A Babysitter Memory

I am presently participating in a writing class offered through the Literary Kitchen and one of my writing mentors, Ariel Gore. Among our assignments each week is a ‘Quick Write’ exercise, which is to be completed in ten minutes or less, in response to a prompt. For this week’s QW, the prompt was ‘Allow an image or memory to come to mind while considering the word ‘babysitter.’ Write about it.’ Here’s my QW#2 entry:

Greg Seidel was going to spend the night at my house. The coolest kid in the fifth grade—the first kid picked in pick-up games, the fastest, most agile athlete on every team, the first boy fifth grade girls noticed—was spending the night at my house! That would easily make me the second coolest kid in the fifth grade.

Tragedy! My parents announced they were going out for the evening and having a friend over wouldn’t work. I begged. I pleaded. I bargained—I’d do more than my share of chores. Big sister Diann stepped in to save my life. She offered that she could babysit both Greg and me.

We were having fun. But it turned south, fast. Diann told us we needed to quiet down. Greg sarcastically mocked her. She scolded us. He talked back. The tension mounted, and I began to get nervous. I knew my sister. Before I could warn him, the two were locked in a fiery exchange.

“Listen you little punk!” she demanded. “I’m bigger than you. I’m badder than you. I’m meaner than you. And I’m a helluva lot madder than you. You’d better shut your mouth!”

Greg crossed the line. He mimicked, “I’m biiiiiger, I’m baaaaader, I’m meeeeeener …” Greg’s life flashed before my eyes. Diann formed a perfect fist. It was like one of those slow motion scenes from the movie Rocky—you know, where the punch lands, and spit and blood go flying from flapping jowls. The coolest kid in the fifth grade was ass-end over tea-kettle across my living room, his lip swelled to the size of a kielbasa before he even hit the ground. The coolest kid, reduced to a puddle of blood and tears by my sister.

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