Back to blog
The Pleasure of Sin
Share your work with family and friends!

Minnow knew it was a crime. She’d committed several and gotten away with them. This offense was bolder, an in-your-face property invasion designed to provoke. Not like the camera and watch. Of course she’d get caught—wasn’t that the point? Her defense depended on a ploy she’d perfected over time.

To be fair, Minnow hadn’t hatched the idea. (Officially, Alexandra but her parents quickly realized the name was way to solemn and cumbersome for their youngest, a spitfire.) It was her sister’s fault, Minnow reasoned. Six years older, Sara viewed Minnow as her personal burden, like a sack of coal instead of the promised present.

Back in the day when she’d enjoyed her own room, Sara was thrilled by the news. “We’re giving you your own baby,” her parents had announced. Imagine that! Her very own baby to dress up and play with.

What they’d left out was that this baby would share her room. A crying, ungrateful, smelly thing. Two weeks after Minnow’s birth, Sara went to parents and politely, so very politely, said, “I’d like to give my baby back now.” They sighed and smiled. “We’re sorry sweetheart, but you can’t return babies. You’ll come to love her.”

That was four years old ago.

“Sit over there,” Sara ordered Minnow, gesturing to a living room chair on the outer edge of a giggling ring of girls in flouncy crinoline dresses. It was Sara’s 10th birthday and the girls passed her gift after gift. “Ohhhh,” Sara exclaimed. “Another bottle of Eau de Toilette! I love it!” Her best friend Patty glanced at Minnow and laughed. “She thinks it’s toilet water!” The whole pack roared, mocking Minnow, who did her best to look embarrassed and flustered.

During the school week, Minnow spent time alone in their room until Sara returned. Which meant that she had plenty of bored hours to explore Sara’s prized possessions. Anything of Sara’s was off limits. Sometimes the temptation was overwhelming. One afternoon she scaled their floor-to-ceiling bookshelf to reach the Brownie camera, taking it apart and struggling to reassemble it. Another time she borrowed Sara’s Fairy Princess watch for a few days. Sara complained that someone had tampered with her stuff, especially when the camera no longer clicked. But there was no hard evidence and Minnow feigned innocence.

The four glass bottles of Eau de Toilette peered at Minnow. They sat on Sara’s bureau, calling out to her. “We’re just toilet water,” they whispered mischievously. Minnow’s eyes lit up and she gathered the bottles. In the bathroom, she poured each one down the toilet. Then with a flush, she chuckled.

“Mother!” Sara’s shriek pierced the quiet afternoon. “Look what she’s done!” Four empty toilette bottles lined Sara’s bureau. She grabbed them along with Minnow and dragged her to the bathroom. It reeked. Their mom raced up the stairs and took in the crime scene. Her two daughters stood side by side—one red-faced and furious; the other looking confused and on the verge of tears. Sara jabbed at Minnow. “All of my perfume, gone!”

“I thought it was toilet water,” Minnow answered in barely a whisper.

“You knew it wasn’t!”

“I did not!” Minnow now was indignant.

Their mother comforted Minnow and turned to Sara. “She’s just four, sweetheart. She didn’t know what she was doing.”

Sara stamped her foot. “Smell her! She stinks!”

Minnow clutched her mother’s skirt and pleaded, “Mama, I didn’t know,” hiding in the pleats from Sara’s fury. “It’s alright, Minnow. Those are Sara’s, so next time, no touching.” Her mother absolved her with kiss on the cheek.

Sara gasped in dismay. What kind of justice was this? How long must she endure the pain of life with Minnow? She was livid with wrath.

Minnow felt a twinge of guilt along with fear for she knew that Sara would make her pay. But in this moment, Minnow basked in pleasure, the delight of knowing she’d outwitted her older sister.

Leave your comment...