Roy G. Biv This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I was five I learned what the word "grounded" meant, and that to begrounded wasn't fun at all.

My relatives were visiting from out of state,and I wasn't exactly thrilled about giving up my bed and having to share a couchwith my cousin because I hated her. Finally it was the day before they were toleave although it still seemed like they were going to be there for the rest ofmy life. After dinner, feeling the need to escape from my family, I asked my momif I could go outside.

My aunt opened the door for me, hitting me ratherhard in the head with the door knob.

"Aw, Teddi, did you hit yourhead on the door?" she asked with false concern.

I was infuriated,outraged, fuming, livid. "No, Aunt Julie! You hit me with the doorknob." I reached up and grabbed my head, tears in my eyes. "And now I'mbleeding!" I bawled.

After Mom stopped my tears and eased the pain,she told me Aunt Julie hadn't meant to hit me, that it had been an accident andthat I shouldn't have been so mean to her. Mom assured me my aunt felt bad andwould apologize, but added that I had to be nice to her, or I would get intotrouble.

I knew Aunt Julie didn't feel bad, and she never did say she wassorry. This was probably because my aunt thought I still didn't understand realEnglish, and that she had to talk to me like I was just learning to speak. It wasalways, "How is wittle Teddi Weddy doing today? Are you ready to get up andeat some eggies? Do you want auntie to cawee you?"

But my name wasn'tTeddi Weddy, and I didn't want "eggies." I wanted a fried egg and sometoast with a glass of orange juice, please. And I definitely did not need to be"caweed."

To make matters worse, even though my cousin was ayear and a half young-er, and was rather stupid, she was treated like an adult, aperfect equal to my parents, aunt and uncle. She always walked around snortingand sniffling and rubbing her eyes that hid behind horrendous pink framed glassesthat looked more like goggles.

Escaping all that, I finally made itoutside, this time opening the door myself to avoid further head injuries. Onceout, I walked to my grandparent's barn and played with the kittens. The orangeone, my favorite, was so fluffy and playful and cute. I named him Pumpkin-Fluff.

Then I hopped on my green and pink two-wheeler (I had just learned toride) and rode up and down my driveway several times. Coming up over the hill, Inoticed my cousin and aunt reading on the porch. Stephanie was holding something,but I couldn't see what. I rode up into the yard, dropped my bike and walked overto the porch.

"Hey, whatcha reading?" I asked.

"Abook on colors!" Stephanie told me. Colors? I hadn't read a book on colorssince pre-school. I even knew all the colors of the rainbow in order - ROY G.BIV, that's how you remembered it, by the man's name - red, orange, yellow,green, blue, indigo and violet. A quiet meow drew my attention back to the peopleon my porch and the item on Stephanie's lap. It meowed again.

"Steph,what have you got there that you're covering up?" I asked.

"Oh,nothing," she told me. I figured one of the cats had wandered down from thebarn and she'd picked it up. But then I realized the only cat that really camedown to the house was ...

"Pumpkin-Fluff!" I screamed as anorange lump squeezed its head between my cousin's fingers, "Stephanie, whatare you doing? That's my cat!" I yelled as she suffocated poor, helplessPum-pkin-Fluff.

Stephanie let the cat go and looked shocked. She didn'texpect me to tell her what to do, especially with my aunt right there.Pumpkin-Fluff scooted across the porch to hide in the corner.

"NowTeddi Weddy, dear, I'm sure it's okay if your cousin was holding your kittywitty. But why don't you just sit down and practice your colors with us as weread the color book? Now, why don't you tell me what color the kitty is, and whatcolor your shoesey wooseys are?"

I had already been threatened aboutyelling at my aunt. She was my elder and I was supposed to respect her, but allof that slipped my mind at that moment.

"My cat is orange, and itsname is Pumpkin-Fluff. And my shoes are white, don't you know your own colors youdumb ... dumb ... dumb ass!" Oh, no. Oh, poop. The mo-ment those words shotout of my mouth, I realized I should never have said anything. Think before youspeak, isn't that what Mom is always telling me?

My aunt was taken aback,her mouth was agape. "Why, Teddi Renee! What foul language you use! I betyou learned that from your father. I'm shocked. You're supposed to respect yourelders." There they were, those three words: Respect your elders. "I'mgoing to tell your mother about this right away so this problem with yourlanguage and disrespect can be corrected." And with that she walkedinside.

My bewildered cousin stared at me. Then, slowly, her cracked lipscurled into a smile.

"Teddi's in trouble! Teddi's in trouble!"she chanted. "Nah nah nah nah nah, Teddi's in trouble!" I wanted to hither so hard that her stubs of front teeth (that were growing where her baby teethused to be) would get knocked right out, too. But then Mom came out with my aunt.Both had their arms crossed.

"Teddi, I can't believe you! First,apologize to your cousin and your aunt, and then get inside and go to yourroom!" she said in a stern, low tone.

I marched inside, defeated.I went to my room and stayed there, too, all the rest of that day and until myrelatives left the next morning. After they left, Mom made me wash dishes anddust, and I wasn't allowed to watch TV until the next day. She said I was"grounded." I had heard of that before, some of my friends got groundedsometimes. I realized I hated the whole grounded philosophy.

The encounterwith my aunt and cousin did teach me something, though. I decided never to talkback to adults - even if they are totally air-headed. It's just something youdon't do, even if you know your colors and they don't.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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