Captain Howdy visits my sister
My mother, rest her soul, was a devout Catholic, and she clung tightly to the traditions and teachings of the church in an almost fanatical way. We were all baptized as infants and submerged literally from birth into the world of Catholic tradition. It was all we knew.
As children we had no shortage of verbal or visual imagery of hell and the devil. We had picture books in our home, clearly meant for children that told stories of kids falling victim to temptation by accepting candy in church from a bat winged, horned, green-skinned, pointy-tailed Satan.
Mom believed in the devil so much that when “The Exorcist” became available on HBO, she insisted we watch it. She claimed a person could be possessed by the devil or a demon. My brothers and I were too old for these scare tactics to work, but my sister Julie was still young and impressionable.
My poor sister was the butt of many of our jokes and pranks. It is a wonder she survived. We teased and harassed her constantly. She was almost always in a state of uproar because of something my brothers or I had done to her. After watching “The Exorcist” and seeing the look of utter horror on my little sister’s face, I hatched a plan to scare both her and my mom.
There was a scene from the movie in which the main character, a young girl, was possessed by the devil. Her bed began to shake violently while she was on it, and the bed lifted up off the floor and moved around. There were also scary grunting noises coming from underneath it.
I decided to recreate this scene to frighten Mom and Julie. I piled pillows under the covers of my bed, giving the impression that I had already gone to bed. Then, I crept into my sister’s room while she was occupied in the bathroom. I slid under her bed and waited for what seemed like an eternity for everyone to fall asleep. I was uncomfortable and claustrophobic, but I waited.
When I was sure everyone was asleep, I placed my hands and knees om the bottom of Julie’s bed and began to thrust upward, violently jostling it and grunting like the demon in the movie.
Julie woke up screaming for Mom. Mom came running in and started screaming for my dad. Dad came in disoriented, asking what the hell all the screaming was about. After a brief survey of the situation Dad knew that one of the boys was behind this disturbance.
He reached under the bed, determined to thrash whichever one of us he pulled out. With a grip like a steel trap, Dad drug me out by my arm, stood me on my feet, and proceeded to shake me as if he intended to see my brain come out of my nose. The whole time this was happening, he kept asking questions he already knew the answers to like, do you think that crap is funny?
My mom was egging Dad on. In her mind I had committed a stoning offense; she really thought my sister was being attacked by the devil. The fact that I scared Mom was what mattered here, not that I was picking on my little sister.
I got a beating, but it was worth it just to see the look on Mom’s face and hear my sister scream in fear. Then I was forced to sleep in my sister’s bed to keep her from getting scared.
I gained some valuable knowledge from that experience. If you’re going to play a prank, make damn sure you have an escape rout or at least a good alibi. Secondly, sleeping in your sister’s bed is bad on all kinds of levels, no matter how old you are.