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Author's note: My best friend helped me get started on writing and it's on my hometown. I love the state of Iowa and I love my best friend
It was a summer like no other, the plants were growing and the pigs were oinking. It was perfect in little ol’ Jewell Iowa. Since I was fourteen, I was going to learn how to work the tractor.
See my family owns a farm; we grow corn, soy beans, and raise pigs. Being the oldest means I’ll get the farm once my dad doesn’t run it anymore. My mom thinks I should have a better career then running a stupid ol’ farm.
“Girls shouldn’t be running farms, they should be house maids if their husbands are. No daughter of mine is going run a stupid ol’ farm!” She shouted at me last year when I asked for some farm things for Christmas.
I guess she rather have my baby brother Tyler run the farm than me. Even though he’s three years younger than me, he’s still my only brother, from either young or old. So if he were older, I’d call him ol’ Tyler more often.
My mom got me this journal so I could get a feel for what she wants me to be but to bad for her, I’m not going anywhere. I’m just going to Iowa State University to learn new ways to grow things then come right back here to use what I learned.
On the first day of summer, I woke up at the crack of dawn. Put on my lucky shirt and overalls and headed outside to meet my dad in the field. Today was the day he’d teach me how to drive a tractor, and my best friend, Carter will be joining us.
Carter and me go way back, we were best friends since preschool. I know what you’re thinking, a guy and girl being best friends meaning they’ll have feelings for each other. But so you don’t get that little picture in your little ol’ head. Carter is a girl, Carter can be a girl name too you know. Plus, she’s my cousin.
“Ready Max?” Carter asked when she came to the field.
“Of course, I’ve been waiting for this day since school started last fall.” Yes, my name is Max, so? My dad picked my name and my mom picked Tyler. I’m a tough chick so don’t mess with me… Back to the story.
“Ready ladies? Or do you need make-up?” Dad asked, trying to mess with us. He knew both Carter and me hated make-up, and all other girly stuff.
“I’m ready Uncle Fred,” Carter said, getting into the tractor.
“I’m ready too Dad,” I said following Carter in.
“Okay who’s first?” Dad asked, then both Carter’s hand and mine went up quickly. Dad had a hard decision to make, which girl would go first?
“Let’s have a quiz to see who goes first. What is the square root of 4?” Dad asked.
“2!” I shouted quickly. My brain is like a calculator, while Carter’s is for different languages, like Spanish.
“Okay Maxamillion, get up here. Dad said, standing up from the driver seat.
“Wow, you can see the whole farm this way,” I said sitting down in the drivers seat.
“No time to look at the place Max, time to teach you how to run this tractor,” Dad said patting the tractor from the inside.
After an hour of driving around, Carter and I got the hang of it. Dad even said we learned faster than he did! The three of us decided to head in for some breakfast before we did the morning chores. When I got inside, Mom looked angry at the mud all over my overalls.
“Maxine Ann Frank!! How many times do I have to tell you? No farming!” She shouted.
“Come on Mom, Carter gets to farm. Why can’t I? It’s not against the law, so I can do what I want!”
“Just wash up then come and eat, I’ll talk to you about it later,” she said as I went to the sink.
Once I was done, Tyler came down, yawning, he wasn’t a morning person. He was Mom’s kid and I was Dad’s.
“Morning Ty,” everyone said as he sat down in his seat around the table.
“Morning,” He replied, yawning afterwards. Mom handed him some pancakes and a glass of orange juice.
“What’s the plan today Dad?” Ty asked.
“Well, feed the pigs, give the plants some fertilizer, and plant some new trees,” Dad said normally, like it was nothing new, which was true.
“The girls will help me with the kitchen,” Mom added.
“Aw Mom. I’ve always help with the farm chores,” I complained.
“Your fourteen now Maxine, you need to become a proper young lady. And that includes throwing those overalls away.”
“Mom!!!!! I am not going be the girl you want me to be!!! So I’m going do what I want, and you won’t stop me!!! I snapped and ran outside to the barn’s attic. It was Carter’s and mine clubhouse, it has everything we would need if we were mad. A whole stack of hay to punch!
“Why can’t I be a farm girl?” I muttered. Then I heard a knock at the door.
“Max? Are you in there?” Carter asked, sounding worried.
“Yeah, just mad,” I said.
“Can I come in?” She asked, sounding more relaxed.
“Sure,” I replied. She walked in and came and sat next to me.
“You are going be okay Max?” Carter asked.
