Brown Trailer: Outskirts of town.

Age 5: “For the rest of the day, whenever anybody says the secret word, scream real loud. Ready? Let’s try it.” In my living room, alarms and buzzers fill the air as Pee Wee, a skinny guy in a gray suit, who happens to be my TV hero, and his crew says the secret word. The TV flashes in front of me, visions of talking furniture and puppets dance around the screen keeping me entertained and occupied. Although I have already turned the volume up really loud, I can still hear muffled shouts from the other side of the trailer coming from my parent’s bedroom. I turn the volume up even louder.

The yelling stops for a moment and with a loud huff, my dad stomps out of his bedroom carrying a large gray bundle and a yellow accordion-like pump. With his arms completely full, he waddles through the hallway, his stocky, yet muscular, frame filling the tiny space leaving only a little room between his head and the ceiling.

He walks past the bathroom, my brother’s room, and my room until he is finally in the living room where I am sitting on the brown and tan flowered couch. I turn my attention away from Pee Wee and Chairry and watch him unravel the bundle and lay it flat on the floor. I finally realize that he brought out the inflatable mattress and he was going to blow it up. He stepped on the yellow part of the pump and the air flowed through the two layers of plastic and then the pump made a whir as it re-inflated itself.

After about five minutes the mattress was completely filled with air. My dad walked back to his bedroom, knocked on the door and from within came a muffled sound.

“I just need some sheets and a couple of pillows,” my dad said standing at the closed door. He pushed open the door and within minutes he emerged from the room with an armful of bedding. Once he was back in the living room he threw the blankets on the mattress and looked at me.

Ashley Stussy
Excerpts from
"Four Houses"
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