Will-ing to Try

It is three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, the perfect time to further my devious machinations. The weekends are the only time I get to work; all other days are the monotonous droll of schoolwork. Honestly, they think I have time for multiplication tables at this stage of my life? I’m eight years old, ready to seize the world! At the very least, ready to expand my domain beyond the confines of this upstairs room of a suburban household in Missouri. Where even is Missouri, anyway? Answer, who cares? A place with a name that sounds like “misery” is not the place for the future conqueror of the world.

Yet here I sit, surrounded by cutesy appeals to the child within this Machiavellian mind. My parental authorities seem to think they can win my good graces with plush creatures and toy cars—tokens which achieve nothing but the expansion of my arsenal. To an extent, I suppose, I appreciate them; donations to the cause are far better than silent robberies of local garage sales, but they offer them in such a patronizing manner. Mother, don’t pretend you have time for me. Father, well… Father is a different case.

My mother has always worked—it would surprise me to learn that she hadn’t gone right back to working as soon as she had recovered enough strength after my birth—but my father has
been home for me in her absence. He works with computers, and at my arrival his good standing allowed him to work from home and take care of me. I appreciate it, I suppose, but few people aggravate me more than that man. No, he must be removed like the rest. Perhaps more mercifully than most.
Admittedly, the plush toys they bring me for “good behavior” aren’t terribly useful for terribility. Their soft exteriors and even softer interiors make them worthless for bludgeoning, and while their insides are combustible, they smell awful, and burn out much to quickly to make any use of them. Toy cars, however, are quite handy for anything that requires small amounts of
movement. Yet of all my resources, save perhaps chemistry kits—without all the fun chemicals—nothing approaches the utility of the innocent, cutesy building blocks they call LEGO.

Certainly, with their various themes they have created swords, bows, and guns, but every last one of them has received the same treatment as so-called “safety scissors:” the rounding of
points and the dulling of edges to ensure no poor innocent child hurts himself. Not that they could make a tiny plastic gun fire, but even the larger ones with ballistic capabilities barely even
try. My modifications have improved them, but I can only do so much before it would have been a better idea to work something up from scratch. So I look not to their cheap imitation weaponry, but to the very building blocks themselves. Mankind has scarcely seen a more fearsome weapon than these, more potent than even the finest-crafted caltrops of years past, capable of causing mass pain and discomfort to all who chance to tread upon them.

Better still, the utility of these bricks is not limited to such simplicity. They are, after all, building blocks, and hold together quite well if joined with any sort of sophistication—though liberal application of superglue is always an asset. LEGO bricks have formed the base of my schemes for as far back as I have been scheming them, and the smaller ones are leaps and bounds more effective than the oversized space-wasters made for undeveloped hands. For weeks I have been constructing a weapon of unparalleled ferocity from plans I crafted over the course of many long months: the perfect article for furthering my conquest and establishing my dominion of the household.

I seem to have abandoned my wits internally monologuing; it is now three-thirty. I have lost half an hour to admiring my own genius. I shall have to work all the harder to compensate. I run to my closet and glance around—I wouldn’t want Father to see my creation before its completion—then throw open the door dramatically and begin my work. The arm cannon is quite functional, which the burn mark on the back wall can attest to, but the body of my machine is not up to standard. One look at my blueprints confirms my need to greater develop its armor. I dig through my boxes of pieces to find the smooth-faced bricks I need, then piece them together, first over one arm, then the next. I am about to start on the body when I hear a voice calling from downstairs.

“Will!” My father’s voice resonates through the hallway, “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, Dad!” I call back with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. Dealing with this rabble is more exhausting than I had ever anticipated.

“How’s your room coming?”

My room? I look around at the piles of works-in-progress and assorted pieces, then remember. Father wanted me to clean my room this weekend.

“Uh, it’s,” I hesitate, “It’s coming along!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep, everything checks out!”

“Well, I think I need to check out, just to be certain,” his volume rises; he is climbing the stairs.

Bother! I can’t work with him anywhere near me, he can’t find my masterpiece! I close the closet doors far less dramatically and leap across the room into my bed just as my father opens the door

“Gah!” He exclaims, his foot landing directly on one of my most basic traps, “Will, you haven’t been cleaning at all, have you? Look at this place, it’s like a tornado ran through a minefield!”

Had you considered, dear Father, that that may have been the idea? I keep the thought to myself, and instead reply, “I’m not done with these yet. I’m still building something.” Your doom, my mind adds, and I glance briefly at the closet.

“Will, your room is huge, there’s plenty of room for you to build everywhere other than right here. Can you at least clear a path?”

That would entirely defeat the purpose, Father. Don’t you know a thing about military tactics? I open my mouth to speak, but stop as I see my father’s face break into a grin I know all too well. I hate that grin.

“After all, when there’s a Will,” he gestures to me with far more emphasis than anyone requires, “there’s a way,” he gestures to the floor, not even trying to hide his glee.

God, that was terrible. I glare at him, the only time I let my true feelings surface, “Why are you like this?”

His grin widens, “My name isn’t ‘like this’”

I duck under my blanket. Don’t you even finish that sentence.

“It’s Dad!” I can’t see him anymore, but I know that stupid grin just got even bigger.

“I am so done with your crap,” I groan, then realize my mistake. What have I done.

“Well, hello there, So Done With Your Crap,” his voice comes closer; he must be leaning over my bed, “I’m Dad.”

Begone from my presence, foolish mortal, that I may unleash the hellfires of my mechanical genius upon you. I peek out and glare at him, grin two inches from my face, “Get out of my room.”

“I would if I could,” he straightens up and shrugs, “Unfortunately, there’s not a path.”

“If I promise to clean my room, will you leave it?”

He considers, “I would be… Will-ing to try.”

I throw a pillow at his retreating back, trying my hardest to bore a hole with my narrowed eyes. We’ll see who’s laughing when my machine is finished, Father. You will rue the day you… His foolishness is spreading. Why must I have been cursed with such a pun-able name. Why must I have been cursed with a father with such juvenile humor. It just can’t be easy to conquer the world, can it?

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