On the day my brother killed my one and only best friend, I vowed revenge. It might not be today, it might not be next week because I had soccer practice, but I promised that he too would suffer the pain of losing something irreplaceable.
The day had started out innocently enough. Mike and I were in the backyard playing together, him hiding and me seeking. We didn’t have a very big yard, but Mike was still an amazing hider. He could wriggle into nooks and crannies that took me forever to find, and we could happily pass hours playing this game. I had just finished counting to 300 (Mike was a very slow mover, but we all have our own crosses to bear), when my brother Jack burst through the back gate.
The thing about my brother that you need to know is that he is an asshole. I know it’s not polite to say and I would lose my pocket money for a whole week if my parents heard me say it, but he truly is a grade A asshole. My mum says it’s because he’s now a teenager and has a lot of new hormones rushing through him and is struggling to define himself in this hyper masculine world and that we have to be understanding and encourage his expression of emotions to stop him from becoming another product of toxic masculinity, and blah blah. Whatever. I’m sure my mother means well, and I definitely agree that being a boy looks like no fun, but the primary emotion my brother seemed to express was anger, and largely towards me.
Jack had not called me by my proper name for at least a year. He even wrote ‘candyass’ on my birthday card.
“Hey.” I mumbled back, not wanting to engage him. He had on his favourite jacket, an oversized leather thing with scary spikes, and a soccer ball tucked under his arm.
“What are you doing?”
This was the wrong move. Jack realised immediately I was trying to hide something from him. However, it wasn’t me hiding but Mike.
I gulped. Mike and Jack did not get along, and by get along, I mean Mike peed himself every time he came near Jack. I don’t blame him at all for his lost of bowel control. You would too if your first interaction with somebody was being shaken incessantly and asked why you wouldn’t come out of your shell.
“I don’t know.”
Another lie. Mike sometimes needed more than 300 seconds, so I could see his small body still wiggling behind the wheely bin and fence.
“Oh, really? Well I guess you won’t mind if I just -” he dropped the ball from his clutches and gave it an almighty kick in the direction of the bin.
They say in moments of extreme distress your body can perform miracles, like lifting a car off your trapped baby, but while I could fly past my brother in a heartbeat and easily lift up the yellow recycling bin, I could not make the heartbeat of my dearest turtle beat again.
Jack sputtered to my mother that it was an accident, how could he have known, I hadn’t said. He cried crocodile tears, and my mother believed him. But what about Mike and his turtle tears? Something had to be done.
A month had passed and I was appropriately dressed in mourning. I tied a black strip of cloth with two holes for my eyes around my head in memory of our favourite TV show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My mum said I should probably take it off and let her wash it, but that wasn’t happening until I got my revenge.
Jack didn’t believe in showers. I’m not sure how showers became a thing you could choose not to believe in, but Dad said just look at global warming. Regardless, he rarely washed, and when he did, it wasn’t any longer than a few minutes. That was my window though. While his punk rock music blared from the bathroom, I stole into his room.
The stench at first made my eyes water, and I was glad I still had on my bandana to wipe my eyes. Once I could see, I rushed to Jack’s wardrobe, looking for my target, but his jacket wasn’t there. I began to panic. If he caught me in here I was dead. He would impale me on one of the many spikes attached to his – a flash caught my eye. It was a sharp spike. On his jacket. Half hidden under his bed. Of course he wouldn’t actually hang up his clothes. Discarding the dirty socks, I held it in my hands. The revenge burning within me was suddenly quiet. Too quiet.
Jack was out of the shower.
I ran to the door, but it was too late. The handle was already turning. Cold fear gripped me. I was pressed up against the wall, trapped, just like poor Mike. Searching for a way out, my hands touched cool glass. The window. An escape!
Flinging it open, I dived on to the flowerbed below.
The jig was up.
I ran for the street and the last step in my plan. I heard an ‘oof’ behind me and glanced back to see the terrifying sight of my brother chasing me in a pink fluffy towel held precariously around his hips.
“Give that back!”
I wasn’t going to make it. The beeping of the rubbish truck was too close. Bursting through the gate, I saw it. The mechanical claw reaching for our yellow bin. I lunged, shoving the precious jacket in amongst last night’s pizza box.
Jack tackled me, but it was pointless. The claw emptied the bin’s content into the gaping mouth of the truck, clamping mercilessly down on the rubbish.
Horrified, Jack turned to me, but I merely smiled. Justice had been served.