So times were pleasant for the people there
until finally one, a fiend out of hell,
began to work his evil in the world (Beowulf, ln 99- 101).
Bree’s eyes flickered with mischief as she handed the list over to me. I had asked the girls to engender a list for Kohl’s, where Kev and I had planned to spend our morning for new running shoes and socks . . . yes, and the nearby Barnes & Noble for iced tea and the latest issue of Batman — two birds, one stone. We planned to depart for Disney at 3 AM Saturday morning, and the plastic frame surrounding the heel of my shoes had exploded from its fabric skin like an alien parasite and dug into my tendon. World War II veterans would tell that survival requires protecting your feet at all times, and Disney like any other battlefield is no different, just more expensive. Thus, after tossing my old traitorous pair to the dog (she loves new chew toys), Kev and I set out to the department store. But not before consulting my sisters . . .
“What’s this?” I asked, half-looking at the pink Post-it.
“Your list,” she snickered. “You did ask Katie if she needed anything.”
Katie (my eldest younger sister) has accrued an unhealthy obsession with Post-its over the years. She relies upon the darn things for everything, from taking notes at school to crafting calenders on her bedroom wall. For grocery lists, she would hand me a Post-it bundle as oppose to one sheet of paper. Thus, the fact that Bree carried only a single square dangling from her finger suggested she only required a few items, which was good because . . . you know, bookstore and all.
The list read as such:
- ‘Barely There’ panties (not grannies but comfy)
- nude pantyhose (size B)
- ‘DD’ white bra (no design – don’t want to show!)
- Good luck!
Bree could barely contain herself, when I stopped. Her face glowed red, cheeks trembling like a sack stuffed with kittens to restrain her laughter.
“Does she care whether they’re cotton, satin or lace?” I asked without missing a beat.
“Wha . . ?”
“Well,” I said pointing at the list, “she says no design but mentions nothing about the material. Or the straps either for that matter . . . Do you know if she wears a balcony, racerback, or strapless? Also for the panties, I assume ‘hipster’ is alright?”
“Uh . . .”
“Kate wouldn’t agree to a thong. But if I recall, they do have a ‘bikini’ cut too.”
Some guys might attempt the lisp at this particular junction. Bree would laugh and the conversation would devolve into ‘Oh, how silly we are!’ and ‘Oh, we’d never REALLY do that to you.’ It’s cute, but rather hackneyed; moreover, as an older brother it’s essential to cultivate a reputation for insanity. Some brothers yell, wail, or humiliate their younger siblings like cowards playing as kings. Conversely, my stratagem mostly involves playing the fool, donning a straightjacket from time to time. It helps keep life interesting.
The captain of evil discovered himself
in the handgrip harder than anything
he had ever encountered in any man
on the face of the earth. Every bone in his body
quailed and recoiled, but he could not escape (ln 749 -753).
“M-murph . . .” Bree faltered, suddenly becoming uncomfortable. “Are you . . . are you really going to buy that stuff?”
“My sister said she needed it,” I shrugged as if suddenly asked to buy an additional sack of potatoes or can of beans or any other equally boring vegetable. “So, sure . . . though I’ll have to ask her about color before I go. Also does she care what brand of pantyhose she needs? You guys usually go with Hanes, I think. Right?”
“Seriously?” my littlest sister chided, now serious as I tied my shoes. “You can’t really buy that stuff, you know? They’re going to think you’re a creeper or something. Or worse. That you wear them . . . like on your head . . . like a pervert or a senator or someone really weird.”
“Huh?” I responded, honestly confused by this brief window into her imagination. “Bree, look. I’m a customer like any other. As a guy, I’ve studied women’s undergarments since I turned thirteen. Probably know more about the subject than some women, you know? Still, if I have any problems, I’ll ask one of the sales staff for help.”
“No!” she shouted. “You can’t do that. Listen Murph, the list was a joke. You can’t just walk into a store and start caressing women’s lingerie. They’ll call the cops on you.”
“Then I’ll ask Kevin.”
“What?!” Bree shouts, all blood drains from her face as her mind imagines her teenage brother scanning rows of negligees in mud-stained jeans and a ripped T-shirt.
“Yeah, he’s become a bit of an expert on the subject anyway. Consults Victoria Secret once a day at least. Twice a day on weekends, ” I laugh. “I don’t think he wears them . . . partially sure, at least. The boy has this unbridled passion for women’s fashions.”
Bree looked like she was about to be sick. I felt somewhat disappointed that she hadn’t caught the rhyme-scheme of my last sentence.
“Oh, what about you?” I asked finally, rummaging through my desk drawer for a pencil. “Thought you mentioned something about a new sports bra yesterday. Sears is having a sale now . . . ”
In my own intelligible script, I scratch ‘sports bra, size 30A’ on the shopping list just before Bree snatches it from the table.
“Oh you suck!” Bree shouted, storming off down the hallway to nurse her anger. I settled back in my chair and flipped to BN.com. Rick Riordan’s The Serpent’s Shadow had arrived several weeks ago, and perhaps a few other tomes for the upcoming trip.
. . . So learn from this
and understand true values. I who tell you
have wintered into wisdom . . . (ln 1722 – 1724)