“If my mom wants me to be the girl she wants, then no I won’t. I want to be like my dad Carter. Not some girl that boys think only cares for clothes or herself!” I said. Then I stood up and punched the stack of hay rapidly.
“It’s so stupid! She thinks I’m going just be a housewife, she’s wrong. I want to farm, not cook dinners and do all the laundry for my family! It’s 2011 for Pete sake and she still treats it like women shouldn’t have the right to vote!!!” I shouted and punch the stack of hay super hard.
“Maybe that’s how she grew up. I mean, she could have been a daddy’s little girl and do what ever Grandpa Joe said. Maybe something he said was women shouldn’t have equal rights of men. I want you to pass that advice on to your daughters,” Carter suggested.
“That does sound like something Grandpa Joe would say,” I said, nodding my head in agreement.
“So maybe Aunt Hayley has a point,” Carter said.
“What about Aunt Terry? Is she like this?” I asked.
“My mom is sometimes like it, like she tells me to make sure I have at least one dress that fits in my closet at all times, otherwise she doesn’t really care what I do,” Carter explained.
“Why can’t we have the same mom? I mean I could live with that rule, just not the becoming of a full girly girl. I’m a tomboy for Pete’s sake,” I said with pride.
“I have an idea, people think we’re twins, not cousins right?” Carter asked, getting her game face on.
“Of course, why?” I asked her.
“Well maybe we can switch places. No one will know the difference. Then we can see who has the better mom!” Carter said, sounding excited.
“Really? You’d do that? For me?” I asked.
“Of course, it could be fun. My parents are so gullible; they’ll believe anything you tell them. And from what I’ve learned of your parents, their just as gullible,” Carter said.
“Okay, but we’ll stay at each others house right? No coming over here in case my parents notice the difference?” I asked
“Sure, sounds good. Let’s go to my house and get you in some of my clothes,” Carter said dragging me out of the room. I knew then, this wouldn’t be a normal summer.
“Hello Max. Hello Carter, we’re going have company over later, so Carter. Please put on your nicest outfit,” Aunt Terry said as we walked into Carter’s house.
“Sure Mom,” I said in my best Carter voice. Then Carter and I ran to her bedroom so I can put on her outfit.
“Here, this would suit Mom’s interest,” Carter said, handing me some clothes.
“Thanks, I’ll go change now,” I said, then rushed into the bathroom. When I was finished, I noticed I was wearing what my mom does when she has a business meeting.
“Am I supposed to look like this?” I asked as I walked back into Carter’s room.
“Yes, now give me the clothes you just took off, I’ll change into those and head,” Carter said, then grabbed my clothes and got changed.
“Thanks Max,” I said, trying to get used to calling her that.
“No problem Carter,” she replied. Then she left the house, and I went downstairs to see Aunt Terry.
“Need help Mom?” I asked when I found her.
“Oh no sweet heart, you just need to look cuter, let’s see what we can do with the hair,” she said coming to me.
“My hair? What’s wrong with it?” I asked.
“Oh it just needs to look adorable, since you are the cute element in this party,” Aunt Terry said.
“Oh okay, what’s the theme of the party?” I asked.
“Beautiful children. All the workers are bringing their kids with them, so I want my daughter to stick out,” she answered, pinching my cheeks like Grandma Lynn does.
“Oh so what are you going do with my hair?” I asked.
“Put in those girly ribbons you bought at the mall last week. You know the pink and sparkle ones?” She responded.
“Oh those. Great,” I said, trying to hold in a scream. Carter never told me she liked ribbons. Specially pink and sparkly ones!
“Okay let’s comb through your hair. So how was your day with your cousin? Did she do anything that counts as bad in this house?” I couldn’t understand. Was Carter a secret girly girl? Was this a whole point to get me to become one?
“Oh you don’t remember the rules? They are: Not wearing pink, wearing overalls, yelling at her mother about being a farm girl. All the things I know your not pumpkin,” Aunt Terry said as she put the last ribbon in my hair.
“Hm… that outfit doesn’t go with those bows, lets get your dress. You love your puffy dress,” Aunt Terry said, pulling me back upstairs.
“I think it looks fine Mom, really,” I said, trying to keep myself out of a dress.
“Do you want to look out of place? Do you want to embarrass your father and me?” Aunt Terry asked.
“No,” I muttered.
“Then wear the dress, it’ll make you the star. And I know how much you love being the star of the show Sweetheart,” Aunt Terry said.
“Aunt Terry, it’s me, Maxine,” I said, very scared.
