“No, I don’t want to go to the Cabinet Seminar with you tomorrow, Sapphy.” Ander crossed his arms across his chest and scowled at his sister, who was trying once again to convince him that he should go with her to some ridiculous event. Whatever. “I’m not going.” He ignored the tickets sitting on the table and rolled his eyes when Sapphy widened hers; some attempt to make herself look more innocent, but instead made her look like she had eaten too many gas station bean burritos and wasn’t sure where the nearest bathroom was.
“But, Ander… I think you’d like this one! It’ll be fun. They have free lunch, too! I know you love lunch.”
“I can eat lunch at home, don’t worry about it.”
Sapphy just really wanted someone to go to the seminar with her. She was so tired of sitting alone, watching others walk into the room with their church groups, knitting clubs, or busloads of fellow cult members. It cut her to the heart that her own flesh and blood wouldn’t want to join her in something as important as cabinet and the history of how they came to be.
“I think it would be good for you to get out of the house.” She veered the socially lacking argument a little too far; Ander had been to at least three basement parties this past year of high school and he had been invited to, well, none of them. On the good foot, however, he was becoming a master at party crashing.
“I have plans, Sapphy.” Ander cracked his back against the chair. “Lots and lots of plans.” Sapphy blinked at him. “With friends.”
“Are your friends Mr. Dishwasher and Miss Vacuum? Because unless you get up off of that couch and come to this seminar with me, I will have no choice but to give you my chore list.”
She could do it, too, because she was in charge while their parents were gone.
Ander kicked their pet guinea pig’s cage and took another bite of his chicken pepper chili waffle sandwich. “Do I have to go?”
Sapphy’s mind was already made up. She smiled, showing all of her white teeth at the two silver capped ones on either side of her mouth. “Yes, you do. Also? It’s a formal event, so pants are required.”
Ander scoffed at this remark. He was wearing pants! He totally was… well, more or less wearing some form of pants. They would never pass as formal though, so he headed to his room, stepped out of the sweatered jumpsuit his Grandmother Relish had knitted for him, and began the search for clothes. There were black church pants (starched just last Sunday) swinging over the bedpost, so he grabbed those. There was a gray cable knit sweater folded by his bedside, so he picked that up too. He hadn’t seen it before, but oh well. Who cared? Not Ander, and Sapphy would definitely not care. It was a nice sweater. Ander threw it on and jumped into the pants. As he walked towards the door, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. “Huh, don’t look half bad, old boy.” He laughed and headed back towards the living room. Sapphy wasn’t ready to go yet. She was eating. She was eating something disgusting, like an apple. Ander could never figure out why she wouldn’t just settle for something nice and simple, like a sawdust quesadilla or a pair of old sneakers. Silly sisters, always making things complicated.
“I’m ready to get this show on the road, man!” Ander cracked his knuckles and smiled. “How do you like this sweater?”
Sapphy stared at Ander for a minute, and then went right back to eating her apple. Ander rolled his eyes again. It wasn’t like he was the one making them both late for the seminar she paid for. “Hello? Saphronia Chuck Bowtile? Are you there? I asked, how do you like this sweater?”
Again, he was ignored, and Sapphy picked at the apple peels stuck betwixt her teeth.
Now, you may get the idea that Sapphy and Ander were not very good friends because they were siblings, or that Sapphy was a jerk because of all the blackmail threats and then, of course, the incident of apple eating, but the truth was that they weren’t enemies at all. Siblings, at the core of things, want to be friends. So when Sapphy refused to even look at Ander, he was hurt and also confused. “Sapphy!” He jumped up and down. “Can you hear me? What’s wrong with you?” She was acting like she didn’t even see him, or hear him, or feel his presence in the room. But then again… maybe Sapphy really couldn’t see Ander. Maybe, he began to think, the sweater he had found so conveniently was actually a magical sweater. It probably had turned him invisible. Ander reached towards Sapphy’s apple; as soon as he touched it, he expected it to disappear too, but to no avail. Huh, maybe the invisibility thing only applied to himself but if he was really invisible, then why could he see himself in the bedroom mirror?
