In a story written towards the beginning of the 365 project, I mentioned how I had put salt in the sugar bowl intended for my brother. He and I used to play pranks on one another all the time as kids, and that was just another one of the many. Unfortunately I didn't get him. Instead, I got Dear Old Dad.
It was one of the times my brother had pulled a really good unsuspecting prank on me. He snuck into my room and took every shoe I owned for my right foot. All I was left with was a left shoe line up of mismatched misfits. I didn't say a word for a full day, and instead wore a left shoe on my right foot that looked somewhat similar to the one I paired it with. My aching feet at the end of the school day almost didn't take me home on that long walk. I think I ended up barefoot towards the end.
It was such a good prank he had pulled on me that I had to really think hard to come up with one to match his prowess. I had taught him well, he was getting quite good at the pranks. The week before he had successfully placed a cup of water over my bedroom door frame that soaked me to the core when I opened my door. It was time for a little revenge.
I worked hard to get him back for that one. I tried to put vinegar in his soda, but he knew right off hand what I had done by the smell. I put melted wax in his tooth brush, but a little hot water fixed that one. I even tried to hide his baseball cards, but he found where I had stashed them. Finally, I had a stroke of genius.
On the weekends, if Mom wasn't around, we would sneak sugar into our cereal bowls for our really very plain Cheerio's. All I had to do was come up with some way to sabotage the sugar bowl to get him back and he'd do it to himself!
I woke up around 2am that Friday night and snuck stealthily down the stairs. I took two big spoons full of sugar out of the bowl, dumped them directly into my mouth, and crunched away. I swallowed every bit of that sugar. I didn't want to take a chance on dropping any on the floor and raising suspicion. I was going to really get him this time.
Next I picked up the tall Tupperware salt shaker and held it upside down over the sugar bowl. The white granules sifted through the small holes in the plastic top and began to pour in a stream. There was a difference in the way the salt looked compared to the thin layer of sugar on the bottom though. I knew I would have to mix them to get the desired effect.
I nearly emptied the salt shaker into the sugar bowl, stopping at where I thought the level of the sugar had been to begin with. Then I took a spoon, stirred the contents just a bit, and left spoon dimples in the top so it would look perfectly normal. Immediately afterward I snuck back upstairs and climbed back into bed.
I slept in late the next morning. For some odd reason I had a hard time getting back to sleep that night. When I got up and went down stairs my parents were sitting there having a cup of coffee together.
"Manda," my dad got my attention, "would you like a cup of coffee?" My parents hardly ever let us drink coffee. It was a special treat for him to even think about offering it.
"Sure!" I grabbed the cup he offered to me, poured a full, steaming cup of Joe, and sat down with my parents to put my milk and Equal in it.
"Oh, it's ok," my Dad said. "You can have some real sugar today. Here, use my spoon."
I sat down and the smile melted off of my face. I knew right then that I should say I was sorry, but something held me back.
"Go ahead," Mom said, smiling at me. It was obvious to me they both knew. They wouldn't have ever offered me real sugar otherwise.
I swallowed my pride, though it tasted much worse than the sugar did during the previous nights escapades. I took two heaping spoons full of the white granular cocktail and put them straight into my coffee and stirred.
"Drink it," my father prompted me. I lifted the cup and took a tiny sip. "No, that's not drinking it. I want you to take a good taste." I drank a bit more.
My face wrinkled up into a prune. I grimaced and swallowed, hard. That actually tasted worse than swallowing my pride. It went down in a hot, nasty, salty lump.
"The difference," my father explained, "is that you knew it was coming. I spit all the way across the table and stained the walls. Your mother had to clean it up. You're lucky it was me and not her." He laughed gently. "You were trying to get your brother, weren't you?"
"Yeah," I said, still trying to swallow the nasty taste clinging to my tonsils. I gagged.
"Well, nice try." He smirked. "Go get yourself a fresh cup." Much to my amazement, they still let me have my cup of coffee, this time with Equal instead of 'sugar' from the bowl.
My parents didn't have much patience with us growing up, but the times that they did live on in my memory far stronger than the times they didn't.