By: Michelle Nedboy
The house is big and blue, the yellow porch littered with spiderwebs and curled up ants that lie on their backs dead and cold. I think they look like chocolate sprinkles.
The wooden floors are cold and I can feel their chill through my socks; I flip onto the couch and can feel my neck almost give filling me with a mixture of excitement and fear. I twist myself to get comfortable and look up at the ceiling beam that’s miles and miles away, the space between my pupils narrowing as I go cross-eyed.
Fridays are Netflix day. I pat out into the cold and run toward our silver mailbox with the number 42 on it, my flip flops slapping against the driveway pebbles. The mailbox has dead bugs in its belly, so I’m quick. I run back; we pop the disk into the DVD player and zap some popcorn. We eat the burnt ones and suck on Whoppers.
Sundays are for Simpsons at eight. I badger my parents to get home quick because I don’t want to miss it, any of it. They laugh and I laugh, ‘cause they’re laughing and I’m still a little young to understand it all. Mondays are a little boring because of Antiques Roadshow, but there’s always the game of guessing the auction price of some old bureau. Sometimes they show a kid with the family baseball that looks shiny with bacon grease, its dulled autographs scribbled onto it and the kid handling it like it were just another ball they found at the park and not their parents’ attic.
We watch Suze Orman upstairs in the big bed because my mom thinks it’ll be good for me, but I just like to watch it for the “Can I Afford It?” part and for her to scratch my back.
My room is dark with shafts of moonlight cutting through it and a nightlight in the far corner that I’m afraid’ll catch on fire. My VCR sits in the center of my dresser, like a totem, gray and square. In the daytime I pose in front of its bulged screen. It’s late. My parents are asleep, I think. I creep and load up a tape, the sound of the machine starting up making me nervous as I keep checking the door. It’s on. I turn the volume down to a faint whisper, knowing enough of the tape to hear the characters’ voices in my head.
I slide back into bed and take out the Cheerios and chocolate I took up with me, reveling in my success.