I looked at the brown mini cooper pulled over beside me and realized it was my friend, Kelly. “Hey Willow. You need a ride home?” she asked as I was still surprised.
“Actually yeah. That would be nice. My mom’s car broke down and my dad’s in a meeting. I do not want to ride the bus.” I hopped in the passenger’s seat and closed the door. I haven’t been in Kelly’s new car since she had gotten it for her seventeenth birthday from her stepdad. I observed the vehicle with interest. The seats were a burgundy color and the top was convertible. The car still had a new smell to it. Kelly was one of the few people to have a car in the school. Most everyone either rode the bus, had their parents pick them up, or walked home. “So, how do like this car?” I asked her.
“It’s pretty great. I get to drive around anywhere without begging my parents to take me. It’s so useful. And the best part is that I get to put my music as loud as I want,” she started, “and sing along without my mom’s ears bleeding!”
“Lucky. I wish I had a car.”
“Well, maybe you should work to get one. I mean, my stepdad didn’t just give it to me for fun. I had to work my ass off to get straight A’s. But the reward is pretty awesome.” My thoughts swirled trying to mash together. Work? Had I really not thought of that before? But what would I work as? I was still too young to work with my dad in his office as an intern. And I wasn’t going to go mow people’s lawns.
The rest of the car ride was silent. Kelly turned up the music and started singing with it. Thankfully, it was louder than her. But I couldn’t stop thinking about getting a car. I wouldn’t have to car pool with my ten year old brother and his friend anymore. Sometimes my brother begged my mom to sit in the front seat and I would have to sit with his friend in the back. Once I watched him dig for gold in his nose and I almost threw up that I told my mom to stop the car. A car was mandatory in my life. I couldn’t get around with ten year old’s singing Frozen songs every morning.
We arrived at my house and I quickly left with a bye and thank you. I rushed through my door almost tripping over my little brother, since he had apparently just arrived as well. My mom was setting her bag down on the dining room table. “Mom! Mom, how old were you when you got your first car?” I babbled, out of breath. My mom looked up at me sharply.
“Hi to you, too, sweets. Oh, your day was great? That’s awesome. Mine was pretty good too. Thanks for asking,” she said overly sarcastically. I was about to speak before she cut me off, “First car, huh? I think I was eighteen.”
“Well, I was thinking about getting one.”
“Oh yeah? With what money?”
“I would work, of course. The thing is that I don’t know what to work as to get money for a car.”
“Willow working? Hah. Nice, but April 1st is in two months,” my little brother commented.
“Jacob, I think that it’s a great idea. Willow would learn a lot of responsibility,” she told him and then turned back to me. “You actually reminded me that I have a little surprise for you related to working.” My eyes widened with interest. “So, last week I found out that your old babysitter moved down the street. Do you remember her? Her name was Ivy.”
“Well, anyway, I ran into her at the home department store while I was looking for new spoons. I chatted and caught up with her for a while. She has four kids now! Isn’t that crazy? I still remember when she made you stop sucking your thumb. I don’t know how she did it, but whatever she did, it worked. Anyway, she was telling me about her kids and that she had barely any free time. I mean imagine having all those kids.”
“Torture. Ok, so when’s the job part of the story coming?” I asked impatiently.
“Soon. So, as I was saying, I felt bad and offered her for you to be her kids’ babysitter!” she revealed excitedly. Those words drained all the hope that I had for getting a car. That was the last job I wanted.
“Mom, you know I don’t like dealing with kids. And there are four of them! You’d be putting me on a suicide mission.”
“Well, maybe the price she’s offering each evening might convince you. It’s sixty-five dollars per night. Plus, I already offered and it would be terrible to tell her that you don’t want to.”
My brain focused on the amount of money my mom told me I would get, just for babysitting. “Sixty-five dollars? Wow, how hard is it to handle those kids?”
“Go do the math for a car.” I processed everything for a few minutes as my mom started to help Jacob with his homework. Sixty-five dollars once a week wasn’t even close enough for a car. Maybe my mom was tricking me so that I would work.
