My stepmother used clear plastic runners to protect the carpets in our house. My older brother Tony invented a game called “Torture,” employing said runners.
In order to make the runners stay on the carpet, the underside was affixed with sharp points. These had another purpose. After my father and stepmother left for the evening, Tony pulled up the runner and flipped it upside down. He cradled my little brother Jack and swung him back and forth over the runner. Tony chanted, “torture. . . torture.” Jack giggled with delight. The older kids version of Torture involved Tony and me, wrestling to see who could knock whom to the “mat” first.
Tony also invented the Food Contest. The first sucker, usually me, had to close her eyes and plug her nose and guess which food Tony shoved in her mouth. A giant hot pepper. Him: a salt-coated cucumber slice. Me: a spoonful of baking soda. Him: peanut butter on popcorn. Me: an old match. And we’re done.
The games always ended once the ‘rents came home. I love that Tony gave the games a name. He was structured that way. Maybe it’s because our real mother was born in Germany, right after WWII. I wonder what games she played with her brother. I’ll have to ask.