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I hesitate to write about my enemies. I don’t have many, but this is the one that most readily comes to mind.

Muley and I have a history more vast than I’d like it to be. We met when we were in elementary school. Mule had big brown eyes that looked sweet, like a cow (her eyes, not the rest of her…unless it was a starving cow), and a quiet little voice like a mouse. Muley also had a best friend, Vesta.

Vesta was the opposite of Muley. She always wore these fantastic outfits, was always nice to people, and all we ever did was watch movies, dress up, and do makeovers. She’d introduce us to new music that rocked. When we went back through yearbooks, my mom said, “Vesta always looked like she was 20 years old.” That’s still true today. Vesta was a shining star.

One day, Vesta told me that Muley was sad because I didn’t like her as much as Vesta. I agreed to be nicer to Muley, although it was only so I could continue my friendship with Vesta.

Another problem was that Muley’s mom and my mom became friends while Muley and I were in an after school activity together. This meant I had to play with Muley far more than I’d prefer. I told my mom that Muley was odd. My mom said to be nice to her and try to have fun.

“I have tried,” I finally said one day after I’d given it SEVERAL chances. “I really don’t like her.”

When I played with Muley, her games were always the ones we played, but never the kinds of games I’d ever want to play alone or with anyone. Muley’s were always the worst. Muley was obsessed with three things: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (who the rest of us didn’t even like when they were popular), Annie from the musical Annie, and wild card. I say wild card as in a terrible, weird random game that Muley thought up. We could never play NORMAL games, or even fun adventure games.

One year, my mom invited them over for a holiday. “They don’t have any other family,” my mom explained.

“Fine,” I said. “Can I just eat in my room the whole time?”

“No.”

“What if I don’t eat, but I just stay in my room? I could pretend to be sick!” I was willing to miss a ton of conversation and food to not see Muley. I thought there was nothing that made my case like this did. I would miss dinner and go to bed just to avoid another human being. Didn’t that send some kind of sign?

“No, you have to eat with us.”

Muley and I were forced to play together after dinner, even though I whispered to my mom, “Okay, the meal’s done, can they LEAVE now?” “NO,” my mom hissed back in her terrifying, quiet but snake-like voice. “Stop asking. It’s ONE day.”

I would like to point out that I never bitched this much about anything. Muley brought out my whininess factor and turned it up to 11.

Muley and I went back to my room to play. I expected her to want to play Mary Kate and Ashley or Annie, but I was SO wrong.

“I just saw Waterworld,” Muley explained, excitedly. “We HAVE to play it.”

“I’ve never seen it,” I said. “How can I play something I’ve never seen?”

Muley told me the premise of the movie. We essentially played “the floor is lava,” except not fun and for longer than was necessary. We had to sit on the top of my bunk beds.

Then she decided that she was “tired of Waterworld.” This was good.

“I’ve got an idea. We live alone with our dad. Our mother has died.”

This game was off to a horrible start.

“And he beats us, so we have to find a way to escape. But he keeps finding us.”

It was starting to sound a little bit like how I felt about Muley. I wanted to beat her up and escape. Muley was stronger than me though, and I totally couldn’t take her. Now with the arrival of this new game, I was positive that Muley was not only boring, but also crazy.

Today, I would have said, “What the FUCK, Muley?” But back then I said, “That sounds terrible. That doesn’t sound fun at all.”

“Millions of kids are beaten every year!” Muley exclaimed, as if her desire to play the game was to avenge all the abused children. “This happens to people. Come on. Please? I really want to play it.”

This coercion went on for awhile before I finally gave in.

“Okay, fine,” I agreed, because the one thing worse than playing with her was her going all guilt-trip/snide-remark/whiny on me. I also knew that she’d once braided the hair of a girl in our class just so she could tie it into knots, so you really didn’t want to cross her.

“Great. Do you have a belt?”

This was going to suck like nothing else. This chick was NOT messing around, but on the bright side, if she DID beat me, I was pretty sure I’d never have to play with her EVER again. Maybe she’d go to jail! Could kids go to jail? I hoped so. So a few hours of possible torture could work out in the end. That’s how badly I wanted to stop playing with her. Plus, I was the loudest cryer ever. You could hear me ALL over the house. Even when I thought I was being quiet.

She didn’t hurt or violate me, thankfully, but it goes without saying it was the weirdest play date EVER. She wouldn’t even let me escape into the other room and LEAVE. Apparently, the fun part was us “trying to escape.” NO IT WASN’T!!! Why would that be fun? It was a stupid, stressful game and the longest holiday of my LIFE. And that’s including the holiday that my cousin hit me in the eye with his smelly sock and I had to ice it all day. Or any holiday I was sick. To make matters worse, Muley tried to act like the game was so fun, “but our parents would be alarmed, so we really shouldn’t tell anyone.” So creepy and messed up!

We never played that game ever again, because I said something along the lines of, “We are never playing this again ever, otherwise I’m telling EVERYONE, including our friends and people at school.” My mom sensed that Muley made me a special kind of insane, so after that, I saw Muley a lot less.

Unfortunately, Muley was in my class the following year as well. We ended up in the same friends group where my friend Gina and I spent the majority of the year trying to keep Muley from stealing our best friends for herself.

“Come on,” Muley pleaded with me one day. “I don’t see why we can’t BOTH be best friends with Delilah.”

“Because you can only have one best friend,” I said. I didn’t believe this, but what I did believe was that you can’t have two best friends that hated each other. What if they BOTH invite you to something at the same time? Who will you go with?

Muley pretty much called it quits with the best friend snatching after I threw a piece of cheese in her eye during a food fight she’d instigated in the cafeteria among just our friends. She threw a grape or something at Delilah, and I retaliated.

“STOP! God, Weird Button, why do you always have to be on Delilah’s side?” she yelled, rubbing her eye.

“Uh, because she’s my best friend? And I always have her back?” I didn’t understand the question. Wasn’t it obvious? “Also, I meant to hit your head, not your eye. That was an accident. Sorry.”

I actually was sorry, because I was in the process of coming up with an elaborate plot to dump a smelly, liquid, preferably dairy-based food all over her before she stopped the game.

“Whatever!” she cried. “This was supposed to be fun.”

Right. Until the bossy one gets hit in the eye with a wadded up piece of cheddar from my lunchable.

We all ended up at different schools, which made me sad, except for the elation I felt at losing Muley. When I look back, she wasn’t all bad. She said nice things to me, when she wasn’t telling me I’d die from being so skinny, and she did stick up for me a couple of times. But over all, Muley and I were like gravel and grilled cheese sandwiches. If you mix them, you ruin both.

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