“No we aren’t,” Lea whines.
‘I wouldn’t be here unless my older brother sweetened the deal with the three crisp twenties lining my pocket. The only instruction given was to mind the brat that awfully noisy bugger. Heck that brother of mine’s going to get a share of this pain.’
“Oi! Lea! Get your arse over here. We’re going shopping!”
‘He must be scared of malls. They’re filled with weird people, awful odours, and tacky stuff. What kid wouldn’t be terrified of them?’
Something tugs at my sleeve. It’s Lea.
“Auntie, can we see the bunnies?” he asks with big watery eyes.
‘Heck if it keeps him quiet,’ “sure thing kid,” I tell him with a malign grin. I take his midget arm, and march off to the mall entrance with Lea in tow.
He’s not protesting, to my relief, if the entire time would pass like this I’d be in heaven. Yeah, me and my wishful thinking…
“I’m gonna teach you a song ok?”
I hit the disabled door button with my knee, ‘like I’d open it the normal way.’ The door opens like a charm for the first door, I repeat my actions for the inner door but it fails to deploy. With annoyance I wrench open the second set of doors and pass into a shiny commercial wonderland. ‘By George I can solve all my problems here with a bit o’ retail therapy.’
I began to sing softly:
One! Two! A One! Two! Three!
Many little candies
Lined up in a row ~
I’m gonna eat eat eat;
Em all till I spew, spew
All over mama’s
Pretty ole frock.
I’m gonna eat em all!
Lea awkwardly copies me, ‘hopefully he remembers to sing this at home…’ We repeat the song a couple times as we march down to the pet store. Oddly enough Lea stops dead in his tracks in front of the store.
“What is it now?” I ask him.
“I need armour,” he states bluntly.
“Really? What kind?” I raise one sculpted brow in mock interest.
“The one from my Don Quixote picture book!”
“You need that to see the bunnies?”
I feel like doing a mental facepalm. Instead I squat to his eyelevel and look him dead in the eye.
“Lea,” I deadpan, “are you up for knight cosplay?” (note: cosplay is the combination of costume and play)
“Yup yup,” he replies cheerfully.
“Great…” I make a full turn and point out the nearest dollar store, “there is where your armour is. Follow, okay?”
We make a jaunt over to the dollar store; Lea becomes ever more impatient and nags me for costume parts.
“Auntie? Where do I find a helmet?”
“Auntie? I need a cape? Help me please…”
“Auntie! Auntie! How do I look?”
I do a two-second-lookover… “Lea you look dashing.” He’s got a stainless steel colander on his childlike head that slips as he speaks and a neon green beach towel as a flowing cape for makeshift knight getup. ‘Dear brother of mine what would you do when you discover what I’ve done?’ I chuckle and lead Lea over to the cashier.
“I’d like to take this,” gesturing to Lea’s new accessories, “how much?”
The cashier is one of those uncaring part-timers who chews chewing gum during work and would barely move a hair to help a customer. She tells me its four dollars and seventy-eight cents; I pay with my brother’s babysitting bribe money. ‘I feel no guilt over it. I even feel gleeful for this.’
“So you ready now?”
He grabs my hand and tugs me towards the pet store. I follow. I notice the odd looks that Lea’s costume garners but I pretend to be unaware of it. ‘They’re just jealous. HA!’
We make it in the store; the bunnies are in a tall glass tank near the entrance.
Lea squeals delightfully. ‘There’s no better pleasure in letting this one play.’ I laugh when he bonks his helmet against the tank.
“You wanna pet it?” I grab a random bunny from the cage and hold it in my arms like a baby. l leave one hand free to stroke its fluffy head.
“Me too!” Lea wiggles his hand towards my furry friend.
“Gentle Lea, Mr. Bunny is fragile.”
I let him pet it for a while. After looking at the animals, we leave the store without buying anything. My stomach made a noise, ‘ah how embarrassing.’
“Lea you hungry?” I asked more out of self-interest than concern for the kid.
I remembered that my brother told me not to give Lea candy, with funny reasons for cavities and root canal. Not that I’d blame him for being a dentist, ‘that never stopped me from getting a sugar fix.
“Do ya like candy?”
“Uh…” I point at the store.
“Papa said candy is bad”
“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, okay?”
“Auntie,” he asks slowly, “is it okay?”
“Yeah. Now go in there and pick something. Get on with it will ya.”
Lea goes into the candy store, he disappears into the stacks of candy, I assume to choose his poison. I in the meanwhile go up to the counter as ask for a pound of walnut fudge. I wait for Lea.
“Did you choose it?”
“I can’t decide…”
“Show me then,” I go over to Lea. He looks torn between skittles and a large lollypop that spirals about in white and pink.
“What one should I get?” he asks
“I’ll get you both.”
“Really? Gee thanks Auntie!”
We left the candy store with a sizable load of candy. I checked my watch, ‘it’s time to go back.’ We go back to my car; I buckle Lea up in the backseat and give him the pack of skittles to pacify him. We head back. Lea sits quiet on the backseat; he picks out the yellow skittles in a biased manner. The yellows disappear promptly into his pudgy mouth. I don’t wonder much past that. He’s quiet and I’m happy. Thank hell that he’s not mine. I couldn’t picture having this one as my own, I shiver in revulsion.
“Brother’s going to have some fun later,” I speak to no one; I smile as I pull into the familiar driveway. The engine stops purring. I leave the kid in the car, and got out to knock on that white painted front door. Brother answers, and he’s not happy to see me.
Note: I wrote this as an experimental piece in 1st person. If you can make sense of what I want to convey then I’ve done my job. Any comments/criticism is appreciated.