Saturday, September 11, 2010

Taking Sweet, Sweet Revenge - Part II

Mrs. Magdalen and her husband were retired, and lived in a really nice house, with a really nice income. Nevertheless, perhaps just to remain a productive member of society, the evil lady used to make potato chips to sell. She used to make them chips in a tiny room on the second floor; from my balcony, I could see her sometimes, through her open window. The only thing separating our houses was a wall, on top of which they'd put some barbed wire.

My house - and the party wall with the barbed wire.

One day, I saw them going out in their car. That meant: visiting their children and grandchildren. And that meant: out all day.
I got 2 boys for the job: T., aka Chuck, (the first boy to have ever wooed me and taken me out on a date) and J., whom I had known all my life. I had a love/hate relationship with him.
And both boys were always up to any kind of mischief.
J. stood guard outside. Chuck and I walked on the parapet of the balcony, then went over to the party wall; the barbed wire was not a problem; then, he grabbed the window sill and pulled himself into the room. I followed his example (he helped me, for I was considerably weaker). We looked around.
There were piles and piles of potatoes, and several big boxes filled with bags of potato chips, ready for sale. A lot of newspapers - she used to dry the chips in those - and a machine, that I assumed had a vital role in the making of the aforementioned snack. I find myself nowadays utterly incapable of describing said machine - I just remember thinking it resembled my mom's sewing machine enormously.

Huh. Perhaps it WAS a sewing machine, now that I think of it. But what would it be doing in the Potato Room?!
I shall never be able to understand Mrs. Magdalen's Evil Ways.

Chuck dismantled some parts of the machine and hid them around, while I scattered kilos and kilos of potatoes all over the stairs - they rolled pretty nicely, thudding all the way down. We tore all the newspapers into little pieces, throwing them all around and out the window.
Finally, the potato chips. After some quick debate, we settled on taking them all with us.
We called J., and told him to go back to my balcony. Then, we spent at least half an hour just handing ALL the bags of chips over to him.
Chuck and I got out of the House of Evil the same way we'd gotten in. From the balcony, we could see hundreds of potatoes that had rolled their way into the yard. We took the booty to my bedroom, and split it three ways.
A while later, we went to the living room and watched a couple of movies, while eating an awful lot of chips.
We were still there when we heard Mrs. Magdalen's car pulling into the garage. In no time she rang our bell. I answered the door, polite as all hell:
"Oh, hi Mrs. Magdalen, how are you?"
"Oh child, I'm a mess! Could I talk to your mother?"
"Sure, hold on a sec! Moooooooom!"
My mom: "Oh, hi Mrs. Magdalen, how are you?". (I'm very much like my mother.)
Mrs. Magdalen: "My house! It's a mess! Somebody was in there!"
My mom: "What do you mean? Did they steal anything?"
Mrs. Magdalen: "No, I don't think so! Have you seen anyone around here today? One of those awful kids, maybe?"
My mom: "I'm so sorry, I haven't! Let me ask R. Honey," she turned to me, still on the sofa with J. and Chuck "have you guys seen anyone entering Mrs. Magdalen's?"
I shook my head. "We were upstairs, sorry..."
We resumed our movie - none of us laughed or even smiled for even a second. We were the perfect image of innocence. Eventually, she went back home, and we heard a good deal of sweeping. I also noticed she didn't sell a lot of potato chips for a couple of weeks.
And it never occurred to her to suspect R., the kid next door. I just happened to be the most well-behaved kid in the goodamn neighborhood. Who wished everyone a good morning and a good evening, said "please" and "thank you" and inquired after their family's well-being. The one with her nose stuck in a book at all times. The mere idea of THAT kid doing something like that was ridiculous.

