So, we’ve established that I love the hell out of brothers. And not just my own! Anyone’s brother will do. OK…not anyone… I do have standards! (Don’t you just hate it when people say stuff and then immediately retract?)
They’ll get you all riled up, chanting slogans and then when you’re too far gone to tell your own toes apart, they’ll just hang you out to dry. It happened one time with my brothers. Just the one time, scouts’ honor. Don’t worry, I don’t actually expect you to believe me. If you did, I’d probably say kudos! People like you are the reason that con artists get to be called artists! Your gullibility is their canvas.
Don’t feel bad. I’m gullible too. But hey, if it helps some random stranger become an artist…why not? We can just write it down as one of the ways through which I give back to humanity. Seeing as giving back is all the rage these days. (Even if all we’re ‘giving back’ is rage!)
So, about my brothers and that one time…
‘Twas a cold, stormy afternoon, Ben was just minding his own business. Translation, he was bored out of his skull. He couldn’t go outside and there was nothing ‘safe’ to do. Dad was in the house, and that generally had a way of making the universe a very tiny space. There was no better recipe for disaster. Someone was bound to slip up.
So Ben… twiddling his thumbs but staying stubbornly out of trouble. Staring forlornly at the wet outdoors through the kitchen window. Along came Emi. A fellow with time to kill and a knack for killer ideas. No way this guy was surrendering to boredom without a fight! He leaned on the kitchen counter and cast his hook rather casually.
“Let’s loosen the screws on Mom’s pans.”
“Why?” Ben asks incredulously.
“So when Mom lifts the pan, the handles will come loose and the food will spill!”
“Yeah…that would be so funny!” Ben latches on. Suddenly, boredom is on the outside looking in.
The boys soon get to work. By the time Dad calls Emi twenty minutes later, they’ve done (or is it undone) a few good pans.
“Where’s your brother?”
“In the kitchen”
“What’s he doing?”
“Loosening the screws on Mom’s pans.”
“Why is he doing that?”
“So the food can spill when Mom lifts the pan.”
Guy chucked his brother under the bus without even batting an eyelid – it did not end well for Ben. He didn’t even bother defending himself; seeing as he got caught knife in pan. He was sore for days – plotting his revenge. Emi had a missile the size of Rwanda trained on his back.
But karma stepped in.
Now, for you to understand this part of the story, I have to introduce a chap named Otis. Neighborhood punk who walked with a limp (read, bounce) and a match in his mouth. Yap, our childhood hero was Rambo – deal with it. Otis was like a real life Rambo. His shoulders weren’t nearly as broad as Stallone’s – matter of fact, he was downright scrawny. But he sure could work that match. The boys were soon limping and chewing matches – just like him.
Otis had a few threadbare waistcoats. Apparently, they completed the Rambo look. (I personally preferred the shirtless Rambo…Holy Molly!) But the boys had other ideas. Just one problem, the coveted waistcoats weren’t a feature in their closets. Then one Saturday, Emi sauntered out of his room spotting one. His explanation;
“Otis gave it to me.”
You could just see the envy in Ben’s eyes.
Come Sunday morning, Emi was spotting a really old shirt for church. You know how boys’ arms grow really long and then their long sleeved shirts become three-quarter length? That was the image before us.
“Put on a better shirt.” Dad boomed.
Minutes turn into more minutes. We were all just standing awkwardly waiting for Emi. He finally emerged in a better shirt. Even I knew not to point out the obvious – that was Ben’s shirt. Dad said nothing and we made it to church – incident free. I’m not telepathic, but I know Emi prayed extra hard that morning.
I don’t really know if God listened, but after church, Emi got the very call he’d begged God to divert.
“Where are the shirts I bought you last week?”
“In the bedroom.”
This time Emi’s limp to the bedroom was real. None of that fake Rambo stuff. He finally returned, without the shirts.
“You gave them to Otis.” Dad didn’t even look up from his newspaper.
“Then where are they?”
“Tomorrow, before I leave, I want to know the truth about those shirts.” Dad stated calmly, “I know you got duped into swapping them for those useless waistcoats!”
“No Dad. I have the shirts!”
Ahem. Very famous last words…
The next morning, the minute Dad stepped out of his room, Emi was behind him –
“Oh Daddy!” He declared, as if the thought had just that instant crossed his mind “I’ve remembered – it’s Otis who took the shirts!”
According to Ben, the fellow had spent all night rehearsing the ‘Surprise speech’
“I feel sorry for him.” He muttered.
But I could tell from the twinkle in his eye that he felt many things – and sorry just wasn’t one of them! Plus, Emi had to return the vests and get his shirts back.
Karma is a bitch I really want on my side.