A Crime by the Curious Mind

February 2, 2009
When I was four, I did something. My brother never let me forget. He says it all started with curiosity, the one human trait that gets in the way of not doing something for the good of it. I say that it started with the day we went to the toy store. The thing is that at the time, I didn't understand what I was getting into.

We, as in my mom, my brother, and me, were in the toy store, and I was looking the aisle racks up and down to find my next victim over which I would throw my tantrum to buy. All the toys were colorful and attractive, but I needed something good. I mean me without the trendiest doll was a kid without his McDonald's happy meal. I just had to buy a toy. We turned the corner and a rainbow of colorful bikes lined the entire aisle. I had actually gotten one last week, so this was off my list of things to buy. The next one had legos and other building blocks, which I wasn't interested in at the time.

My brother was looking for a complicated remote-control car that he had long-wanted. When we turned the corner, cars encased in cardboard boxes lined the right of the aisle. Also, in these boxes were hand held machines with long thin rods coming off the control base. On the case it said, The Ultimate Remote Control Car. My brother, ran to one of the boxes and said,

'Mom this is it. This is the car I want.' My mom replied,

'Well, I guess it's a long-awaited gift, so you can have it.'

How could this be? I had to get something too! How in the world could I leave the toy store without something of my own? I ran over to my mom and said,

'Mommy! I have to get something too.' This time she replied,

'You just got the new bike last week. You can get something else another time.' My face slipped into a pout and my child mind was debating on whether to throw a fit or not. I knew my mom would notice my eyes welling up, so I turned around to conceal my anger. My brother knew me just as well and said,

'Oh come on Bhavya! You get something almost every time. Don't be such a baby.' I replied,

'I am not a baby. Fine. I won't get something this time. Are you happy now?' Annoyed, he just looked at me. There, I had said it. I was not a baby, and therefore, wasn't going to get a toy. I followed the two of them to the checkout line, angry and frustrated inside. Why couldn't I have something? Besides, what was so 'cool' about this remote control car? What does it do? How does it work? Does it do something different than normal toy cars? The name sounded pretty interesting, but I guess I was just going to have to wait until we reached home. Then, I could see what it does, and maybe, if I acted really well, my brother would let me play with it. I put my angel face on and acted sweet. I stopped my eyes from causing a waterfall and put a smile on. I stayed quiet and patient in the line. The lady at the cashier checked us out, and we made our way to the car.

I kept quiet on the way home, but instead, wondered about all the cool tricks the car could do. Maybe it could float in the air or even fly. It was called a remote control car. Isn't a remote control used to flip through television channels? Could I watch TV in the car? That would be awesome! Maybe it I could control it to pick up my toys, because I really don't like doing it when my mom tells me to.

The car turned it to our assigned slot in our apartment's parking lot. We entered the small lobby and went up the elevator to the second floor. My mom opened the door, and we walked in. I asked my brother,

'Aren't you going to open your toy? I want to see what it does.' He replied in a defensive tone,

'Okay. I'll open it and you can see what it does, but If you touch it, I'll...I'll do something!' I looked at him in disbelief. He really expected me to not touch the car, a new toy that I was dying to see. He was such a pessimist sometimes. What could I even do to it? Either way, I replied calmly,

'Sure.' He looked at me suspiciously, as if I were lying, which I technically was, but I was always good at acting. He seemed somewhat undecided on whether demonstrating to me, but took the box out from the 'Toys R Us' bag anyways. I realized that I hadn't gotten a good look of this car at the store. It was a dark shade of blue. I wasn't surprised, because his favorite color was always blue. He fumbled with the box, trying to find a way to get it opened, but eventually, he got the car and control panel out of the cardboard box. He turned the carton over to make sure nothing was left inside, but there was. A package of batteries, attached to an instruction pamphlet, fell out. He began reading the basic instructions.

I became restless. He was taking forever and the treasure was sitting right there in front of me. I really wanted to just feel the car, but I knew that if I did that, I could forget about seeing him put the batteries in. I huffed and puffed and rolled and tumbled on the living room carpet, and then I finally said,

'Are we ever going to see what this car does or not?' My brother looked at me annoyed, and for a second I thought he was not going to let me see its magic. He said,

'Just hold on. It has only been 7 minutes, and I want to make sure I have the instructions right. I don't want to break it on the first try, and I don't think you want that either.' This time he got to me. I wanted to see the tricks more than once for sure, so I said,

'Fine. You're right, but try to pick up the pace!' He kept on reading the tiny writing in the booklet, and finally after ages he said,

'Okay. Let's try it out.' I got up excited and jumping up and down. He bent over to press the on button, but then stood straight up again. I looked at him and whined,

'What now?' He replied in a 'don't-forget-what-you-said' manner,

'Remember, no touching!' I nodded and said,

'Wait what is it going to do? You never even told me what it really was.' He sighed,

'It's called a remote control car. Through this control panel, I can control if the car goes left, right, forward, or backwards. It's really cool, but just watch.' I nodded, and he geared the car into accelerate. The car was moving! Wow, I had never seen anything like this! On the panel, he jolted the button left, and then, the car was coming towards me. Oh no! It was going to hit me. I started running and screaming at the same time,

'Stop scaring me! Stop the car!'

