The whales are in the hallway and they’re mad about the corsets

By Tiber

My older brother, Duncan, tormented me all throughout my childhood.  One of my earliest memories is of hearing a weird voice humming the theme song from “Jaws” right outside my bedroom door late one night.

The house is spooky enough to begin with, so it took a lot of courage for me to peek out at all. Nobody was out there but there was a trail of water splashed all the way down the hallway, that stopped right in front of my door. Duncan just “happened” to be coming up the back stairs so I hissed at him to come and look at it.

And horror seized his face.

“You know what this is, don’t you?”

And I, with my limitless supply of stupid said, “No! Tell me!”

Well, Duncan had just heard about the late Sarah Winchester, the heiress who was tormented by the fear that the souls of all the people killed by the Winchester rifles were coming back to haunt her. So now my brother pointed to the water by my door and shrieked,

“It’s the whales! I knew this would happen! Think of how many of them our ancestors killed to make all of those whalebone corsets that made our family rich! The whales want their revenge, Tiber! And they’re going to get it. They’re going to get it by killing you!”

I was terrified. But even then, something didn’t quite ring true.

“But why would the whales sing the theme song from ‘Jaws?’  That’s about sharks.”

My brother’s face contorted with annoyance and he sputtered,

“Well, they don’t have their own theme song, smart-ass. And you know what? It makes them even more pissed!”

I eventually figured out who’d put the water there, of course. But never underestimate the power of early-life-older-brother.

To this day, whenever I step into a puddle, I clench.

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