Working out in the yard was something we always did as a family. At least, we all went outside together, and some of us kids would mosey around while the others worked, but you get the idea. My older brother, Travis, was just getting used to being a big brother, and he was good at it. He could tickle us until we cried, knuckle our foreheads until we named 18 fruits (kiwi, apple, papaya, tomato, apricot, peach, mango, nectarine, pear, kumquat, avocado, banana, pineapple, strawberry, star fruit, lemon, lime, watermelon, cantaloupe– see, I still got it!), and farting in a room and holding the door shut so we couldn’t escape. He was particularly fond of making us believe stories, such as the one about keeping his “other sister” in the attic and feeding her once a month.
On this particular day, my parents were the ones working in the yard while the rest of us tried to look busy enough not to be assigned to a task. Travis and Ryan (my other brother) had found a tennis racket, and were bouncing various things off of it back and forth, when Travis found the worm. It was a long, pink worm, freshly dug up and it was not happy to be uprooted. As Travis lightly bounced it on the racket, he got that look in his eye that alerted us mischief would follow. He spied our two-year-old sister across the yard, and strode over to her with the air of a salesman. “Hey Lindsey!” He said greeted her like he was about to tell her the best news of her life, “Do you like spaghetti?” She bobbled happily, and stumbled up to him with an excited look in her eye.
“Well, it’s your lucky day!” he pitched, “because I have some spaghetti right here for you!” She eyed the worm suspiciously and then cautiously picked up the dangling worm.
“Don’t worry,” Travis assured her, “it’s spaghetti! You like spaghetti, remember?” She bounced her head slower this time, and cautiously put the worm in her mouth, moving it slowly around with her tongue. I don’t know who told her first, the memory becomes blurred at this point. All I know is I heard, “Lindsey, spit that out! It’s a worm!” And saw a flying worm arching toward the grass. My parents ran over, and water from the hose was immediately used to rinse out her mouth. There was the sound of Travis laughing and making excuses as my parents scolded him. Lindsey, through her wails, was eying Travis with a look of loathing. I don’t really know if she has ever quite trusted him since.