Monday, March 01, 2004

It’s 8 am on a Saturday morning in 1998, and I am asleep. I have been asleep for a mere six hours, having spent most of the night before at a pool hall across town. I’m sixteen, and I fancy myself quite the pool shark. My world consists of my friends and myself, and it does not have room for anything that would want to wake me up at 8 in the morning. Eric doesn’t care about my world. He cares about cheese. He slaps a slice straight from the refrigerator onto my unsuspecting forehead, jolting me immediately and angrily awake. Cheese please? His face is cherubic, every feature composed smoothly into infallible innocence. I don’t believe this. I know that he has been waiting by my door for the clock in the hall to chime the hour. Can I have cheese for breakfast? We have had to limit his cheese intake to eight slices a day, because his excessive consumption of Kraft Singles lends to the calcium that lingers purple under his skin. This makes no difference; he is an addict. Right now he cannot handle the tricky plastic film that covers the individual pieces. Very soon he will master them, and no amount of reactionary measures will stop him. He will crouch by the fridge in the middle of the night, stuffing purloined cheese slices into his cheeks like a mouse on speed. This morning, though, he’s still too little to manage his fingers. He takes his revenge on those of us with higher motor skills by demanding cheese from us at unholy times. I would roll over and go back to sleep, but Eric always wins. Groggy, I try and think of a way to make him leave. I tell him that I don’t remember how to open them, and that he should go ask his mom. He accepts this suggestion and scuttles off, giggling evilly, to go hit her with his now lukewarm cheese.

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