My brother, on the other hand, was laughing. I looked at him and just glared at him,

'That was not funny!' He just looked at me and cracked up again,

'Yes it was! You should have seen yourself.' I kept glaring, and I said,

'You are so annoying! Now it's my turn to try. Please!' He replied,

'No way. You said you wouldn't touch it.' I ran to where the car was, but he was faster than me. He picked it up and started teasing me,

'Let's see if you can even reach it.' I tried jumping up to get it, but the car was too high for me. I was the giraffe trying to reach the fresh leaves high on a tree. However, in this case, I wasn't fending for food. I moaned,

'Give it to me! That's not fair. I'm going to tell mom!' He brought his arm down, but only to hover the car over my head and almost traumatize me by saying,

'It's gonna get stuck in your hair, and then you wont's be able to do anything about it!' I felt the speed of the wheels coming closer to my head, so I ducked under it and ran. There was no way that I was going to get my precious hair stuck in the car. Though, there still had to be some way to get a hold of that car while he wasn't around, and my mom wouldn't be there to 'supervise.' My idea was definitely going to work.

The next day was Saturday. My dad left for work as usual. Every time I would pass my brother's room I would check to make sure that I knew where the car was. The treasure laid on his desk's top shelf, so all I would have to do was stand on his chair, reach a little, and the car would be in my hands. Bingo, and it was simple as that! The minute I heard the shower go on I checked on my mom, who was doing exactly what I had wished for. She was dealing with paperwork while the news was on. The volume was a perfect level and loud enough, so she wouldn't hear any commotion in my brother's room. I ran to his room, feeling very C.S.I. Miami, that show that came on TV. I walked on my tiptoes to emphasize my 'Mission Impossible' moves. Though it was fun, all of it happened in a very sneaky, quiet way.

Knowing that my brother didn't take long in the shower, I sprinted into his room and pulled the heavy wooden chair with my two tiny hands. Its heaviness took more than half of my energy. I climbed on it and reached a little bit. My fingers barely brushed the blue plastic of the car's side. I stretched a little bit more and grabbed onto its wheel. I hauled it over the ledge, and it basically lunged my hand down. It was one heavy car. I felt the rubber wheel slipping from my hands, but I wasn't able to hold on. Oops! It landed on the carpet with a small thud, which I doubt anyone heard. Still holding my breath, wanting to make sure that my mom wasn't coming, I bent over and put the car upright on the carpet. The control panel was easier to acquire, because the rod was hanging over the side of the shelf. Now, I had to figure out how to turn the car on. I pressed all the buttons, and in the midst of doing so, the sound of an engine revving alive came from the car. I literally jumped a foot in the air.

I ran into the hall and check on my mom, but she was still doing her work. I scurried back, and the car's engine still revving,

'Vvvrrrrhhhmmmm! Vvvrrrrhhhmmmm!' I looked down at the control panel in my hands. Which button moved the car? The control panel had five buttons and one joystick. I pressed a few buttons, but nothing happened. I pushed the joystick forward, and the car lurched into accelerate. I let go fast, because the car was about to hit the wall. I moved the joystick in circles, and the car started moving in circles. This was so cool! I wondered how did my brother move the car when he hovered it over my head. I picked up the car and put it on my head. If the car could run on carpet, then it could definitely run on my hair. I balanced it on my head and kept it in its place with one of my hands. I pushed the joystick forward and the wheels started moving. I could feel the spiky rubber of the wheels running on my scalp and driving through my hair in the same place. Suddenly, I heard the shower stop.

Uh oh! I let go of the joystick, and it came back into place. The car stopped, and I tried picking it up from my hair. I pulled and yanked, but it wouldn't come out! I felt the wheels, no longer rubber but soft with my hair entangled around it. Well, this was just great. My brother was coming out of the shower, my hair was stuck in the car's wheels, and I was going to get caught red-handed. Trying to loosen my strand of hair from the wheels, I kept tugging on my hair. The pain was sharp, and my scalp was throbbing. I heard the shower gate open, and I started tugging and pulling. Then, I got an idea. I ran to his desk and searched for his scissors. I found them in his top drawer. I reached above my head and started cutting my hair without knowing how I was cutting it. Finally, the car came off, and right when I was about to leave, I thought I should check if the car was working properly. I placed the car on the carpet and jerked the joystick forward. The engine made a low roar and died after a few seconds. This was not good at all, but I heard my brother and could tell he was almost done. Oh well! I would have to deal with this later.

I jumped onto the seat, control panel and car in hand. I placed them on the shelf just as they were when I first entered the room. I leaped off and ran out of the room. Before, I went into the living room, where my mom was; I went into my parent's room to make sure my hair looked 'normal.' I heard my brother click the bathroom door open and walk to his room and close his door again. I went in front of the mirror, and my hair was a haystack! It was sticking in all directions. The hair I had cut was ruffled. I combed it, so it looked normal. I was happy. I had left the crime scene under cover. No one had caught me!

I skipped out of the room, and when I turned the corner, that was when I saw him. My brother was walking towards me with the blue car and control panel in hand! He had a serious face and was definitely not happy. He said to be in a low, stern voice,

'What did you do to my car? I had told you not to touch it!' I looked at him with bold innocence and said,

'I didn't do anything! I mean, how would I have done it? The control panel and car were on your shelf.' The minute I said that, I regretted it. I had said way too much, and I was caught red-handed, just not at the crime scene. Some little criminal I was! I would have only known the location of his control panel and car if I had been in his room. This meant that I had done something. He was fuming now,

'I know it was you. Your hair is wrapped around the wheel, and only you would mess it up! Now I'll never get to play with it! Do you just have to ruin everything?' I looked at him, not knowing what to say. He just turned and stomped to his room and shut the door! What could I do? If he wasn't so bossy and defensive and possessive of his toys, then, I would have been glad to play with them under his supervision. Plus, I was just a little kid!

That's how it ended. Though frustrated at the time of the crime, my brother laughs now. He teases me and every so often reminds me,

'Hey! Remember that time you got my car stuck in your hair?' Slightly embarrassed, I would nod trying not to remember,

'How could I not? You were so mad and fuming, and the worst part was that I actually thought I had gotten away with it!'

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