Why the hell does this keep happening to us? First, my best friend, Maddie, takes our other best friend's, Korey's, car for a joyride and crashes it in his own damn house. Then, Korey risked a speeding ticket to return a very slightly overdue library book (he'd fire himself out of a cannon if it was three seconds overdue). Now, it's my birthday party... and it went about as well as eating a messy calzone during open heart surgery.
But you know what? I'm jumping the howitzer here, let's go back a bit, yeah?
I was born on June 24, 2000 and since Maddie and Korey love me so much they decided to prepare a birthday party for me. I have no idea why, I'm the least extravagant girl I know in dress, character, and even palate. I wore the same shoes throughout middle school, save for adjusting shoe sizes when I hit my growth spurt. Jumping from a size 7 to a size 10 in three years was wild. I've had the same LT hoodie since I started high school and I was planning on switching into that from my cap and gown once I graduated. As for food, well portion sizes are key. I'll eat anything, but not a lot of it.
To sum up, I'm as simple as the day is long. But usually when something amazing, if ridiculous happens, it's because of that little gremlin called Madeline Scone. She's as sweet as scones, but I so desperately wish she didn't have such a funny way of showing it. It's as amusing as chlamydia.
Anyway, I was hoping we could just have a quick get-together, come to my house for a bit, bring some snacks, watch some movies, play a card game or two; maybe I'll let my sasquatch older sister Faye join in if she behaves herself. And that's what we always do each year for my birthday. Why fix it if there's nothing to repair?
But leave it to Korey and Maddie to get some funky ideas. It first started during the last week of May when another friend of ours, Liberty Johns, asked me what kind of cake I would like.
"You plan on getting me some?" I asked her.
She grinned smugly and said: "Perhaps... maybe I'm making you some. You never know."
"True... well, if I had to, I'd probably pig out and throw a whole lot of candy in it."
"Whoa... sugar rushing to the 5th dimension. Isn't that overkill?"
"A cake that isn't overkill shouldn't bother calling itself a cake," I told her, arching my head up with crossed arms. Call it elitism in the bakery all you want, but this was what Faye and Maddie did during my tenth birthday and they made a monster out of me (I especially want Faye there so I can fight her since I'm the big girl now!)
After I told Libby, I saw her head to the back of the classroom during studying where she was paired with Maddie and Korey.
A week after that, I was doing some geometry homework when I was approached by Korey's 13-year-old cousin visiting from Chicago, Annette Sullivan.
"Hi, Josie!" she said, in her high-pitched, mouse-like voice, "what are you doing?"
"Not now, Annie," I told her, "I've got to get this homework done."
"Geometry. Unless you can help, I need you to let me do my homework, okay? I really need to focus."
At this point, I was too absorbed in the math problems on the worksheet to focus on Korey calling Annette over. I was glad she was out of my hair at least until she wedged herself into my scalp again.
"If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?" she asked.
"Why do you ask?" I said to her. I really needed to focus.
"I want to fly!"
"In a plane?"
"Yep! I want to soar with the birds!"
"Just like Amelia Earhart or Bessie Coleman."
"Well, as for me, I think I'd probably want a set of Mahjong tiles."
And then she returned to her older cousin. Call it naive or short-sighted, but again I didn't think much of it at the time. Now it would've helped to probe her further. The week after that I was approached by another pair of students, Robert and David, and they also wanted to know something I desired.
"Some help with my damn geometry homework would be fine," I quipped, then I gave them a serious answer: "I think I'd have someone close to Stone Temple Pilots playing, as in someone who can play close to their music style."
This was where it clicked. Now, I wasn't as slow as you'd expect of a blonde, but it did take me a while to figure out what Maddie and Korey were doing and when I did, I was quite annoyed. "I know what you two are trying to do and it's not going to work. I appreciate what you're doing, but enough with the Peanuts production, alright? I'd rather it be just us three and maybe Faye if she cares." And of course, they kept on keeping on with this up until June 24. Consider that my birthday landed on a Saturday, and Korey and Maddie had an entire weekend to try and surprise me.
But why was I trying so hard to pop their balloons? I haven't had a proper birthday party since I was around 11, and since then I usually went with my parents and/or friends to a restaurant or the movies, so why don't we see what could happen? How bad could it get?
And the prize for Best Words Spoken Before Disaster goes to...
