Volume 2, Issue 2, May 31, 2007|
Image ©Cile Bailey
by Jeremy Schneider
I haven't always lived in a closet. Daddy used to let me live in the house proper. I even had my own room that I shared with my older brother Malcolm (I'm eight, he's eleven). It wasn't until I changed that Daddy locked me in here. Malcolm says it's because he's scared of me that he keeps me locked in here. When I ask Malcolm why Daddy would be scared of a kid (I am eight after all), when he is a grown up and way bigger than me, Malcolm says it's what's inside my head that Daddy is scared of.
I see what Malcolm means because one time, before I started changing, Daddy brought Malcolm and me out to the Ott's Farm and we watched as Daddy and Mr. Ott cut open this big old pig that was just about as fat as a pig can get. The guts were all over the place and boy it was a mess. And then Daddy cracked open that pig's head and scooped out the brains and put the brains in a big metal bowl. And when I saw the brains all wet and squishy in that metal bowl, I nearly got the all-overs and I had to run out of the barn and puke and I heard Daddy and Mr. Ott laughing as I ran. But Malcolm wasn't laughing.
I am lucky because if a guy has to have an older brother than Malcolm is the best older brother a guy could want. I'll tell you how great a brother Malcolm is: during the days, when Malcolm comes home from school and when Daddy and Mommy are away at work, Malcolm comes into my closet with me and reads me books. It doesn't matter if we have read the book a hundred times before; he will still read it to me. I especially like the books with color pictures in them, what are called illustrations, on the cover and inside the book. Malcolm is smart because he can read. I can't read. But I can do other stuff.
Like this one time me and Malcolm were in my closet and he was reading to me, and we got to losing track of the time, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, we hear Daddy's rattling old truck pull up in front of the house. And Malcolm gets scared because Daddy told Malcolm that he wasn't to come in my closet, and he has even locked the closet to keep him out, but Malcolm is good with tools and he just picked that lock with nothing but a piece of wire from an old coat hanger.
So we hear the truck, and we hear the squeak of the breaks and the rattling as the engine shuts off, and then we hear the scrape as the door of the truck opens and pretty soon we know Daddy is going to come in the house and find Malcolm in my closet and he is going to be all mad because he is always kind of mad when he gets home from work anyway.
So Malcolm says, real loud but sort of under his breath, "Shit!" And I know he is going to get caught and Daddy is going to be mad and when Daddy gets mad he uses his hands, and I don't want him to use his hands on Malcolm because he is my older brother and I love him.
So I get this picture (illustration) in my head of Daddy walking from that old rattling truck, passed the old metal mailbox, and up the walk to the door and then I say in my head "Fall Down!" real loud, but only inside my head. And I hear Daddy's lunchbox hit the walk outside, and I hear another sound like of falling, and then I hear Daddy say, real loud so anyone can hear, "Shit!!!" And then I hear, but I can sort of see it too, Daddy on his hands and knees putting his leftover lunch back into the lunchbox. And then I say to Malcolm, "Go Malcolm. Its okay now." And Malcolm picks up the books he brought and sticks the metal door opener in his pocket and runs out of my closet slamming the door real hard and then I am alone again.
Read the rest of the story:
Going Home (pdf)
Going Home (prc)
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