I plan to scare you.
The peaty odour of earth invades my nostrils as I kneel on the uneven mound of potatoes. My heart rams out a solid beat inside my chest. I wait. Alert to any sign of life. I am hiding in the potato bin; a three-foot square space in the basement tucked underneath the landing for the staircase. Rough milled boards frame the cramped bin and a faded split curtain hangs down to cover the darkened hole, the storage space was half empty creating the perfect hideout.
The uncomfortable hardness of irregular potatoes under my legs causes me to shift my position and I carefully adjust the curtains slightly so I can see better yet I am still hidden. Our bare bones basement displays deep dark shadows beyond my hidey-hole; the furnace sprouting multiple arms of tin, huddled next to the hot water tank; hulking blobs of darkness. Extension cords dangled unevenly from the floor joist ceiling,; empty nooses in the dim light. Silence urges me to lean out between the drooping drapes to seek out a sound. Water trickles down inside a drain pipe from the upstairs bathroom. She would be coming soon. A tiny spider web swings down from the edge of the top stair and I try not to think about how many spiders are in the dark space with me now.
Footfalls pound above my head on the landing and I jerk back the curtains falling back to cover my face. An evil grin emerges. My sister is coming. She shared a downstairs bedroom with me, the only finished room at the farthest corner of this space. The tread on the lower step squeaks. Sucking in a giggle of anticipation my muscles tense in preparation, the soft pattering of socked feet nearing my hiding place. I explode through the curtains toward her like a feral Jack-in-the-box and scream, “Blahhh!”
She shrieks stumbling back, eyes wide, whites showing brightly against her raven hair which flies across her face. The terror I witness in that split-second fills me up and I burst out into pure laughter. Yes, I’m a rotten human being.
She may have smacked me once or twice but it was a mere pittance of a punishment for what I had received from her. And you might think, ‘well, that’s a pretty normal thing to do as a child,’ and I would agree. But truth be told, I didn’t do it just once, as a matter of fact, I constantly searched for the opportunity to frighten not only my older sister, but most of my family and many others, by jumping out at unexpected times, or hiding under beds to grab feet, or by pretending I had been possessed by an evil spirit to terrorize my younger sister. It was very nearly a diabolical obsession, and I’ve only recently come to understand that there was something much deeper than simply experiencing the fun of scaring people that compelled me. It was the incredibly satisfying feeling of having complete power and control over another person, even if it was only a fleeting moment or two. In those few seconds those people were mine.
Now, in my defence, I was raised in the days when children were to be seen and not heard, children were not allowed to display too much anger or too much sorrow, and most importantly children were not allowed to disagree. Looking back on my childhood, I understand my excessive Jack-in-the-box behaviour was my attempt to gain some manner of control over my life through fear. And on that note, you should know, I rarely try to scare people these days, especially the elderly. And yet, in an effort to maintain full disclosure, I do confess to enlisting my husbands help in tethering a life-sized fake skeleton to the bottom rungs of our neighbours dock, so that when they brought it up to shore for the winter they had a little scare.
Fear, you see, is a powerful mechanism to gain control. I kept scaring people because it gave me a sense of power. Today, I see main stream media and government playing the Jack-in-the box game. Cases, cases, cases; run and hide. Case numbers are not deaths, and according to Canadian Statistics there were no more deaths in 2020 than any other year, and our hospitals have always been challenged during the winter season. Now ask yourself this— if the people in control truly had your best interests at heart would they be promoting fear or calming reassurance? What do you think your response would be if they said, “Stay calm my dear Canadians, lets look at the facts— actual government data.” https://www.jccf.ca/government-data-shows-lockdowns-more-deadly-than-covid-19/