“Oh and I’m Taylor Swift. Your not getting out of this dress, even if I have to staple it to your bra and underwear!” Aunt Terry snapped.
“No buts young lady unless you want to be the baby of the party!” Aunt Terry snapped. I was terrified now. I didn’t know this was Carter’s life style. Why did I sign up for this?
After a half an hour of getting into Carter’s dress, Aunt Terry let me go downstairs with Uncle Peter.
“My, doesn’t my princess look ready for her royal ball?” Uncle Peter asked me.
“Who’s coming to the ball Daddy?” I asked, trying to see if I could sneak away to switch back with Carter.
“Oh, Molly, Taylor, Maddie, and Holly. All your best friends, unlike your tomboy cousin. How can her parents deal with that? When the best type of daughter is the girly girl?” Uncle Peter said. What? I’m not her best friend? I guess she was only kind to me because I’m her cousin.
Then the doorbell rang.
“And there they are. Why don’t you get the door Cathy? That way me and your mother can finish getting ready,” Uncle Peter said, heading upstairs.
“Cathy?” I asked myself as I went to the door.
“Hello Cathy. We brought our stuff, now we can give each others makeovers!” One of the girls squeaked.
“Oh it’s been to long, you forgotten which is who, haven’t you?” A girl with blonde hair asked me. I nodded my head in agreement.
“I’m Molly,” the blonde girl said.
“I’m Taylor,” the strawberry blond girl said.
“I’m Maddie,” the brown hair girl said.
“And I’m Holly,” the red girl finally said.
“Hi, why don’t you come in?” I asked, trying to sound like calm Carter.
“Of course,” Molly answered for the girls.
“Should we head to the basement? We always go there for these,” Taylor said.
“Sure,” I said. Then Molly, Taylor, Maddie, and Holly all dragged me to the basement.
When I got down there, I noticed why Carter never brought me down here. It was pink, filled with dresses and girly girl stuff. It was nothing like the Carter I knew.
“So what do you guys want to do first?” I asked.
“Makeovers!” They shouted.
“Okay, who goes first?” I asked, trying to keep my head.
“We give you a makeover,” Taylor said.
“Oh, um no thanks,” I said.
“Oh don’t be such a wuss. We always do makeovers. Are you going against the code?” Maddie asked.
“What code?” I asked.
“The code states if one of us doesn’t know what to do, the others get to decide!” Molly snapped.
“What if I don’t want a makeover?” I asked.
“Then we’ll make you. Holly get the belts, Maddie find some duct tape. Taylor, help me hold her down,” Molly ordered.
“What? A forced makeover? Your craz…” I started, but before I could continue, Maddie taped my mouth shut.
“Holly! Where are those belts? Molly shouted.
“Can’t find any that will fit her! Why can’t we use the duct tape to tie her up?” Holly asked coming back down.
“Brilliant. Maddie, you know what to do,” Molly said. Then I was taped to the floor with a couple of girly girls giving me a makeover.
“Girls!! Dinner!!!! Aunt terry said down the steps after twenty minutes.
“Okay, we can let her go, but then, after supper, we’ll play ransom,” Molly said.
“Oh, I love that game so much,” Maddie, said as she took off the duct tape on my mouth.
“Ouch!!” I shouted.
“Oh don’t be a baby,” Molly said.
Then all the duct tape was off. I was free till after dinner. But by what I gathered from Carter’s family was that they never left the table with food on their plate or without an adult.
“May I be excused?” I asked.
“Not alone your not, let’s go sweet heart,” Aunt Terry said, standing up.
“Never mind,” I muttered as I sat down again.
“Eat your carrots Pumpkin,” Uncle Peter said.
“What game are you ladies playing?” One of the dads’ asked.
“We’re playing go fish. Can we sleep over? Cathy wants us to but to shy to admit it,” Molly explained.
“I don’t see why not, do you Terry?” Uncle Peter asked.
“It’ll be lovely, that way her crazy cousin doesn’t come over,” Terry said nice and calmly.
“May we be done so we can start our game?” Holly asked.
“If you carry down the host,” Peter said.
Soon I was in the air. I wanted to scream but I didn’t want to be the weird one. I just wanted my parents back. Why would Carter lie to me? I thought I could trust her. I see now that I was dead wrong.
When we got into the basement, the others dropped me on the couch.
“Who are you? Really?” Molly asked
“I’m Max. Carter’s crazy cousin,” I said.
“Well, we’ll have extra fun tonight, won’t we girls?” Molly asked around.
“Please let me go. If you do, I’ll go get the real Cathy,” I promised.
