MYSTERIOUS WINTER TRIP

When I was six and my brother was ten, my family went up into the mountains for a week. On the way we stopped at a little convenience store to get some snacks. My mom had gotten groceries the day before, but my brother and I were hungry and wanted something to eat on the way.

Once inside the store, the two of us walked around, looking to see if there was anything interesting in the place. Way in the back there was a rack of comic books.

"I want a comic," my brother told our dad.

"Me too!" I said. I didn't read comics, or much of anything else, at the time, since I was still learning to read, but if my brother got something on the trip I wanted one too.

Dad said, "Okay, okay, but don't take too long. We still have a long trip ahead of us."

I looked through the comics, hoping to find something besides superheroes, which I didn't care for. My father had told me that years ago all kinds of comics, including talking animals and romance and horror, used to be made. But now you pretty much had to choose between little superhero pamphlets or those paperback manga volumes. Unless of course you take a graphic novel or a collection of reprints.

To my surprise, there were a couple of comics with monsters on the cover, and I looked at those. One had a guy with fangs and a cape about to bite a scared woman with blonde hair. I always wanted to have blonde hair. The other was a man and a woman inside of a graveyard yelling because skeletons were coming after them.

"Look at these weird things!" I said, showing them to my brother.

He didn't even look at me at first. "Don't bother me," he said. "You heard Dad. We don't have much time to…" He looked at the comics I'd held up and grabbed them out of my hands. "Cool! Why didn't you tell me what they were?"

"I said they were weird," I pointed out. "You never listen to me!"

He started ignoring me again. I crossed my arms and fumed.

"Okay, you two, we're going," our dad called.

I followed my brother to the checkout counter. He got the two monster books. I didn't like monster stories much then, they scared me, but I didn't like superheroes either, so I didn't say anything.

Outside my dad made me take his hand and walk with him through the parking lot. I was jealous my brother didn't have to hold hands, but the way cars drove by I was soon glad my dad was there for me.

When I got in the car my mom said, "Did you have a nice adventure with your daddy and your big brother, honey?" I felt my face get warm. Didn't she know she was embarrassing me in front of them? How could I look cool if I was always being treated like a little kid?

The trip took all day. We had to go up a winding mountain road. There was no way of telling if somebody was coming down up ahead, and I can't believe they consider roads like that safe.

When we finally got to the top, we saw an old cabin. It didn't look like much from the outside, but my mother said it was made to look old fashioned on purpose.

Inside it was modern, complete with microwave and dishwasher. There was also a big living room with a fireplace. The rest of the place, though, was just two bedrooms and a single bathroom.

"Where am I going to sleep?" I asked my mother.

"With your brother," she said, putting her plates and dishes in one of the empty cupboards.

"I have to sleep with the rugrat?" my brother said, making a face.

"You sound like you're being tortured," my dad said, setting up a radio. He'd brought a radio to keep track of the news in case there was a snowstorm or something, but despite the pleadings of my brother and myself had refused to bring along a television set or computer. "The idea is for you kids to experience nature," he said. "Can't do that if you're glued to the tv or a monitor."

My brother was already in a bad mood about that. When he heard we were sharing a room, he was really mad, especially since there was only one bed. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "You wet the bed and I'll kick your butt."

I felt my face grow warm. I didn't wet the bed very often, but I couldn't seem to break myself completely of the habit. When I fall asleep it's very difficult for me to wake up and get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

The bathroom was painted gold with a gold sink, gold toilet, and gold bath tub/shower with a golden door on it. I opened it and saw the tile inside was also gold, and the faucets were shaped like birds. I decided I wouldn't argue for a change when my mother told me to take a bath.

"Get out!" my brother suddenly yelled behind me, making me jump. "I gotta pee!"

"Don't scare me like that!" I yelled back, sticking my tongue out at him.

"Out!" he repeated. I walked out, leaving the door to the tub open. My brother slammed the bathroom door behind me.

I sighed and went to the room I was stuck sharing with him all week. I sat down on the bed, yawned, then lied down, thinking I'd just rest my eyes for a second. The next thing I knew, my brother was shaking me awake.

"Come on, dumbbell," he said. "Dinner time."

"Don't call me a dumbbell, doofus!" I yelled.

"Don't call me a doofus, dumbbell!" he yelled back.

"Stop yelling and get in here and eat or neither of you will be sitting down for awhile!" our mother yelled. We stuck our tongues out at each other then hurried to the kitchen.