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Mexican Standoff

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Being grounded sucked.

Not only had mom taken all my electronics, phone included, but she also forced me stay in my room during the whole weekend. She didn’t trust me sneak off to my best friend’s house two blocks away.

Like, I get I; I failed two tests, math AND history, both in the spam of a week, prompting the teachers to contact my home. But I didn’t only fail, no, I got ZERO MARKS. How is that possible? You ask. How are you so stupid? I’m not. In fact, I aced both English and drama. My problem goes as follows:
               a. I have an active imagination
               b. I stay up late

This culminated in me daydreaming most of the test away, sleeping what was left. Basically, I turned an almost blank sheet of paper; don’t judge me, there were some pretty sweet doodles.

So that’s how I ended locked in my room, with nothing with my notebooks and a SINGLE ball point pen (referencing my doodle issue, mom decided that I was too dangerous to have more than one color, as if that would stop me) and a few trinkets dispersed around my room. Boredom settled in, my denial to do homework wavering by the second.

As I stacked my notebooks in a Jenga like fashion, wondering if I should give in and actually study, I heard a car pull up.

Most of my neighborhood was comprised of families, usually with at least a baby or a very pregnant wife. Next door was the exception: the very embodiment of a stereotype grandam, Mrs. Juniper , with the short puffy grey hair and the baking skills to match. She moved in with four children and a husband, who’ve all moved away, the latter dying last year. To combat the loneliness she got a cat, dubbed Nina (after Nina Simone; shed made a point of mentioning every time she introduced her as such too someone new) and a healthy level of Sunday sweets to bribe the local children to visit. Her house was littered with mementos of her departed family and the increasing number of grandkids. Any extra hours were filled with tv and knitting. Like I said, a stereotypical grandma.

Therefore, I had no idea who was visiting her this early in the morning. It was Saturday, her family visiting her for dinner the day before, and the car seemed to be personal, not a maintenance truck that could be doing some regular maintenance.


Peeking over the edge, I looked down as Mr. Kroll (lived down the road, two kids, asshole) marched and knocked viciously at her door. He tapped his toes, glancing around. After some more fidgeting, he continued to rap.

“I know you’re in there!! ”


“Open the door and face me!”

“Hand over the girl!” I gawked. Girl? Surely, he didn’t mean his daughter. She was a few years older than me. Had she run away?

“Not going to happen!” Mrs. Juniper answered with a viciousness I never thought she’d hold.

“She’s mine! She needs to come home!” Mine? I knew he was an asshole, but I never imagined that he was that much of a chauvist. Though Mr. Kroll did tend to look down one anyone who broke the normal family dynamic. He’d sneered at my brother for having shoulder length hair

“She came here on her own volition! She can stay until she feels like it!”

“That’s not for her to decide, she’s young”

“Oh? So, she can go out all hours of the night, but god forbid she stays at my place for a bit” ok, this was weird, Mary was pretty social, but being 15 didn’t allow her to do much. I think.

“It’s been a week, its time.”



“You know no matter the age!”

“That’s not the point, the world is dangerous!”

“My house? A danger? She might double her weight but that’s it. That a problem too, huh? Gonna be fatphobic too?”

“Don’t start now, hand her over.”

“Over my dead body”

“You’re over 90. That won’t be long”

“Shame on you, assuming a women’s age. I’m barely over 80.”

“Biggest lie I’ve heard, hand it over or I WILL go to court on this.”

“Over what? The law doesn’t cover this”

“It does.”


“Like I said, you’re old and out of the loop.”

“I call it experience. I know where my ideals stand and on principal, you’re the enemy here”

Mr. Kroll gave a deep sigh “Look I’ll be honest. I don’t really care, I never wanted her to begin with. But Molly won’t stop crying about it, something about missing the company when I’m at work.” Now I was more confused than ever. He didn’t want children? He was the most overly involved parent in the neighborhood; embodiment of a helicopter parent. His wife molly was the one who’d taken a bit of a back seat after they’d entered middle school.

There was a prolonged silence. Then a shuffle and a squeak of an opening door resounded. “Here. She’s been nothing but a doll during this week. I’ll send Molly some apology cookies as well as a picture of the two snuggled together. They make a lovely couple.”

I watched in awe as Mr. Kroll took his pure breed persian cat from her arms, holding it at arm’s length as if knowing its tendency to scratch (in hindsight it probably did bite him often) and marched towards the car with a mumble I couldn’t hear from my window. As he started the car Mrs. Juniper called out:

“Next time just let my Nina visit. She’s a great gall who’ll treat her just fine. Your kids probably know all about that type of relationships already so stop whining and give me back my Saturdays.”

The car sped up, her watching it turn a corner before going back inside. I stared out the window, dumbfounded by what id just witness. Quickly I sped up with my notebooks out the door, down the stairs and out the front door.

“Where do you think you’re going?” my mother called, halting me in my tracks

“Next door?” I sheepishly grinned

“To Mrs. Junipers? I though her pies were due tomorrow.”

“They are, but I wanted to see if she'd help me write a story for English. She clearly knows how to handle a Mexican standoff.”