Tuesday, January 17, 2006

don't get mad, get even

I'm the middle one of three brothers, twenty two years apart in total and my older brother and I are the only surviving members of our family.

Having a brother who is ten years older than you is more like having an uncle when you are young. It doesn't matter how old I become, while he's still around I will always be "our kid".

When we were younger, considerably younger, before he had left home, I was, variously, a pain in the backside for him, an idiot confidente, and a toy.

He would put me in goal and blast a football at me from short range. At his behest I once jumped out of his bedroom window into the garden hedge below, "just to see what would happen". He sat me on my tricycle and pushed it down the stairs....he had no need for an action man while I was around.

At sixteen my brother was a weasel faced, long haired, acne-ridden, stick insect - I do him no injustice - with colossal lapels so big he couldn't ride a bicycle (see, I can spell it if I try) for fear of taking off like ET. (I idolised him). For some strange reason he had several girlfriends, I don't remember them having golden Labradors with harnesses, or leaving white sticks in the hall with the umbrellas, so I have to presume that they were mentally deficient rather than blind. And he would confide in me (!), comparing and contrasting physical features and personalities, Melissa apparently had big breasts, but wouldn't let you touch them, Sandra would but she wasn't as good a kisser as Beverly, but Caroline had shown him her lilly behind the bike sheds in school. I was six, I found the whole thing bewildering and abhorrent, for all I knew girls kept bad tempered gerbils in their shorts, (and I'm still not convinced that some of them don't).

So we would sit on his bed and listen to his music, and try to find a solution to the turmoil in his bell bottomed trousers. (Which is probably why I have such an affinity for Bread, Cream - no it's not a recipe - the Animals, the Kinks, Rolling Stones et al, even though it's not my era).

Usually his door was locked, even when he was in the room. When I wasn't invited, then I simply wasn't welcome. Except one day, when I heard no music and tried the door and it opened. He wasn't there, he must have been out with a tape measure and note book, with a questionnaire, trying to optimise his sex life. Everything looked quite normal, a tip as usual, a bomb site of what would now be antique underwear and stripy tank tops, cuban heels and music magazines. The record player sat on his chest of drawers and all of his albums were actually stacked in the bottom of his wardrobe, open end inwards, I guessed so that the records wouldn't slip out. I was only six but quite capable of using the record player. If you are of a certain age you would recognize it immediately - a box 3 feet on each side with a hinged lid and carry handle, two-tone in cream and pink. You could stack around 12 singles on the spike, or play an individual LP and there was a penny attached to the arm with sticky tape to stop the needle from skipping.

I mooched around inside his wardrobe, not reading the album covers but picking out my favourites from the artwork on the sleeve, throwing them on the bed, not just one or two but a whole pile. It was odd, but some of them felt thicker than others, and finally when I'd finished ruining my brother's vinyl filing system I found out why. I sat on the bed and shook one of the records out of it's sleeve.

It fell on the bed, accompanied by a copy of Playboy. I shook another and another, and another, and each of the thicker album sleeves disgorged an album and a magazine until I had a whole jumble sale of porn on the bed. By today's standards they were extremely tame, semi naked ladies that would look quite at home on a shampoo commercial in these enlightened (?) times (oh god please, can't we go back to the time when we understood that the promise of a naked bottom is actually sexier than open heart gynaecology?). I was rapt. Not aroused of course, I had no idea what I was looking at for the most part, but I knew I shouldn't be looking at it. There was the occasional naked booby, and skimpy underwear that did nothing to dispel my theory about small furry animals nesting between girl’s thighs....and then our front door opened, and closed with a snick.

I did the only thing possible. I raced across the room, and out of my brother’s bedroom window, to the right hand side, and on to the kitchen roof, and then down the drainpipe into the garden.

As it turned out, I wasn't in any imminent danger. It was my father who had come home. I saw him through the window, pottering around by the kettle, and I waved at him from the garden....and then he went upstairs.

My brother's stash was erm..."confiscated" by my father, who no doubt hid it elsewhere.

Big brother never said anything to me. As far as I'm aware my father never said anything to him.

A few days later, I was standing shrieking in the kitchen while my father pulled a .22 feathered dart out my forehead with a pair of pliers. My brother had shot me right between the eyes while I stood against the shed door with an empty baked bean can on my head.

"Why on earth did you let him do it?", my father said.

"He had a gun!" I wailed.


Wendy said...

OMG!! I'll be back, after I have quelled my laughter! This is just too funny! Did you REALLY let him shoot you?!

Melissa said...

Colin, oh dear Colin. As a sister 8 years older than her brother I can understand your brother's antics. And props to him for such an ingenious "filing system". It's rather brilliant, don't you think?

