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Dream

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“Wolfgang! Could you do me a favor?”

Wolf groaned as he finished cleaning the last dish. His father had already asked him to do a few favors today—“pluck the weeds from the front lawn,” then, “help your brother with his homework. I don’t care if you haven’t started your own yet!” and right now he was working on “Wolf, clean the dishes. The cook isn’t feeling well. You can do your homework in the morning.” What else could he want from me?

“I need you to tidy up Trampington’s room.”

“Why can’t he clean his own room?”

“Because he’s away at college becoming a genius while you spend your days gazing into the unknown! Look, your brother’s going to be here soon, and he doesn’t deserve to live in a pig sty! Go clean now!”

Wolf didn’t see the sense in arguing, and stomped upstairs to the unoccupied room belonging to Tramp. He began to pick dirty clothes off the floor and threw them into a hamper.

Pull weeds, even though your allergies are acting up. Help you brother with his science homework, even though that’s the only class you fail in. Wash the dishes even though the fully paid cook is feeling just fine and you haven’t started your homework. Clean your brother’s room even though your own room is a garbage dump and the only reason you haven’t been able to clean it is because I’ve been asking you to do tedious work for the last two months! I am shown absolutely no respect in this house!

Wolf kicked the hamper over and ripped the sheets off of the bed. “Whoa, tiger! Don’t shred stuff like that, or we’ll have you declawed!” Wolf’s twin sister Bane teased him from a safe distance (in the doorway) as she watched him wreck havoc on the furniture. “You should, like, go to bed, before you totally break something. I’ll finish here.”

Wolf escaped the angry mess and entered his safe haven. His canine companions Luxor and Cleo (who had found themselves highly comfortable on his mattress) directed their ears, eyes, and noses toward their owner as he approached the bed.

“You guys know it’s not ethical for my Dad to dictate me like that without using common sense? Actually, none of my life lately has been ethical, the way people have been bossing me around!” He suddenly realized that he had been punching a pillow, and fluffed the object back into its original shape. “If only I could be alone, with no one forcing me to do stuff! Just me and mother nature…”

He drifted off to sleep.

It wasn’t long until Wolf heard the hooting of owls and the music of crickets. Am I awake or am I asleep? He opened his eyes. A beautiful panorama of willows, blackberry bushes, and a large pond full of fish filled his eyes. I’m dreaming. Aside from the willows and bushes, there were tall oaks and apple and orange trees. Owls and fruit bats flew overhead, while foxes drank from the pond and raccoons scampered across the ground. “It’s like a nocturnal wonderland! This is awesome; and so calming…” Wolf strolled across the park, watching the animals as they moved about. There were trees to climb and stones to skip, and no one to boss him around. That was the problem—there was no one to talk to. I’m not the lone wolf I thought I was. I can’t live like this; I’m always talking to someone! This isn’t such a good dream after all…

________________________________________


A few miles away, Penita wrapped her hair in a bun so as to not get it wet as she scrubbed the tile flooring in the kitchen.

“It must be spotless, okay? Spotless for your abuela.”

“Si, mamá.” Penita’s grandmother would be visiting from Mexico, which meant “look your best and be your best.” She watched her mother as she wiped the kitchen table. Penita squished a cockroach with her cleaning brush just before it reached the pantry. It was still twitching when she flung it into the garbage can. If I could get someone else to do the dirty work for me… Maybe one day I’ll borrow one of Wolf’s maids… His parents never give them any work to do anyway…”

“It’s late. Go to bed so that you won’t be late for school tomorrow.

Penita walked down the hallway, past her older brother (who was scrubbing walls) and her little sister’s room. She arrived to the bedroom at the end of the hall, where her collie, Marc, rested in a beanbag. “Move fleabag!” Marc’s eyes widened and her ears lay flat against her head as she crawled onto the floor. Penita sat herself on the beanbag, picked a book off the floor, and began to read. Cinderella; the original, Brother’s Grimm version. Classic entertainment… The book fell onto the wooden flooring as she drifted off to sleep.

