“Look at us, in our old age, having completed nothing,” I said while laying on the couch at my girlfriend’s house.
“We’re both nineteen,” Bianca said without looking up from her laptop. She knew a rant when she heard one.
“Exactly!” I flipped onto my side to see her. “In a few short months we won’t even be teenagers any more—heck, in a few short days, we’ll be leaving for college together—and we haven’t done anything teenager—“ I glanced to the corner. “—ish. Teenager-ish.”
She laughed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Pouting, I said, “It’s just not fair. I’ve been homeschooled my entire life. Conned out of the full teenage experience by my overprotective moms. Like I saw on all those teenage sitcoms and movies. So far, the only teenage experience I’ve had is dealing with that stalker, Stalker Craig. Or as I call him: Scraig.”
“Hey, that’s not your only ‘teenage experience’. You’ve had unhappy adults tell you that if you don’t plan out your entire life right now, you’re gonna be an unhappy failure. Like them.” She sat up straight. “Wait a minute, can we go back to the stalker thing for a minute…”
“I mean the fun teenage experience! Like stealing your parents booze and throwing up on the lawn at three am.”
“You think vomiting… is fun?”
I ignored her. “We need to do something fun like those sitcoms…” I snapped my fingers three times. “I know, we can throw a party!”
“Why do you wanna throw a party?” Benny asked as he emerged from the video game lair he calls ‘His Bedroom’ to get a soda from the fridge. “Objectively speaking, you’re an attractive young girl. Once you get shipped off to college, you’ll be invited to tons of them.” He took a sip of Dr. Onion. “Wish I could say the same for my sister, but she looks like a troll.”
Bianca threw a pillow at him. “Besides, we can’t throw a party.”
“Actually, we can,” Benny corrected. “Mom and Dad are gonna be out of town until tomorrow night.”
“Still can’t throw a party—does the quarantine ring a bell?”
“Pssh. That ended like a month ago,” he said. “And we can always keep the party down to like ten people,” Benny offered. “Everyone can wear masks. It’ll be fine.”
“Are you just gonna disagree with everything I say?”
Bianca glared at her older brother. “Up.”
A devilish grin grew on Bianca’s face. “You are a genius.”
“Yes. I. Am. Thanks for finally noticing.” He tipped up his can as a toast. “Told you I wasn’t gonna disagree with everything you say.” Benny shut the fridge. “Toodles.”
I crept up beside Bianca, kneeling next to her armchair. “So, party? Tonight?”
I brought out my secret weapon: my big doe eyes. “Please?”
“No…” Bianca said slowly.
She was weakening.
Adding a lip quiver, I begged, “please?.”
“N…” Bianca jumped up. “Oh all right!”
I jumped too and hugged her, planting an extra kiss. “Hot chocolate!” I squealed with joy.
With a smile, she asked. “Besides, what could go wrong?”
Six things, in case you’re wondering.
Number One: ten people did not come to the party. Two hundred did. I didn’t even know two hundred people.
I surfed among a wave of bodies, putting blind faith into a nine inch by seven inch piece of fabric around my mouth to save me from a deadly disease. “Seriously, who are you people?” I screamed.
A pair of hands pulled me out of the human ocean. Bianca’s widened eyes stared down at me in horror. “Who let all these people inside? Where’s Benny?”
“Oh there he is,” Bianca said as she stared at the second thing that went wrong: her brother hanging from the living room’s ceiling fan. “Well, at least he’s six feet away from anyone.”
As he spotted us huddling safely in the corner, Benny shouted, “Get me down from here!”
“Bianca, you get your brother down; I’ll corral everyone.” I gave her a kiss on the cheek and took the plunge into the person-sea.
“And how do you plan on doing that?” She called after me.
“Easy,” I replied, “in every high school movie I’ve even seen, anyone can be brought together with a dance number!”
Bianca laughed. Then stopped. “Wait, are you being serious? Pele? Pele!” Her head swiveled from side to side as she tried to find me in the human ocean, but I was already gone. She swore.
Holding up a chair like a baton, Bianca plowed her way through the teenagers. She set the chair down underneath the fan, then used it to boost herself up and grabbed onto Benny’s shirt as he swung around her.
“Getting…” He gagged. “Nauseous.”
