When I was about six my best friend Sally lived across the street from me. Every other Friday night we would sleep over at each others houses, stay up late, eat popcorn and watch Friday Night Fright Theater on the local TV.

One Friday it was my turn to stay at Sally’s house. After setting us up with popcorn, her parents retired for the evening. Her oldest brother Mike was out on a date, and her other brother Jim was holed up in his room doing whatever it is 10-year-old boys do when their baby sister and her friend have comandeered the livingroom.

We sat on the couch, eating popcorn, occassionally dropping it on the floor for the two dogs (hers and mine) who had joined us. Vincent Price was staring in House of Wax that night in his customary scarey role. When the movie was over Sally and I held our usual argument over who had to cross the livingroom and turn off the light and the TV, which Sally won by virtue of it being her house.

Due to the argument we hadn’t noticed Jim sneaking in to hide behind the couch. I went across the room turned off the TV and hit the light switch by the kitchen. As I was crossing the dark livingroom to Sally’s bedroom, Jim jumped out, yelling “boo!”and grabbed me.

Sally screamed, sure that Vincent Price had come out of the TV to get me. However, I had recognized Jim’s voice and furiously kicked him in the shins, following it up with several more as he retreated.

He yelled in pain and jumped back, knocking over his mother’s prize glass vase which hit the floor with a resounding crash. The dogs, thinking this was a new game, joined in barking joyously and dashing around the room. Sally continued to scream.

Sally’s Dad, thinking his home was being invaded dashed into the room to protect us. He was followed by Sally’s mother who sensibly turned on the lights, revealing her husband clad only in his tidy whities and waving his service pistol, the broken vase, Jim and I still fighting, Sally and the dogs vying for noise value, and Sally’s older brother attempting to sneak in past curfew.

All’s well that ends well however. After a closed door interview with his oldest son, Sally’s father went back to bed. Her mother fed us warm milk to settle us down and barred us from watching any more Friday Night Theater. Jim had to clean up the broken vase and pay for it out of his allowance.

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