Friday, March 09, 2007

That Smile

It's a wonder my older sister did not spend her adolescent years in jail. She was basically easy going kid that was quick to lend a helping hand and slow to rile but once she was pushed over the line of what she thought was wrong, Katie bar the door. I've mentioned this tendency in earlier entries.
When we lived in Indiana she had a Schwinn bicycle and she loved that ride. My mom often asked her to go to the corner store and buy things for supper or perhaps pick up a prescription at a nearby drug store. I think it was her first bicycle and she was glad to oblige.
One afternoon she had parked the bike outside and went in to get some water when my older brother commandeered the Schwinn. She ran out but Neil was off like a flash up the block. He was riding with a cousin of ours who lived nearby. They would come by and taunt Mary Lois. At first she asked him nicely to return the bike, but he was having a large time. They would speed up to one end of the block and race back towards our house laughing and swerving at her as she stood there with her hands on her hips. She was one angry little Gentile.
I was about five at the time and I sat on the bumper of our neighbors car to watch the show. I thought it was great fun, because the boys would speed by and just laugh. At first I thought Mary Lois was having fun too and I laughed as they executed another strafing attack. She looked over her shoulders and I swear I could see steam coming out of her ears so I took shelter on the far side of the car.
Mary Lois disappeared around the side of the house and she came back a few minutes later with something concealed behind her back. She ambled over toward the sidewalk and looked up the block toward the two speeding bikes. In contrasts to earlier pleas, she just stood there with this demonic smile on her face. I looked at her and then up the street. Neil was having a large time. Just as they got to her she whipped out a half of a broom stick and tossed it into the spokes of the Schwinn. The next few moments were like slow motion. The spokes ripped from the rim and it sounded like breaking banjo strings. The bike came to an abrupt stop but unfortunately for my brother, he did not. He launched off that bicycle seat in a sidewalk swan dive. The first thing to hit concrete was his chin followed quickly by his hands and knees.
My eyes were as big a saucers as I watched the blood draining down the front of my brother's shirt. Mary Lois turned away and left him twitching on the sidewalk. She still had that demonic smile on her face and she walked by back into the house I heard her say "I bet you'll bring my bike back the next time I tell you to."
I thought my brother would rat my sister out to my mom after he scraped himself off the sidewalk but he never did. I think he remembered that smile on her face and made a silent promise to himself to never push Mary Lois over the line again.

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