was Dad's Honda Civic.

"OH THANK GOD," I bellowed.

"Huh? Hm??" Will said, rising from the bathtub looking like a psych ward escapee.

"Dad's here!!"

"Oh, jesus, thank... what the hell's on my head?"


Dad came around the side of the house squinting up at me as if a giant bird were trying to speak to him.

"Boys? You're inside?"


"Oh for Christ's sake," He sighed. "I'm coming up."

Dad saved us, and we all felt ashamed and disappointed on many levels. Then he gave Will $800 and a round-trip ticket to Cancun.

Beautiful William/Spawn of Belial

*Parents are happily divorced and remain friends. Shout out to Mom and Dad breaking up right.

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