Thursday, February 22, 2018

It came from gerbils


FADE IN:

The scene opens on a bedroom. There is green carpeting. Each wall has a piece of furniture: bunk beds, a dresser with a mirror, and a dresser without a mirror. An animal cage is over by the window, and in the cage are a few gerbils.

The camera moves closer to a little boy getting into the bottom bunk. He wears pajamas that have red bottoms and a shirt with baseball paraphernalia. The little boy, when he is older, will hate baseball, and dislike most sports. He lays down down in bed and falls right to sleep, something he will never grow out of. His ability to fall asleep is the envy of most adult people.

CUT TO:
The boy's older brother quietly walks in, and then looks at the camera.

OLDER BROTHER
I believe I shall do something despicable to my little brother.

He tiptoes around the room, looking for his weapon of choice.

OLDER BROTHER
(Rubbing his hands together)
What shall I do? What shall I use?

He walks over to the gerbil cage, he lifts up the lid and turns around to face the camera. A glimmer of evil flashes in his eyes.

OLDER BROTHER
I found exactly what I'm looking for.

The older brother picks a few things out of the cage and then walks quietly over to the sleeping little brother. He lifts the lips of the sleeping brother, and places something in his mouth. It takes the little brother some time before he realizes something was just done to him. He stirs and wakes up, spitting out what was just placed in his lips.

LITTLE BROTHER
What did you just do to me?
(Spits into his hands)
What are these?

CUT TO:
Close-up shot of small brown nuggets in the palm of little brother's hands.

Older brother laughs maniacally.

OLDER BROTHER
Just gerbil turds.

LITTLE BROTHER
(Screams)
Mom!
CUT TO:
Mom comes into the bedroom to see little brother crying and older brother standing there looking annoyed.

MOM
What did you do?

OLDER BROTHER
Why do you think I did something?

LITTLE BROTHER
(Shows hand to mom)
He put gerbil turds in my mouth while I was asleep.

FADE OUT:

This actually happened, and while it has been 25 years or more, I still recall the sensation in my mouth. They were smaller than Tic Tacs, but just as hard. I felt something slip into my lips, and while I may not have been completely awake, I don't believe I was totally asleep either.

Spitting those things out was wretched.

To wake up and realize I had a rodent's turds stuffed in my mouth -- as a parent, how do you punish that?

I know: Force him to eat it on a cracker. Take a nice smear of pub cheese, sprinkle a few on top, plate it nicely, and have him stick a napkin in his shirt.

Bon appetit.

As a little brother, I'm not sure how I felt safe to fall asleep ever again. What was going to be shoved in my mouth next? A miniature poodle turd?

(We had miniature poodles.)

I was telling this story to a friend who is the big brother in his family. He admitted to being mean, but he laughed and said he was never that mean.

That mean?

Regardless of how my parents punished my brother, nothing was ever placed in my mouth again while I lay in bed.

I'm not saying other horrible things didn't happen to me as a little brother, but turds were not inserted between my lip and gum like a small pack of chew.