So, my birthday coincided with my sister's wisdom tooth removal and my parents expected her to be really groggy and dazed. As such, whatever shenanigans Korey, Maddie and I had planned for the day had to be kept to a minimum so we don't disturb the giant nursing damaged nerves and missing teeth.
Part of the day was spent shopping for clothes for mom and myself while Dad stayed with Faye at the dentist. I believe that this was around the same time Maddie and Korey used the copied keys we gave them to make that stupid candy cake for me and failed. Miserably. I mean, a catastrophe if every cat was feral, starving and rabid.
After a long exhausting day of picking between the red blouse and the gray sweater (get both already), mom called a cab to pick us up and take us back to the house so she can bake me a cake without having to wait on Dad to lug that whale all the way to the car. She let Dad know where we were.
Based on what Korey and Maddie yelled into my ears as I demanded an explanation, there was an altercation with the mixer--Korey came down with "everybody's a critic" syndrome and tried to wrestle Maddie over the batter, but got it all over our lovely marble kitchen top. After that, there was an issue with getting the mahjong tiles I've always wanted. Those tiles don't come cheap so the most cost-effective thing they tried was to pull up a Google image search of all the tiles and their characters and the set of rules for mahjong and write them all down. It was cheaper than a dad leveraging his worker's hours to explain why he can't get the new console for little Timmy, but I would've found that the more thoughtful of the two if they didn't physically assault the kitchen. And finally there was the STP cover band. Don't even try to imagine a couple of high schoolers having the connections and the means to hire a cover or tribute band because I never did.
Instead, and I promise this is the truth, they got the neighbor to do it. He was an old Scottish bagpiper named Tim Roots who played in the British Army (I also learned there's a sex joke in his last name), and he kept up into his middle age, so you'd think he could probably give me Plush or Interstate Love Song on bagpipes and I'd believe it. Problem is he's arthritic, and he's showing the first signs of Alzheimer's, so there's no guarantee he can do this for me and I wouldn't want him to at such an age and in such conditions.
Mom put her foot down and got them to clean up their mess. I just went to my room, not that I didn't have the energy to face these two well-meaning idiots, but because I had a feeling the earful I would give them would be beads to the lava bombs Mom was hurling... or so I thought. Again, my expectations aren't met.
But then again, Korey and Maddie aren't her kids and they hardly get in as much trouble as Faye and I do, so she must've been warming them up for their respective parents. She, Korey and Maddie came to my room with a neat present.
"Hey, Goldie Locks," she said to me, "I talked with Maddie and Korey about the mishap in the kitchen. Seems they were trying to throw you a surprise party."
"Seems they failed," I said, harshly, "because I'm not surprised."
"That was rude, young lady."
"Sorry. I was kinda disappointed you didn't yell at them."
"I'm getting to that. Now, what they had planned was called a candy cake..."
"Then they said they had a game of mahjong planned but with handmade tiles."
"And they planned on having Mr. Roots from down the street play your favorite songs on bagpipes."
"Private concert! Oh, man. And I was silently laughing to myself over what I was hoping you'd say to them. Ugh!"
"Don't suffocate under that pillow yet, darling. I'm helping them with the cake and they hadn't gone to get Mr. Roots yet."
"So, there's still time?"
"Yeah. I mean, if you care that much about it, you could go to his house and get him over here if you really want to. Not that I'd force you to, it is your birthday; you can do as you desire, sweetie."
"No wait, I want to see him play."
Goddammit, I got reverse psychologied by my own mother. Well, now I've got to drag Korey and Maddie to get the old guy off his chair and I was expecting to have to provide an incentive, but at his age, he's happy to do this for free. He does have young grandchildren that he plays for occasionally.
Actually, Mr. Roots' talent lies in his auditory memory. I had him listen to Plush once while the three of us were fixing the cake and by the time it was time for me to blow out the candles, he played it quite perfectly. No missed notes. I guess this is what they mean by, "beware an old man in a profession where they die young." After that, he packed his one thing and Mom walked him home while the three of us went to the mahjong. So, the party wasn't a total disaster, a little messy here, somewhat same-y there, a quick cleanup and then back to business as usual (sounds like the hotel staff's recollection of a sex party cleanup job).
We were already deep into a game of mahjong by the time Dad and Faye got home after spending a fortnight in traffic. These idiots annoy me a lot, but I love them both so much.