Penita felt a warm breeze blow her hair away from her face. She opened her eyes to an open window overlooking a garden of roses. She then realized that she wore a silk green gown with a gold waistband and details. A golden wrap, pair of flats, and gold glitter in her hair complemented the outfit.

“Would you like more tea, Princess?” the maid-servant asked.

“Yes, and could you bring some fruit too?”

“Of course, Miss.” The maid-servant left the large, lace-filled, bedroom in search of fruit and tea.

“This is the dream I’ve been waiting for: the dream in which I have no responsibilities, whatsoever.” Penita gazed upon the pollinating bees and hummingbirds as she waited for the maid-servant to return with her tea and fruit.

“I’ve brought ice tea with grapes, oranges, strawberries, pineapple, and other food that I hope is to your pleasing.”

The plate was adorned with many different snack foods, arranged in a pile one and one-half feet tall. While mindlessly munching on grapes, Penita noticed that one of the rose bushes was hopelessly dying, as its leaves were shriveled on the ground.

“I believe I’ll clean that up—“

“No need for you to deal with that burden, Princess. I’ll have it removed immediately. Sarah!” Another servant appeared, and after conversing with the one whom called for her, Sarah headed towards the garden. Penita caught sight of a sock on the floor.

“Maybe I’ll just tidy my room…”

“You shall not be required to be on your hands and knees, Miss!” The maid-servant lifted the sock off of the floor and tossed it into a hamper. “Anything else, Miss?”

“No, I’m finished with you for today.”

“As you wish, Princess.” The servant left the room, and Penita watched Sarah as she attempted to uproot the dying rose bush. I just wanted a little bit of help…

________________________________________


About a block away, long before Penita fell asleep, Zack finished his dinner and hurried to his room. He found his brother sitting at his work desk.

“What are you doing on my computer?”

“Spring Cleaning.”

“It’s the middle of October.”

“So? I’m still cleaning.”

“What do you mean by cleaning?”

“I’m deleting all the stuff you don’t need.”

“Get off my computer.” Zack began to search through his files. “You deleted all of my pictures?!”

“Just the ones of your friends.”

“Why?”

“You see them every day—what do you need pictures of them for?”

“What do I need pictures for? WHAT DO I NEED PICTURES FOR? Get out of my room.”

“But—“

“Get out.”

“But, but—“

“NOW!”

This wasn’t the first time Zack had sent his brother Eddie away in tears, and it wouldn’t be the last. “Get to know them,” he said. “Julia would make a great mother and Eddie’s a good kid.” Yeah, Dad, Julia’s great, but I’d give her up if it meant losing Eddie. Zack checked the recycling bin on his computer. Empty.

“That kid doesn’t leave anything out…”

He could hear the 6-year-old crying himself to sleep in the next room. “That’s pathetic.” Zack sat on his couch trying to decide if he really would sacrifice Julia just to be free of Eddie. His eyelids closed as he fell into deep thought…

Zack’s eyes opened again. He was no longer in his own home, but sat atop the kitchen table of his cousin’s house.

“Zack, your father said he’ll come pick you up at eight.”

“Okay, Aunt Massey.”

So this would happen, if there were no longer a Julia and Eddie. I’d go back to living with my Aunt Masseyona while dad works three jobs. Totally worth it!

“Hey Wolf, is your dad making you do other people’s work again?” Zack asked his cousin as he entered the kitchen.

“That’s all he ever asks me to do. At least my dad has time to want something from me; it’s too bad for you.”

“Whatever.”

Zack had almost forgotten about his father never being home and he himself being raised by his aunts and older cousins. Things had become so much more enjoyable when his father had married Julia, and finally had time to spend with him. I could try to work things out with Eddie…

________________________________________


Not too long after Zack’s discovery, Vivian found herself in a somewhat similar predicament.

“Take them down.”

“But mummy! They are my inspiration! They raised the little voice inside my head that tells me what to do! They are what helped to create The Music Bible!”

“Take them down and throw them in the garbage. Dump you ‘Bible’ while you’re at it!”