“And that’s enough money for a car? Before the summer?” I questioned curiously. That would be impossible. A mini cooper costs about twenty thousand dollars. Sixty-five wasn’t going to cut it.
“Well, you’ll pay with your babysitting money and I’ll pay the rest. You won’t have a lot, so the car will be a gift for working hard. Deal?” I was seriously going to get a car. It was finally happening. I had to thank Kelly for this clear idea that I was too blind to see. I nodded at my mom and sprinted to my room to start calculating how much money I would have before summer started.
“Ok, if I start next week, it’ll be nine weeks. So that’ll be about five-hundred and eighty-five dollars. That’s it? Oh, maybe there could be some extra days that I could work. Like Saturday or Sunday. But I don’t want my mom to pay that much money. I would feel bad. How much is a used car?” I thought aloud. This car situation was already driving me crazy. “I could get a used car. It’s my first car anyway, so what do I care? It’s probably about ten thousand dollars. That’s better than twenty.” I continued planning. That’s what I was going to do. I was going to get a used car. It was actually a really good idea. I ran back to my mom and told her. She obviously agreed with me very quickly. So that was that. I needed to get started as soon as possible.
That Friday after school, I was excited, but annoyed. Excited because I was getting money and annoyed because I had to babysit a bunch of annoying kids.
“So guess what? Don’t answer that. I took your advice and I’m going to get money and then a car!” I said proudly as I got into Kelly’s mini. She was once again taking me home.
“Oh my god! That’s great! So what are you working as?” Kelly asked. My excitement died down. I’d forgotten I actually had to work to get my money.
“Oh. My mom decided to have the brilliant idea to make me a babysitter!” I announced with a crazy amount of sarcastic happiness. Kelly started laughing hysterically, then looked at my death stare and immediately stopped.
“I’ll pray for you.”
When Kelly arrived at my house, I quickly ran inside and changed into sweatpants. My mom walked me to the Fays at eight. As we were walking, she gave me advice, but I wasn’t listening. Instead, I was thinking about what food they had in their fridge, so that I could raid it once the kids went to sleep.
Once we got to a two-story yellow house with vines grasping to the walls, we walked to the door and knocked. The door flew open and two little girls stood at the entrance with curious faces. They looked about nine years old and they were obviously identical twins.
“Mom! There’s a lady with a homeless person at our door!” one of them screamed. The other pushed her sister away.
“Sorry for my sister. She’s a little... mean. Are you the one that is going to be our babysitter?” the clearly more adorable one said. I nodded. A woman came from behind and I guessed that it was Ivy, their mother. She was wiping her hands on a rag.
“Oh! I didn’t even hear the door!” she said. “Oh my goodness! You have grown up so much!” she said to me thrilled as she took me in for a hug. “And Kassy! How are you? Isn’t it crazy how we’re already at the point where your daughter, who I used to babysit, is taking care of my children? She grew up so much,” she continued, this time talking to my mom. And again the she grew up so fast and wow she looks so much older went on and on. I was seventeen. I think I had enough of that bullcrap. I was really tempted to tell her that she looked so much older too, but she was the one giving me my money for a car. Better not risk it.
My mom and Ivy talked inside while I was standing in the living room awkwardly. Ivy and her husband were going out on a date. I saw the twins in the corner of my eye walking into a room that was probably their own. The evil one had an evil look on her face. I guess that was just the way she looked: evil. I had a bad feeling about her. The two of them looked so much alike. I could tell them apart, though, because one had a glowing aura around her while the other had devil horns and a pitch fork.
“So, Willow. Just make yourself at home. The kids just ate, so they’re good. Oh! Their bed time is at 9:30 and the latest 10:00. Wait? Have you met the other kids? There are two more of them,” Ivy informed me. I shook my head and followed her as she brought me down a long hallway to a closed door. The door had black skulls and a Do Not Enter sign. “Don’t be afraid of the door. He tries to make himself seem tough.” She knocked and the door slowly opened. A boy that was probably in his pre-teens stood looking at me. He had black hair cut in the shape of a bowl and freckles covered his face. His looks were as far from what he wanted me to think from his door.
