Stanford Chaparral

Being a latchkey kid isn’t easy. One day I came home to find that my dog had got into the oven. It was a crazy race to clean it all up before Mom and Dad got home. I don’t think I’ve ever scrubbed so hard in my whole life. I think they figured it out, though, cause Mom made a casserole that night and the whole house smelled like Max. I didn’t get in too much trouble, but Mommy cried cause her casserole tasted like Labrador.

Another time, I came home to find that my little brother, Joey, had gotten himself all tangled up in the razor wire around our house. yuck. I tried to get him our, but he just kept getting more and more tangled. The band-aids weren’t working, either, cause the bleeding would just keep finding new holes. After that, he had to go to a special school where the teachers could understand the robot thing in his throat.

Once time I came home for along weekend and Mommy and Daddy weren’t there. It wouldn’t have been a big surprise, except it was Christmas. Usually Mom and Dad come home for Christmas, at least by nighttime. That Christmas I had to do everything myself, which is okay cause I’m a latchkey kid.

I started by getting presents for everyone. I got Joey a kazoo for his neck, and I got my baby brother Hunter a cardboard box to keep his baby teeth in. I even cooked Christmas dinner. My brothers said the Lunchables didn’t mix very well with the Gushers, but everyone was a big fan of the Snausages.

Another time I came home and there was a strange man in my house. He asked how I got in. I told him I was a latchkey kid; that’s what I do. He told me Mommy and Daddy were negligent. He also said that our carpet was giving me and my brothers ring worms.

I told him that I knew what negligent meant; I was a latchkey kid. I also told him what Daddy said, that the ring worms came from eating Max, our dog. The man shook his head and put me in a car. He put me in a new house, where I didn’t have a key. I tried to tell him I was a latchkey kid, that I needed keys. He said I was an orphan now, that I needed parents.

I never latchkeyed again.

But now that I think about it, being a latchkey kid is about more than just the key around your neck, or the little brothers you have to bathe with moist towelettes you stole from KFC. Really, it’s just about looking out for yourself.