Copyright© 2020 by Lazlo Zalezac
Lily was stretched out on the floor supporting her chin with her hands and watching a carton. Hearing him enter the room she turned to look at him. Smiling, she asked, “Are you going to watch cartoons with me?”
“Yes,” Sean said taking a seat on the couch.
Lily got off the floor and jumped on the couch. She pointed to the television and said, “You’ll love this. The cat is going try to hit the mouse with that frying pan.”
“Really?” Sean asked knowing that he was going to get a running commentary of every action a minute before it happened.
“That’s right. The mouse is going move the cat’s tail to where the frying pan is going to hit,” Lily said.
“That’s going to be so funny,” Sean said smiling at his little sister. Other kids might complain about their younger siblings, but he enjoyed his little sister. He didn’t necessarily enjoy the cartoons, but the time spent with his sister was always fun.
“It is so much fun watching television with you,” Lily said looking up at her big brother. She adored her big brother. He was the greatest big brother that any girl could want except for in the morning. Then he was just a big grump.
“It is fun watching television with you, Lily,” Sean said rubbing her on the head.
Looking in the direction of the kitchen, Lily asked, “Is Mommy upset with you?”
“Yes, she is,” Sean said.
“Why?” Lily asked, “Did you put too much toilet paper in the toilet?”
“No,” Sean said.
“Mommy got so upset with me when I did that,” Lily said. She had been paddled on the bottom and sent to her room.
“I remember,” Sean said recalling when Lily had done that last year. The water had flooded the whole floor. It had been made worse when Lily kept flushing the toilet thinking that it would make the water go down.
“So what did you do?” Lily asked.
“I may have gotten into a fight with Max,” Sean said. He looked down at the rock in his hand and ordered it to spin once. When it did, he had to admit that the events that morning had probably happened just as he remembered them.
“I hope that you beat him up real good,” Lily said, but she didn’t think that was possible. Max was a really big man and she had seen Max hurting her brother in the past.
“Fighting is never good. According to Mom, he’s in pretty sad shape,” Sean said. He wondered how Max was feeling and wondered if he should go over there to find out. Almost as soon as the thought came to him, he dismissed it.
“He scares me sometimes,” Lily said with a shiver. She was afraid that Max was going to hurt her big brother sometime.
“Tell me if he ever touches you, okay?” Sean said getting serious.
Lily said, “He’s big and mean.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from him,” Sean said. He remembered why he had charged at Max that morning. Just the idea of Max doing something like that to any girl had made his blood boil. He was pretty sure that he’d kill Max if the guy ever touched his sister. He looked at the rock in his hand and thought about what he could do now.
Lily looked at the television and said, “The mouse is going to paint the cat’s tail so that it looks like a mouse. The cat is going to eat itself.”
Sean hugged his sister and said, “That will be funny.”
Their mother stuck her head in the room and said, “Rub a dub dub, time to eat the grub.”
“Scarf scarf scarf, barf barf barf,” Sean replied.
Lily giggled and said, “That was a good one.”
“In the kitchen, kids,” their mother said.
Rising from the couch, Sean went over to the video player and turned it off. He said, “Let’s get to it.”
“Okay,” Lily said getting off the couch.
Walking to the kitchen with his sister, Sean asked, “What do you think we’re having for lunch?”
“Soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk,” Lilly said skipping happily at the idea of having her favorite lunch.
“You’re probably right,” Sean said. Just because his mother had sent him to the store for soup didn’t mean they were going to actually have soup. When they entered the kitchen, he saw that she had been right.
Taking a seat at the table, Sean reached for his soup spoon. It met his hand about halfway surprising him. He hadn’t consciously called the spoon to his hand. He looked around the table, but no one had noticed the unusual behavior of his silverware. He hunkered over the soup eating it.
He ate his lunch wondering if he was supposed to keep his magic abilities a secret. He thought about secret government agencies coming in the middle of the night to carry him away. With his active imagination he could see organized crime families wanting to exploit his abilities in pursuing their criminal activities. Images of witches getting burned at the stake came to mind. By the time he had finished his lunch he was halfway convinced that rather than being gifted he had been cursed.
Watching him sit back in his seat upon finishing his sandwich, his mother was worried about him. It seemed that he was just a little out of it the whole day. Normally he made smart-ass comments about everything. She wondered just much the fight that morning had affected him. Trying to get him to talk about it, she said, “You’re quiet today.”
“I guess,” Sean said shrugging his shoulders.
“Tell me about what happened this morning,” his mother said.
“I told you about the dream I had,” Sean said deciding that sticking to his original story about the events was the best policy.
“Do you really believe it was a dream?” his mother asked.
“I guess,” Sean answered thinking that she would never believe the truth. He had experienced it and still didn’t quite believe it.
Giving up, she said, “Go and mow the lawn.”
“Yes, Mom,” Sean said rising from the table.
She looked at his clothes and asked, “Aren’t you going to change into something a little more suitable?”
Sean looked down at his clothes. Looking embarrassed, he said, “I keep forgetting about that.”
“You’re a strange boy,” his mother said watching him leave the kitchen. Sweat pants, plaid shirt, and flip-flops. She wasn’t sure what kind of fashion statement that was, but it was definitely not normal.
