Johnny America


My Sis­ter, Part Two


Macramé, macramé: my sis­ter was deep in­to knot­ted strings. At one point, she sport­ed a leather fe­do­ra with a macramé hat­band, a macramé chok­er, macramé ban­gles and a macramé Jethro belt (Note: dur­ing that time she was groov­ing hard to Ram, Car­ly Si­mon and Cat Stevens). Suede, den­im, and that stink­ing patchouli were her sec­ondary fash­ion trade­marks. She was, of course, a pop­u­lar girl.

She had three pot plants grow­ing in her bed­room win­dow; floor to ceil­ing win­dows, arched and beveled, with lace cur­tains and shelves of can­dy-like dolls up­on the walls. Puny, bad­ly raised plants. I tried to bust her smug ass. Dad had just re­turned from a six week trip to Gal­lo and was pret­ty weary. Sprawled on the couch with Peo­ple magazine.

“Dad, your daugh­ter’s grow­ing mar­i­jua­na in her bedroom.”

“Leave your sis­ter alone.”

“But she’s a drug ad­dict, Dad. She likes get­ting shots.”

“She looks fine to me.”

In those days, my sis­ter was the on­ly girl in the fam­i­ly — un­touch­able. As the el­dest, mine alone was still all the mis­ery and the wrong. Like Je­sus. Like Lewis and Clark. In my bru­tal, sub­ur­ban wilder­ness, the on­ly jus­tice was rug burns.


Rug Burns

For best ef­fect, work on a medi­um pile rug, prefer­ably un-vac­u­umed (the grit adds ad­di­tion­al irritation).




Back then, my sis­ter dressed like a blind slut: she showed plen­ty of skin through her re­tard­ed en­sem­bles. The rug burns glowed like neon. She showed them to my father.

“What’s that, Crick­et?” he cooed.

“Your el­dest son did this to me.”

“Your broth­er gave you a rash?”

When my fa­ther was up­set with me, he liked to pull my hair out. By the age of four­teen, I had a Don Knotts hair­line. That shit hurt. Once a year, I sup­pose, I de­served it. But every­thing else was my sis­ter’s fault, she and her harpy sycophants.

Let’s jump ahead.


The Iran Hostage Crisis

No­vem­ber 4, 1979: the Amer­i­can em­bassy in Tehran is raid­ed by en­raged Iran­ian ‘stu­dents’. 90 Amer­i­cans are held cap­tive, 52 of them held for 444 days. A botched res­cue at­tempt; the Ay­a­tol­lah hol­ler­ing Jim­my Carter was hav­ing one hell of a time. And state­side, Irani-Amer­i­cans got a taste of what Japan­ese-Amer­i­cans were stuffed with dur­ing WWII : cold stares and ter­ri­fy­ing threats, beat­ings in the street, and the de­struc­tion of hard-won prop­er­ty. My sis­ter de­cid­ed the time was right to fall for an Iran­ian man.

“Love hath no pride,” she’d in­tone when­ev­er any­one raised doubts about the re­la­tion­ship, and no-one knew what she meant.

Passers-by would stop, spin and spit on the side­walk at the sight of my sis­ter strolling with her swarthy beau. Dogs hat­ed him. Cab af­ter emp­ty cab passed them by. He got hate mail on Sun­days. Some­one put a dread­lock in my sis­ter’s ham­burg­er when they lunched to­geth­er at her fa­vorite din­er. My sis­ter bore it all like Zsa Zsa Ga­bor: nose up, lip curled, over-groomed. No-one understood.

And, to be fair, Min­ki was a nice enough guy. He was in­to nunchucks, those linked and whizzing ba­tons of the mar­tial arts. He had a won­der­ful sense of hu­mor in a lan­guage none of us un­der­stood. And he reeked of Por­tugese sar­dines, god knows why. Min­ki ate on­ly chick­en. That’s it, chick­en — no soup or sal­ad, no, no sides, no sauces; pure chick­en. He licked at it like a cave­man while my sis­ter ogled him en­rap­tured. Then my sis­ter de­cid­ed to raise chick­ens to en­hance her love with Min­ki. Apart­ment liv­ing was no deterrent.


The Poul­try Phase

Part 3

Filed under Writer X's Sister on January 11th, 2004

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Reader Comments

Sharon wrote:

There go your sis­ter’s chances in pol­i­tics. My side hurts.

Derek wrote:

I anx­ious­ly await the tale of this poul­try phase!

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