Our reward for finishing chores are in dinged up plastic cases from the library. The movies star talking dogs, rarely dinosaurs. They have funny white lesbians instead of Jim Carey or Eddie Murphy. We’ll watch the other movies at friends’ houses later. Kissing our foreheads, Mom says Use your best judgement. Don’t use knives. Or climb the counters.

The counters = balance beam + monkey bars + dance studio. One kid per counter, four counters per kitchen, we stand four feet over the linoleum facing each other and start the countdown. Flinging our hair back for luck, we grip a cupboard handle with each palm and pull. The ripping off motion (Meg Ryan ripping into window shutters) breaks tricky magnetic seals. Your small but determined biceps make the panels careen backwards and slam adjacent doors if not careful. Acquire the sensation of hinges centering. Learn to hold it in place. Like the vine-swinging Donkey Kong, hand off an open door to the sibling on your right. Grab the handle from the sibling on your left. Close doors. Make magnets click. Get good. Leap. Leap. Leap. The house rumbles with the bang of metal.

Repeat until someone stumbles. One of you has already had too many concussions this year. Avoid knives. Watch the movie while folding laundry.


Colleen Maynard’s work has appeared in matchbook, Monkeybicycle, NANO Fiction, and SAND Journal Berlin. Maynard was awarded a 2019 ‘Let Creativity Happen’ grant from Houston Arts Alliance and the City of Houston, and was a 2017 Prairieside Outpost Artist-in-residence. Maynard studied writing and painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, and illustration at Illinois Natural History Survey. Find her at colleenmaynard.com.
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
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