Wow! It’s Saturday night, the night you and Brynna said you’d have a sleepover! This time, though, Brynna’s not coming over to your house—you’re going over there.
With your backpack on and your favorite pillow in hand, you walk slowly up the steps. You’ve been over a thousand times, but not at night.
Brynna’s mom opens the door immediately.
“Oh, hello there!” says Brynna’s mom. “Brynna will be down in just a second. So good to see you!”
“Oh, honey, we’ve been over this! This isn’t that kind of house! Just call me Rita,” she says, giving you a hug. “But don’t you dare call Brynna’s dad by his first name. We all call him Mr. Janson or nothing at all.”
“Oh, honey, I should have told you this a while ago, but I never took my husband’s last name. So, Brynna’s last name is Janson, but my last name is still Eggleston. What if we ever divorced, you know? How about you just call me Rita?”
“Rita? No, no, no, Rita was my mom’s name! Call me Mrs. Janson,” Brynna’s mom says excitedly. “You know my daughter’s name is Brynna, right? Call her Brynna.”
“Karen! Sure, just call me whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Karen, Tammy, Lisa, Hannah, Joshua—you’re our guest!”
“Oh, honey, don’t worry about that, people make that mistake all the time!” she says, patting you on the arm. “Everyone I’ve ever met has called me Mom at some point. Welcome to the club!”
You hear fast footsteps from behind the door, and awesome! There’s Brynna.
“Mom, why are you always answering the door?” says Brynna, tugging at your arm. “Ugh, seriously, leave us alone. Go fall in a well somewhere. Drink piss. This is OUR sleepover.”
“Bye, honey,” your mom yells from her car window. “Your father and I are going to have a lot of sex tonight! Well, actually, not really any more than usual, but we won’t have to worry about you hearing. Love you!”
“Come on come on come on come on come ON,” says Brynna, pulling you up the stairs. Crazy that her room is on the second floor.
Whoa, Brynna’s room! It’s so clean that she couldn’t have just cleaned it for tonight.
“Finally! Ugh, sorry you even had to look at my mom’s big dumb face,” says Bynna. “What should we do?”
“I’m the host, so you tell me what to do, then I say yes or no depending on how cool I think it is,” says Brynna. “What should we do?”
Awww! Brynna’s dog is sitting on the stairs!
“She likes you!”
“You’re the guest, so that means you have to decide every single thing we do whether you want to or not,” Brynna says after staring at the floor for what seems like forever. “So, what should we do?”
Oh, no! You packed just about every piece of clothing you own for tonight, but your pajama pants aren’t here!
“They’re probably just lost forever. Don’t freak out,” says Brynna. “Wanna borrow some of mine tonight?”
“Here, try these size 00000 ones on, they’re so cute!” says Brynna. “If they don’t fit, I can ask my mom if you can try on hers.”
They get up to your knees.
Brynna’s mom takes you to her closet.
“Don’t worry, honey, I have plenty of shapeless, flowing nightgowns perfect for someone who is larger than my daughter,” says Brynna’s mom.
“What’s wrong?” your mom asks. “Are you hurt? Are you bleeding from the head? You are highly allergic to bees and Brynna’s mom knows that. How much time do you think you have left?”
“I’m so sorry, Mom, but I forgot my pajama bottoms,” you say quietly into the phone.
“I know when my baby sounds upset,” says your mom. “I’m coming to get you.”
Brynna’s mom and your mom talk on the phone for a long time while you sit silently with Brynna for 45 minutes. After a hard knock on the door, you’re in the backseat of your mom’s car. She didn’t even want to come inside.
After sitting in silence with Brynna for an hour, your mom honks the horn outside. She doesn’t even wave at Brynna’s mom.
“Here are your shorts that are larger than Brynna’s shorts,” she says.
Looks like you weren’t ready for a sleepover after all! Try again when you’re 18.
“Finally, they’re asleep,” says Brynna. “Oh! I know what we should do! Let’s go watch TV. Or wait! Hand me the phone.”
This TV is huge. You’re not even sure you’re allowed to watch TV on something this big.
“I know the parental controls password,” says Brynna.
“Brynna, turn it off”
“Wait, hold on.”
Your eyes suddenly start to burn. You look away from the TV. The sun is rising! When does that even happen? Is it two in the morning already?
“I never knew the world was such a beautiful place,” you say.
“Everything is clear now.”
Uh-oh. The door to the den swings open.
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” yells Brynna’s mom. “If you’re going to be watching this kind of terrible stuff, you should do it early. I’m calling your mother.”
“Lame,” Brynna says. “Lame like my mom when I make her cry.”
You go back to Brynna’s room and she falls asleep immediately. You have this terrible feeling everything you see is trying to kill you. Maybe Brynna is already dead.
You don’t have much time.
“Oh, you’re not Brynna,” says Brynna’s mom.
After a long sigh, they let you stay.
“The truth is, everything is out to kill you, but you won’t die right now,” she says, patting your head. “Also, we’re calling your mom first thing in the morning.”
You’ve been awake for hours now. She’s still asleep and you’re running out of happy thoughts.
The doorbell rings! You’re saved!
Brynna’s still asleep, but you run downstairs as fast as you can and bolt out the door. Her mom makes you take one of her weird homemade oatmeal bars, but you throw it in the storm drain, jump in the car, and yell, “Floor it.”
