Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)
TITLE: What a Little Sugar Can Do
By Sally Hanan
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Billy’s face emerged from the darkness into the gateway of his citadel. “Go away Tonya.”
“No! Mommy thaid you haf to babythit me.” She folded her arms and glared his way.
“You know Tonya, it’s amazing what a little sugar can do.”
Tonya’s eyebrows rose and then lowered until they almost met in the middle. “I_don’t_underthand!”
“It means that you have to be nice and good Tonya, and right now you’re not being good.”
After some more frantic thinking, the 4 year old yelped, “If you don’t play wif me, I’m gonna thqeem and thqueem and thqueem until I’m thick!” She stomped her bare foot on the sparse grass, her short skirt rippling with the effort. She moved her pupils to line up with Billy’s, took in a noisy deep breath and opened her jaw bones.
Billy’s hand flapped in the air. “Fine! I’ll be down in a minute” His head disappeared for a few minutes to confer with his playmates. Spiky hair reappeared, joined by a sneaky smile. He splattered enthusiasm into his voice. “Tonya? How would you like to be the very first girl, EVER, to be allowed up into the boys-only tree house?”
Tonya swung her arms around her body in glee. “I can?” She didn’t see Billy turn around to give the thumbs up to the boys behind him.
“Yeah. Just wait until we come down.” One by one, three boys stepped down the ladder while trying to look as cool as possible. Hands in shorts, they stood nonchalantly as a tiny keyed up Tonya gripped onto the ladder sides for dear life and let her feet follow. Finally, after much hesitancy and looks back to the ground, Tonya sat proudly on her peacock’s perch, legs crossed, hands on her thighs.
Billy’s voice shot up to her. “Tonya? We need the ladder out front.” In silence, the royal princess of the tree house let her eyes follow the wooden steps as they departed around the corner of her home.
The breeze pushed leaves around the makeshift roof. A robin stood in the doorway, one leg lifting before he flew away. Tonya watched the neighbors play in their back yard, and she snickered to herself because she had a secret—she was a girl in the boys-only tree house. Boys’ shouts wafted up the tree trunk. Her legs started to wiggle. A rumble started to snake inside her stomach.
“Biwee. Biwee. Can I come down now?”
Four hours after Tonya had climbed the planks, when the tears were dripping along with her nose; Billy leaned the ladder against the tree and helped Tonya down.
It only took Tonya three more privileged visits to the timber palace in the tree before she realized what was going on, and she promised herself that one day, just once, she would get her revenge.
She got it 25 years later.
His little head tilted back in the driveway until his squinting eyes hit the treasure—a pixie stick in the hands of his Auntie Tonya. “What’s that Auntie?”
Tonya leaned deeply into the elfish face of her tiny nephew, son of her health phobic brother, Billy. She knew he’d never seen one before, and she had brought it with her on purpose. She smiled like the child-catcher of Vulgaria with a lollipop. “It’s magic candy. You rip off the top like this, and you pour it into your mouth like this—open up your mouth and I’ll show you.” Billy’s car rolled into the driveway just as the last sugar granules rolled around Sean’s tongue and the first had hit his brain.
“Daddy!” screamed Sean. He ran to his father’s legs and grabbed them with his soft nails. He jumped up and down and shrieked again, and then he turned in circles and laughed.
Billy looked up at Tonya in bewilderment. “What on earth??”
Tonya’s body twitched in delight. “Oh…” She held up the empty candy stick. “It’s amazing what a little sugar can do.”
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