The Living Room Rebellion

A short story about standing up to authority

There it stood. A monument to defiance, though merely an empty gesture with a full glass. It was only water; to us it represented freedom from her oppressive policies of "no food or drinks" in the living room. Right here in this moment, that glass of water standing boldly on the living carpet was the start of our great uprising. As she rounded the corner from the dining room, she skidded to a halt. Her eyes locked on Jack, as mine already were. He smiled a devious grin as his eyes mechanically ticked back and forth from her to the glass of water resting precariously upon her beloved living room carpet.

In a matter of seconds, as she realized the severity of the situation, as she decoded Jack's intent, the slow motion silence disintegrated in a long, slow, trembling "Nooooooo." Jack knew this was it. This is where boys become men. He blinked slowly as he took a deep breath. She sprung towards him like a game cat to it's prey. We all knew she couldn't get to him in time, but she had to try. Jack now had the power. His whole body trembled as he surged through the barrier of restraint and control to kick the glass as if his life depended on it.

I couldn't believe my eyes; I wanted to turn away, but I couldn't. I felt a part of this rebellion, I had given Jack that glass of water and planted the seeds of this plot long before. Sure, Jack was now taking the most immediate risk, but I knew once interrogated and threatened with loss of T.V. privileges he'd roll on me. I knew that when I concocted this scheme. His apparent treachery, would work in our benefit. When I was brought in for questioning, we could present a uniform front to her unreasonable policies.

The glass tipped forward. "This changes everything," I thought. Jack started cackling like a super villain from our cartoons. She dove head first into the sunken living room. Those extra few inches of sunken floor she bragged about to her friends would be her undoing. I felt a bit of guilty pleasure in that. This simple act of defiance would be our turning point in the war against her oppressive regime.

She hit the floor as the contents of the glass spilled onto the carpet. She slid face first into the cresting wave of water now spreading across the living room carpet. Jack lunged backwards, tripping over his toy R.C. helicopter and fell to the ground with a thud. It was over! He had done it!

I waited to see her reaction. I nearly forgot to breathe I was so tense. Jack's sudden thud had jostled him back to reality. Whether from the shock of his fall, or the sudden realization his act of defiance would bare consequences, his face went blank. His eyes met hers once more, through the curtain of soggy bangs now stuck to her nose and forehead. He stole a glance at me, as if to ask "what do I do now?" Turning back to to face her, he did the only thing he could. He began to cry.

She pulled herself up to her knees on the soggy living room carpet with a blank expression on her face. Jack's glance in my direction had implicated me in this escapade, and she turned to me with the same blank expression. I was so excited, I didn't have time to wipe the smile from my face as she turned my way. She looked puzzled by my glee as she turned back to Jack, now whaling like an ambulance siren while burying his face in the carpet next to his toy helicopter.

That's when something unexpected happened. It surprised us all. She didn't yell. She didn't even seem upset. Somehow, she figured us out. Somehow, she was able to see this spectacle as the symbolic gesture against her tyrannical rule. She couldn't stop what happened next. We expected an outburst, but not this type. There, kneeling in the puddle of water, our symbol of defiance, she began to laugh. She laughed so hard it drowned out the whaling little boy curled up in a ball in front of her. She laughed so hard Jack couldn't cry any more. Confused, he uncurled from his fetal position like a flower opening to greet the sun.

"How could this be? What is happening?" I asked myself as my visible glee shifted to the same shade of confused bewilderment now emanating from the tear-stained face of my compatriot. "She should be yelling at us!" I frantically thought as I was filled with a sense of disappointment and frustration. "How could she laugh at our grand gesture of rebellion?" Yet, she continued laughing, now so hard tears were streaming down her face as she knelt in the cold, wet pool of our rebellion.

Gasping to stop her laughter, wet from the contents of Jack's now empty glass, a smile broke across her face. She turned towards Jack and then back at me, still beaming with apparent joy. My jaw dropped in utter disbelief at her most unexpected reaction. She stood up, leaned over to lovingly pick up the utterly confused Jack from the floor before turning glancing over to me.

"Come on two, let's get a towel to clean this up!" she said through the biggest smile I'd seen from her in months. I was frozen in disbelief, expecting a lecture, grounding or worse. None would ever come. We were still in shock and as we helped soak up that puddle on the living room floor. We didn't realize it, but that had changed everything.

Created by Brad Lhotsky around July 2014.