“Yes, but Cathy doesn’t enjoy our game, ransom,” Maddie said.
“Please, before I scream,” I warned. I was about to scream when Holly started wrapping duct tape around my mouth. I tried to scream through it but nothing happened.
“Now let’s play. Who wants to be the worried family and who wants to be my evil asisent?” Molly asked.
“I want to be your assent,” Holly said, waving her hand up.
“Okay. Taylor and Maddie, you two make little Max here how u want her to be. Just don’t take off the duct tape on her mouth,” Molly ordered. Then Molly and Holly left.
“What should she look like?” Maddie asked.
“Wait, I have a better idea, Holly! Molly! Get back here! I have a better idea!” Taylor shouted.
“What?” Molly asked when they came back.
“Let’s not just pretend she was kidnapped. Let’s actually kidnap her. I mean only her parents will notice, and we’ll make her call them and tell them that she decided to go to camp with us and we’re paying for it,” Taylor said.
“Mm!” I screamed, shaking my head rapidly.
“Brilliant, just take the duct tape off her mouth while we’re upstairs, but keep it cover so she can’t scream for help,” Molly ordered.
“Ouch!” I shouted once the duct tape was off.
“Who are we going keep her mouth shut?” Maddie asked, but Molly seemed to not hear.
“Say or do anything and I swear you will die of starvation,” Molly hissed.
I had no choice to listen. I didn’t want to die, I wanted to go home. Not trapped here. Stupid Carter, why would she lie to me?
“We’re going outside,” Molly said as we past the grown ups.
“Okay Darling, don’t go to far,” Aunt Terry said.
“We won’t,” I answered, trying not to shake then we headed outside
“Tell me where we can put you where no one will find you,” Molly ordered when we got outside.
“Why should I?” I asked.
“Because if you don’t, I’ll get my dad’s gun and shoot you down,” she responded.
“Attic of my dad’s barn. Only me and Cathy go there,” I explained.
“Too simple, I know where. Come on Taylor, drag her along,” Molly said when she noticed I wasn’t coming.
When we arrived to a little clubhouse on the end of the lot, Molly walked in. Taylor pushed me in after her.
“What are you going do with me?” I asked.
“Well, keep you quiet and to keep you here,” Maddie said coming over to me with duct tape.
“You can’t do this. It’s against the…” I started but Maddie started wrapping duct tape around my mouth and head. Once she was done with my mouth, she started to tape me to a chair at the small table.
“Very nice Maddie, don’t forget her feet of course,” Molly said looking over me.
“MMM!!!” I screamed but no one could hear me.
“Her legs all set boss,” Maddie said.
“Good, go over the mouth some more. I don’t want anyone to hear her. Otherwise our little game is ruined,” Molly said, and then Maddie started to wrap the tape around my mouth again.
“Mmm,” I said angrily. I wanted to strangle them. They had no right to tie me up.
“Oh don’t worry Max. You’ll be begging for your life soon enough,” Holly said.
“Oh I know what we can do, hang I need something from the house. Taylor, your in charge,” Molly said before she left.
“She’s a sweet little thing,” Taylor said rubbing her hand against my cheek.
“Mm!” I screamed. Then suddenly, she kissed my forehead.
“Mm!!!!” I screamed again. I wanted to get away from her.
“You won’t be able to stop the love,” Taylor said, “Look around you, you’re surrounded by girls.”
Then Molly came back.
“Been kissing Max, Taylor?” She asked. Taylor nodded her head.
“Just don’t go soft on her Taylor, she might get us arrested if we get to close,” Molly said.
“Yes Molly,” Taylor said.
“You can be the first to pick what we do with her though,” Molly said.
“Okay, how about, sleep with the pigs? Then take her back before anyone sees,” Taylor explained.
“Brilliant, Holly, you can untie her,” Molly said.
Soon I was free. But I couldn’t get away because Taylor picked me up bridal style. Soon we got to my dad’s pig lot. It looked like no one cleaned it out since last week.
“Where do you want her Molly?” Taylor asked.
“Near the other pigs. Blend her in with the pigs,” Molly said.
“I have a better idea boss, why not tape her to a pig?” Maddie asked.
“Brilliant Maddie. Give Taylor a hand, Maddie. That way no one can see her,” Molly said
I ended up being taped to three pigs.
“Okay let’s go before someone see’s us,” Molly said.
“Here you guys u little pigs, food time,” I heard Dad say. All I wanted to do was yell Daddy, but I couldn’t.
“I love this time with you Daddy,” I heard Carter say.
