It Was a Narc and Stormy Night....
By KIM GIRARD
Blast San Francisco Bureau
Today my sister is a hipster, aspiring to live the New York underground pop star life. An indie-pop drummer, Kristen is making the club scene, strolling the Village with pigtailed, polyester-sporting chums, slipping her name onto band guest lists and crashing after-hour parties.
But like any twenty-something cool chick, my sister has a history. And a slice of her seedier suburban past includes her stint as a bratty 12-year-old narc -- an Atari-clutching, Kiss- and Ozzie-album buying, tight parachute-pant wearing narc.
It all started years ago when she offered me an extra pair of tickets to a Huey Lewis concert. I laughed out loud. After all, even then the man was a dork -- the 1980s cross between Tom Jones and David Hasselhoff, but without the former's pelvic moves or the latter's burgeoning cult of German enthusiasts.
But at 15, escaping suburbia on a Saturday night was an obsession, along with my unrequited crush on Jimmy Clunie and "discovering" any bleak, narcissistic pop band fronted by an anemic, androgynous brown-toothed Brit.
The Huey Lewis concert was in Worcester. And though that gloomy, post-industrial city lacked the glamour of Boston, I thought it would be an acceptable backup trip on a weekend night.
So I grab the phone. But I couldn't call my hip friend Heidi to go. She would mock me. Instead, I phone my friend Linda, who, as my friend inclined to purchasing Elton John or Whitney Houston albums, would not pass judgment.
After some convincing, Linda asks for the car. The next night she picks me up at 6 o'clock in the family's yellow bomber station wagon and we take off for Worcester.
Linda and I sing to the radio, harmonizing as we do in choir at school. We avoid Huey Lewis hits on the radio -- the anthemic "Heart of Rock and Roll" and sappy "Happy to be Stuck With You" -- tirelessly spun by the local radio stations to coincide with the night's show.
Rolling into the parking garage we break open a wine cooler bottle I had managed to buy earlier that night with baby-sitting money. We pass the 2-liter bottle back and forth, starting with small sips and gradually moving over to deep gulps. We giggle a lot as a warm buzz kicks in. We finish the bottle, though the sweetness is almost unbearable, and then make our way toward the Centrum.
Wandering around the show floor in a tipsy state. Huey is looking quite surreal on the megaplex stage. As he gyrates away, I feel something rustle under my feet. At first I think it is a show program or a newspaper, but it's too small. I pull Linda's sleeve as I bend over and reach to the floor. Then my find comes into focus.
In my hands, I hold crisp, new $50 bills wrapped in a band. I turn to Linda, aghast, and show her the money.
"Let's get out of here!" I say. "Follow me."
I grab her hand excitedly as we rush out of the Centrum while Huey croons away.
We are rich and Worcester is ours. I had, in my pocket, thousands of hours worth of baby-sitting money, a possible trip to France, dozens of new albums or even enough cash to buy a car.
"Where should we count it?" I ask Linda. I am slurring at this point. My face is flushed.
We decide to go to a bar. Linda follows me to The Loft, a popular Worcester singles bar. The bouncer looks at the two teen girls approaching sternly. I hand him a $50. He opens the door.
We both run to the bathroom. I run my fingers through thick layered bangs, rub my eyes. After, we head out to the main room to order. We pick white Russians to start. There aren't many people around, but we are just happy to be there. We sip our drinks with straws. This is our first bar. And we have $940 between us.
After our third white Russian we dance a little, alone on the floor, to a Pat Benatar song, giggling a lot. Neither of us has much rhythm but we flail our arms wildly. Then we leave, thanking the doorman before meandering down Main Street in search of the garage and the yellow station wagon.
Linda drops me off at my house. I know it is after midnight and my parents are asleep but I am so excited. I creep into my younger sister's room in the basement and shake her gently.
"Kristen, wake up," I say. "I found a thousand dollars. Wake up."