Vivian’s mother slammed the door as she exited the room. “Ignore her guys,” Vivian said to the posters on the wall. “She doesn’t understand the value of music—which is really messed up because her best friend (Masseyona Zeopleo, the bilingual wonder) is a singing sensation!” She raised her hands over her head so as to emphasize on “sensation.” “Demi Lovato, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Kiss, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Taylor Swift, The Black-eyed Peas,” Vivian named her posters. “Does she not sense the magic?” She sadly ripped posters from the wall as she passed them, but instead of throwing them away like her mother had asked her to, she stuffed them under her bed. “You should be safe here. I’ve got to tell Bane about this mess.” Vivian grabbed her phone and angrily pressed the numbers on the screen.

“Sorry. I can’t, like, answer the phone right now, so could you, like, please leave a message? I promise to get back to you. Bye-bye!”

“Dang it! She’s probably asleep. I’ll have to leave her a text…” After rapidly sending Bane her thoughts, Vivian hid under the cover of the bed. “I just want to be singer. What’s so bad about that?” She turned her i-pod onto Fireflies, and the lullaby quickly put her to sleep.

“VIVIAN! VIVIAN!”

Vivian stared at her admiring fans. It’s a full house tonight. The main lights dimmed and a spotlight focused on herself and her guitar. She began to sing her cover of Love Story by Taylor Swift, her own version being more pumped and energetic than the original. As the song came to an end, the crowd began to applaud.

“Why thank you, thank you.”

A bouquet of roses flew, out of nowhere, onto the stage.

“How sweet…” After she had found her way to her dressing room, Vivian called Bane.

“Hello?”

“Hey! Where were you? You guys weren’t sitting in the V.I.P. seats I sent you tickets for.”

“We weren’t there at all, Vivian.”

“What? Why?”

“Remember when, like, a few weeks ago we all decided that we would, like, all hang out together for the first time in, like, months?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you remember that you never, like, showed up because you had a concert in Los Angeles? Only about an hour away from us by car? Well, that’s, like, what’s happening now. We didn’t come because we have important, like, ‘businesses’ to take care of too, even though we’re only, like, two days away from you by car.”

“Bane, I’m sorry, I—”

“No more excuses, Vivian.”

The dial tone came on and Vivian hung up the phone. This is supposed to be a dream, not a nightmare! I guess I’ll have to get my act together before I can handle stardom.

________________________________________


The next day was sunny, but the weather still required its occupants to wear warm sweaters and jackets. “Where are they?” Penita murmured while sitting at a picnic table in the park. They know I can’t stay long; I have to be home in time to welcome my abuela! She and her friends had planned a “meeting” for today, but while Zack and Vivian were already there, sitting at the table, Wolf and Bane were no where to be found. After what Penita thought felt like hours, they appeared from between two poplar trees. Before Penita could get a word in, Vivian piped up.

“Bane, I called you last night! And I texted you! What happened?”

“I was, like, asleep.”

“Oh… you know, I was gonna complain about the evil thing my mum did last night, but just now I’ve realized that it’s not worth complaining about.”

“Okay…”

“Hey, Wolf.” Penita could now grab his attention. “I had the worst dream last night! I was a princess and—”

“The worst dream of your life and you were a princess? I worry about you sometimes—”

“I’m not finished yet! I was a princess and I had no tasks to complete. I was bored and I felt worthless; it was a nightmare!”

“You call that a nightmare? Imagine having no one to talk to! I mean absolutely no human contact. That’s what I dreamt about last night!”

“Be happy you were able to sleep at all,” Zack interfered. “Remember when I was your roommate?”

“OH MY GOSH the snoring! It was killer. You’re not going to turn your parents against each other and come back, are you?”

“I thought about it… but no.”

At that moment Penita remembered that she and her mother were to pick up her grandmother at the airport.

“Sorry guys, I have to go. See ya on Monday.”

Penita hid her hands in her pockets as she exited through the park’s iron gate. When we bring her home, I must show my abuela how beautiful the floors are! This Cinderella would choose cleaning over boredom any day!





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