In the Dark
by Martin Ott
"So, you're saying if I stick my tongue in the outlet, this light bulb will glow?"
Jenny nodded, wondering how mad her dad would get if he knew they were alone together again.
"I don't believe you," he said, setting down the bulb they'd taken out of the reading lamp. Larry was seven, like her, but seemed younger by his willingness to do whatever she asked. Like running around the playground in his underwear or eating tree bark or the time dad found them in the basement alone playing with their "thingees."
They'd both gotten spanked for it, but hadn't complained.
"How come you don't talk to me in school anymore," Larry asked.
"It's because we have a special relationship. Do your mom and dad talk?"
"Oh," Larry said, "So this is better?"
"Of course it is," Jenny said. "We'll do dangerous things, then we'll fight about it."
Jenny picked up a letter opener and grabbed Larry's hand. She kissed him on the lips and knelt down by the outlet. The hair on her neck was already beginning to rise. She pushed the opener into the outlet prong but it was too big. She hated Larry. He would ignore her if she didn't ignore him.
"Jenny," her father called out from the living room. Their parents must be looking for them.
"Quick," Jenny said, breathless. Hand in hand, they held the bulb and hid in the closet of the den, wondering if their bodies huddled together would trigger the light and cause her dad to find them.
In the dark, Larry wasn't a boy and she wasn't a girl. They were the same.
"I'm scared," Larry said.
"Me too," said Jenny, but she wasn't scared, not even as they met the future with open mouths and the calls grew louder and her father's footsteps slowly approached their hiding place.
Copyright©2003 Martin Ott