“If you puke on me, I will throw everything you own into a river. Then set that river on fire.”
After yanking on his shirt a few things, Bianca, Benny, and the ceiling fan fell into a neat little pile of destruction--AKA, thing that went wrong number three. Their limbs tangled together like the world’s worst game of twister. Benny groaned as he touched a splotch of something red on his forehead. He licked it, then spit it out with all suspicions confirmed: it was blood. Benny upchucked into the pile and Bianca tried to roll away from it. Only the couch stopped her out of control spinning.
“Why is the world moving so fast?” She moaned.
“Because it…” Benny hiccuped, “it’s orbiting at approximately 30 kilometres per sec—“
Luckily, Bianca wasn’t too disoriented to hit Benny with a pillow for being such a know-it-all.
With the Spinning Siblings still gathering their wits, I took it upon myself to whip the rest of this place in space. I climbed onto the dining room table with a microphone from the DJ I didn’t remember hiring and said, “Attention party goers…”
Less than five people turned to face me, so I screamed, “HEY!!”
Static from the microphone screamed along with me and finally they turned to look at me. Though, haha, they looked a little pissed. I gulped, wiped the sweat from my brow, and continued, “So, haha, things seem to have gotten a little out of control. Haha…” I cleared my throat. Oh sweet sugar, their eyes were burning holes in me. I was gonna end up like Swiss cheese before midnight at this rate. “A little tense, too. I was thinking we could loosen things up…” I did a dancing shimmy, “and do our dance number like in the movies. DJ I didn’t hire…” I pointed randomly into the crowd hoping I’d hit him, “play it!”
Nothing. But. Crickets.
Which leads to thing that went wrong number four.
Do you know what happens when you try to force a house full of teenagers into a dance number? This.
A surge of hands appeared and latched into my skin. They ripped me from the table and threw me into the kitchen—and some guy fondled my butt the entire time. I glanced back at the angry mob to see Scraig dissolved into the crowd. Fudge-sticks. Now he’s in my girlfriend’s parents’ house that I’m staying at. Frick-frackin’-fudge-tastic. Can’t wait for him to creepily stare at me while I sleep.
I wonder if Benny has a spare baseball bat.
“Care for drink?” A voice behind me asked.
I swung around. Standing behind the kitchen island in a creaseless three piece suit was a slender man I had never met before. The entire kitchen island was set up like a make-shift bar—including two alcoholics on either side of me, downing whatever this guy put in front of them. He flipped a towel onto his shoulder and shook a metal water bottle. “I’ll be your bartender for the evening.”
I took a seat.
“So what’ll it be?”
I didn’t know. I had never ordered at a bar before. I didn’t even know the name of any drinks besides beer and wine—and not even the specific types or beer or wine.
Oh, wait, I think I’ve heard of a type of cocktail before on TV. What was it called again? I snapped my fingers three times. “A Molotov.”
The bartender cracked a devilish grin. “Really? A Molotov? Are you sure?”
“Yeah, why not?””
“One Molotov coming right up.”
“Pele, there you are,” Bianca cried out as she limped you next to me. “We need to shut this party down.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “I’ve been sexually harassed enough for one night. My stalker is here somewhere, so we might as well call the cops on our own party. It’s all gone to heck anyway. Just let me get my drink first.”
Bianca pulled me close and whispered, “You shouldn’t take drinks from strangers at parties.”
“What drink did you order? Maybe I can make it for you.”
Her eyes widened. “A what? Where? Where is it?”
Instantly, Bianca spotted the bartender holding a bottle of tequila with a lit rag stuffed through the bottle’s mouth over his head.
That’s a weird way to make a cocktail.
“No!” Bianca screamed as she started climbing over the kitchen island to stop him. But she couldn’t reach him in time. “TIME TO VIBE WITH GOD, Y’ALL!” He hollered as he smashed the bottle on the kitchen floor.
There’s Number Five, guys, gals, and non-binary pals.
On the bright side, people finally started leaving—of course it was to escape the raging fire. Mr. Bartender was the first to go. “Coward,” Bianca whispered under her breath as she saw him fleeing out the window.
Smoke alarms screeched at us, ‘cause it's not like I’m already five seconds away from an anxiety attack. You just gotta add loud, scary noises to it.
