Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sibling Rivalry

Something between the rocks glinted in the morning sunshine.  Danny impulsively jabbed at the mystery object with the scuffed toe of his navy blue sneaker.  In doing so, he discovered it was merely a small silver push pin, no doubt a fallen soldier from the telephone pole that stood tall at the end of his gravel driveway.  Perhaps the lost kitten had been found, or the yard sale a success.  Either way, the push pin's job was complete for now.  Danny plucked it up and absentmindedly put it in the pocket of his zip-up hoodie.  He had decided what to do.

"Mom!" he yelled toward the front of his house, "I'm going out on my bike!"

"Ok, sweetie.  But be back by lunch!  Your brothers need milk."

With his hands already on the handlebars, Danny hung his head in defeat and sighed.  "You want me to pick up milk?"

"Yeah.  I'll pay you back."

Danny settled onto the seat of his bike after a few initial pumps of the pedals.  The cool, autumn air tousled his hair and calmly encouraged him.  He would stop at the store on his way home, no big deal.  He had plenty of time.  He flew past the school and made a wide turn onto Walnut.  Even his lanky legs knew what he had to focus on first.  After years of churning turmoil, today was the day.  Danny Ellis was going to tell Katie Evans that he liked her.

He had ridden to her house countless times before, mostly because he couldn't think of anywhere else to ride.  One time, he offered to come to her house to work on a school project.  They had sat close together on the bench at her kitchen table and written a play about photosynthesis.  He played the plant.  She was the light.

Another time, her parents had employed him to take care of their cat while they were away over the summer.  He got to ride to her house almost everyday.  He ran his fingers over her furniture, smelled the soap at her sink, stood in her room, laid on her bed.  He would never forget those few weeks.

Danny parked his bike on the sidewalk and leaped up the now familiar front steps.  He knocked on the door and waited, nervously working his fingers.  The snapping sounds he made bounced around the large, covered porch where he had once taken shelter from a sudden rain shower.

"Oh, hey Danny.  Are you looking for Shaun?"  Katie's dad pushed up the sleeves on his chocolate brown sweater as he reached to open the screen door.  "Wanna come in?"

Danny looked at his sneakers and then back up.  Cracking his knuckled he replied, "My brother?  Shaun is here?"

"Well, actually he and Katie are out on a walk together, but I bet they'll be back soon."

Danny's mind reeled, but he finally managed to mumble, "Uh, thank you.  I, uh, have to go to the store for my mom."

"Ok, bud.  You take care.  See ya around."

As Mr. Evans turned to shut the door, the cat scurried up to Danny, rubbed herself against his corduroys and then meandered over to a bike parked on the porch.  Shaun's bike.  Focused as he was, Danny had overlooked it before, but there it stood.  It had gotten here first.  Danny buried his hands into the pockets of his zip-up hoodie.  He had decided what to do.

He jammed the push pin right into the tire of his brother's bike.  Five times.  One for every brother he had.


This piece is a work of fiction inspired by a weekly prompt.  Click on the button below to read the prompt and the other amazing writers who post flash fiction and poetry there.
The Speakeasy is open...


  1. This is really good Kristin! This scientist in love with you because, hello? Play about photosynthesis? So awesome!

  2. Particularly like the turn of events and Danny's response. It's real.

  3. Oh man, I love this! The details are fabulous - photosynthesis play, the sneakers - and the anticipation, then letdown, of the main character is very involved.

  4. This is fantastic writing Kristin! I've missed reading your stories. I feel so bad for Danny. You did a great job developing him and building up to that moment when he realizes his brother got there first.

  5. I love that all my favorite fiction writers are back this week! This story is so great. You capture all the earnestness of first crushes, and then the huge letdown when it doesn't work out, so well, I felt like I was watching it happen.

  6. I'm glad my rivalries with my siblings never descended to damaging each other's stuff. That would have just kept escalating...

    Loved this: "He played the plant. She was the light." Don't we all seek the light we need to live?