“Hi. I’m Willow. I’m your new babysitter,” I introduced myself. At the word babysitter, his head turned to his mom sharply.
“What?! A babysitter? I’m too old to have a babysitter! This is so unfair! This can’t be happening! My life is over! Over!” he shouted as he slammed the door. I almost wanted to laugh at how much he sounded like a thirteen year old girl.
“Sorry about him. He thinks he’s eighteen or something. He’s only eleven. So anyway, that was Blake. You won’t have to worry about him. He stays in his man cave the whole time playing video games. Just make sure he doesn’t go to sleep too late,” Ivy mentioned. We continued through the hallway and turned right into a room. The walls had a lot of decorations that a little kid must have done with finger paint. A little boy was in the middle of the room with a piece of paper filled with even more finger paintings. “So, this little guy is Finn. He’s only five and already an artist. Aren’t his paintings great?” she began. I nodded and looked around the room. I was surprised that Ivy allowed her kid to paint on the walls.
“Finn, say hi to Willow. She’s going to be your babysitter.”
Finn turned around and looked at me. “Hi, Pillow.”
“Oh silly, it’s Willow,” Ivy corrected him. She turned back to me and giggled. “Such a cutie.” I smiled unreassuringly.
The father finally finished getting ready and left with Ivy. My mom left at the same time as them and wished me good luck. The kids were all gathered in the living room watching as their parents departed. I looked at my mom leave me with a house full of kids. “So, what are you guys going to do?” I asked them politely.
“Get rid of you,” Blake said with his arms crossed. My mouth fell open with how shocked I was. This kid was a handful. “I’m old enough to take care of myself.”
“Oh really? I don’t think so. In the state of Florida, it’s illegal to stay home alone at your age. So, I wouldn’t even try to-”
“What a miserable life you have,” he suddenly said. “Taking care of a bunch of kids. Especially on a Friday. Don’t you go to parties or are you just not invited?” My face turned red with anger. Boy did I want to flush his eleven year old face down the toilet. The twins were interested on what I was going to say next.
“First of all, parties are overrated these days. That really shows how much you have to learn in life, like politeness, and that you are still a little boy. Second, you still have a girl’s voice. So, I think you should go do your video games and pout in your boy cave,” I snapped back.
All the kids suddenly were intrigued with this argument. I hoped that it wouldn’t last longer than that, but maybe I underestimated his protest. “If you don’t leave, I’ll call my gang on you!”
“You have a gang?” I laughed. “What do you guys do? Sell silly bands to under aged kids?” I started laughing so hard. My hysterical laughing made Finn laugh, which made the twins laugh. Blake felt humiliated and stormed back to his room.
“Oh and you have to go to bed at eleven!” I added.
“And what makes you think I’ll listen to you?!” he shouted from his room.
“Because if you don’t I’ll find your gang and tell them that you have a babysitter!” I yelled back at him. He was suddenly quiet and I was proud of my work. The twins and Finn still were in the living room.
“Can you play Barbie with us?” the cute twin said. I nodded and followed them to their room. The walls were pink, the curtains were pink- everything in their room was pink. It almost blinded me. “You get her,” Olivia told me as she handed me a Barbie doll with strawberry blonde hair. Stella, the evil one, stood in front of me with her Barbie. She looked at me with a smirk. Then, all of a sudden, she ripped off the Barbie doll’s head.
She started laughing, clearly trying to freak me out, but all I said was, “That’s just a waste of money,” and turned back to Olivia. Stella immediately stopped and came over to us. She hovered over me and suddenly pulled out the middle finger. I stood up, shocked, and looked down at her. “Don’t ever do that again. That’s not a nice finger.” She took both hands and pulled out both middle fingers. I decided that just telling her wasn’t going to do anything, so I had to scare her myself. “You don’t want to mess with me.”