I spent the entire following month eating chips at school. And then, it took me a year to eat any kind of chips again. At least I saved up lunch money, and bought the new Backstreet Boys CD with my savings, plus many second-hand Agatha Christie books. Double victory! *thumbs up*
I moved to another city at the end of that year, and never saw her again - even though I still go back there every now and then, to see the friends I left behind. They tell me she's terribly sick, possibly dying. My reaction? Honestly?? I shrugged. We all did. I don't revel in her current condition, but I don't care either.

As for my revenge... it was childish and petty. Measly. I did not get Rolf back, nor Victor Hugo. She'd lost no one dear to her (well, what was I to do, feed lead to her grandchildren?!).
Nonetheless, I'd done SOMETHING. That was all I could ask for.

                                Rolf and I.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Taking Sweet, Sweet Revenge - Part I

I was going through some old pics the other day, and bumped into an album full of me and Rolf, my old Labrador. I couldn't stop staring at all those images: I felt nostalgic (the beer I was having after a long stressful day possibly helped).
I got Rolf when I was 6, and he was the size of my hand. By the time I was 7, he was the size of a pony.
Not that I've ever seen a pony. My parents wouldn't give me one; according to them, it was expensive and we lived nowhere near a farm. Pft. Lame excuses.
He grew up really fast, and I couldn't play with him anymore - not without getting hurt. Like all Labradors, he was as goofy as he was huge, and completely unaware of how strong he was.
When I was 12 we'd established a routine: when I left for school, at noon, he would come running from the back of the house and jump all over me - guess it was his way of saying goodbye! And his way of saying hello, too, for he greeted me the exact same way when I arrived at 6pm.
One day, I was leaving in a hurry - mom had taken longer than usual making lunch, and so I was slightly late. In order not to miss the bus, I ran - but in the back of my mind, the feeling of something missing. What, I could not pinpoint.
I got back home at the usual time, took a shower, and went up to my bedroom to read and wait for dinner - as usual. Then, much to my astonishment, my mom comes in, sits in my chair and stares at me with red eyes. I waited.
I have to say: mom was pretty dramatic. She used to make endless storms in teeny tiny puddles; so I simply assumed she had come for another "much ado about nothing" session.
She hadn't, though.
"Rolf died this morning."
I stared at her, speechless.
She went on: she'd found him that morning, and didn't wanna say anything to me before school. As soon as I was gone, she called the vet, and he took Rolf away.
I realised, then, what had been missing that morning. And also why it had taken her so long to make me lunch.
I don't recall having cried so much in any other point of my childhood.
As I've had the opportunity to mention in another post, my dad rented "Dr. Dolittle" that night, in an attempt to make me forget Rolf. The only thing he accomplished with that was a double trauma.
The vet told us Rolf had died due to lead poisoning. He'd eaten it.
And we all instantly knew who'd done it: Mrs. Magdalen. The evil lady next door.
(P.S.: in Brazil, we refer to other people by their first names, and not their last names. Hence, Mrs. Magdalen.)
She hated all kinds of pets, and had already killed my friend's dog, and blinded that same friend's turtle. She was pure evil, and I swore she'd pay for that. Some day.
Yes, I was a dramatic teenager.

Fast forward 3 years. I had this gorgeous Balinese cat named Victor Hugo (me and my dad are Literature nerds), and he had the most beautiful blue eyes in cat history. He was also very poised and disdainful, like all cats. But I loved him, and always let him sleep in my bed, despite my high allergy to cat fur!
Suddenly, he disappeared for many a day, and I cried again.
One fine morning, I was in our terrace, from where I could see Mrs. Magdalen's roof; and what do you think I saw?
Yep, that's right. Victor Hugo's little body, clearly inanimate, and surrounded by raw meat. And it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what was in that meat. And there was only one person who could've put the meat there.
My friend - the one who'd had her dog killed the same way as mine and her turtle blinded - told me her two cats had also met their fate on Mrs. Magdalen's roof.
I knew, then, the time had come for me to avenge Rolf and all his kindred.
I was 15, and thus did my life of misdemeanours start.

Ok, maybe I'm still a little overdramatic.

(To be continued...)

The House of Evil