Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice
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“What are you doing?”
The question was redundant, as it was clear that my kid brother was doing absolutely nothing. This was further evidenced by his shrugged response and caveman grunt. He wore his usual tattered track pants paired with a sleeveless undershirt that bore stains from at least a week ago. His socked feet rested on the coffee table. The largest digit, bearing an overgrown toenail, poked out.
“Mom’s gonna freak if she sees you like this.” Again, he shrugged.
I rolled my eyes, but sat down on the opposite end of the sofa. If the Golden Child was going to get in trouble, I wanted to be a witness.
Why is it, I wondered, that the youngest child always gets away with the proverbial murder? In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was acquitted should he actually commit such a crime. I sat next to him, fuming, my arms folded tightly across my chest. My jaw began to ache as I clenched and unclenched my teeth. He, conversely, sat and mindlessly flipped through the channels on the television, pausing occasionally to snigger at some childish cartoon.
I could hear the march of my mother’s footsteps. Given it was Saturday morning, she would be in Cleaning Mode and barking orders at everyone in site. I smirked as I envisioned the scenario that I knew was about to unfold.
She strode into the living room, a laundry basket brimming with freshly folded clothes under one arm. She glanced over as she crossed the room, never breaking her stride.
She stopped abruptly when she reached the threshold to the kitchen, turned smartly and gaped at my brother.
“Well!” she said. “This is a surprise.”
I did my best to cover the smile that spread across my face. It occurred to me that I was far too excited about this.
“I really didn’t expect you to be up until after noon. Let me make you something to eat.” And off she went, laundry hamper under her arm, humming quietly to herself.
I turned and gawked at my brother. He grinned back and shrugged.
“You see,” he began, before I could even start my tirade, “if you keep your standards low, it really takes no effort to exceed expectations.”
He leaned back in the sofa, pressed the forward button on the channel selector.
I nodded slowly, as comprehension began to fill me.
He turned and looked at me.
“I have a few people I wouldn’t mind getting rid of.”
He grinned back at me and shrugged.