Hello! I'm taking a step away from action, sci-fi and adventure for a moment to try something new. I don't want to rattle off with any taxing introductions. I just want to say that I am forever in love with Ferris Bueller's Day Off and I am sad to see such a scarce amount of fiction about the movie. But, here I am, bearing a story to whoever wants to read it. So, enjoy! Reviews are great! (P.S. I haven't written in first person POV in a long time, so bear with me)
I can feel the air around my head physically tremble from the rattle of my alarm clock, strangely mistaken without its continuous brassy clank. Dad always tells me that the "entrails" must be "amiss", something about the improper alignment of the escapement wheel and the anchor. My rebuttal is always some snarky, smart remark about how the alarm clock is inanimate and doesn't have tangible insides like a human. "It's a $10 alarm clock, dad," to which he heaves a weary sigh and begins a long and grueling (on my part) lecture. I suppose this comes at the price of being the daughter of an English teacher with some other degree that allows him to be as inquisitive as he wants.
Sighing, I throw a hand out towards the dresser, groping for the noisy nugget of metal. Oh, if only I could find that snooze button through my many layers of frustration and early morning exhaustion. I finally manage to silence the clock after slapping around the dresser and breathe one more slobbery, open-mouthed groan of defeat into my closure pillow. I roll out from beneath the printed duvet and sit with my legs hanging off the edge of the bed. I know that if my butt doesn't leave the mattress in exactly seven and a half minutes, my mother will be clambering up the stairs cracking together flat-bottomed pans.
I crawl back onto the eiderdown and steady myself with one hand gripping the mast at the head of the bed. The flat of my hand snaps against the curling, flocked wallpaper as I slam on the wall separating my brother and I. "Get up! Mom'll be coming any minute now!"
Okay, that was a lie. We still have seven minutes, fifteen seconds and counting. But he'd never wake up if I would've told him that. And, as if on cue, the bed springs grate and I think I can hear my brother hit the hardwood floor. There's a pained groan. Face first, I deem. I can't help but let out a disgusting snort of laughter.
Doug and I are fraternal twins. He's a minute and 36 seconds older than me, although, I might as well be the older one. I laugh, cuss and poke fun all of the time because it's my nature, but I know when to pull on my seasoned, mature face and big girl pants when things get really heavy. Doug, on the other hand, can't tell a jesting tone from a grave, grandma's-heart-rived-in-her-chest tone. And, let me tell you, it has gotten him into a lot of trouble.
The two of us are different in a handful of ways. I get straight A's all across the board while he seems to settle for C's and the occasional D+ on his report card. School is a touchy subject for him and while he claims to care about his education, I have yet to see him pick up a book when he's not in school. I'll occasionally jostle him with cuss words and shove his grades down his throat, to which he gets violent and leaves me with bruises and bedside scars. You think I would've learned from the first time he stomped on my foot and broke two of my toes with his logger boots.
I may have a shitload of terrible things to say about Doug, but I will give him props. He is a charmer. His curtained ash blonde hair attracts throngs of girls daily, hanging off of his arm or gazing with starry eyes from behind their locker doors. He gets those lovely locks from my mom. I, on the other hand, have a wavy mane of one million and one different shades of brown that reaches the small of my back. Courtesy of the wonderful Professor Jack Halifax. However, the only physical trait Doug and I seem to share is our incredibly vivid hazel eyes. But aside from that, some kids at school very well assume we've gone steady with one another. How many times can I eject burnt pot roast and say that that is down right disgusting?
My phone rings, pulling my brain from the clouds, back down into my head and between my eyes. Yes, it took a lot of begging on my part, but I finally have my own personal telephone number. The main argument was privacy, aka, the wretched excuse for a sibling in the next room over.
I stand from the mattress and the bonnell springs in the bed squeak. The phone is in my hand in an instant, face pressed to the receiver and lips inches from the mouthpiece. "This is Wendy speaking..."
"Good morning, Wendy Speaking."
I sigh, picking up the entire phone set and bringing it with me to the window. "What could you possibly want at 7:30 in the morning?" I part the gauzy curtains and peek out of the window at the house directly across the street. There's no movement from the drapes, so I open my curtains to their full width and tie them up at the sides of the window.
"Hm, is that the sound of curtains being drawn?" Ferris asks sarcastically. Suddenly, from across the street, he rips open his drapes and draws the blinds to reveal himself in a bathrobe with a serious case of bedhead. "I see that I'm correct, Miss Wendy Speaking. And might I say, you look ravishing this morning."
Frowning, I look down at my large, wrinkled t-shirt and my tiniest pair of filigree-like panties. I glare at Ferris through my mangled fringe, shifting the phone to my shoulder and holding it steady with my ear. "I repeat, what could you possibly want at 7:30 in the morning?"
"I think you mean, what could I possibly not want at 7:30 in the morning?"
"What. Do. You. Want."
"Jesus, put some ice cubes down those skivvies and chill out, Wen."
