When my sister, Johanna, and I were teenagers, our parents had gone out to run some errands. They took our younger sister, Cara – who was around four at the time – with them. Johanna and I had the house to ourselves, unsupervised. Life was good!
I came up with the not-so-bright idea of running down the hallway, turning the corner into our parents’ bedroom and jumping onto their queen-sized, wood frame bed. Meanwhile, Johanna stood just inside the doorway of the bedroom watching me and waiting for the inevitable. She was not disappointed.
I was bouncing up and down on the bed having a fantastic time when I heard a sickening crack, and the bottom corner on Mom’s side slumped about six inches.
Oh, crap! Oh, crap! OH, CRAP! Mom and Dad would be back any minute and I had to figure out a way to get this bed fixed fast or I was in BIG TROUBLE!
Johanna, meanwhile, was beside herself with delight. I had really screwed up this time, and she was looking forward to seeing how this was going to play out, especially since – other than helping me fix the bed – she wasn’t involved. Meanwhile, I was close to panic.
I inspected the broken corner of the bed frame and realized that the vibrations caused by my bouncing had caused two of the joints to separate. I ran outside to the garage to retrieve a rubber mallet and grabbed a towel from the linen closet. I had Johanna hold the towel against the wood to protect the surface from any telltale hammer marks and began to carefully pound the two joints back together.
Once that was done, I smoothed out the bed sheets and comforter, inspected the wood to make sure I had left no evidence of my hammering, gathered the rubber mallet and towel and cleared out. I was grateful that our youngest sister, Cara, hadn’t been home because there was no way she would have been able to keep her mouth shut about this.
Later that night, after my sisters and I had gone to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I was waiting. Would my repair job hold? Would our parents discover what I had done?
I could hear Mom getting ready for bed, the sound of rustling bed sheets, a loud “thump,” and then she was yelling after Dad, who was in another part of the house at the time.
“Morley! The bed just broke! I’ve been telling you we need to replace this thing!”
Mom was mad!
I waited anxiously under my covers. Any moment, now, my parents would come storming into my bedroom and the jig would be up. Suddenly, I heard Johanna’s bedroom door squeak open. She asked in a sleepy voice that I knew very well was fake, “What’s going on?”
What are you doing?, I thought. Was she going to rat on me? I wanted to throw my door open and yell at her to go back to bed, but, of course, I couldn’t. I knew exactly what she was doing: She was squeezing every possible drop of enjoyment out of my misery and reinforcing her own innocence in the deed.
Miraculously, she didn’t rat on me. Dad fixed the bed (which they still have), and they were none the wiser.