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The Perverts Come Out at Grandma's House

A cold, spindly finger jabbed me in the shoulder. I ignored it. I was watching Batman and Robin, sitting on the nubby brown carpet in my grandmother’s apartment. Robin had just bounded onto screen and, being my four-year-old crush, deserved my undivided attention. The finger stabbed at me again, this time in the back of the head. I flinched violently and glared at the perpetrator.
“Stop it!” I hissed at my older brother. He clearly didn’t appreciate films like I did, because he had already seen every video tape we owned at least three times.

“Do you see that flashlight?” He asked me in a whisper. Our grandmother was maybe twelve feet away, if even that much, standing in her minuscule kitchenette and washing dishes, her back to us. I followed his finger to what he was pointing at, and I nodded. Yes, of course I saw the flashlight. I saw it every weekend when we were delivered here by our parents…I just never felt any need to pay attention to it. It was just a flashlight.

Chunky, translucent red, and with a black loop of cord at the end, the flashlight sat on the four foot tall that counter that separated the kitchenette and the living room. I had always assumed that it was for when the power went out.

“Do you want me to stick it down my pants?” He asked me, grinning wide. I stared at him blankly. What? My brother was notorious, at least in my mind, for striding right on the line between having fun and getting in trouble. And when he stumbled and fell and got in trouble for something, he almost always brought me down with him. But that was at home with Mom and Dad, who gave frequent, but familiar punishments. This was here, at Grandma’s house.

“Ok.” I shrugged. Because how could I get blamed for my brother sticking the flashlight down his pants? Batman and Robin was still playing, but that could wait. We could always rewind the tape.

He snatched it off the counter without making a sound and shook it victoriously under my nose, as if he had already done something amazing. He glanced once at our grandmother, tugged sideways on the elastic waistband of his green sweatpants, and dropped it down. This for some reason reminded me of Tommy Pickles in the Rugrats and the way he would stick almost anything into his diaper for safekeeping, and I had to stifle a bout of giggle with my fist. My brother shook his leg and I bounced up and down triumphantly without actually leaving the ground, motioning for him to hurry. Grandma was almost done with the dishes. He retrieved it quickly from the elastic around his left ankle and set it on the counter when Ka-Thunk.

I had a small heart attack.

We both dropped to the ground like bags of concrete.

His fingers had fumbled, the flashlight had swayed. It had fallen and knocked into one of my grandmother’s candles.




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