Summer holidays can be long and grueling. Tabias’ friends get to go on holidays to Disney Land. He gets lucky for a weekend here and there with a spontaneous sleepover at the neighbour’s house. But that’s as far as he gets to travel.
It was Sister’s meltdown at lunch in July that caused Step Mother to get them registered in Summer Camp. She got them in it the next day.
Step Mother and Father need to keep buying groceries, meaning Tabias and Sister have to go. Tabias had tried to argue that he should stay home to babysit Grandfather.
“The old guy could fall and die during the day if I’m not here,” Tabias offered.
“He’ll only fall and die if you keep leaving your toy cars laying about,” Step Mother retorted, but it still ended Tabias in a karate class for summer, unisex, forcing Tabias to plead his case as to why Sister had to do something else.
“She stinks when she farts,” he tried.
“I won’t feed her beans this summer,” Step Mother replied.
“She complains and makes everyone angry,” he countered.
“Then it’ll be beneficial for you both. She’ll learn to not whine and you’ll learn to help her.”
Tabias rolled his eyes. “If she’s in the same class as me, you miss out on an extra day without us there.”
Step Mother went quiet, turned into the karate parking lot, and sighed. “Okay, she’ll go into swimming lessons.”
The three of them walked into the building, Sun Hang Do. The masters demanded quiet in the whole building.
Step Mother and Sister watched as Tabias learned round kicks, elbow strikes, and rising punch. What he wanted to learn were throat punches, high kicks to the head, and round houses to temples.
At the end of the class, Tabias took his water bottle to the recycling bin.
“Psst,” the trash can lid lifted. Tabias squinted to see but saw no one.
“Um, yes?” Tabias replied, glancing around to see if anyone was behind him, or the mirror. Not a soul. He was talking to the garbage can.
“The organization needs your help,” the mysterious voice commanded. A shuffle on the inside of the two-foot-tall bin made Tabias concerned.
“Oh ya, the Trash Can Men need me?” Tabias lifted the lid. “Ha!”
It was Sister, her hair muffling her voice. “Uh, the organization of siblinghood that I don’t want to go swimming. I want to do karate too!” She pouted.
A long minute passed; Tabias had truly hoped the Trash Can Men needed him, but that was too good to be true. That was a mean joke Sister played.
Step Mother filled out the papers to enrol Sister in the class. “You know, Sister is too little for the adult class.”
Tabias shrugged. “At least they can legally punch her.”
Norma Rrae is an author based in Fort St. John. Read more of her works at notmewriting.com.