I move to the dresser against the wall, out of view from the window, and sift through camisoles and scratchy slips. "I have to get ready for school, Ferris." Pressed from the night before, I tug on a pair of riveted jeans that don't seem to fit correctly. I move into full view of the silver glass mirror behind the bedroom door and run a hand down my suddenly bulging haunches. I have hips, but where did those things come from?
"See, that's where you're wrong."
By now I have moved back to sieving through the drawer, stopping at Ferris' reply. I put my weight onto one foot and pop a hip outward, my hand fixing me to the top of the dresser. "What are you talking about, Bueller?"
"No," I reply, shaking my head.
"There's a quiz on consumer education," he sing-songs tonelessly. "Problem set in calculus, seat change in physics..."
If there is one thing I cannot stand, it's being called by my middle name. Call me Wendy. Call me Wen. Hell, call me Halifax. I don't mind the last name. But one thing that I have polished from shit and made crystal fucking clear is that no one calls me Louise, ever. Even Doug knows not to call me Louise. Although, it was kind of an even exchange, so long as I don't utter the name 'Douglas' for as long as I live.
"You listen here, Bueller," I spit into the mouthpiece.
"No one calls me Louise, blah blah blah, okay, I'm sorry. Okay? I'm sorry." He sounds bored and preoccupied.
"Fuck you, Ferris." Then I promptly hang up the phone and glance at the clock. 7:32. Okay. Mom will be up here in five minutes to check on me and if I'm not hauling ass, she'll be hauling ass. Mine.
I reach the closet when the jeans really start to grow uncomfortable and cut into my sides like pleats. I unearth a pair of high-waisted khaki shorts in a pile of dirty (or clean?) clothes and change into them. The hem and final button at the top touch the skin above my belly button, the sudden compression of my stomach is something to ease into. I peel off my t-shirt and reach for a ruled, off-the-shoulder blouse when the phone rings again.
"What?" I ask.
Who else could be on the receiving end of my frustration other than Ferris Bueller? "You hurt my feelings," he says nonchalantly, still preoccupied with something else. "I'd like a written apology in my mailbox no later than 7:40."
"Ferris, stop calling me."
"Come on, Wen!"
"We have the goddamn weekend, Ferris! Besides, you already have a shitload of absences."
"Not anymore." His tone is crafty and ten kinds of wicked. I don't want to know what he means. "Today's gonna be huge. I can feel it."
I hip-check a shelf back into the dresser and roll my eyes. "Yeah, right. You say that every time."
"And I'm right every time."
"Sorry, Ferris, presentation on kinematics. I'm sitting this one out."
He outwardly sighs. I look out of the window and, sure enough, he's pouting. "Can you hear my heart breaking, Wen?"
"Oh, can it, Ferris."
"Phone jack," I tease, voice flat as flouder.
Ferris Bueller, always overdone and exaggerating, gasps loud and his breath crackles in the receiver. "You wouldn't."
So, I hang up the phone and unplug the jack from the wall. Grinning, I pick up the figured blouse and pull it over my head, tucking the knitted wool into my shorts and curling a belt through the loops. Ferris Bueller, you have met your maker.
I move to tidy the bedding when the worst, cyclic sound rips through the air. It feels like my eardrums are being popped and pared with utility knives. I'm positive that I'd much rather be banded to a table and sit through hours of listening to government principles and Chinese water torture. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what high school shithead is responsible for this. Turning my head, I see Ferris Bueller, disheveled, somehow poised on the edge of his window and blowing into his clarinet. That dirty, filthy, scheming son of a bitch.
I open the casement window and lean on the sill. "Okay! Fever. Bad enough, but not bad enough for a visit to the doctor's office. Muscle aches, chills, insane irritability. Don't have time for fake sweats or the imagination to make up loony hallucinations. I'll throw on a jogging suit and get back into bed. Now you had better chuck that fucking clarinet or you can forget about our friendship, Bueller!" I close the window, only to return shortly afterward to pull it open again. "You owe me breakfast! Try not to spit in it!" I shut the window and pull the curtains closed. One thing I cannot stand about Ferris Bueller is his persistence.
I chance a look in the clock's direction. 7:36. Shit.
The shorts and barred blouse somehow end up on the upholstered chair in the corner of the room. I sift through the third shelf in my dresser and quickly pull on jogging pants and a woven jumper over my panties and t-shirt. 7:37. Shit! Shit! Shit! I'm just able to pull the duvet to my chin when my mother bursts through the door.
"What are you still doing in bed?"
I groan and roll over to face her. "Everything... hurts."
She sits beside me on the eiderdown and puts the back of her hand to my forehead. Shit. "You don't feel warm." Shit!
"That's because I'm freezing." I pull on the bedding and it envelops me in its warmth. "So, so cold, mommy."
Her green eyes narrow to leery, suspicious rifts. "I'm getting the thermometer from the downstairs bathroom."
"Okay," I say, weary voice concealing my absolute terror for the woman weilding a spatula. She leaves the room without closing the door behind herself. Okay. One minute window to run to the bathroom and make this a credible fever. Her spool heels clack on the staircase and once I hear them break ground on the baked clay tiles downstairs, I bolt for the bathroom across the hall.
