There was a time when I was bigger, faster, funnier, and smarter than my little brother Jeremy. By "little" I of course mean "younger," as he's not little at all--in fact he's significantly bigger, funnier, faster, and at least as smart as I am. Oh, and he's MUCH cooler. But there was a time when I could beat him at arm wrestling and make him believe anything I said.
My favorite trick to play, was, in retrospect, maybe a bit too cruel, but it worked over and over again and so I kept on with it. Whenever Jeremy would push me or elbow me, or even just tap me a little too hard, I would flop to the ground, remain limp and pretend to be either so seriously injured that I couldn't move...or dead. The best part was that no matter how many times I tried this, he believed it again and again and would make a mad dash to wherever my parents' room tearfully screaming "MOM, DAD! COME QUICK! I THINK I KILLED GABI!" And I would laugh and laugh. I was terrible.
Jeremy was not the only victim though. He committed his share of obnoxious acts, one of which still cracks my best friend Katie up whenever she is reminded of it. One Saturday night when Katie and I were fourteen, we were entrusted with the responsibility of babysitting for Jeremy, then eleven. We were mostly interested in talking about boys and experimenting with eye makeup and so ignored Jeremy for the larger part of the evening, which was fine with him because he was happy eating candy and playing Mario Kart II.
I decided to make risotto for Katie and me-- she had never eaten it before and I had a great recipe. It was simple, with red bell peppers and green onions and, when it had finished cooking, I turned off the heat and we went to perfect the thick eyeliner that we thought made us look so sophisticated.
When we came back to the kitchen, I lifted the pot and to our surprise, the risotto was pink. Trying to remain calm, I reasoned that maybe it was the red from the bell pepper bleeding into the rice and I divided it into bowls and we sat down to eat. It tasted sweet and cinnamon-y. Not at all how it was supposed to taste.
"Is it supposed to be sweet, Gabi?" she asked, grimacing.
"No. It's not. I wonder how it---"and then Jeremy caught my eye. He was grinning mischievously, and sticking out his red candy-stained tongue when I realized the disgusting deed he had done. He had spit his Fireball cinnamon candy into our risotto, turned up the heat, and stirred until the sugary, saliva-coated candy dissolved. I yelled and threatened to call our parents, but this was before cell phones and I think he knew I wouldn't really do anything. He just laughed and laughed as Katie and I tried to scrub out the sticky, cheesy mess and cursed him under our breath.
And now, since we've both grown up significantly and I no longer play dead and he no longer sabotages my attempts at culinary genius, we've grown closer. And recently, he found a new creative outlet, his own blog. Check him out at mrderivative.blogspot.com.