“We need to stop the fire,” I cried as I tried to spray it with the kitchen sink’s detached nozzle. It was less than helpful. My breathing grew rapid and started worrying about consuming the smoke too fast--which only made me panic more. “Where’s the fire extinguisher?!”
“Umm… it’s in Benny’s room still I think. From that time he set himself on fire trying a magic trick,” Bianca said.
“I got it!” Benny yelled as he barged into the kitchen. He squeezed the handle and a bright white foam smothered out the fire.
I dropped to my knees with my hand over my heart. It was beating a lot faster than I would have liked. “I’m gonna get some serious grey hairs after tonight.”
With the fire gone, it left behind a mess of a kitchen. Over half of the wooden cabinets were scorched, and one was even completely burned through. Any plastic products that were on the counter turned into a pile of melted mush. The kitchen island looked like a lump of chocolate that had been out in the sun for too long.
A pit grew in my stomach. Their parents were gonna be home tomorrow. We’re so frick frackin’ fudgin’ screwed.
Bianca slouched against the fridge. “Well, at least things can’t get any worse.”
I glared at her. “Never say that. Whenever someone says that, things always get worse.”
“This isn’t like one of your sitcoms or movies, Pele,” Bianca said. “This is real life.”
Just as she said that, a key clicked into the front door.
“Oh my lord,” Bianca’s mom—AKA, thing that went wrong number six—said as she walked through the door. “What happened here?”
“We came home early because the neighbors were calling to complain about yelling and noise…” Her dad said. “But we never imagined this.”
Bianca retreated behind to the counter next to me. Her parents’ eyes fell on Benny. Turning to me, Bianca whispered, “Alright, shit has officially hit the fan. We’re gonna need a scapegoat. I vote Benny.”
“What? No. This was my fault.”
“But they don’t know that. This is part of the ‘teenage experience’—lying about committing crimes.”
“I thought we banned you from using the oven, Benny.” Her mom said. “Especially after you tried to make a casserole and burned your fingerprints off.”
“It wasn’t me,” Benny said. He pointed at the two of us behind the counter. “It was them!”
“Traitor,” Bianca said.
“I could hear you two talking about throwing me under the bus. You’re the traitor.”
Slowly, we stood. Now their eyes were all on me. Why me?
Oh right, I’m the reason the kitchen burned down. Haha… Ha...
“Pele, is this true?” Bianca’s father asked.
I twisted my hair around my fingers. “Well, you see, the thing is…the person responsible for this is...” I gulped.
But, before I could finish, the creaking of the closet door cut me off. Crawling out from it like a goblin crawling out of a cave with the faint scent of urine behind him was… “Scraig?” I said.
Not just Scraig, I realized. But a very drunk Scraig.
“Yes!” Bianca jumped up behind me. “Scraig is the one behind this.”
“Who’s Scraig?” Her dad asked.
“That guy who just came out of the closet. He’s been stalking Pele for a while. Totally out of his mind.”
I pulled Bianca in close. “What are you doing?” I whispered.
“Getting us out of this.”
“You can’t just blame an innocent man.”
Bianca snorted. “Scraig’s not innocent. He’s been stalking you and sexually harassed you. Part of being a teenager is petty revenge.”
I thought for a second, then smiled. “Yes,” I said. “It was all Scraig’s fault. He lit the kitchen on fire.”
“And what about the trashed house?” Bianca’s mother said as she touched a crashed can of Dr. Onion with her toe. “Did you throw a party?”
Bianca shook her head. “Nope, that was all Scraig too. He went on a rampage. Throwing trash everywhere. Spilling alcohol.” Bianca cleared her throat. “Destroying the ceiling fan. He’s clearly drunk and dangerous.”
“W-What?” Scraig slurred as he took a step towards me.
Bianca fake screamed the second he moved and her dad tackled him to the ground. “Stay away from my daughter!”
Her mother dashed to the landline, frantically dialing 911.
Long story short, Scraig was arrested. The thousands of pictures of me, my entire schedule, and sound clips of me snoring (creepy) that were found on his phone were more than enough to back up the crazy-stalker-burns-house story.
The next day, while the three of us were driving to the airport (parents in a different car), we only had one thing to say about the whole ordeal. And we even said it at the same time.
“We can never speak of this again.”