“I’m not scared of you. You’re just a hobo babysitter,” she laughed while putting her hands on her hips. It was like she was looking for an argument.
“Oh really? Have you ever seen the movie Nanny McPhee?”
“Yeah. It’s so dumb.” She took another Barbie and an orange sharpie that was laying on the floor. “I think this Barbie needs a little tan.” She started coloring the Barbie doll. She put that one down and picked up the first Barbie’s head that she tore off. I ignored her and continued with my plan.
“Really? Well, that’s funny, because Nanny McPhee is my great-great-grandmother.”
“You’re lying. Nanny McPhee isn’t real. She stupid and ugly. I guess it runs in the family,” she said looking up from the head she just snatched from the ground.
“Oh well I wouldn’t say something like that in front of me, since I’m her great-great-granddaughter. You don’t have to believe me, but isn’t it just a coincidence how your mom found me so suddenly? And how I scared your brother off like that? Your mom says that nobody scares your brother off,” I lied. “I am Nanny McPhee’s great-great-granddaughter. Boo,” I finished. She stood there staring at me. I had probably failed miserably at scaring her. But then, all of a sudden, she dropped the doll’s head on the floor and it rolled to me. I picked it up and told her one last thing, “I use doll’s heads to control little mischievous girls like you.” She definitely was scared then. Her face was priceless. Her eyes widened like she saw a ghost and her mouth grew smaller. I couldn’t believe she actually fell for it.
Olivia looked at me scared as well, but I didn’t want to scare her. “Don’t worry, Olivia. You’re so sweet and kind that I would never control you with a Barbie’s head. Just make sure that your sister goes to bed at the curfew and tell her if she doesn’t, that my great-great-grandmother will come visit her tonight with a bunch of her dollies’ heads. Ok?” I think I failed at not scaring her, but it definitely freaked Stella out. “It’s actually time to go to bed soon. It’s nine thirty. You have thirty minutes to play and then lights out.” The girls listened and were playing in no time. Stella was still in shock, but played with her sister anyway. The person that I needed to get to bed was Finn. “Oh crap! Finn! I left a toddler by himself!” I realized while I ran to the living room. I arrived just in time to find Finn with his hands full of red paint. He was about to touch the light blue couch, but I stopped him right before a disaster happened. “Hey Finn! No, no, no! Don’t put those hands on the couch,” I told him slowly. He giggled at me and when he started walking over, he tripped over a single, forgotten shoe on the left side of the room. His hands grabbed onto the flat, perfectly white wall to stabilize himself. The red paint smeared all over the left wall. He looked at what he had created.
“I like this pretty painting. My mommy’s going to be proud!” he smiled. I stood there speechless, not sure what to say to him.
“Finn. That’s not good. You can’t paint on these walls,” I sighed.
“Whoops. Well, I made a other art gallergy inside the kitchen. It’s pretty!” I gasped and ran to the kitchen to see the terrible damage. Seeing it was like ripping off a bandaid. Now, I knew that the whole night I would be scrubbing finger paint off the walls. I saw Finn come next to me grinning. He then frowned when he saw my terrified face.
“What’s the matter Pillow? You don’t like the color?” I started biting my nails.
“Finn. It’s very pretty, but you can’t paint every wall in the house. Don’t ever do it again. Your mommy wouldn’t be too happy,” I tried to say nicely. He nodded and looked down. I tried to cheer him up. “But hey at least you made two very great paintings!” He smiled and took my hand. “Ok, I think it’s time for you to go to bed now. You can dream about your next great painting that you’ll do on your wall.”
I walked him to his room and tucked him in his covers. Then the twins went to bed without any problem. I turned the lights off in Blake’s room and he didn’t complain. I went to the living room, found a sponge in the sink, and started rubbing the kitchen walls. My first Friday with the Fays wasn’t a complete disaster, but I did learn something important. Never leave a kid alone with finger paint and his fingers. I accomplished day one, Nanny McPhee great-great-granddaughter style.