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While visiting the family, my brother Mike insisted on an interview. Maybe he heard how popular my mom became after people read her interview. Or maybe my mom is making him do this so I get off her back. Regardless, I shall indulge him so here goes.

ME: Hello Mike. I hear you want to talk to me.
MIKE: I’m forced to.
ME: By whom?
MIKE: By justice. Who knows the crap you’re writing about me.
ME: If you didn’t have this forced interview, I wouldn’t write anything.
MIKE:Everyone is afraid to say things in front of you for fear you’ll exploit them on your fancy, new website. Not that it matters because you’ll make something up like you always do.
ME: Example?
MIKE: Mostly everything you wrote in that Dragons book about me is not true.
ME: Oh, you knew I wrote a book? I had no idea.
MIKE: I’ve heard about it.
ME: Did you read it?
MIKE: Just the parts Mom read out loud.
ME: So you didn’t read it.
MIKE: I heard it, if you want to get technical.
ME: And only the parts that offended you, I take it?
MIKE: She seemed to think it was funny.
ME: Are you denying that you’re an asshole to play Monopoly with?
MIKE: I play to win. Why bother otherwise?
ME: Are you denying that you idolized Donald Trump?
ME: Are you denying that you made me call you The Michael?
MIKE: You needed to show proper respect. I am your elder.
ME: Indeed you are. So it sounds like everything I wrote about you was true.
MIKE: I don’t understand what this interview is for.
ME: You demanded it! You said you were forced.
MIKE: It’s a preemptive strike in case you embellish anything else about me.
ME: Don’t flatter yourself! I wasn’t planning on writing anything about you. And for the record, my friends think you sound “cool” in the book.
MIKE: Why don’t you give me their numbers?
ME: Because they wouldn’t like you if they met you in real life. I’m trying to save you the heartache.
MIKE: Well don’t flatter yourself. The most attractive thing about your friends is that they live 3,000 miles away. (PLEASE NOTE: HE’S SMILING WHEN HE SAYS THIS.)
ME: Ooh! Nasty.
MIKE: I just don’t think you should be exploiting our childhood for the purpose of your writing. All that stuff about our stuffed animals and their questionable life choices. That’s nobody’s business. You could be sued.
ME: By Froggy O’Hara?
MIKE: By anyone you exploit them in real life.
ME: But I’m not exploiting. I’m reminiscing. Now, let me ask you some questions. What is your fondest memory of our childhood?
MIKE: Eating. And vacations in Ocean City, Maryland.
ME: I fondly remember mom and dad driving slowly down hotel lined streets while you leapt from the car and ran into lobbies grabbing brochures.
MIKE: I hardly leapt. And I don’t think that was odd. I was doing research for when I owned a hotel someday.
ME: Mom and Dad’s friends used to call you and ask for recommendations on where to stay.
MIKE: That’s true. Sometimes I made their reservations. For a fee.
ME: But you were like seven years old.
MIKE: I was driven and determined even then. I even wrote to the Chamber of Commerce’s on my own.
ME: And then I was finally old enough to go into the hotels with you and ask for brochures. What a thrill!
MIKE: You were my apprentice.
ME: When did you decide you didn’t want to own hotel?
MIKE: When I finally worked in one. It was horrible. Horrible hours, horrible people, horrible jobs. So I went from the cooker to the frying pan.
ME: Hmm…I’m not entirely sure what you mean. Are you trying to say you went to work for dad?
MIKE: Yes. Whatever.
ME: So Dad is the cooker?
MIKE: No. The hotel was the cooker. Dad is the frying pan. Duh.
ME: I like your spin on old clichés. Can you share some more Mike-isms? How about “Don’t throw glass houses at too many hands in the kitchen?”
MIKE: I will not be made a mocker.
ME: A mocker! Good one. You’re a modern day Confucius.
MIKE: Stop it! You know what I mean.
ME: Tell me more about myself. How was it having me as a little sister?
MIKE: You were a rotten child.
ME: No I wasn’t. I idolized you. I did everything you asked. I wanted to play restaurant. You made me play hotel. I wanted to watch The Dukes of Hazard. You made me watch the Mets.
