We Drank The Kool-Aid And We Died Young
I was a very ambitious kid. One morning my brother, Lawson, and I, were watching Mr. Rogers. I was 7 and he was 6. Everyone else in the house was asleep.
Anyway, on this particular occasion, Mr. Rogers was teaching us that we could make a pitcher lemonade and sell it for 5 cents a glass. You could make a whopping thirty-five cents. Back then that was enough for a can of pop and two popsicles.
In actuality, we thought Mr. Rogers was a fool. Being smarter than Mr. Rogers, we deduced we could increase price and production, and make at least 100 dollars. 100 dollars would buy us both a new bike, with a little left over for some Wayne Gretzky rookie cards we could clothespin in the spokes to make them sound like motorcycles.
We nodded at each other and headed for the kitchen.
After a disappointing search, we couldn’t find any lemonade. But we did have about twenty packets of Kool-Aid. They would have to do.
In order to produce mass quantity, we would need a massive container. We went outside to get one of the big garbage bins. To our disappointment they were all full of garbage. We would have to empty one of them.
We knew we couldn’t dump it anywhere on our property without getting in trouble, so we dumped it in General Morgan’s garden next door. Thankfully that endeavour went off without a hitch. General Morgan was fairly demented. He probably wouldn’t even notice.
We dragged the garbage bin into the kitchen. After emptying every packet of Kool-Aid into the bin, we dumped a whole bag of sugar in. Next came the extremely tedious task of filling the bin with water. We threw three quarters of a bag of milk in the garbage so we could use the pitcher to scoop water into the bin.
After about an hour we finally got the bin full of water. It was disgusting. There was debris and cigarette butts floating around. We may have been young but we were smart enough to know that no one was going to pay five bucks for a cup of Kool-Aid if there was a cigarette butt floating around in it.
After the painstaking event of getting all the crap out of the Kool-Aid, we realized we were screwed for mixing it. There was no way we could use our hands. It just wouldn’t be enough. We went outside to look for a big stick or pole. Out front of the house a game of street hockey started up. That was it. We would use hockey sticks to stir it. But no one in our family played hockey. We would have to borrow a couple from Roy Tesky two doors down. I knew he had a pile of hockey sticks in his garage because I had to poop in it a month earlier, because both bathrooms were being used in our house.
Getting the hockey sticks was no problem. Just had to open up the garage door and head on in. We didn’t bother closing it. We would do that after we returned the sticks. We didn’t want to make too much work for ourselves.
When we returned to the kitchen we happened upon our baby brother, Ehran. Ehran was only three. He was standing there in his Snoopy pajamas frowning at the big bin of Kool-Aid. When we walked in he looked at us beseechingly.
“Forget it, Ehran.” I said.
“Not unless you have five bucks.” Lawson said.
Ehran glared at us both and left quietly. We began the daunting task of stirring the bin of Kool-Aid. After a few minutes of this, Ehran returned and thrust a twenty dollar bill at us.
That was the most money we had ever seen in our lives. I greedily snatched the money from him just as my dad came walking into the kitchen.
“GIVE ME MY TWENTY BUCKS BACK!! He thundered.
His eyes fell upon the site in the kitchen of Lawson and I in our underwear stirring a garbage bin full of Kool-Aid.
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!!?!?!?” He roared. He was incandescent with rage. Everyone out front of the house stopped playing hockey.
I calmly explained our venture to him while Lawson doled out four cups of Kool-Aid for Ehran. Just then there was a loud irritated knock at the door. It was Roy Tesky demanding his hockey sticks back, and freaking out for leaving his garage door opened. We would find out later his wife noticed a barrel of moonshine he’d been hiding in the garage and that was what really set him off.
Then came General Morgan hooting and hollering, waving a polaroid around. He got a great shot of Lawson and I dumping the garbage into his garden.
Lawson and I were grounded for six months. We also had to pay for the grass that was killed when my dad dumped the bin of Kool-Aid in the backyard.
Then the world exploded.