No Silver Linings

“That cloud looks like Mike Tyson,” Sheena said, poking me in the ribs.

She was always poking me in the ribs, but I had nowhere to go. We had been shoved together in the backseat for five hours straight, and if I thought she was annoying in a room, Sheena in the car was worse.

“That cloud does not look like Mike Tyson,” I responded without looking.

“You didn’t look!” she squealed. “Joey didn’t look!” she told my mom, who also didn’t look.

Honestly, I don’t even think my mom wanted to go on the trip in the first place, but Barry insisted on it. He and my mom had been together for two years, and I felt like he was pushing it a little bit, with those stupid family trips. Sheena was his kid, a little brat who never stopped talking.

“You missed the cloud that looked like Mike Tyson,” she said, pouting. With her arms crossed over her ironing board chest, Sheena was the picture of annoyance. What ever happened to being silent and carrying a big stick?

What I wouldn’t have given for a big stick right then. I would have popped her right in the middle of her unibrow. But I digress. The trip. We were headed to Disneyland, it happened to be cloudy, and she insisted on playing stupid road games. I had my headphones in, and my Walkman blasting Talking Heads. It didn’t seem to get through to her.

“Janine!” Sheena said, pouting some more. “Tell Joey he has to play with me!”

My mom shook her head, but only so I could see. I think she hated Sheena just as much as I did, but she would never have admitted that. Barry kept his eyes on the road, but I could see his bald spot right in front of me. I felt like we were headed straight down the highway to hell. Or at least hell adjacent. I wondered what would happen if I just opened the door and rolled out.

“Joey, pay attention to your sister,” my mother said, her voice monotone. But it least it shut Sheena up. For the moment, anyway.

“She’s not my sister,” I said, knowing that would get me in even more trouble.

“She will be soon enough,” Barry piped in from the front. I had forgotten. He proposed and my mom said yes, and I blocked it out because it was so ludicrous. Sadly, me blocking it out didn’t automatically preclude it from happening. I wondered if I could bring a big stick on the next trip.

“Yes, the cloud looks like Mike Tyson,” I said. “And that one over there looks like Hulk Hogan, flexing, like on Raw.”

“Joey!” Sheena said, whining again. “It does not look like Hulk Hogan!”

“Exactly,” I replied, and turned my back on her once more. “Just like the other one didn’t look like Mike Tyson.”

“Did too,” she said. “’Cept it was white.”

I shook my head and sighed.


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Cozy Corner

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