MIKE: It was a constant struggle.
ME: I cried for you when our babysitter made you eat peas. I remember screaming “No! Don’t make him eat them! He hates peas!”
MIKE: You should have cried. I was being tortured!
ME: I wanted to go to Friendly’s. You insisted on Chinese. You made me hate Chinese food.
MIKE: Mom and dad hated Friendly’s. That’s why we never went there.
ME: Stop spewing that hateful venom.
MIKE: It’s true. They didn’t love you enough to sacrifice even one bad meal.
ME: I’d break your arm for a Reese’s Pieces Sundae.
MIKE: Let’s talk about something else. You’re clearly getting upset.
ME: Okay. I seem to remember us getting along. At least until about thirty seconds ago.
MIKE: Sure we got along. Compared to Michael and Latoya.
ME: Or Bart and Lisa.
MIKE: Or Will and Dixie.
ME: Oh good! An All My Children reference. Let’s talk about our love affair with soaps.
MIKE: Summer 1982. We got hooked on AMC with the “Jenny and Jesse Escape to New York” storyline only to be devastated in ’84 when she was killed in the famous Jet Ski incident.
ME: Jenny and Jesse are what made me want to run away to New York to become a soap opera actress.
MIKE: A ridiculous dream but still better compared to your lofty ambitions of being a waitress at Friendly’s.
ME: Which is still cooler than being a twelve-year-old guy who watched soaps.
MIKE: I only watched soaps because I read that hockey players watched them on their summers off. It’s also why I took French instead of Spanish. I wanted to be Canadian.
ME: Uranus rules some people. Donald Trump and hockey players rule others.
MIKE: I remember when you were like five or six I taught you to swear. You walked into the kitchen when Mom was making dinner and said “God damn shit bitch.”
ME: I remember you making me play hockey with you when you needed a fourth. You made me stand in the goal while you and all your friends took slap shots on me.
MIKE: I sprayed oven cleaner in your eye.
ME: You slapped me with a piece of pizza.
MIKE: (Laughing like a hyena) Yes! I was jealous you had a better night than I did.
ME: And us trying to make an ice rink in our backyard by throwing ice cubes in a baby pool.
MIKE: It might have worked if it wasn’t June.
ME: And I remember you coming home so drunk you swung off the screen door. Dad found you plastered to the side of the house with screen marks in your cheeks.
MIKE: He stayed up with me all night in case I puked in my sleep.
ME: He must have been so proud.
MIKE: We bonded. You were a goody-goody. You never had those moments with our parents.
ME: I wasn’t a goody-goody. I was just better at not getting caught. I mean, ringing the doorbell with your drunken forehead in the middle of the night is pretty obvious.
MIKE: Oh yes! Another great memory—playing “Another One Bites the Dust” every time one of your goldfish died!
ME: Oh my God! That isn’t funny. That’s a horrible memory!
MIKE: Such a sensitive child. This is fun. Remember when I used to try peeling your fingernails off? And when you were six I woke you up to tell you Mom and Dad were getting a divorce and you were getting put up for adoption so start packing. And I threw your all your birthday presents in the fireplace on your eighth birthday.
ME: Weird. I can’t seem to conjure any memories of me doing bad things to you.
MIKE: I told you. I was your elder. You needed to show respect.
ME: Now who’s exploiting our childhood? You’re a monster!
MIKE: I’ve got more. Let’s see. I taped over some Bon Jovi concert you recorded with an Islander game. And I dropped your Winnie the Pooh cake on your sixth birthday.
ME: Stop it!
MIKE: On purpose!
ME: Enough. I think Mom is calling you. Why don’t you drink a bunch of tequila and go bond with her?
MIKE: Hey! I have an idea. Let’s play Monopoly.
ME: I’m going to puke.
MIKE: A fool and her money are soon worth two chickens before they are hatched.
ME: Oh wow. And people think I make this stuff up?
MIKE: This was fun. Thank you for your time.
ME: My pleasure. I’m sure you’re coming across even cooler now.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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