“So do I Miss Piggy, so do I,” Dad said.
“I’ll be inside for a sec Daddy, I have to say good-bye to the pigs before I leave for boarding school for girls tomorrow,” Carter said.
“Okay baby girl. Just don’t get muddy or your mother will have your head,” Dad said, and then left.
“Hello Maxine,” Carter said looking at the two pigs I was under.
“Mm!” I screamed.
“I see you met my friends,” she replied. Then she took the duct tape off my mouth.
“Please help me Carter. I need your help. Your friends are kidnapping me and making it seem like they didn’t do anything wrong,” I said quickly.
“Why should I? I like my life here. Besides, starting tomorrow, you’ll be stuck between either going to school all the time or hanging out with Molly and her gang,” Carter said, then started to put the duct tape back around my mouth.
“Here’s some mud,” she said, spreading mud all over me.
“Mm!” I screamed.
“Good bye Carter,” Carter said. Leaving me alone to be Carter for the rest of my life.
I was all-alone. No one was near me, no one loved or cared for me. Then suddenly I heard something.
“Max?” Tyler asked, “Is that you?”
“Mm!” I shouted.
“Max! It is you. I thought I was doomed with the worst person on the planet for a sister,” Tyler said.
Then he started to untie me. Once he was done, I gave him a hug. He was a great little brother.
“Thanks Ty,” I said.
“No time to catch up, we have to tell Mom and Dad,” he said.
“Yeah, come on,” I said then we started to run to the house.
“Mom! Daddy!” I called.
“Max? I thought you were in bed,” Mom said, coming to me.
“Oh Mom,” I said, hugging her and started to cry.
“What’s wrong Max?” She asked, sounding surprised.
“Mom, the girl upstairs you think is Max, is Carter. The girl that’s hugging you is your daughter,” Tyler said.
“That explains why she always agreed with me,” Mom said.
“And hated doing farm chores,” Daddy said.
“What’s going on?” Carter asked coming downstairs.
“Hello Caroline, “ Daddy said.
“What? I’m Ma… Oh,” She said when she saw me.
“Why? Why could u lie to me? I was honest with you all the time,” I asked her.
“Because your stupid,” she snapped.
“Let’s get you home Caroline, that way you can pack your own clothes for the boarding school in Europe,” Mom said.
“But, you signed Max up!” She shouted.
“We can change it to Caroline Hardy, that way my baby girl can grow up on her future farm,” Mom said.
“Really Mom?” I asked.
“Yes, I don’t want my girl to be miserable. I’m sorry it took me this long to realize that,” Mom said.
“It’s okay,” I said.
I was finally happy. I guess I needed to thank my cousin for it, but I wasn’t going to. She could of gotten me killed because of her stupid plan of getting rid of me.
“Good bye Maxine,” she said when she got all her things.
“Good bye Caroline, I hope Europe changes you so we can be good cousin friends,” I said.
“Whatever,” Caroline said, and then left.
“Oh it’s good to have our Max back,” Mom said, giving me a hug.
“I thought I’d be trapped to be her for the rest of my life,” I said hugging her back.
“Okay, you should get some sleep. You have an early day tomorrow,” Mom said looking down at me.
“Your right thanks Mom. Night Mama, night Daddy, night Ty,” I said, hugging each one of them.
“Night,” they all replied.
I went to my room to find my tractor posters were on the floor and Twilight posters were up.
“Ugh,” I said as I took down the Twilight posters. I stopped for a moment and looked at Jacob, the werewolf.
“Hm… Maybe I should read the Twilight series then see the movies,” I said, thinking out loud.
I took down all of the other Twilight posters down and put my tractor posters back up. Besides the posters, my room looked the same as I left it. I can’t believe what I’ve learned about my cousin though. First I thought she was Carter, then she was Cathy, and then finally she was Caroline. How do you get Cathy and or Carter out of that?
Oh well, my life is finally back on track. I’m not Caroline, I’m not going to boarding school, and Mom is letting me become a farmer! Life is pretty good, just think, in a couple of weeks, I will get some delicious Iowa sweet corn with supper.
I guess this is how my life was supposed to be like, having my family have my back in everything I do. I guess I should thank my little brother for that. But as a fourteen year old, there are certain things you say to your younger siblings. And thanks is one of them. But hey! I’m stilling growing up, things might happen.
So good-bye trusty journal for now, I need to get to the farm to help my dad. Betty the pig is getting ready for having kids and Dad needs my help. There’s to words I’d like to say first. They are: