The sound of someone vomiting violently in the next room awoke me suddenly. My first thoughts pointed to the possibility of everything being a residual sound effect from my dream, still lingering near my ears, but that was quickly dismissed by my brain as an illogical premise.
I fell fast asleep once I finished reading the anti-communist tale of Onion John. As a result, I dreamt about how the story of the mustached, onion-headed unemployed man the book’s title promised me would develop. With my eyes closed I wandered through the dystopian streets of a post-nuclear war city side by side with my good friend Onion John. Time and time again he got rejected from every job he applied to. The only one he could rely on was me. And, while he was constantly described as having the foulest stench this side of the Hudson River – by my brain and everyone else’s mouths –, no one had had the courtesy of displaying their half-digested meals in the floor before him as a very graphic and accurate description of his bodily odors.
Everything played out exactly how I imagined it would be. Unfortunately, it stopped. Back in the real world, the vomit noises kept increasing in volume and quantity, leaving alternate Onion John’s story without a proper conclusion. I felt a rush of unhappiness strut all around my body.
According to my clock, it had been three whole hours since I jumped to bed with my now defrosted cat popsicle, time enough to transform my frozen blank check into something pleasant to see. By that time, it would be easy to mistake the once frozen corpse for a soft furred live specimen. The only things that gave its lifeless reality away were its 125° broken legs and an eye that kept constantly popping out of its socket. Nothing a couple yards of plaster and an eye patch couldn’t fix.
Once again, my mental musings were interrupted, this time by a particularly long and painful sounding vomit. The time for me to leave my bed and inspect the bathroom had arrived.
Everything seemed normal behind the door. The grimy water pool inside the clogged sink remained intact, my dirty clothes were still all over the place, the mat was still rumpled up in a corner, and my five years younger sister was lurching towards the shower’s drain pipe while greenish drops of stomach acid dripped from her mouth.
“Good morning to you, sis.”
“Urgh…” she responded.
Despite being a pretty common sight, it was like she had magically appeared inside my bathtub after disappearing for almost a week and was now trying to get rid of all the alcohol she ingested during her five-day weekend party.
“When did you arrive? I didn’t hear the door.”
“About twelve–” she began before another powerful jet of puke came gushing down her throat cutting her words short.
“About ten vomits ago? That’s not very much…”
“About twelve hours ago, you asshole! Why are you always such a fucking prick?”
“Yeah. I’ll leave you alone now to sort out your breakfast.”
“Berk!” she screamed. Then, she followed this word by another jet of vomit.
Before I could see the color of this new spraying, I closed the door behind my back, leaving her and her gastric juices alone.
Eight years ago, my mother was able to force me to let her other child to stay at my house “just until she finished college”, an endeavor my sibling scientifically proved as an impossible task. During all those years, she remained an eternal freshman. A freshman in what, I do not know, nor do I care.
The mere mention of such an idea as “hosting the little sister I so gladly left behind for good the moment I left home” led to a lengthy discussion that lasted several nights without dinner. After been beaten in the word battlefield by the power of “I gave birth to you!”, I reluctantly agreed to host my sister at home just to make my mom happy.
There was only one condition, though: I would provide her with a roof, running water, electricity and, if luck was on her side, a bed made out of hard, old cushions and cardboards where she could sleep sans any sort of blankets; however, I would not sponsor her nightly alcohol-gushing escapades. First and foremost, because she was still under age and, secondly, because if I wanted to throw my money away I would rather stop buying toilet paper and keep a handy mound of bills in the bathroom.
Since everything seemed reasonable, and due to the fact I made her laugh because her “little girl would never drown herself in alcohol by her own will”, my mom accepted. And, just to prove how satisfied she was with the overall arrangement, she promised to provide us with a substantial monthly allowance that was supposed to provide for our food and needs. I never had the heart to tell her that monetary fund was reluctantly stolen every third day of the month to fund my sister’s eternal pursuit to answer the question “how much alcohol gallons would you need to destroy every neuron on your body?”.
I have no idea how she managed to keep herself alive for so long. I always wondered but never asked. However, it was imperative that she remained living, at least until I found a decent job; otherwise my monthly allowance would’ve disappeared and I would be officially bankrupted.
Once the sound effect incident was sorted out, I returned to bed to tend to my fuzzy business asset. I was planning to have it curled up inside a small blue blanket and make everybody believe the little black feline was asleep. With any luck, this ruse would grant me the necessary time to sprint away from the scene, reward money in hand, before anyone could catch up with me. But, when the preparations were almost finished, a scandalous shriek was heard throughout the whole neighborhood.
“Where the fuck is my cat?” were the words hidden behind the continuous ear-splitting acute parade of “i”-sounding noises coming from my sister’s throat.
“Since when do you have a cat?”
“Stop being a fucking smart ass and tell me what you did with it!”
“I really have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you do! I’m talking about the cat I stole from the Carpenters house the other day, the cat I stole so I could demand the reward money, reward money I need today so I can afford to go to Lynn’s party! Where is it? I hid the stupid thing inside my socks drawer and now it is gone! Tell me now! Where is it?!”
“You must be drunk, sis.”
“I may be still drinking a couple of bottles in my room, but I’m doing it slowly so, no, I am not drunk, okay?”
“Does that mean this ‘cat’ of yours might not exist?”
“Hand over the cat before I destroy your sorry ass!”
“You mean this pretty thing right here?” I said while lifting the former cat popsicle above my head.
“Fucking thief! You stole it! Give it back right this instant, goddammit!”
“Oh, but it couldn’t possibly be the cat you told me about. Oh, no. You said yours was hidden on your sock drawer and I found this beauty in the fridge! So, obviously—” I never got to say what was obvious to my eyes. My whole body was paralyzed by a well-aimed kick right in my left shin before I had a chance to finish my statement. All I could do was throw myself to the floor in pain and watch how my sister ran towards our front door, with the dead cat beneath her arms.
“The fucking money will be all mine, you asswipe thief!” she screamed from the outside. Then, she stopped midstep to vomit one more time.
I considered running behind her, but the possibility of a shattered shin stopped me. I never thought pointy heel shoes made out of cheap translucent plastic could ever be such a powerful weapon.