We Thought It Would Be Funny To Prank Our Grandmother… We Thought Wrong!
My brother and I spent a rivetting afternoon watching one of our favorite Blockbuster movies, White Chicks. You know the movie, the one featuring the Wayans Brothers dressed up like two Valley Girls with a fetish for pink outfits and tiny dogs.
Anyway, it was a weekend, a humid afternoon, and mommy was out of work for a couple of months after a near-fatal car accident. She rested in the room beside my granny’s bedroom and was recouping. My brother and I were bored after half-heartedly watching a Flinstone’s marathon on Cartoon Network.
At the time, I was ten or eleven, and the scene in the movie that stuck out to me the most was when the Wayans Brothers got into a “Yo Momma” contest. When one of the Wayans, told the person he clowned that: “Yo Momma is so old, her breast milk is like powder!” and blew white make-up from the palm of his hand into the face of his opponent.
I. Died. Laughing.
This is what sparked a devious idea in my young impressionable mind.
Granny sat on the edge of her bed, distracted by a crocheting project. The old, leather-skinned, Jamaican woman would stick her tongue out like a lizard, lick her lips briefly, and draw it back into her mouth. Standing outside of her room I saw a bottle of baby powder sitting on the edge of her dresser. The pungent scent of rubbing alcohol and ligament oils leaked out of her barely closed bedroom door.
I strolled into her room, leaning against her dresser, nonchalantly, as I scanned the room and stared at every corner of the room packed near bursting with yarn from different craft stores. My grandmother had been so focused on her latest project, she didn’t notice me.
“Granny!” I asked in a tone, innocent and soft-spoken as a doe.
She raised her eyes above the rim of her broad oval reading glasses, and looked back down at her work, licking her tongue, and readjusting yarn within her crochet hook.
“Can I borrow something, please?” I asked as I reached over the counter for her baby powder.
She didn’t give me a definitive answer. I assumed she wouldn’t mind if I took a little bit of baby powder for my own personal use. I mean, it’s just sitting there, collecting white dust.
I snatched the bottle, taking it out of the room, and shaking a small amount into the palm of my hand. My eyes focused on just my grandmother, as she hummed a tune under her breath, and I planned my attack.
By this time, my baby brother walked into the hallway from the living room. He dragged his favorite toy bunny named “Georgie” by the ears, while he sucked on his index fingers. When our eyes met, before he could open his big fat mouth, I pressed a finger to my lips and returned my attention to our granny.
I waited a few more moments, keeping my breathing leveled, as I walked into the room and opened my palms. She hadn’t noticed me, so I blew a gentle mist of baby powder near the front of her face, and raced out of the room, down the hall, past my brother, and plopped down in front of the TV.
While I giggled, my brother had realized what I’d just done. And, instead of ratting me out, he wanted in. I made him sit down on the sofa next to me and told him to keep his mouth shut.
I heard my grandmother down the hall, calling for my mother.
I heard the following phrases in thick Jamaican patois:
“…Fine, fine, blinky, blinky… somethin’ flashin’ in front of mi face…!”
“…Me naw, no, what a gwon…”
At this point, my mother explained that maybe she needed to clean her glasses or clean up the hoard which was taking over her room. After a brief harangue and mommy went back to bed, my brother wanted to try the “White Chick’s Movie Trick” as he called it.
I gave him the bottle of baby powder, without explaining to him how to go about successfully tricking our granny. I assumed, he’d just use common-sense. I mean, he’s almost eight-and-a-half-years-old, not a baby anymore.
As I watched my idiot brother, kick in my grandmother’s bedroom door, and point the baby powder bottle in her startled face. My heart sunk. I felt like I was watching the scene of a horror flick when the woman in the shower, has the curtains ripped aside, and a knife-wielding killer stands over her.
My first instinct kicked in: RUN!
I ran through the house at top speed, as my grandmother screamed to the top of her lungs. She wasn’t just mad, she was coated from head to toe in white Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
My mother found me, a few minutes later, “playing” outside by myself.
A belt strap hung from her palm. I rubbed my dusty palms together as my grandmother trailed after her. Granny’s face was still coated in white dust, and the spot on her face where she sat her glasses was currently just a black mask, revealing her true skin color.
She looked like a raccoon, and terror ran through me as my brother followed behind the two matriarchs in my family. He rubbed his lanky behind, a couple of tears ran down his cheek. But, I remained stoic face.
Then, my mommy’s interrogation began:
“Why did you throw powder in your granny’s face?” She asked.
My lips quivered and I whimpered under my breath, “It’s not my fault.”
“Tell me, why did you throw powder in her face?” I never let her repeat herself a third time.
Her lips quirked as she tried to hold back from giggling, but being the disciplinarian she was, she had to stand firm and keep the belt strap tight around her palm. I decided to confess, either way, I wasn’t getting out of this whoopin’.
So, I told her the truth:
“I-It’s because…, yo momma is so old,” I sobbed. “Her breast milk is like powder…”