Finished Room

The basement is almost cold
in summer. In the afternoon
the dehumidifier hums low
like a lullaby.

My brother’s in the kitchen with Mom
and his new fifth grade teacher, Mr. Yeman.
He isn’t making enough friends
and has to repeat.

The stairs creak. My sister
comes in with two cups of tea.

I look up at her.

I told him we’d invite Alice
over, bring the TV down here
and have a party
only the coolest kids could come to.
Mom said she’ll get snacks.

Oh, man, I wish he’d get held
back more often. This’ll be great.
I mean,
you know what I mean.

We sip our tea.
She looks at the garage.
Then she sits up.

Hey, you hungry?

She walks into the basement and pulls
a box of Girl Scout Cookies
from behind the freezer.

If there’s any missing
you’ll never find them again.

I nod.

Is this the only kind you have?

Wouldn’t you like to know. Hey,
what are you doing Saturday?

Midnight ride.

Oh. Well, have fun.

What’re you doing?

I think I’ll call Alice. She mentioned
something last week about going on our own
Midnight Ride. She thought it’d be cool
to link up with you.

I look at the floor.

Well, just think about it. Maybe
we’ll take Mr. Fifth Grade with us.
The whole group.
She pauses.
We could play capture the flag!

Okay, now that’s possible.

Good, she says. You want the last cookie?

I reach in
but there are only crumbs.

Added: March 15, 2013 | Last changed: August 11, 2014