The IndieInk Writing Challenge has thrown down the gauntlet once again. I am challenging Ixy with "Hell, it could be my fault" and I am being challenged by some plaid pants about "Silence in black and white".
I'm not ready to write my challenge yet, but my challenge to Ixy started my own juices flowing, so I wrote the following. I guess call it the PreGame Show to this week's challenge.
"Neither one of you is doing anything until I know who left those chips there," Mom said firmly. Her voice had that edge, that I'm-really-not-one-bit-kidding tone that made me feel a little queasy. I didn't do it. I knew I didn't do it. I don't even like those chips, the cheesy ones with the intense crispness and the biting cheddar. The plain ones were fine, super crunchy and jagged but with just the corn and salt taste. But there they were, a paper plate half full of cheddar ones with a gross looking grease stain off to one side of the plate.
I knew who did it. It wasn't Mom, and it wasn't the cat. It had to be Emily. She was my best friend, my constant companion, my only ally. There were still things that drove me crazy about her, though. She was taller than me, even though I was older, so she constantly got called the big sister, even though she wasn't. She didn't seem to care, would follow anyone anywhere, do any foolish thing because it seemed like fun. I hated that about her, the way I had to constantly be on the lookout. She had to know she did it. Why didn't she just say it so we could get our TV back?
I thought about saying it, just accusing her, straight out, "Emily HAD to do it. It wasn't me. I never eat those." But I knew how that went, "No I didn't!", "Yes you did!", until Daddy yelled, and everyone felt sad. I didn't want to go there, but I really wanted to watch TV. I thought about just saying I did, which was a lie, but might get us out of this circle faster. I didn't want to lie, but if it would work, maybe that was the best way.
I looked at Emily. I loved her. No one made me laugh like she did. No one understood me, what I was scared of, what I hated, like she did. She was literally the only person who knew what it was like to be me, because she had the same mommy and daddy. But she drove me crazy, too. She was sitting there, wearing a light purple shirt with these funny edges, all wavy and crinkled like the bottom of curtains. It looked like her arms were coming out of the edge of a cake. She looked through her glasses back at me. "Just say it," I told her in my head, "just say you did it, and this will be over." It drove me nuts, the way she just let the unfair punishment stand like this, when she could solve it so easy. I tried to push the thought at her, thinking it as hard as I could. "Say it, Emily. SAY IT!"
"Well, I didn't do it," Emily began. I knew that voice. She was trying to convince us of something, and so she was sounding extra persuasive, talking slow and saying each word carefully.
That's not true, my brain screamed at her. You did SO do it.
"But I'll clean it up. Is that OK, Mommy?" I felt a bolt of anger. That means she's covering for ME. And that's not right, because I didn't DO it! I hate those cheesy chips! My stomach flipped again. I wanted to yell, "That's not true!". I knew what would happen if I did, but the words came to my lips. I was just about to say them, then I swallowed them back, feeling like I had to force them down into my stomach, which lurched unhappily.
We both looked at Mommy, who looked down at us unhappily. She looked tired. All the moms I see look tired, I thought. Why are parents always so tired?
"Fine," she said to Emily uneasily. She looked a little mad, but she didn't say anything else.
Emily got up, unfolding her long legs like a spider, and picked up the plate and marched off into the kitchen. I looked at Mommy, who was watching Emily throw the plate away. I wanted to ask, but I was a little bit afraid to. It was so unfair- it looked like I did it now, when I didn't. I wanted to say that, but I didn't say anything.
"You can go outside now," Mommy said happily. I was up and at the front door like someone making a jailbreak, feeling Emily on my heels before I could see her.