Lily said, “I don’t think he’s strange.”
“That’s because you are used to him.”
“Oh,” Lily said.
“After he’s done mowing the lawn, you can play in the backyard.”
“I’d rather watch cartoons,” Lily said with a frown.
“I’d rather be a fashion model in Paris vacationing in San Tropez, but I’m not,” her mother said mispronouncing Tropez. She pronounced the z because she liked mispronouncing foreign words.
“Huh?” Lily said. She didn’t understand half of the things her mother told her.
“Never mind,” her mother said. Pointing towards the bedroom, she said, “Get into some clothes appropriate for playing outside.”
“Yes, Mom,” Lily said. She stopped and asked, “Where is Sand Troops?”
“What?” her mother asked.
“You said you wanted to vacation in Sand Troops.”
“It is somewhere in France,” her mother said, “Now change your clothes.”
“I’d rather be in Sand Troops,” Lily said heading off to her bedroom.
“Put on a bathing suit and we’ll pretend to be in San Tropez,” her mother said.
“How can I pretend to be in Sand Troops when I don’t know where it is?” Lily asked.
“Just put on your swimsuit and I’ll explain it,” her mother said. She muttered, “Kids these days just don’t know how to play anymore.”
Sean changed into a pair of blue jeans and a clean t-shirt. It appeared that his mother had refilled his drawer with clean shirts. He dug out a pair of socks and put on his shoes. Now he was dressed like a normal teenager.
Sean went out and mowed the lawn. One of the problems with living in the country was that the lawn was very large. Fortunately, he had a riding lawnmower, but it still took almost an hour to do the whole yard. While he steered the mower around the yard, he discovered some limitations to his magic ability. He couldn’t move large sticks that weighed more than a couple ounces. It was actually pretty useless when it came to mowing.
After putting up the mower, he walked around to the backyard. His mother was stretched out on a lounge chair drinking a coke. She was wearing her bathing suit and dark sun glasses. His sister was similarly attired and occupied with a glass of coke as well. Stopping in front of them, he asked, “What’s up?”
Lily answered, “We’re fashion models vacationing in Sand Troops.”
It took Sean a few seconds to figure out what she meant. He said, “You’re lucky you aren’t in San Tropez. They require women to sunbath topless.”
“Mommy! Sean is a pervert,” Lily shouted.
“You’re right, Lily. There are a lot of perverts in Sand Troops,” his mother said.
“What are you drinking?” Sean asked.
“Mind Ties,” Lily answered.
“Mind Ties?” Sean asked trying to figure out that one. He gave up and said, “Don’t drink too many of them. You’d hate to end up with your mind tied to some bad idea.”
Lily looked at her mother and asked, “That won’t happen, will it?”
“Look at your brother. His mind is tied to all kinds of bad ideas,” her mother answered.
Lily looked at the soft drink and said, “I don’t think I want to drink any more of these.”
“Those are pretend Mind Ties,” Sean said.
Worried, Lily looked at the soft drink and asked, “Really?”
“Really,” Sean answered.
“Okay,” Lily said.
Sean shook his head and wondered how she was going to survive to adulthood. He said, “I’ll leave you to your sun bathing at Sand Troops while drinking pretend Mind Ties.”
“Where do you think you are going?” his mother asked.
“I was going to go play in the woods,” Sean answered.
His mother said, “Aren’t you forgetting that you’re grounded?”
“If I remember correctly, I have to sleep in late in the morning,” Sean answered trying to look contrite and as if that was the most horrible punishment he could imagine.
“You remember incorrectly,” his mother said.
His mother said, “We’re out of soft drinks. Go to the store and get some.”
“Okay,” Sean said. It was normal for his mother to send him to the store a dozen or more times a day. He was convinced that it was a secret program to make sure that he got some exercise. He sighed and said, “I need some money.”
“It’s on the counter,” his mother replied. She preened and whispered to Lily, “It is so hard to be one of the beautiful people. Everyone stares at you in envy.”
“I know,” Lily said acting like she was fanning herself.
“Oh brother,” Sean said heading into the house. He stepped in the house and spotted the money on the counter. Holding his hand out, he commanded the money to come to him. It flew across the room and landed in his hand. Smiling, he said, “That could be useful.”
He turned and headed towards the woods. He walked along until he got to the part of the path that split off to Max Baxter’s house. He stood there remembering how many times Max had jumped out from that section of the path to rough him up. It wasn’t that Max beat him bloody, although that happened on occasion. Usually, Max would stuff Sean’s head under his armpit and scrub his head with his knuckles or give him wedgies.
Using his new magic powers, he gathered together a small pile of stones at the base of a tree. He noticed that using magic was getting easier with practice. Smiling at the result, he said, “Let’s see Max bully me now.”
He headed to the store. Once there, he headed over to the cooler to get a six pack of soft drinks. He picked up an extra one to drink on the walk back. Going over to the counter, he set the drinks down. The clerk looked at the drinks and said, “I take it you’re here for a six pack.”
“So you get seven,” Sam said.
“One, two, three, three, four, five, six. That’s six,” Sean said.
The clerk rang up the sale and took the money. Handing the change back to Sean, he asked, “Do you want a bag?”
“Of course,” Sean said.