. I pressed the little black toggle button hard, hurrying to make the window go up before the frigid wind totally jacked up my hair. Gill grinned and put it down from his side, laughing as I scrambled to evade the wind. I am going to kill Mom when I get home… if I get home. How could she let Gill drive me to the movies?! I don’t care if he’s going to see a movie too; he drives like he’s imagining himself in one of those action movies! Poor Ruby won’t be able to take much more of his recklessness. I’m really surprised he hasn’t crashed yet… Gill swerved around a U-Turn a little more grotesquely than usual, smirking as I clutched the handle above the passenger door.
“Gill! Will you please slow down and pay attention?” He turned up the radio, drowning out my voice.
“ALL EYES ON ME WHEN I WALK IN, NO QUESTION THAT THIS GIRL’S A TEN. DON’T HATE ME ‘CAUSE I’M BEAUTIFUL!” His off-key singing further drowned out my protests. A police car stopped abruptly in front of us, and Gill slammed on the breaks. I squealed, covering my eyes. He chortled and went back to singing along.
“That. Is. It!” I turned off the radio and slapped his hand as he reached to turn it back on. “There is a green light, dummie. Now go! And stop driving like a lunatic!”
He sped past the light and passed the cop. “Chill, Elsie! All because I don’t drive like Mom doesn’t mean I’m a bad driver!”
I glanced back at the shrinking cop car, praying the lights and sirens wouldn’t go off. “Dude! You’re gonna get us pulled over!”
He tittered and nearly hit an elderly woman in a wheelchair. “Oh my gosh! I could, like, totally talk my way out of it!”
I pouted and shrunk in my seat, “I am NOT a valley girl.”
He flipped imaginary hair over his shoulder, “Like, you’re totally not!”
I didn’t reply. He turned the radio back on and blasted it at full volume. Yet, I didn’t do anything. I just sat in my seat staring out the window as he jerked through different turns and stops, singing like the cats you hear in alleys in those old cartoons on the way. The faint lyrics of Defying Gravity by Glee trickled out of my pocket. I reached for the radio again and fished it out of my pocket.
“Hey Mom!” After I flipped the screen open to speaker, Gill stopped revving the engine and glanced over at me worriedly.
“Hey hun! How’s your brother’s driving?” I opened my mouth to speak but Gill shoved a waded up tissue in my mouth.
“Just fine, Mom! I’ve been doing everything you told me to!” The smile in his voice was so cheesy it almost made me want to gag more than the tissue.
“That’s good, honey. Make sure you are careful around the mall. There have been a lot of crashes there lately.” My eyes widened and I screamed through the cloth. “Gill, what’s that?”
“Nothing, Mom. Thanks for the warning. Kay, bye! Love you!” I slammed my feet against the dashboard, the frustration killing me. Gill casually tossed my cell into the backseat and finally took his grubby little hand off my mouth. I spit out the crusty tissue and frantically searched for something to get the awful taste out of my mouth.
“You absolute jerk! I can’t believe you would do that! I mean, do you even know where that filthy thing has been?! And lying to Mom like that is NOT cool!” My full focus was on bickering at Gill, and his was on ignoring me. We both didn’t notice the oncoming car until too late… I didn’t even get the chance to scream.
“Vrrooooooommmmm… SCREECH! Crash, boom, bam! HAHAH!” I saw my three year old self covering my ears as a six year old Gill crashed his toy cars together, nearly smashing his hands in the process.
“Brudder?” Awww… I was so cute! I wobbled over to him and plopped down on the plush carpet.
“What do YOU want?” He tossed the cars aside, not even cringing as they loudly crashed on the floor.
“Why are you so loud?” I cocked my head to the side.
“Why is your hair so curly? You look like a poodle!” He roughly tugged on my brown locks, the same shade as his.
“MOOOOMMM!!!” Between my wails of over-exaggerated pain, I managed to tattle on my brother and get him sent to his room… without dinner. Gill: 0 Elsie: 1
“Elsie! Honey, wake up!” Someone’s cool hands pressed against my forehead and cheeks frantically.
“Ma’am, we’re going to have to ask you to give her some space. She’ll come to when it’s time. I think the boy is waking up, though.”
“GILL! GILL!” A woman’s voice turned into my own, only a twelve-year-old version.
“What the heck do you want, stupid?!” Gill’s preteen voice cracked, making me chuckle. The crashing and loud rap music of a cheap-graphic video game thundered in the background.
“Turn it down! And MOOOM! Gill called me stupid!” He groaned and turned off the video game, sulking into his room and shutting the door closed. 7
A blistering head-ache hit me full on as I opened my eyes to… white. Urgh, too bright! The overwhelming stench of sick and hand sanitizer made me want to gag… I think there was some old person mixed in as well. Gross.
“Elsie! Oh my baby!” Two thin arms wrapped around me, the smell of my mother’s perfume filling my nostrils.
“Mom?” I rubbed at my eyes the best I could around her frail frame. She hugged me tight and kissed my forehead what seemed to be a thousand times.
“Hey hun… You and Gill got in a crash. Some drunken idiot speeding around the curb in the middle of the lane. The car was totaled but that’s about all the damage.” She patted my hand and nodded her head towards the bed next to mine. “Gill, uh… Told me everything. We’re going to work on his driving skills.” I silently thanked God and relaxed in my bed. I still don’t think Gills should drive though…
Of Interest on Amazon