The Room at the Back of the House

The Room at the Back of the House

A Story by Ashley

Searching through my brother's room for drugs. Sort of a personal narrative.

Searching through my brother's room for illegal substances was an experience.

Five minutes before that, I got a call from my mom. "Ashley," she said, "I want you to sit in the dining room and do your puzzle. Watch the garage and make sure no one comes to see David. He absolutely can't have his friends over anymore. He did something bad, and when your dad gets home, he's going to explode. I'll be home in a little while, and when I do, I need you and Andrew to do something for me. Until then, watch the garage and call me if anyone comes over. Okay?"

"Okay," I said, although I was extremely confused. I sat at our family dining table we only used for holidays and family reunions. There was a side door there with a perfect view of the driveway and garage. I knew what I was looking for, at least - my brother's sketchy-looking friends.

David was sixteen, older than I was by two years. His room was the only one downstairs, and it was hidden in the back corner of the house where none of us really visited. He had started using the garage to get to his room in the last year, because it was easier to simply open the garage and go through the laundry room than to travel through the many family-filled areas in our house. I didn’t think anything of it back then, because I probably would have done the same thing.

I used to like his friends. I remembered that they used to let me play as a center in their football games, and they never seemed annoyed by my presence. I didn’t see them too often because David usually went out to meet them at the mall or the theater. I started to see less and less of them until they were completely replaced by a batch of idiots and future criminals. I saw them less than the others, but a glance of them here and there made me hate them. Most of the time, though, they locked themselves in that godforsaken room at the back of the house.

My mom was the only one who came into the driveway. She said nothing when she came inside, only fetched Andrew and locked all the doors, one of which led to the backyard, where David and my two younger brothers were.

"David and his friends have been doing drugs in this house." My mom said it simply, almost casually, when my brother and I were both listening. "Your father knows, and David knows that we're aware of what has been going on. Dad has called the police, and he's going to get every one of David's friends in trouble for doing this crap. Which isn't good, because that includes David.

"Ben and Jonathan were already outside, so I made David go with them to pull weeds. I locked him outside. I need you two to help me go through his room for drugs while he's there. Dad will be home in a few hours and then hell will break loose, but for now we have to get this stuff out of here."

We went into his room, which I hadn't been in for months. There was one day when I had been watching television in the living room, and when a commercial came on, I went into his room. It was trashed, and the smell was too awful to stay in for a long period of time. When I returned to the couch, I wondered why I had gotten the urge to go in his room, but it seemed like a natural thing to do at the time. I never told anyone about the smell, even though I had thought about drugs when I first caught a whiff of it.

Andrew and my mom started searching immediately, but I only looked through a few drawers at first. "I've found bags of who-knows-what, I've found pipes, I've found a lot," my mom said as she looked through his dresser.

"I found two hookahs here before," Andrew said. "They're not illegal themselves, but they're illegal for someone his age. I took them, and I still have them in my room. I was waiting for him to confront me about them, but he never did."

"He didn't ask me about the things I took either," she replied.

I went to the school backpack on his couch. I opened one zipper to find it absolutely empty, and the smallest pouch was filled to the brim with sharpies. With a sinking feeling as I pulled them out, I remembered something I had learned in class once: you can get high off of permanent markers. In the last zipper, I found no school bags, no notebooks, or anything to suggest that this kid even attended school. I found only a huge brown bottle with a white skull and crossbones on it. The only word I could identify from it was "LIQUOR" written at the bottom, so I gave it to my mom right away. She just sighed.

Every once in a while one of us would let the others know that we found something. I looked mostly at his drawers, while my brother took apart his bed and my mom moved his entire couch, all the cushions and pillows included. It was a terrible feeling, when you found drugs among old photos of David as a child, or illegal substances hidden by his collectible Simpsons figures. I hated that feeling, because it almost made it seem like drugs had a personality: my brother's. It had taken over him completely, and he didn't seem to care that his Mini Me figure wasn't any longer an amusing toy, but now only served to stand on top of his bag of drugs.

I didn't find anything else for a while, and I only searched tentatively, afraid of what I might see next. At one point my mom told me to reach under his dresser to see if anything was hiding underneath. My arm swept the floor there, and when it came out there were at least three pipes lying beside it. I reached farther and grabbed a lighter and a pack of cigarettes. On the other side of the dresser, I found another pipe and a small bag of little black seeds.

Through this whole thing, I only had one thought running through my mind: My brother is an idiot. Eventually my mother said we could stop, and when we came out of his room, we could hear David pounding on the locked door. Andrew went over to open it, then stopped himself and went upstairs instead.

"Mom," I said.


"Should I stay somewhere else tonight?"

She paused. "Yes."

I nodded. "I'm going to call my friend and see if I can stay at her house."

"That's probably a good idea."

I think we'd all like to believe that no one we know is stupid enough to get into this crap, but it's never positive. I'm not going to do it, and I truly believe that, but I remember David thinking the same thing. One time I heard him talking to my mom about his ex-best friend. My mom asked why they didn't hang out anymore, and David said it was because his friend was smoking now, and he didn't want to be around that. He was always the one who coughed loudest when there were smokers nearby just to get a point across. He called cigarettes "cancer sticks" openly, especially when people were smoking nearby. Another time, we were at the mall together looking for mother's day gifts, and he randomly said, "Ashley, don't ever be stupid enough to do drugs."

"I won't," I had replied; "My friends would kill me long before you could."

And he said, "Good. Because I would kill you."

© 2010 Ashley

Author's Note

This is more of personal narrative than anything, but I wanted to post it somewhere. I didn't dramatize any of it, because all this only happened on Tuesday (March sixteenth) and I've barely managed to write about it while it's still fresh in my mind. It doesn't have an ending, I know, or a real theme. That's because this hasn't ended yet, and I don't think we'll learn from it for a long, long time.

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I somewhat like this story. I can relate to the David character, which is probably not a good thing. This story had an emotional impact on me, but likely not the kind of impact you've intended. :-/

Posted 14 Years Ago

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Added on March 18, 2010
Last Updated on March 18, 2010
Tags: The Room, Back of the House, drugs, searching




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