My Sister’s Childhood Rituals

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The following was performed and recorded live at Hopleaf by Cassandra, a comedy collective that seamlessly weaves outrageous characters, storytelling, live lit, and music into one hilarious live show.

ERIKA:
In a meme that my sister often shares on Facebook, two little girls in pinafores are staring at each other through a window. In boldfaced Arial font, the text reads:

STACI:
“YOUR SISTER IS BOTH YOUR MIRROR AND YOUR OPPOSITE.” Oh my God, it’s so true.

ERIKA:
Isn’t a mirror already a transposition of an image wherein the orientation of the objects is already reversed?

STACI:
What the fuck is she talking about?

BRIAN:
I don’t know, Erika what the fuck are you talking about?

ERIKA:
I don’t know, I’m bad at geometry. But I’m good at throwing words at a problem, to give myself some rhetorical distance. My sister’s the opposite way. She’s tactile, kinetic, good with her hands. She’s an athletic trainer and a former track athlete with a district record in the high jump and relay events.

STACI:
And you, Erika, were in special ed gym for five years and are physically incapable of jumping for some reason.

ERIKA:
That’s correct. But there is one thing that my sister and I share: a penchant for being creep as fuck.

BRIAN:
Is this another menstrual story?

ERIKA:
No Brian but it does have feature a six-year-old talking about cunnilingus.

BRIAN:
Okay, great.

ERIKA:
You see, my sister was always an avid movie lover. It started when she was about six…

STACI:
MOM! MOM! Can you help me rewind Coneheads?

MOM:
Staci, just hit the red button on the VCR, I’ve told you a million times! Or how about you watch something new, huh? Like An American Tale Fival Goes West, huh?

STACI:
NOOOOO I WANT TO WATCH CONEHEADS I LOVE THE PART WHERE HE CHEWS ON THE CONDOM LIKE IT’S GUM

MOM:
Okay honey…let’s get it ready then…

ERIKA:
My sister had a rotating stock of about five movies that she would watch obsessively and repeatedly, until she had mastered every line of dialogue and every minute physical action. Those movies were:

STACI:
Coneheads, Superstar starring Molly Shannon, Nightmare Before Christmas, A Simple Wish starring Martin Short, and the movie adaptation of The Green Mile by Stephen King!

BRIAN:
She was six and she loved The Green Mile?

ERIKA:
Yes.

BRIAN:
That’s an incredibly explicit and like, rapey movie.

ERIKA:
It sure is Brian. Staci’s favorite part of this three-hour long marathon of murder, manipulation, systemic racism and sexual assault is the scene where the prison guards rehearse an upcoming execution with the help of an inmate played by Harry Dean Stanton:

STACI:
(southern accent) Walking the mile, walking the mile, walking the green mile…

ERIKA:
In this scene, an argumentative Stanton is marched down the length of the prison and strapped into the electric chair. He makes wise cracks and spits while Tom Hanks’ character places the electrodes on his head.

STACI:
(southern accent) praying to Jesus, praying to Jesus, getting right with God before I get blown to smithereens..

ERIKA:
My sister would enact this scene by marching around the house in jean shorts and cowboy boots that went up to her thighs, with a plastic pistol strapped to her leg and a rag doll dangling behind her with a jump rope tied around its neck.

STACI:
Arlen Bitterbuck you are sentenced to die by the electric chair. Any last requests?

ERIKA:
She had this exchange memorized by heart.

STACI:
(southern accent) Yeah, I want fried chicken with gravy on the taters, and I want to shit in your hat. And I got to have Mae West sit on my face …because I’m one horny motherfucker.

BRIAN:
Your sister said that.

ERIKA:
Multiple times per day, every day, while wearing a ridiculous cowboy S&M outfit. She especially liked to perform it for visitors, like our British aunt, Nicola:

AUNT NIC:
Hi Jackie! Hi Staci! Happy birthday, love! Playing a cowboy game are you?

STACI:
I want to have Mae West sit on my face because I’m one horny motherfucker.

MOM:
Staci! I’m so sorry Nicola, I don’t know where she learns this stuff —

STACI:
All I wanted me was a little corn bread, you motherfuckers!

ERIKA:
Our aunt Nicola was a social worker. She took a less sanguine view of my sister’s performances.

AUNT NIC:
My lord look at this outfit…why does she have handcuffs around her legs and a doll on a noose?

MOM:
Well, it’s from some movie she’s been watching…

AUNT NIC:
They say motherfucker in it?

MOM:
Well, yeah.

AUNT NIC:
Jackie, look at her, she’s got leather boots on and her bottom hanging out of her shorts, and is that a gun strapped to her thigh?

MOM:
Yeah and she’s got a knife in her boot.

AUNT NIC:
Wait, is she tying the doll to a chair now?

STACI:
Arlen Bitterbuck electricity shall now be passed through your body until you are dead in accordance with state law. May God have mercy on your soul.

AUNT NIC:
What’s she doing now?

MOM:
She’s executing the doll.

STACI:
(play screaming like the doll is being electrocuted) AHHHHHHH OHHHH LORD I’M SORRY FOR WHAT I DO, I’M SORRY FOR WHAT I AMMM AHHHHHHHH

AUNT NIC:
Jackie, your daughter is going to have some interesting fetishes when she grows up.

ERIKA:
That was her professional opinion, as a social worker. I don’t think my sister does actually have any noteworthy fetishes, though. She and I are close, so we’ve talked about these things.

BRIAN:
It sounds like you two are close.

ERIKA:
We are. Despite all our differences, we can talk about anything. We don’t share the same taste, but we have an effortless intimacy and mutual respect that never wanes, no matter how many insulting pretentious stories I write about her. I guess a sister really is your mirror and your opposite.

BRIAN:
So does that mean you fuck around with guns and knives and weird roleplay —

ERIKA:
That’s a story for another day, Brian.

Originally published at erikadprice.tumblr.com.

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