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Funny Messy Life

80 EpisodesProduced by Michael BlackstonWebsite

Stories about life, relationships, and culture delivered in a way that will help brighten your day or at least make you ask, "What is he smokin'?" But don't worry. It's all in good fun and it's family friendly. I'm Michael Blackston and these are tales from my blog - in audio form - all based on rea… read more

15:48

Sister Sister (Again) - 058

   When you live with someone for a long time, the stories pile up. That’s especially true when the people who live together are siblings, because not only are you with each other all the time, but you’re also going about the business of growing up, and learning to handle the things that life throws at you. Case in point, me and my sister. Early on, I saw the need to tell some stories about how we’ve tackled projects together as adults, but I haven’t gone into great detail about our childhood, with the exception of the time she dotted me in my eye. So now, as I think I promised, it’s time to go a little further back into our childhood, mainly the early eighties, and tell you about some of the things that we got into. Parents, you may cringe, because there is a bit of blood, as well as something that would have probably gotten us labelled as terrorists in today’s culture of jumping to conclusions, and cancelling anybody that breathes in a way some people disagree with.

   Today, we tend to cover our kids in bubble wrap, but back then, it was a different time. I’m Michael Blackston. Why don’t you slip on your favorite Underoos, grab a bowl of cereal, and settle in for the Saturday morning cartoon that is my Funny Messy Life.

_________________________

   When we were kids, my sister spent a lot of her time looking after me, and a lot of her time being annoyed by me. The rest of time, were were in what more cultured Americans refer to as, “Kahoots”. I don’t know if that’s the right way to spell it, and I don’t care. Doesn’t matter. Me and Stephanie engaged in them because it was the eighties - a time just before the dawn of all the technology that keeps kids inside, punching keypads and video controllers with their thumbs. I would say it was safer for kids to play outside unsupervised back then, but by the time I’m done with this episode, that won’t hold water.

   Steph is my big sister, so there were times in our childhood when it was up to her to save the day. One of those times came on an afternoon when we were very young, and found ourselves playing in the yard with the boy that lived next door. I won’t give his name, but if you’d like to hear about some of the other trouble he got me into, go back and listen to the episode called, My First Love, when he introduced me to the famous, fabulous, four-letter F-word. You can’t read about it - I used bullet points to tell that story. Sorry.

   Anyway, he was mean. He was my sister’s age, or maybe a little older, and he liked to pick on me because I had not yet trained to be a ninja assassin, although I had aspirations.

   Behind the house, tucked a little way into the trees, was an old dog pen my dad had built. It had been years since there had been a dog back there, and nature had grown up all around it, so that you had to go down a short path to get to it. The path was bracketed on both sides by poison oak, stinging nettles, rabbit tobacco, and Devil’s Snare. Oh yeah, and Kudzu. It’s Georgia. There’s always gonna be Kudzu. The fence surrounding the thing was probably eight feet high, with rusty points of chicken wire sticking straight into the air like the evil fingers of a robot Satan, stuck in a perpetual freeze as they curse God. And I feel like I need to stop for a few seconds and make a note in my topics list about a future episode. Let’s see … chewing wild rabbit tobacco with my cousin who did stupidly stupid things with me … because we were stupid. I know there are people out there who don’t care for the word, “stupid”, but it’s okay because I’m calling myself and cousin it, and also … we were.

   Back to Steph crucifying herself.

   Wait … What?! Is this going to be graphic? Yeah. A little bit..

   I don’t know how or why the neighbor boy got his hands on the banana seat from my bicycle, but he did. I think the equation in his mind probably looked a little something like this (Mathematicians, don’t laugh at me. I’m an artist. Just an artist.)

   Fun + Laughs∞ = (Banana seat + high fence)(Devil’s Snare) x (Michael crying)

                                 ——————————————————

                            (Butt whoopin’/meanness) ¶ ÷ quota of evil doin’

   However it went down in his mind, the fact remains that he got his hand on the banana seat from my bicycle and chucked it over the fence, into the forbidden dog pen, and the door to the pen had a chain on it. If you’ll refer back to my equation, the objective was to create fun and laughter, by virtue of my tears. Mission accomplished.

Stephanie didn’t want to be the one to have to climb over the fence, but somebody was going to have to if I was going to shut up. I understand the compulsion of some people to be repulsed by the term, “Shut up”, but we were kids, and I needed to.

The neighbor boy certainly wasn’t going to suddenly find a spark of mercy and climb to rescue my bicycle seat, so that left Steph. I was too little and overcome with grief anyway.

   Steph found a purchase for her feet and began the climb, fussing at the neighbor boy the whole time. Devil’s Snare reached out for her, awakened by my screams, her anger, and the stench of the neighbor boy’s untethered glee. She managed to find her way safely over the fence, into the pen, and tossed my banana seat back over, triumphantly. But the journey was far from over. The chain kept the door locked from the inside and out. Steph would have to make her way over the fence one more time to get out.