You’ll be back next week.
“I hate sleeping. I almost never do it,” says Brynna. “Why would we do that now?”
“Oh, good morning, sleepyhead,” says Brynna’s mom. She’s sitting with everyone and they’re all fully dressed. “We all just finished breakfast, but we’d love to sit here and stare at you while you eat alone!”
“I’m calling your mom immediately; you’ve been exposed to so much food here!” says Brynna’s mom. “It’s everywhere. Stay with me, sweetie. Stay strong.”
Your mom’s on her way. Better luck next time!
Brynna’s mom plops a big, heaping pile of food in front of you. These buckets of raw fish are so different from the buckets of raw fish you have at home. It would be rude not to eat them, though.
“I’m so glad you liked it!” says Brynna’s mom. “I’m going to feed you until you die!”
The doorbell rings.
You did it! You survived the sleepover!
“Come back anytime you want,” says Brynna’s mom to your mom. “We love pretending your daughter is our daughter!”
The outside of the bag is coated with dust. You notice that it’s rolling around on its own. When you poke it, it emits a low screaming noise.
“My mom had to get this from the attic,” says Brynna. ”She still hasn’t come back down yet.”
A teeming mass of cockroaches comes flying out of the bag!
“Ugh,” says Brynna. “This is why I wanted a queen-size bed.”
A giant 5-foot roach emerges slowly from the swarm. He extends his antennae toward you and grabs your hands.
“You are a roach person now,” says the head roach. He looks at Brynna. “On behalf of all insects, thank you for having us over, Brynna.”
You pack your suitcase and hug her goodbye. Hopefully next time Brynna can come over to your kingdom and also tell your family you love them!
“Oh, you don’t like the cockroaches?” says Brynna’s mom, looking a little sad. “No worries, I’ll go back and get you the air mattress that is entirely filled with what we think are rats.”
“So, Marc K. and Thomas are having a sleepover, and Marc K. lives down the street, and it’s at Marc K.’s house,” says Brynna. “I like Thomas a LOT. More than I like Marc K. Can you call him for me?”
“Please please please? I liiike him. More than you.”
“Hello, this is the Marc K. residence,” says Marc K. “Oh, hey Kristen. I’m with Thomas M., the one who likes Brynna.”
“Tell them to come over,” whispers Brynna.
“FINE, why do I always have to do everything myself?”
The boys arrive. Brynna is making out with Thomas before he even steps in the door. That leaves you with Marc K. sitting alone on the couch next to them.
“So, uh, Thomas and Brynna are making out,” says Marc K. “Guess that means we should make out too?”
“Good choice, 13-year-old boys are the worst!” says Marc K. “I would have 100 percent done the same thing. Every single one of us is terrible. You are wise beyond your years.”
Marc K. holds up a photo.
“This is what a real man looks like,” he says. “That’s who you should aspire to make out with someday, not me!”
“I respect and understand your decision,” he says, extending his hand. “Because I am gross. Friends?”
You did it! You avoided a truly icky thing and now have one fewer middle school learning experience to look back on. Best sleepover ever!
It is the best kiss you’ve ever had and will ever have. Marc K is amazing at kissing. Something inside you changes.
You and Marc K. date through middle school and high school. You spend so much time together that your friends can’t even tell you apart and your parents sometimes call you by the wrong name.
On the last day of college, Marc K. proposes. He doesn’t make any kind of grand gesture; it’s just the law that people who spend that much time together must be married.
You raise children. You buy a home. You build a white picket fence around your children and leave them there while you live the rest of your life in your amazing home.
You are the two oldest people in the nursing home, the ones who everyone wonders if they have sex. You do. You’re not sure how you do it, either, but you do.
You did it! Best sleepover ever! You die in the arms of Marc K., and he passes 30 seconds after you. Every employee at the nursing home gathers around the shriveled husks of your bodies and cries. They will never have the love that you two shared. Thanks, Brynna!
“Dog!” Brynna yells. “Come here, Dog!”
Wow! Brynna’s dog loves these bugs. Finally, your sleeping bag is clean!
Whoa, you fell asleep and made it through the night! You wake up to the clanking of pots and pans, but Brynna’s still in bed.
You stare at the ceiling for what feels like hours. She’s got to wake up eventually, right?
Okay, somehow she’s STILL asleep.
What’s even the point of this? There are so clearly 5,612 dots here.
Oh, look at that!
Ay yi yi!
How did that happen?
Brynna’s mom barges into the room.
“Honey, your mom’s here!” she says in a singsong voice. “She says you’re a real pussy for not taking any risks this sleepover.”
“You didn’t get in trouble once! You just went to bed like a big cowardly lump and then didn’t come down to breakfast,” she says, disappointed. “No friend of Brynna’s is allowed to be that lame.”
“Go home and think about what you did,” she says, putting her hand on your shoulder. “You’re welcome back anytime, but only if you take some catastrophically dumb preteen risks.”
“I’d love to make it up to you somehow,” you say. “I’ll give in to peer pressure more next time.”
“I’m so glad you like it,” says Brynna’s mom. “Secret family recipe!”
“Here you go,” she says. “What an appetite!”