I've blogged before about my very slightly competitive nature. As long as I've gone that far, I may as well reveal another character flaw--um, I mean charming personality quirk.
I can, at times, become a tad...retaliatory.
Okay, maybe more than a tad. If you mess with me or mine, you best be prepared to be messed with right back. And, most likely, worse.
(Honest to goodness people. I really am NICE. It's just that when I turn the other cheek, it tends to morph into the windup for a roundhouse punch to the side of the head. I blame it on instinct.)
Maybe it has something to do with being raised with brothers. Brothers tend to promote a survival-of-the-fittest atmosphere, especially the ones who are close to you in age and a bit competitive themselves.
As was my middle brother, two years my senior. Let's call him...Dicky. Not because it's his name, but because it will really annoy him if he ever reads this. (Apologies to any real Dickys out there. But, honestly? You might want to reconsider what you answer to.)
Once upon a time, when I was in the fifth* grade, the parents made an ill-thought-out decision to leave me and my middle bro at home without a babysitter while they shared an evening of adult conversation with friends. (My oldest brother, who was usually in charge in these situations, had an astronomy club meeting, or some such. Baby bro was left with someone the 'rents actually trusted.)
In honor of the parent-less stretch ahead of me, I decided to make dessert for myself. (This was before I was aware kitchens and I do not have an amiable relationship.) Heavily influenced by a TV commercial, I opted to make Whip 'n Chill, and to top it off with whipped cream. I got out the mixer, painstakingly followed all the directions, and layered it into parfait glasses.
Just like on TV.
I even put a strawberry on top. And since there was some Whip 'n Chill left in the bowl, I selflessly prepared a second parfait for Dicky. Sure, his glass wasn't quite as full as mine, nor was his strawberry as large, but hey, them's the breaks. I figured since I did all the work, I deserved the bigger dessert. It was only fair.
Dicky, of course, begged to differ. He was the big brother and had a bigger appetite, so he thought he should have the bigger portion.
"No way, buster," I said (sweetly). "You get the little one, take it or leave it."
"Fine," he snarled. "I didn't want the big one anyway." And then he pushed my strawberry all the way down to the bottom of my parfait glass.
I know! He ruined the whole aesthetic!
So I took the strawberry off his and fed it to the dog.
Whereupon he scooped a fingerful of whipped cream off mine and dabbed it onto my nose.
After which I, full of righteous fury, grabbed a handful of his imitation chocolate mousse-like dessert, and aimed for his face. Only by then he'd taken off running. I gave chase. Not easy, when you consider I was dragging a lead-heavy walking cast, but I managed a direct hit right between his shoulder blades.
He made it back to the fridge, snatched my parfait, and came after me, loaded for bear. From there on it was all out Whip -n Chill war. Before we were done, we were both laughing like idiots and covered head to foot with brown and white goo.
And, um, so were the walls. And the kitchen appliances. And the floor.
It hit us at the same time: we were in so much trouble!
Struck with a new-found sense of teamwork, we stopped fighting and started cleaning. Went through two rolls of paper towels and bottle of Windex, and did what we thought was a pretty thorough job.
Dicky jumped in the shower with our clothes, and washed them with shampoo. (The washer was full of a load Mom had started before she left, and we knew she'd be highly suspicious if it wasn't there when she got back, we not being the sort to pitch in with the laundry if not specifically nagged about it.) I had to make do with washing myself at the sink, since a shower, for me, was a big production, what with the cast and all. We hung out in our robes while our clothes dried, cleaning up stray spatters while we got our stories straight.
Mom and Dad never suspected what really happened. When Mom found flecks of dried Whip 'n Chill on the toaster (oops, missed a spot), Dicky helpfully volunteered that I wasn't very good with the blender and had probably made a mess while making dessert. I shot him a dirty look, but couldn't very well argue.
What I could, and did, do was make him dessert again a few days later. Chocolate pudding. Laced with Ex-Lax**.
*I know it was the fifth grade, because I had a cast on my foot, which I had broken playing a combination of two-square and dodgeball with my friend across the street. There *cough* may have been a touch of competitiveness going on.
** A chocolate-flavored laxative. It blends very nicely with brownies, too. Don't ask me how I know this.