Money is one of my 12-year-old sister's passions. She collects sports cards, calculates their future worth, and befriends people whose parents live on the swankier side of town. She even skis. She rolls over, grumbling.
"Huh?" she mumbles. I turn on her light. She sits up. I tell her the story.
"On the floor? You found it on the floor?" she asks.
"Give me $50 bucks now or I'm telling mom," she says. "I gave you the tickets."
"No," I respond shout in a drunken stupor. She grabs at my wad of cash and I stumble backward.
Kristen jumps out of bed and heads for the stairs. I follow her down the hallway toward my parents' bedroom. If she goes in there, I am dead.
"Mom, Kim found a thousand dollars," she says sticking her face in my parents' door. I am panicked.
My mother grumbles. She hates being awakened.
"Moooooom. Kim found $1,000 at the Worcester Centrum."
"Kristen, shut up," I shout.
Now my mother is awake. And by this time, my father has rolled over as well.
"What?" my mother asks. "What's happening?'"
I stalk out of the room and into my room, shutting the door. My mother gets up and calls my name.
"What?" I answer. "I'm going to bed."
"Get in here," she says.
"Jan, what's going on?" my dad says.
I rush into the bathroom to brush my teeth quickly and then return to my parents' room. My head is ringing. "I found a thousand dollars at the Centrum and Kristen was trying to take it from me," I said.
"I smell alcohol," my mom responds. "Have you been drinking?"
"Jan, was alcohol involved?" my father implores. He is the sterner parent of the two.
"Leave me alone," I cry. My mother grabs my arm. I pull away. "Leave me alone." I am drunk and do not realize how irrational I have become. I push her away.
"What is wrong with you? Where have you been?" my mother wails. "Was Linda drinking too?"
"Leave me alone," I said. I am now crying.
"Jan, what if that was drug money?" my father asks.
"Drug money?" she asks. "Kim, calm down. What has gotten into you?"
"Go to bed," my mother tells me. "We will talk about this in the morning."
The next day, I awaken with a pounding skull. I open my parched mouth, lick my lips and roll over. I will never get up, I decide. I hate my sister. I will beat her to a pulp.
Hell ensues. My parents drill me about how we got alcohol (We found a buyer, I tell them), whether Linda drank (Mom, it was only me. She never touched it. She drank Coke) and, most importantly, what we were going to do about the money.
My mother tells me to call the police. She fears the bills would somehow be traced, a thug would arrive at the home and snatch her children away.
I call the Worcester Police Department and ask for the lost and found.
"Hello. I, um, I found a thousand dollars last night on the floor of the Worcester Centrum. I was wondering if I need to report this to someone."
"Was it cash?" the dispatcher asks.
"Yes,'" I answers. "Fifty-dollar bills. New bills."
"Well, there's not much that we can do to find the owner so you may as well keep it," the woman tells me.
"Um, keep it? I don't have to fill out a report?"
"Yes, keep it." The dispatcher hangs up.
I share the news with my parents who have already grounded me for a month, taken turns yelling at me, ignoring me and lecturing me about drinking. They tell me I have to split the money with Linda. My half will go in the bank to use toward college.
"All of it?"
"All of it," they say.
I slump off to my room. No Paris, no car, no album.
But there would be pizza, I decide. I pull a $50 bill from the pile and stuff it into my pocket. Linda and I would use it to buy pizza and many chocolate peanut parfaits at Friendly's. My sister, on the other hand, would get nothing.
I don't speak to her for days after she woke up my parents. Her greediness both disturbs and infuriates me. I just can't understand why she was so hungry to get her hands on my cash. In the morning before school we exchange dirty looks. "You should have just given me the money," she tells me. "I gave you the tickets."
``Shut up. You didn't want them anyway,'' I whine, stalking off. She laughs at my parents' decision to make me deposit the money in the bank.
For weeks I contemplate how to seek my revenge, with no proper form of retaliation ever coming to fruition.