Friday, March 13, 2015

The First One Though the Portal


     I'm going to back up a minute. I was born in 1970, April.  Before I came along, my brother had come through the portal two years earlier.  He alone was the advance team.  They named him after my dad and so I'll call him Junior. That's what mom and dad called him anyway.
      In the beginning, we were both little, Junior and I.  Of course, me being younger, he was larger by the time I popped out of the portal. I got the impression that he felt slighted.  Maybe he believed mom and dad didn't think he was good enough to keep as an only child, or maybe he feared that I would usurp his power from the throne one day.  Whatever the reason, Junior had a few issues with me.  It is very likely that he grew concerned I would one day take his toys.
     By the time I was two years old, I had roughly caught up to him in size. I'm sure that did not quell his fears. My stature couldn't be helped.  I was, after all, born to succeed, being that he was the Beta and I had two more years of engineering on me by our parents.  It's no wonder he cast those spiteful glances my way as we watched cartoons every Saturday morning. I did however, envy how he always knew precisely when to turn the television to the correct channel to watch our favorite shows. That was before I discovered the inflexible dimension of linear time. 
     Then out of nowhere, the tables turned. I still recall the fateful morning when my mother ran, rushing around the house, curlers in her hair, getting my brother's lunch ready, making sure he had his jacket, and all those other things kids take on their first day at school.  I clearly remember standing in the doorway, ready to follow him out on whatever adventure he headed off to, and my mother, tears in her eyes, told me he had to go and I had to stay.  I felt certain that he was doomed, that I'd never see him again.  I went back into the house, and played with his toys. 
     Of course he did make it back, eventually.
     With him gone most of the time, I spent a lot of my free time out riding my motorcycle.  Yes, I was into bikes.  They got me excited.  I had this yellow motorcycle with a two footed power train.  (See Photo) It was an awesome upgrade from the Inchworm I used to ride around the neighborhood in. I mean, hey, it was 1974, not the dark ages and so far i had not yet experienced the power of the Big Wheel.
     If I wasn't riding around the neighborhood, or crafting in my room. I was probably playing with my toy cars.  I loved those things.  I recall a particular day when I was home because it was cold and cloudy outside.  I had brought a tub of soapy water into our bedroom and washed all my cars.  Some were in better shape than others, but I loved them all. I counted them out, after they had all been dried off and lined up, in an array of bright colors over plastic and metal varieties.  It was astonishing to learn that I owned over one hundred cars, if I could count correctly, which is largely debatable.  But I remember that figure just flooring me. It didn't make me proud, or feel accomplished.  I simply remember wanting more.
     Sometime after that, I sat in our bedroom.  Junior and I had bunk beds and he got the top bunk since he was the Beta and all.  I think my parents didn't want to risk me getting damaged in a fall.  Junior was out playing with his friends and I was alone with glue, scissors, paper, and cardboard.  Those were the contemporary tools of my trade, being that awesome toys were hard to come by on a budget. I enjoyed crafting some toys of my own.
     Mom came in, asked if I needed anything.  I nodded, and then shook my head, "no."  Seeing that I was fairly occupied with advanced feats of engineering, she left.  My aircraft was nearly complete, a triple winged Fokker DR-1.  Yes, the Red Baron's famous plane.  The model I crafted was spctacular, especially to my four year old eyes.
     Later on that year, sometime in July, Junior had a birthday.  He got some pretty sweet gifts. Some of the gifts he received that year included a selection of Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels.  Oh, he was rolling in the luxury. (No pun intended.) In the afternoon that day, Mom was at the table talking to a friend of hers.  Junior was off doing something, playing in the living room, I think with some other toys.
     I found his new Hot Wheels and picked them up to admire their craftsmanship. I knew as soon as they were in my hands that he was looking at me. I could feel the tension of his telepathic anger pressing into my neck from his stare.  I knew they were his cars, but really, does an admirer of fine automobiles need to make an appointment for such activities?  In a flash, he lunged at me and I ducked. He missed my jaw by mere millimeters. 
     We ran through the house and he was yelling at me all the way, "Give em back!"  Rudeness did not become young Junior.  I feigned my fear and targeted the door of my parents bedroom.  I gauged that if I could make it to the door, I could jump on the bed an spring to safety by bouncing across the room at one tenth the speed of light. Surely that would be adequate to clear his grasping hands.
     I nearly made it to the bed when I looked back as I crossed the door frame. Junior was almost on top of me and his clenched fist was pulled back. I thought I was a goner for sure. I jumped, leaping for the bed.  As I bounced, my body accelerated and behind me I heard a loud popping sound, followed by a yell of terror.  The hairs on my arms stood up.
     When I looked back, Junior was cradling his right hand with his left and tears ran down his face as he grimaced with such agony, I felt horribly bad for him.  It was then I saw the blood running out of his hands.  It was bad. When mom caught up to us, she was yelling, asking what had happened.  I told her quickly that he attacked me.  He'd tried to hit me and hit the metal, aptly named, strike plate with his fist with deadly power.  My mom was furious with him.  Birthday or no birthday, Junior was not only in trouble, he was paying for it with blood - got what he deserved, etc.  That's all I could make out from my mother's angry mumbling.  When she was really mad, she didn't even move her mouth or lips. Sound just came out of her face, her lips pulled wide by whatever force was brewing in her head.  It made her words hard to understand.  This was one of those times.
     I made myself scarce and took his cars with me.  I felt bad, but not that bad.  I mean, he had meant to hurt me, so... I don't know how many stitches he got. There were a lot, I'm sure.  The scar is there to this day, about forty years later. Nowadays, when we get into it verbally, usually in jest, I remind him of it, and then I regret it, again and again. I wish that I hadn't picked up those cars.    


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