By the way - I totally agree with you. Leave something to the imagination, people! Sheesh.

krisbtterfly said...

and you don't even have to be 8 years older to torture the younger sibling... when i was 5 i got my baton taken away because i kept smacking my 3-year-old brother with it. or how about the time i ran over him with my bicycle? man, i beat the living piss out of that poor kid. it's a miracle he even speaks to me anymore.

Jill said...

Ouch! Poor kid.

Wendy said...

I did color all over the stairs one time and when Mom saw it, I blamed my younger sister. She had to scrub all the stairs with hot soapy water to get all the crayon off. It took forever. She used to take a drink out of my glass at dinner, so I took to licking the rim of the glass ... and then waited for her to do her thing. She was not pleased to know I licked the whole rim first. And, I let my slimey salamander walk across her dinner plate before Mom put the food on it. And, I bagged her on skipping Sunday school and used it as leverage for YEARS, and I beat her --- physically -- daily for years ... sometimes for no particular reason. I was a mean sister. But, she truly was a brat. :~)

Just Some Gal said...

My sister is 11 months older than me and my "kid brother" is 8 years younger. Like krisbtterfly said... I am so lucky that boy even talks to me. The defining moment of our sibling abuse in my memory was my older sister shooting me with a pellet gun and we tied our bird dogs to a radio flyer wagon, set our brother in it (5 years old at the time) and set a cat loose. IT was total mayhem and his stop was sudden and bloody. No amount of hugs and bribing could make it easily hid from our mother...the stop was in a bed of brambles...he was scratched up completely.

Will you ever tell him about the playboy magazines? hehe I'm sure you'll get the whole "Those are collectibles now!!" hehe

Wonderful post and I about died laughing when I read "He had a gun!". hehe

Thank you for sharing Colin!

Sandra said...

Doesn't Colin have the best stories? Heh. I have to say being the oldest child is the best slot, if you can get it.

My little brother was terrified of a mannequin head that I styled a wig on, it was pretty scary-looking without the wig I admit. When he'd go down in our dark cellar to get something, I'd throw the mannequin head down the stairs, turn off the stairway lights and slam the door on him. Eventually that mannequin head was confiscated, I never saw it again.

Wendy said...

LOL! Great tales indeed. Yes, Colin does have the best stories. I love to be here ... reading away, giggling to myself, and picturing it all.

Just Some Gal said...

I digress, we even tied that poor boy to the cedar tree in the front yard too! The last thing we fought about, I was 21 and he was 12...I knocked him down...made him eat dirt... Hahahaha

Wendy!! You naughty girl! We licked silverware and glasses too...haha I never thought to lick my siblings' plates. hahaha

Good Lord Colin, this is the best post ever...a bit like comment confessionals...hehehe

Just Some Gal said...

Errr, I think he was 13. My math skills are failing me. I better go back to bed. :-)

a fish on a bycicle said...

When I wrote this I really wasn't thinking of my brother being horrible in any way - more along the lines of feeling sorry for him for losing his 'inspiration'.

You know, I really always wanted a sister....but, blimey, you lot have put paid to that idea!

It's the stuff of nightmare: Baton thrashing, spit and lizards, disembodied mannequins, and just plain, simple abuse (Blonide)..

Did you lot watch "Flatliners"?

Magpie said...

your stories are so excellent, i love it, i wish i'd had a brother like you to torture...lol

my mum got shot thru the hand with a pellet gun after holding a balloon in her teeth for her brother to shoot, only she held the balloon to keep it still...

i'm not sure where i got my intelligence from, i'm a little convinced that i'm adopted...

i love Cream too, and CSN&Y...and my gerbil is quite friendly...lol


Miladysa said...

I loved this post Colin, you are such an amazingly gifted writer! I could picture everything so clearly, so clear in fact that it felt as if I was watching a film.


More! More!

Just Some Gal said...


Abuse? Ah Colin, I didn't beat the soup out of him...I just... was a mean big sister. To be quite honest, the eldest sister...WOW, now she was mean!!


Deadly Female said...

I remember that record player....

Gerbera Daisy said...

I loved your story this morning!! Thanks for the smiles!!!! This sounds oh so familiar as I have three brothers who were always getting into mischeif of some kind. It is hilarious to remember some of the stuff they did and all I can think of is my poor mother!!!!

Jessica said...

This cracks me up, Colin! And I LOVE this: "oh god please, can't we go back to the time when we understood that the promise of a naked bottom is actually sexier than open heart gynaecology?"

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I popped over from Aims blog (she told us to come over and give you a hard time for harrassing Thumper...;)

That story is SO funny...and I can relate to it. I have one brother that's ten years older than me and one that's eighteen years older than me (I was what I like to call an "Oops Baby".)

I used to get busted ALL THE TIME for sneaking into his bedroom and messing with his models of monsters and cars.

Ah, the memories! :)