Your hand slaps aside a bag of flour. It tumbles, spilling a cloudy pool of white powder over the stove. Ignoring it, you drag your arms the other way, toppling over a can of cooking spray and a sack of sugar. They clutter to the ground, forgotten.
Clambering down from the counter, your feet drop on one of those box cartons of milk, spraying frothy pale cow juice across the floor. With a sigh, you face the room, surveying the damages.
The kitchen’s a mess. Each cupboard is wrenched open, their spilled contents left idly behind. Seasonings are scattered, boxes of noodles and instant mashed potatoes left in stacks. Rumaging through the heap, you toss strange, random things over your shoulder: a retainer; an antique shoehorn; some strange, glowing red crystal — the longer you stare at this one, the more it stares back — and your sister’s baby’s pacifier, still coated with Pepsi stains.
Not an ounce of vinegar.
The phone rings.
You scramble for it, tossing clutter from the table aside, casting packs of microwave mac ‘n cheese through the air–
Suddenly the world spins as your foot slips, crashing you to the cold, wet floor.
With a growl you flail like a seizing orangutan, slapping aside random condiments, desperately hunting for your only link to salvation. Finally, after kicking a loaf of mangled bread, you see it.
Sliding through a wave of cereal, you roll on your back and answer it, resignedly allowing the cold milk to seep into your shirt.
“Coworker? Listen, I need–”
“What? That’s a strange way to answer the phone little bro.”
“Hey,” she says. “I gotta bone to pick with you!” You can hear the baby crying in the background.
“Deb, now’s not really a good ti–”
“It’s your fault, ass!”
“Because of you, I got exiled from the Trailer.” she moans.
“I was banished!”
“I still don’t–”
“They voted me off, jackass!” she yells.
“And this is my fault, how exactly?” you say, flopping onto your side. You use a tentative grip on the kitchen table to help get some traction as you kick yourself up to knees.
“Ratings showed that you were, like, the most boring part of the show. The producers didn’t wanna risk puttin’ you on again, ’cause you would, like, bring the whole show down and shit.”
“Of course. ‘Cause that’s the most rational–”
“So,” she coos, ”now I need a place to stay, and I figured…”
“No, hell no!” you cry, making it back to your feet. “Deb, do not come over here. Are you listening to me? Do not come over! It’s…dangerous, and, and the baby! Think of the baby!”
There’s a knock at the door.
Staggering over, you expect to see your decaying sibling as your fingers twist the knob. But as it slowly creeks ajar, you find two young girls standing in her place.
The one on the right is short, her blonde hair pulled tight into two pigtails at either side; her large, pixy almond eyes matched only by a sweet, youthful smile. She is wearing a white blouse and a green skirt and vest, littered with badges.
The one on the left is taller, dressed in black jeans and a Marilyn Manson shirt. She’s also wearing a green vest, though hers only has one badge. The image on it resembles a smoking pistol. The half of her head that’s not shaved falls in red tipped spikes. Her pierced nose is flaring.
Milk is dripping down your back.
“Hey, you better not talk that kind of shit around the baby,” your sister is saying.
“Can…I help you?” you ask the girls.
“Hi!” says the little one. “Sorry it’s so late, sir, but you were the last stop on our route. We’re your local Girl Scouts, and we were reeeeaaallly hoping you could help us open up a new community center for girls ‘ health here in town! All you need to do is buy two boxes of cookies!”
“Girl scouts?” you mutter.
“Girl scouts!” your sister echoes at your ear. “Better watch out bro, I heard things about them.”
“Yeah, they been working with Planned Parenthood and shit.”
“Some Communist abortion shack or somethin’. Anyway, they apparently been training little girls how to have sex and shit.”
The baby cries.
“Are you sure? That sounds stup—”
“Yeah, I hear they’re all kinds of fucked up now. Little girls raised to be lesbian sluts and shit. I bet they even carry knives.”
“Now you’re just being ridiculous,” you laugh.
“Excuse me,” the tall one interjects. “We don’t have all day for you to be talking on your phone, man. You want some cookies or not?”
“Oh, um,” you stammer. “Sorry ’bout that.”
“Don’t do it!” Deb screams. ”If you buy those cookies, babies will die!”
“Just hold on a second Deb,” you say to the phone. Then, ”I don’t think so girls. I’m really not a big fan of cookies–”
The little girl’s smile drops. “But…but, you mean you won’t help us?”
“Fuckin’ waste of my time,” the tall girl scoffs, lighting up a cigarette.
With a sigh, you lean down to talk to the little one.
“No honey, I’m sorry. I just can’t.”
Suddenly, a smile pops on her face. “It’s okay.”
You smile back.
“Because you’re going to buy some cookies.”
“No, honey, you don’t understand, I can’t–”
“Oh you can,” comes that sweet little smiling voice. “And you will. Or I’l cut you.”
“You–what?” You step back.
Suddenly, a six inch butterfly knife flutters out in your face.
The tall one drags from her smoke and says nothing.
“That’s right asshole.” says the little girl. “You heard me. You buy these cookies, and I’ll consider not taking your testicles as a trophy.”
Without a word, you pull out your wallet and hand her a twenty.
“Thanks so much mister!” she beams. “Oh, and vote Obama!”
With that the little girl bounds off down the road into the setting sun, her pig tails bobbing with each spring of her step, the tall girl striding behind.
“Bro? Hey, Mack?”
You stare numbly down at the boxes of cookies in your hand.
Commie Crisps, they read.
“Are they still there?”
“No, they’re gone,” you say, closing the door. You toss the boxes on the couch and drop beside them. Pulling out a cigarette, you light it up and grab an Xbox controller.
“So I’m coming over,” she says.
Night will soon be here, and then…
Blowing out the smoke, you close your eyes.
© 2012 J. Chris Lawrence