When I was around the age of 9 and my brother was at the age of 5, we were living in Ohio and choices for a babysitter back then were pretty slim. If my parents were lucky, Lucy would be available to watch us, but if she was not available, then it was her brother Chris who would be the one to come over. To be honest, I cannot say which teen I preferred.
Lucy was the older of the two. She was responsible, nice, calm and fun in a nice, wholesome sort of way. We played hide and seek, she would have drawing time with us while she worked on her own school art projects and her school books were always nearby for after we had gone to bed.
Chris on the other hand brought a completely different type of experience to the house. There was running around and sliding on the hardwood floors, no bedtimes, inappropriate TV time with Benny Hill, and nothing even resembling drawing time. Although Lucy and Chris were sister and brother, that is where the similarities ended.
We really enjoyed Lucy and her kind and fair ways, but Chris brought with him a sense of chaos that was at one time fun, yet I knew that some of his activities were bad and that our parents would not approve. There were many instances that would have made their hearts stop if they had known what we were being taught, but I kept quiet and by some miracle so did my brother. Take for instance the night that Chris announced that he needed to make some phone calls, and after randomly picking out a name from the phone book, dialed someone and within thirty seconds had the person on the other line screaming obscenities at him while he attempted to hold back his own laughter.
There was also the time that he told us the very sad...and very detailed...story about his younger brother John. John, he told us, had dared to trespass on the lawn of the one house in our neighborhood that strictly forbade trespassing. Having disobeyed the rather large sign, the owner of the home a grizzled, toothless, angry man, chased Chris' brother into the forest and taking slow steady aim, shot his poor brother's penis off. Over the course of twenty minutes, Chris explained in graphic detail how John now had to pee out of a hole in his leg, and that what he had just divulged to us was a family secret. We were to tell no one, especially John. He explained that the event was a dark chapter in his family's life and that for the sanity and privacy of his brother we should never repeat the story. He also warned about taking short cuts through that one particular neighbor's field. From that point forth, my brother and I always walked on the opposite side of the street from the house.
Then there was the time that Chris showed us how to fix our Spider-Man car launcher so that it would shoot legos out of it. My brother and I had what I can only describe as a huge yellow bazooka-type gun that we loaded six inch long Spider-Man cars, first into a plastic shell and then locked and loaded into the gun, much like a rifle. We then had to place the tip of the gun on the ground and push a couple of buttons down before pulling the trigger and sending the cars skating at lightning speed across the floor. Chris, not liking the safety features of the toy, showed us how to fix the safety buttons into place with a couple of bent paperclips and you could then stand and shoot the cars as projectiles through the air. We loved this. He went even further when he asked us to bring the gun to his parents Christmas party so that he could show us some other ideas that he had in mind. We did as asked and the moment he had a chance, he took my brother and I to his room to show us what he meant. He told us that he had been thinking about the bazooka gun and thought that the cars were too heavy to launch very far and he pulled out a hand-full of the 4x4 square legos that he quickly stacked on top of each other in a small tower and loaded those into the gun. He then put on a dark blazer, shades and like an assassin snuck down the hallway, threw open John's bedroom door, and amidst John's angry shouts, blasted him with the legos. The three of us ran laughing back to Chris' room to shut and lock the door until dinner time. My brother and I never used the car launcher in its intended use ever again.
The most memorable of our babysitting times was the night that Chris came over and the moment the door closed behind my parents, he turned to us and asked, "Does your Dad have any Playboys."
I told him that he did. "Lots of them," I said.
"Yeah," chimed in my brother, "they're upstairs in the closet. We can't reach them."
We waited around for a while to make sure that our parents were actually gone and Chris ran up to my parents bedroom. He pushed open the door to the large walk-in closet and saw the stacks of Playboys on the top shelf. "Holy shit! You weren't kidding." He reached up brought down a stack and promptly shut the door, leaving my brother on the outside, and sat down on the floor, pushing his outstretched feet against the door to prevent my brother from getting in.
"Hey. Hey! C'mon you guys. Let me in. Please!" my brother shouted.
We were both quickly flipping through the pages of our respective magazines as my brothers thumping on the door became more frantic. "Sorry Donist's little brother...I can't let you in," Chris shouted back.
"Why not?" he shouted, throwing the entirety of his body against the door.
I was laughing uncontrollably, not even looking at the beautiful naked women at this point. "Yeah, you can't come in here. It's too dangerous."
"Why not?" he shouted again, a slight sob escaping from the other side of the door.
"Because we're going to hell, Donist's little brother! We're going to HELL! Aghhhhhhhh," he yelled back, also not even looking at the magazines.
"C'mon...I WANT TO GO TO HELL, TOO!" he screamed, now fully crying and repeating in a sob, "I want to go to hell, too."
Chris and I were laughing so hard we were almost crying, I nearly whizzed my Winnie the Pooh footie pajamas, and after putting the magazines back on the shelf, we opened the door to see my red-faced, tear-drenched brother smiling and looking around the closet trying to see what hell was all about.
That was how our babysitting nights generally progressed with Chris. It was fun, but stressful in that we always knew nothing good was going to come of it. Lucy was fun too, but in a way that did not leave me feeling guilty or that I was going to get grounded later on. It was no wonder that the last time we saw Chris was after he talked my brother into taking a swig of Tobasco Sauce. Kids...