I adjust the running tap and splash my face with hot water until the burning becomes unbearable. A mouthful of scalding water (I think my hard palate is blistering...), necklace of moisture around my throat, mist of hot water on the chest and frontal hairline. There's just enough time to crawl back into bed with a slightly pained expression on my face.
My mother comes into the bedroom, followed by my concerned father. Mom is still grasping the spatula and a themometer while dad adjusts his horn-rimmed glasses on the bridge of his nose. He sits beside me on the bed and takes my flushed, flustered face into his calloused hands, tucking a tress of "sweaty" hair behind my ear.
He puts a hand to my head and furrows his eyebrows. Damn. If anyone knows me, it's my father. "I don't know, Janice. She feels warm to me."
I shake my head out of his grasp, mussy mane dampening the closure pillow. "No, no. I'm cold." If he's going to be a dumb fuck, I am most definitely going to take advantage of this.
Mom purses her lips, suspicion all over her face. She pops a hip and holds out the thermometer. "Open."
I rip the thermometer from her hand and plug it between my lips while my mouth is still hot. My dad takes it and observes the readings, mom sneering over his shoulder. "100.1," he says. "That's not good. Fever for sure."
"Sleep," I beg, pulling the printed duvet over my head. "Go to work. I'll be okay."
Mom shoots a look to my dad that reads disbelief and irritation, yet uncertainty. I know that she doesn't want to believe that I'm sick, but the way her doe eyes regard me — folded tight into the dendritic duvet, clinging to its heat — makes me almost believe otherwise. My parents look to each other and go out into the hallway where I hear scraps of their conversation.
"I don't believe this for one second, Jack."
"You saw the reading on the thermometer. And she's sweating for Christ's sake!"
"She wasn't sweating two minutes ago!"
"'Cause she's fakin'," another voice says through a mouthful of breakfast. Fucking Doug. Fucking Doug.
There's a moment of cool, yet strangely formal silence before I hear my dad speak again. "I want her to stay home."
"What!" And that masculine, leonine growling does not come from my mom.
All of a sudden, the door swings ajar on its split hinge and Doug is running straight for my bed in a blur of tartan and carded wool. I rise slightly to protest his intrusion, but he holds me down to the linens with one hand on my throat, the other slapped to my forehead. "She's fakin'! This isn't sweat! It's water!"
Soggy shreds of his breakfast land on my face, so I spit a glob of saliva right between his eyes, hoping to get him to release his hold on my windpipe. His anger deepens and it seems that I have bought a one way ticket to my grave. He'd make me buy my own shovel and dig, of course. I scream as his grip on my throat tightens, kicking my legs out, thrashing my limbs, anything to get this irritable douche bag off of me. "DOUG—" I choke out, "—LAS, you—" I slap at his face, fingers curling around wispy strands of curtained hair. "—ugly fuck! Get off me! Mom! Dad!"
Did I mention that we don't get along? At all. If I was on fire, he'd water mom's garden before putting out the flames on my skin. At least he'd do that, I wouldn't even spit on the bastard.
"Wendy, you gross bitch!" Mom swats at his spine and shoulder blades with her spatula until he releases his hold on me. His grip wasn't tight enough to suffocate me, just to throttle me senseless until I told the truth. That fucktard. "I'll bet that she's fully dressed under there! School clothes, shoes and all!" Dad filches Doug's ear between his fingers and advertently gets him to leave the room.
"Wendy Louise, I've had enough of this!" Mom rips the eiderdown from my body and sighs at my jogging pants, socks and knitted jumper.
Scowling, I snatch the bedding back into my fist. "What did you expect to see, mom? A bikini and a Shirley Temple?" I curl into the gritty fabric of the jumper and pull the duvet back up to my chin. In all honesty, my ass is burning up. Perspiration from my feet has made my socks one hundred pounds heavier. To make my case seem more believable, I shed a few tears and point towards the door. "Doug hurt me! I'm cold and pained and sick! Make him say sorry!"
She glares, nice, acute and frigid. "Take off that jumper, bathe in lukewarm water and break a few ice packs."
I roll my eyes and nod as she leaves the room. Can't live with the woman, can't seem to make a decent meal without her.
Dad wipes away the moisture from my face with the pad of his thumb and looks at me with an apathetic smile. I'm convinced that he's completely sold until that smile turns into a radiant grin. "You help me with grade nine essays and mom doesn't have to know a thing."
But he just winks, plants a kiss atop my head and leaves the room with his cologne hampering my breathing. The man knows me like the back of his hand. I really am my father's child.
That might have not blown over well with dipshit Doug and my father. But, at least my mom was halfway sold on it. Alas, years and years of being friends with Ferris Bueller has indefinitely improved my acting talent. 7:45. I prune the woven jumper from my sticky skin and toss it into the wicker basket by the window. When I hear no movement from outside the door, I plug the phone jack back into the wall and dial Ferris' telephone number. He picks up after two rings.
"You had better have one hell of a day planned, Bueller."
"Did you suddenly forget who you're talking to?"