Crisis In The Middle Of My Room This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   On August 2, 1990, my older brother, Carl, turned seventeen. That day was a very important day. The world sat and watched as Hussein invaded Kuwait. However, when I look back on it, the most important thing that happened that day was that I forgot to give Carl a birthday present. He was pretty angry.

My brother was hot and bothered by the August heat wave, and he decided that he had been wronged. He was vexed. Every other year of his life, he had received birthday presents galore from his family and friends. Granted, he did not want anything in particular, but he felt that a birthday present from his little sister was in order. At the time, I was away at camp, so he decided to take my window seat. He annexed it. He moved in his pillow and a couple of good books, plus a newspaper or two, because he was very concerned with the news of the time.

My brother decided that he could learn to like my window seat a lot. He liked the view of the garden, and the southeastern exposure of the stars at night. He had no qualms about taking it. My parents, on the other hand, saw parallels to past history, when Adolf Hitler had started by conquering a small country, and tried to conquer all Europe. However, their voices were soft against a powerful 17-year-old brother.

There is no doubt that my brother knew he was more powerful than I. He didn't worry about getting to my window seat, although it was on the opposite side of the room from my door. He just went ahead and let himself into my room. He didn't bother to ask for Right of Transit. He knew who was bigger.

When I finally came home from camp, my window seat was in a state of disarray. Many innocent stuffed animals had been wounded, and they were all haggard and starving. Also, Carl had been using illegal fumes from Cheerios. He did not care that my parents had made the rule "No Food Allowed Upstairs." He brought boxes to the window seat and the smell was horrendous. I cried to my brother, "Please, oh, please pull out your books and cereal. Can't you see you are harming poor, innocent stuffed animals?"

Carl laughed and cried out, "This window seat is rightfully mine, heh, heh, heh. It never should have been yours."

I threw a handful of stale Cheerios at him. He complained, "Come on...Stay out of my room." Somehow, the sight of him with Cheerios scattered around and oh, the smell of those Cheerios, brought a vision of a helpless baby to my mind.

This vanished as I went to sulk on my bed, searching for a stuffed animal to keep me company. But my brother had taken them all hostage.

The weeks passed, and still my brother showed no signs of moving out. I took the mattress from the window, and tried to disconnect the light. I stopped letting Carl bring newspapers or Cheerios into my room. One day I asked my parents to sit down with me to talk about the tyrant. "Mom..." I whined, "Carl's bothering me."

"Oh, Rachel, he's just showing his affection for you. I think he likes his little sister, and doesn't know how to show it...." The lecture went on for many hours, but soon my parents agreed to condemn Carl's actions.

As soon as Carl walked in the door that evening, my parents said, "Carl, we would appreciate you pulling out of Rachel's window seat."

Carl just laughed. "It's mine," he said.

There was a malicious silence. "Oh, Mom," exclaimed my brother, "guess what I did at work today?" He went on and on about the wonders of dry ice, and all the things one could do with it. He said nonchalantly, "I think I'll build a bomb."

My parents just laughed at him. They didn't think he was serious. Carl was serious. We are still not sure how powerful his supply of weapons is.

Carl went out to the backyard, and I went to the kitchen to make "potato thingies," which are Rachel-style homefries, my form of bribery.

I had peeled all the potatoes and put oil in the pot when I came up with a great thought. Slowly and carefully, I poured the potatoes into the garbage. From that point on, I formed an embargo. I would not make him anymore "potato thingies," and my parents agreed unanimously not to boil potatoes for any purpose.

My brother went about his life, and I, mine, although it was somewhat dampened by the smell of Cheerios throughout my room. Those stuffed animals not taken hostage suffered malfunctions from too much oat bran. A few of the hostages have been returned, and I mourn the lives of those who did not survive the crisis.

Many months have passed and although we all strongly suggest that Carl evacuate, he has not. n


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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