One

Like Iron Man, but totally different.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just outside the small town of Omaha, Arkansas

12:25 CDT

 

            “So…uh…how’s college?”

            “Quit.”

            “…Right.”

            “Got bored.”

            No sound except the purr of the engine and the noise of the tires on the poorly paved road.

            “Got a girlfriend?”

            “Nope.”

            “…boyfriend?”

            “No!”  I finally had my brother’s attention, and his explanation was actually more than two words.  “I’ve got a crush.  On a girl.”

            “Do I know her?”  I tried to seize the opportunity to start a real, two-person conversation with him, but his focus was already back on his cell phone and all I got was an ambiguous grunt.

            I gazed at Kel across the length of the limousine, trying to figure him out.  We’d never been the closest of brothers, but recently we had really been drifting apart.  I was busy running the company I inherited back in December (Merry Christmas!  Your parents died so you own their company now!  Good luck running it with no experience!  Oh and sorry for your loss by the way good luck have fun!) and it seemed like every time I saw Kel he was on his phone, texting or playing some game – Flappy Birds or Angry Bird or…something about birds, I don’t know.

            Sighing, I gave up on conversing with Michael (nobody in our family really liked the nickname “Mike,” so he goes by the other half of his name, Kel.  It’s like calling Christopher “Topher” instead of “Chris”).  I turned my attention to the new home security system prototype I was supposed to be tweaking on my laptop.  My phone buzzed – a text from Tem, a high-level company manager, my personal advisor, and my best friend.  He was in the car behind us, which had had to stop to change a flat.  Tem had insisted we continue and he’d catch up.  The text said they had just started moving again.  I glanced out the window back the way we’d come, but didn’t see the car back there.  I guess they’d been stopped for a while.  The road seemed to be getting worse and the dry dirt left by the recent drought began to fly around the limo, spurred upward by a sudden gust of wind.  As the dust seeped into the vehicle, I began to regret being too lazy to bring my inhaler anywhere.  My asthma’s rather mild, so I get by easily just by avoiding cleaning dusty things, but I guess some things like miniature dust storms are just unavoidable.

            Seemingly out of nowhere came the sound of engines on all sides, followed by machine gun fire.  The limo skidded to a stop and the doors were wrenched open.  Strong arms roughly pulled the both of us from the limo.  Suddenly I was glad Dad had made me take those dumb self-defense classes and I broke the hold of the man holding me, landed a kick between the legs of the one manhandling my brother, and shoved Kel behind me, shielding him from the guns.

            With a surprising amount of bravery and brotherly love, and with a voice I was pretty sure wasn’t mine, I called out, “You can do whatever you want with me, but you won’t touch my brother!”

            "You wouldn't believe how true that statement is," a voice behind me agreed.  "They won't even think about harming me."  Michael stepped out from behind me.  "And we can do anything we want to you."

The End

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