   She found a purchase once again for her feet, and began the arduous task of pulling her body toward the top. And she did it. Swinging her leg over the top of the fence, she tried to find a foothold again, to let herself down. And she found that foot hold. She swung her other leg over, and that’s when everything went wrong.

   Stephanie and I have always been fantastic climbers. We had Sweetgum trees all over the place in our yard, and because technology had not yet advanced to the stage of letting us send a digital version of ourselves up into the trees, carrying swords and machine guns, we had to go up into the real trees. It doesn’t escape me that there are some people out there who don’t care at all for the very mention of machine guns, but we were kids, and our dad taught us at an early age how to handle a firearm, so if we’d been allowed to, we surely would have strapped M-16s to our backs as we climbed. Dad would’ve frowned on that, though. The point is, that we climbed the trees all the way to the top, as far as we could go without them bending over, so Steph losing her footing on the fence was not an expected occurrence.

   Lose her footing she did, though, and she fell.

   She didn’t fall far. Those rusty fingers of metal at the top of the fence got into the game by stopping her fall. One of them tore deep into her wrist and held her, dangling and screaming. Now we were both screaming. She was screaming in pain and terror, I was screaming in grief and terror for Steph, and the neighbor boy, seeing what had happened, started screaming too, in terror for the butt whoopin’ he was likely to take, both from his dad when he got home, and Steph, if she made it down from there alive.

   I don’t recall how she ended up getting down, but she did, bloody wrist and all. I’m sure I remember it worse that it really was, and I probably got some of the details fuzzy. I was small, after all, and saw the whole thing through a blurry glaze of tears at the thought of not having my banana bicycle seat.

   I’ve always respected Stephanie’s chivalry in that moment, and I think she still has a scar on her wrist to show for it, but that’s the least of what could have happened to us.

   Later in years, when I was a preteen, and she was a teen, we found ourselves in possession of some firecrackers. I think they were called Black Cats. They were the kind you light, then throw to hear a loud bang, and that’s pretty much it. We stuck a few up the butts of actions figure and lit them just to watch how many arms and legs would go flying. Unfortunately for me, they were also the fast fuse kind. Why unfortunately for me? Well, Steph handed me a Black Cat one afternoon with the following plan.

   “You hold it, I’ll light it, and you throw it real fast.”

   I, being a MO-ron, agreed. Now, I get it that some of you out there might not want to hear the word Mo-ron. You consider it rude and insulting, but agreeing to this was not one of my finest moments and carries, I believe, the proper information to categorize me as such.

   I held the firecracker, and she struck a flame to the lighter. The fuse was long enough, but I suppose that in her excitement, she lost some control of her motor skills, because instead of lighting the fast fuse at the end, she opted for the lighting-the-firecracker-right-at-the-base-of-the-explosice maneuver.

   I barely managed to get it out of my hand before it went off. Had it actually exploded in my hand, I could have been seriously injured. As it was, I got enough distance from it - a few inches - that it only FELT like somebody chopped off my hand. I was numb for a couple of days.

   So, did that experience serve to teach us a valuable lesson? Yes it did. It taught us that it’s possible to live another day, and we came up with the most sinister plan yet.

   There were a lot of those firecrackers left, but we didn’t care for throwing them any more. They were powerful, and they hurt. We needed a way to harness their full potential, and better yet, all at once.

   We knew three things:

  1. A glass jar would hold all the powder if we meticulously cut through the paper of each firecracker and dumped the powder into it.
  2. If we drilled a tiny hole into the bottom of the jar and inserted a very long wick, we could place the jar, and all of its powder, at the center of Brady Bottoms - an area down the road from our house, and hide behind a tree to witness our glory.
  3. If we first doused the wick in gasoline, it would surely light and find its way to the jar.

   And we did exactly that. Well, almost. It took us days to secretly sit in dad’s metal building with Exacto knives, cutting the firecrackers and dumping their powder into a jar, but we did it, and hid the jar away until we could figure out a way to drill a hole in the bottom of it without breaking it.

   Luckily for us, mom found out about our master plan, and intercepted the jar, scolding us to no end, and thanking Jesus that we’d not gone through with it. Mama was wise because she knew three things:

  1. Exploding jars break into tiny pieces of glass projectiles that fly faster than Steph or I could have dodged. We would have wanted to see the explosion, so even though we had planned to hide our bodies behind a tree, our stupid idiot MO-ron faces would have been right in the line of fire.
  2. We had constructed a bomb, and even in the eighties, that’s illegal.
  3. We could have died.

   We tried to argue, but mama told us to shut up, and that she’d rather see us playing with machine guns in the tops of the Sweetgum trees, than have us become pasty little terrorists.

   So the first Sister Sister episode involved happy things like birthday cakes, the theatre, and parade floats, while this one involved grisly scenes, blood, and weaponry - some legal, others not so much. Needless to say, my sister and I have lived interesting lives, and there’s still a lot to tell. I’ll get to that on down the road. Until then, parents, watch your kids closely, and kids - don’t be stupid.

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