Worms in the Salad

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The fresh pine air mixed with the smell of hot dogs cooking on the grill was intoxicating. The other kids were playing in the meadow that was our front yard, while the adults were sitting, talking, on the large wooden deck that lead up to our front sliding glass door.

My brother was playing with his friend, Dev, under this giant tree that hung over a majority of our deck, but over only a small portion of the meadow. They were digging in the mud then smearing it on the white bark, even though my mom told them not to get dirty before we ate. It was probably Dev’s idea to play in the mud. He was a trouble maker, who came from a troubled family, who always struggled for attention, good or bad. I never liked playing with them because whenever Dev was around, we all ended up mixed in the mess he had created.

I was sitting on my mom’s lap, listening to her talk to her friends, and sucking on my pacifier, also known as my binky. My main focus though, was waiting for my hot dog to finish up on the grill. My mouth was watering, as if I was starving, even though I probably only ate a quarter of that hot dog anyway. I had nothing better to do, since none of my mother’s friends brought any of their kids that were my age for me to play with. I decided that after waiting a whole five minutes the hot dog didn’t deserve my attention any longer, but something caught my eye. I turned my gaze to the two children crouching down low and tip-toeing, as if they were trying to sneak, up the wooden stairs of the deck; hands covered in mud and something writhing through their fists.They crawled under the long table that was set with lots of foods and dishes I had never even heard of. Then again, I hadn’t heard about a lot of food back then, only being three years old at the time.

I could see Dev talking to an unsure Anthony; obviously trying to convince him to do something “funny”. Soon enough, Anthony grew a smile and they watched and waited until the feet disappeared from the other side of the cloth that draped down from the top of the table. I was into telling on my brother as much as I could at the time, so as soon as I saw them being suspicious, I turned to my mother.

“Mommy! Look! Anthony is all dirty! He is going to get the food dirty!” I said in a slight yell, my binky distorted a few words, but not enough for no one to understand me. My mom didn’t even give me a glance. She just continued on with her conversation about whatever adults talk about. I brushed it off and looked back over at the boys. They were now standing in front of the table. Their little hands began to rise up towards a large bowl full of an assortment of leaves that the adults seemed to like to eat.

“AH! NO!” was all as I was falling down to the floor. My mother was sprinting across the deck towards the frozen boys. “What do you think you are doing! Put that down!” she grabs them by the wrists and shook the worms out into the grass, then she pulled them into the house to clean them off. She kept muttering “I can’t believe you two!” and “What would make you think that was okay?!” and few more phrases she just kept repeating.

Once she had the boys all cleaned up, she dragged them in to the living room. She sat Anthony down in the left corner of the room, and Dev on the right.

“Now, you stay there until I decide you can go back outside and join us!” she yelled. “If you guys move a muscle without my okay, I will make you regret it. Do you hear me?!” They both nodded. Anthony had been crying through the whole ordeal and crying even more so now that he was in time out; but Dev, he just sat there with a blank face, but you could feel the anger radiating off of him.

As my mother began her walk back out to the people of the party, her face changed. It started out as angry as can be but the closer she got to the door the more cheery she began to look; but I could tell she was still mad. Her face was still a little flushed and her nostrils were still flaring, but everything else was normal. Behind her, Dev was whispering to Anthony; which is never good.

My mother took a few steps outside before the sliding glass door slammed shut; then clicked. Her eyes widened. She turned around slowly and saw the two boys sticking their tongues out at her through the window and dancing. Her eyes were on fire now. She grabbed the door handle and yanked on it; it wouldn't budge.

I had never seen my mom that angry before, I was expecting smoke to come out of her ears like in the cartoons. It was obvious Anthony had never seen her that way either because when she looked at him, he was a little hesitant to continue partying. He must have figured he was dead anyway, so within seconds they were off, jumping on the couch punching each other with soc’em boppers.

Once it was confirmed that the front door was locked, all the adults began to circle the house for a way to get in. After twenty minutes of searching, it was agreed that the only way in the house was through the bathroom window. The only problem with that little idea is that the bathroom window was tiny. It was about the size of a toddler. All the adults looked over at me.

I was feeling around in the air until I could feel the cold linoleum floor being brushed by my little toes. As soon as I got my footing, I could here all twenty of the adults shouting in whispers.

“Go! Be careful!” a few said. “Go open the door! Quick!” said the others; And I was off.

The door of the bathroom lead into my parent’s bedroom, so I got through that part without a problem. I grew more cautious as I approached the bedroom’s door, for the living room was just on the other side. The door was already open a crack, so I peaked through. At one angle, I could see the sliding glass door with all the adults watching subtly from their lawn chairs outside. From the other angle, I could see Anthony and Dev; who had just started settling down to watch Barney. I waited until I saw them begin to sing along with the video. This is when I knew I had my moment. I slowly inched the door open until I could fit and bolted. My brother heard the door creak and saw me just as I broke into a sprint. The only thing he managed to get out before I was at the door was a loud “NOO-”. The door slid open.

He was frozen. All the adults poured into the room. Dev’s mother was the first in the crowd. Amazingly enough, she didn’t say a word. She quickly gathered her boy and her bag and left. My mother was last to enter the room. She had an emotionless expression on her face, but as soon as she walked in, you could feel the room set a-blaze. She looked directly into Anthony's very soul. He began to cry. My mother just pointed toward his room and he obeyed and ran to it. The adults soon began to work their way back outside and finished the party.

Once all the guests had left, and the last car drove out of the driveway, my mom walked into Anthony's room. He had cried himself to sleep. She woke him up and began her lecture. She yelled for what felt like hours. I could only make out “No more T.V!” and “Eat all your vegetables!” and “No more sweets!”. My mother didn’t believe in hitting children, but she did believe that almost everything is a privilege and can be taken away if you didn’t deserve them. I'm sure after that month, Anthony would have preferred a spanking.





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