When I was seven my family let me in on one of its secrets.
"That one," they said, "is our nemesis."
"Really?" I asked. They were pointing at my aunt’s second husband, Jason. He had an enormous key ring, which he jingled nervously in his pocket. He didn’t seem very menacing.
Nonetheless, I kept an eye on him.
The next time he came over for a visit, he was disturbed by the swarm of us playing ball in the street. "You can’t play here," he said, in the staccato voice he used when he was extra nervous. "You can’t play here." He tended to repeat himself when he was nervous, too. "You’ll damage one of the cars."
We ignored him and continued our game. As we changed sides, Uncle Jason stepped over to his car and punched out his own side-view mirror. Then he ran inside to tattle to Aunt Linda.
Dawn Corrigan’s stories have appeared recently at Steel City Review, Wigleaf, Insolent Rudder, and Clapboard House. Her nonfiction appears regularly at TheNervousBreakdown. com.