I Flushed It

I Flushed It

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

I Flushed It

It was a hot day in Florida. The school year had just ended and it was time for summer vacation. We had just gotten a little black dog who we named One-Eyed. We chose that name because he could only see out of one eye.

Everybody wanted to do something for the dog: feed him, teach him tricks and take long walks with him. Everybody was so happy to have this active, playful, shaggy, sable-coated new addition to our family. Everybody, that is, except my mom and me.

All my mom saw when she looked at the dog was someone else to clean up after. Shedding, messy, muddy, he pounced all over the house. All Mom seemed to care about was getting the house cleaned. My mom began to put Clorox in the tub. There was no messing with Mom when she started cleaning, so I decided to move out of the way. Actually, getting out of the way is a move I’d been practicing for a long time.

Being the youngest in my family has had its advantages, of course. I won’t deny that. More than a few times I was spoiled or everyone was convinced that I was the cutest. It wasn’t all bad to get this attention.

But being the youngest also came with its fair share of troubles. I was often told what I couldn’t do and why. I realize that I practiced getting out of the way because most of the time I was being pushed out of the way. “You’re too young!” “You’re too little!” “You’ll mess this up!” they’d often say.

I also knew that my family loved me. They always tried to protect me, help me and take care of me, but I couldn’t wait to show them I could do things by myself.

Every time I asked my brother or my sister if I could pet One-Eyed, they would shout, “No!” or tell me that I had germs. Once, they even convinced me that I had so many germs, if I touched One-Eyed he would die! I really believed them and was scared that something terrible would happen to the dog. Once I even confessed to my mom that I touched the dog when no one noticed. At first, my mom seemed very confused about what I was telling her, but then she realized that they were playing a joke on me to keep me away from the dog. My mom scolded my brother and sister, “You better stop teasing your little brother!” Little brother! That’s exactly what I was. That really got my blood boiling. I was so mad, I wanted to break something!

I wasn’t going to let them make me move out of their way this time! I took one look at the dog and decided, “I’ll show them what a little kid can do!” I took the dog into the bathroom. “I’m going to give you a bath!” I said. One-Eyed looked at me strangely; he obviously didn’t understand what I was saying. I looked at the sink. Too small, I thought. I looked at the tub. “It stinks like Clorox.” Then I saw it. The perfect place for a dog bath—the toilet!

I took my sister’s shampoo and poured it into the toilet. Then I put the dog in. I was scrubbing all the dirt off the dog with our towels. The finishing touch was to pull down the lever, which I did. But the sound of the toilet made the dog panic like crazy! He tried to escape, but the shampoo was too slippery. While the water was going down, One-Eyed’s legs were going down with it. I was scared, and I didn’t want One-Eyed to get hurt. I didn’t want to get into trouble or for anyone to find out. I went running down to the garage.

My mom was standing there and laughing, as if she was expecting me. I didn’t know what to say. I tried to catch my breath. Then I told her what just happened. I thought she would punish me. I didn’t expect my mom would be . . . laughing!

As it turns out, I later discovered that my mom knew what was happening all along. She always seemed to be a pretty good spy, I guess.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, One-Eyed was fine: but he did stay away from me for a while. Even though we never actually had a conversation about my being the youngest, I think Mom understood what I was trying to do. I was trying to make my own place in our family . . . trying, maybe sometimes in a weird way, to declare my independence. Flushing the dog down the toilet might not sound like a Declaration of Independence, but for a six-year-old, well, it was my best shot!

Pier Novelli, twelve

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