“Astrid! Just go away!”
My sister Astrid is a pain in the rear.
“I’m not in your room.” She pointed to her toes, that were probably less than one millimeter away from my door way. “I can stand here if I want to.”
“Fine.” I kept my voice calm. After all, I’m thirteen and she’s only eleven, and it’s important to set a good example for the little kids. But that didn’t mean I had to put up with her. I grabbed the door and slammed it.
“Ouch! That hit me in the nose!”
“It wouldn’t have if your nose hadn’t been in my room.”
“Argh!!” She sounded pretty annoyed, and her footsteps shook the upstairs as she stormed across the hall to her room and slammed the door.
“What is going on up there!” shouted Aunt Nutty.
“Nothing!” we both called out together.
The thing is, if my mom were home, I would have told her about Astrid’s extreme annoyingness. But Mom’s all the way in China at a dig. She works at the University at the museum running the Chinese History exhibit. She’s got a fancy job title and everything and travels all the time. When she goes, we get stuck with Aunt Nutty.
Okay, she’s not really called Aunt Nutty. Her name’s Helen and she’s mom’s best friend. But Astrid and I both think she’s kinda nutty. It’s one thing my sister and I totally agree on.
You might be wondering why we don’t stay with our dad. That would be great, except we don’t have one. It’s no big deal. We’ve gotten used to it. But sometimes I do wonder about him. Mom never tells us much of anything except that he died in an accident not long after they adopted Astrid.
Now that my loser of a little sister was out of my room, I could get back to what I was doing—which was listening to my favorite band (a local group called Sockmonkey) and bouncing my basketball against the wall and then catching it. Or, I tried to. Aunt Nutty pounded on the door, and I jumped. Which made the ball hit me in the face.
Have I mentioned I don’t like Aunt Nutty?
“What are you doing in there?”
“I’m just listening to music.”
“Stop playing with the ball in the house. You know your mother says you can only do that outside.”
Yeah, but Mom’s in China. “Okay. Fine. What-ever.”
I stopped, and as I was wondering how long I’d have to wait before I started up again, Astrid the Annoying hollered, “Hey, Ryan! You gotta see this!”
“I’m busy!” I wasn’t, but still, I can lie.
“No you’re not! Aunt Nu-Helen just told you to stop,” she yelled.
“All right. Fine.” My sister is so annoying.
I swung my legs off the bed and marched out of my room, across the hall, and stopped in front of her shut door. “Your door’s shut, dufas head.” The rule in our house is strict—no going in closed rooms without explicit permission. ‘Explicit’ is one of my mom’s words. Astrid and I both knew it by the time we were four.
“You can come on in! Come fast. You gotta see this!”
I figured it was some lame picture in a magazine, but just in case she was watching our neighbor Mr. Pizarro the Bizarro do something weird in his backyard, I yanked open the door—
—and got completely soaked.
“Astrid!!!! You little freak!” I looked down and saw that the carpet was green (my mom was going to kill her), my arms were green, my favorite sneakers were green. This really wasn’t looking good.
While Astrid rolled on the floor laughing, I sprinted to the bathroom and flicked on the light. Even my face was green.
I raced back to her room, but the little freak was gone. Her window was open, though, and I climbed through it and found Freakazoid on the swingset, laughing her stupid head off. “I. Am. Green!”
“That was a really good one!”
“I. Am. Green!”
“You. Are. Stupid!”
“You’re just mad because I won. I so beat out your confetti pillow.”
I’d stuffed her pillow with confetti and cut little slits in it, so that when she laid down, a bunch of confetti poofed up all around her.
“Yeah,” I said. “But did you turn into a big, walking piece of confetti? I. Am. GREEN!!!!!!!”
“It’s a nice shade of green.”
“What did you even do? What was that stuff?”
“Just food coloring. It’ll wash off. In a day or so.”
“A DAY OR SO! I have a game on Monday!” How was I supposed to play basketball against the Delacorte Dolphins when I’m green?
I rushed inside to take a shower.
Maybe if I scrubbed really, really hard….