Friends Like These

I stayed with my best friend, Laura, all the time in high school. She has a little brother called Luke. Luke and I did not get along.

1

He was the first person to point out that my name rhymes with Calorie.

I (briefly) ran away from home when I was fourteen. My brazen travel took me less than a mile down the road to their house, where I shoved Luke away from his beloved computer so I could message my mother and tell her she’d never see me again.

2

We feuded almost constantly for two years, but we bonded over a love of theme songs from 80s TV shows.3

Poor Laura patiently put up with our all-night chatter. We would sit up for hours, singing and writing Sailor Moon fanfic. We were annoying. Especially to Mike, their dad.

4

Individually, we were fine, but together, we were a volatile combination. Their mom, Sandy, decided it was best not to take us out in public anymore. No more slumber parties with me and Laura. Mike banished him to the couch.

5

Our strong friendship didn’t stop me from tormenting him. Jackie and I did something we called ‘tatty grabbing/flicking.’ It was just us relentlessly grabbing his chest and flicking his nipples.

6

As an adult, I realize that was harassment. Had he snapped and killed us, no jury would’ve convicted.

Sandy was going to university and teaching simultaneously. Having a house full of messy teenagers did little for her blood pressure. Laura had a reasonable idea – clean the house.

7

We didn’t ask Luke to help very nicely, so he refused. We came up with ways to force him to help us. We decided to hide his keyboard one day. Another time, we flipped the circuit breaker and shut off all the power in the house.

He was furious.

8

I have no idea how I escaped the full weight of his wrath that day.

But there was another time… The time I went too far.

I took every art class available to me in high school, which meant I was perpetually working on some amazing project that required an X-ACTO knife. I had quite a collection of these pointy little devils.

Luke had his own collection – a collection of canned ravioli. He would come home from school every day, rummage around in Sandy’s room, and emerge with a can.

We coveted his ravioli. Our eyes glowed green with envy.

9

I didn’t just want the ravioli. I wanted to be a monster.

We ransacked Sandy’s room until we found the Chef Boyardee stash, and then put everything back exactly as it was.

10

It was time for my X-ACTO knives to know their true purpose.

11

I carefully removed the label from the ravioli can and affixed it to a can of corn. I then placed the corn masquerading as ravioli in Luke’s hiding place.

And then I waited.

12

It wasn’t long before I heard the telltale sound of the can opener. A few swift twists, and then came silence.

It took all I had not to laugh maniacally.

13

Paybacks are hell. The next several months was a series of beatings about the head with Pepsi bottles. He nailed me in the face with a mini football. He calls this a happy accident.

And then there was that time we shared a bag of Gardetto’s. He later informed me that all the pieces I was eating were the ones he licked the flavor off of and stuck back in the bag. (another happy accident)

He also blamed me for breaking his family’s extremely expensive DVD player. Fifteen years later, I maintain my innocence.

In spite of being awful to one another, Luke and I became best friends. He even made and hid an extra key for me so I would never be locked out of the house if nobody was home.

lukemallory

There was a lot of cleavage in that picture. Laura, Luke and me had been skunked the morning of his graduation. We smelled awful.

Luke and I still talk nearly every single day. I introduce him to people as my brother.

Also, no ravioli is as delicious as ill-gotten ravioli.