“Man, this is weird.” He guessed he wasn’t going to go to the seminar. “I guess, following the laws of all invisibility movies ever, I should go wreak some havoc in the nearest city.” He shrugged, concluding with himself that this was indeed the best plan, and walked out the door. Rather, he planned to walk out the door, but instead ended up walking right through the door. Paying little attention to this inconsistency, Ander kept on down the road and headed straight towards the nearest city, which was not really a city, but the village’s town square.
“Invisible Ander, who would’ve thought?”
Ander kept walking until he got to the town square, and when he did, he picked up a little Chihuahua and lifted it over his head. No one screamed. No one pointed at the floating dog. Ander put it back down. People could be so oblivious sometimes, honestly. He kicked over a trash can to no avail. What was going on here?
“Whatever, maybe I’m not doing anything drastic enough to be noticed. The wind is pretty strong this time of year.” Ander shrugged down at the trash can and wandered over to a park bench, where a girl with shockingly orange hair and a guy who, Ander presumed correctly, was her boyfriend. They were talking about where they should go eat. Ander decided he would interrupt the happy couple, and sat down between them. He poked the guy between the eyes and waited for a yelp of surprise, maybe even for him to scream at him, hit him back… anything. But nothing happened. Ander turned to the girl. He took a piece of her hair between his hands and rubbed his palms together like he would if he was trying to start a fire or kill a really stubborn cockroach. When that amounted to nothing, Ander flicked her cheekbone. She blinked, but didn’t react like Ander had wanted her to. What was the fun in being invisible if one even saw the havoc you were wreaking on the city? Ander punched the boyfriend in the jaw, hoping one last time to get some kind of response, and maybe a few loose teeth as a souvenir, but all he ended up with were sore knuckles.
Ander stood up from the bench and walked backwards towards an ice cream stand, watching the couple continue chatting as though he hadn’t just assaulted both of them. “This is getting a little old, magic sweater.” He knew he could just take it off if he wanted to be visible again, but then he’d be wandering around the town square with no shirt on, and he knew that would definitely get him arrested, plus it was just cold enough that his nose was starting to go numb. He turned around to face the ice cream cart, pulled a wrapped frozen treat out of the freezer, and unwrapped it before throwing the whole thing at the nearest old lady feeding corn to pigeons. Like he had come to expect, she just kept on throwing corn.
“I wonder where Sappy thinks I went?” Ander thought out loud as he trudged back home, feeling disheartened and ready to shrug off his new sweater. When he got to the driveway, he noticed his parent’s car was back in the driveway. They were home early, which was a nice surprise in light of the morning’s disappointments. Ander walked through the front door and kind of floated back upstairs. Hmm. His feet weren’t touching the ground. “I’m ready for a nice, normal shirt.” He stepped into his bedroom and headed towards the closet, but once he got there, he realized he wasn’t in his room at all. The walls were white and blank of the height marks, posters, and theater playbills he had collected over the years. There was no laundry littering the floor and his computer was nowhere to be seen. The bed had been stripped of the seventeen blankets he loved to burrow under and there was no shaky metal chair posted in the corner of the room. It looked like a guest room, but Ander’s family didn’t have a guest room and this wouldn’t be it even if they did. Ander pulled the sweater off his body and tossed it at the wall. He picked up a leg of the stripped bed and lifted it as high as he could before dropping it back. The leg clanged against the floor. Ander waited to listen for shouts from downstairs, but it was silent and the silence was almost too loud for him to stand.
Ander jumped off the bed to the floor once and then climbed back up to jump again, only this time his plan was to break a hole in the floor, and maybe in whatever strange alternate dimension he had unwillingly found himself in. He bent his legs, arched his back and threw his whole shirtless body off the mattress, only to see the ground open up and swallow him whole.
The sweater shook itself off and grinned toothily. Human number five one seventeen had been successfully transported to the underground planet of Larttleight, where there had been a lackage of teenage boys in the recent years. Now that Ander had finally jumped through the portal, technically of his own will, the sweater had accomplished its last mission and could retire knowing no one would miss Ander at all.
There was just something about a new sweater that made people disappear from existing at all.