Tall tales almost certain to land you in hot water
Burt's Eye View
Mom and Dad gushed fake enthusiasm when they dumped me off at cousin Ollie’s farm.
“You’ll have so much fun,” Mom said.
“I envy you,” Dad sighed. “Open fields to roam, trees to climb, bulls to outrun …”
“So let me go to the restaurant and you guys play with Ollie. I always get grounded when I stay here.”
They took the restaurant. I was stuck with Ollie.
To make matters worse, our cousin Geraldine had come over. I found her and Ollie in the backyard in what looked like a miniature campsite full of G.I. Joes, Barbies, Dream Houses and pup tents.
Geraldine combed Barbie’s blonde tresses. “Handsome Harold better be home from the war in time for supper. He’s gotta baby-sit Skipper. Barbie has a PTA meeting.”
“His name’s G.I. Joe.” Ollie poked the name tag above the pocket of Joe’s camo uniform. “And he’s going on a spy mission in this Army tank. Barbie will have to take Skipper with her in that silly pink car.”
“Fine. Fix your own supper then. I’m not sharing any of my pretend lasagna.”
“You always burn your pretend lasagna. Joe’s gonna grill a pretend elk on a pretend campfire. So there.”
“Well bpppllllt to you.”
“Bpppllllt right back.”
Raspberries and the war exhausted, Ollie and Geraldine collapsed onto the grass. “I’m bored,” Ollie said. “Me, too,” Geraldine agreed.
I leaned against a backyard tree and stared at the house. Aunt Tillie always opened the bathroom window to let the steam out whenever someone took a bath. I must have snickered.
“What?” Ollie propped himself up on his arms.
Geraldine rolled onto her belly. “Spill it.”
“What if G.I. Joe and Barbie zip-lined out of the tree and through the bathroom window?” I giggled.
“Great idea.” Ollie jumped up and dashed to the clothesline.
“Cool,” Geraldine helped Ollie yank the laundry off the line and fling it on the ground.
“No!” I waved my hands. “I meant pretend. Like the lasagna and elk steaks.”
Too late. Geraldine scampered up the tree with one end of the untied clothesline. Ollie dragged a stepladder from the barn and hooked up the other end.
“There’s already water in the tub,” he yelled. “It’s gonna be an ocean rescue.”
“Are you sure your mom won’t mind?” I said as I handed Joe, Barbie and all their gear up the tree.
Apparently, at that very moment, Aunt Tillie was stepping into her warm, relaxing bubble bath. Seconds later, Ollie hollered, “Bombs away!” As fast as they could load them onto the laundry line, Ollie and Geraldine sent Joe, Barbie, Skipper, a car, a tank, a helicopter, plastic horses and a shark zipping down the line, flying through the bathroom window and cannonballing into the tub with Aunt Tillie.
My ears didn’t stop ringing for three weeks. Aunt Tillie’s shrieks. My cousins yelps. Mom and Dad demanding, “How could you think that was a good idea?”
“I didn’t,” I said. “I wanted to go the restaurant.”
For once, I didn’t mind getting grounded. It was a relief to get away from the noise.
Besides, pretend elk steaks with a side of pretend lasagna isn’t bad. Ollie and Geraldine just needed to season them with better imaginations.
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