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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)

TITLE: It's Kill-Joy's Specialty
By Marilyn Schnepp


Covered with cobwebs and decades of dust, the little pink book lay discarded on the attic floor. Cautiously, I bend down and with just my thumb and forefinger gingerly pick it up, and immediately knock it vigorously up against an old iron bedstead to shake out any lurking spiders that may have taken up residence within it's pages.

Carrying it over to where the light bulb hangs down on a chain in the middle of the room, I discover with amazement that the little pink book is or was... 'My Baby Book.'

Opening it, I see my name neatly written below my baby picture and instantly recognize my mother's handwriting. Although the light is rather dim, I stand there thumbing through it until my eyes come to rest on one short entry mother made at the bottom of one page:

"I coo every time my brother puts his cheek next to mine."

Suddenly my eyes burn with pent up tears, and a large lump is beginning to form in my throat. "How strange," I think to myself, "that those twelve little words moved me to such emotion - for my brother and I haven't seen each other but twice in the past forty years; once at Mother's funeral, and then again five years later at Dad's funeral. We don't correspond, communicate or keep in touch.

What happened to those two little siblings that so lovingly touched cheek-to-cheek on a baby pillow? Those two little siblings that bathed together in the same bathtub as toddlers, played in the same sand box, and slid down the snow covered hill together on cardboard boxes?...and yet today, wouldn't recognize each other if they passed each other on the street.

What a difference a day, a year, or a few decades can make between a brother and sister.

Babies, toddlers and childhood events, of course, are all heresay, as children rarely recall anything that happened before five years of age. But these twelve little words in my mother's own handwriting proves that "Once Upon A Time"...when we were young, my brother and I had a warm, close, and loving relationship.

So what happened?

Time, Distance, Differences, Opposite interests, and each taking different roads that led to two very different worlds, very far apart. All these things, including that old standby "Sibling Rivalry", makes for divisions and gaps that widen with time.

Who can forget Cain and Abel? A sibling rivalry that ended in murder. Or what about Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Ishmael, or Joseph and his brothers, and even David's brothers called him a bragging upstart when he offered to take on Goliath the giant.

From Eden to Armageddon sibling rivalry can and will be laid at the feet of that old kill-joy, known as the devil.

A "kill-joy" is a person who spoils the joy, peace, contentment and pleasure of others...and the devil has made it his Mission to put enmity between nations, races, cultures, families, husbands and wives, and Yes, siblings. That's his Specialty.

Suddenly a light bulb went "ON" in my head and lit up my brain cells!

I'll give my brother a call, chat with him a bit about the old days, and perhaps narrow down or at least bridge some of the gaps between us; and it sure would set old "kill-joy" back on his heels a bit, too - PLUS give him a headache - and THAT would really make my day!

I'm grinning ear to ear as I look up his telephone number in my address book. As I start dialing the eleven digit numbers...I start wondering to myself as I dial, "Does he still have a sense of humor? I wonder if he would laugh and think it funny if I started out with - "Hi, Bro...can you spare a dime?" Or maybe something like...

Suddenly, right in the midst of dialing, I stop, then slowly replace the receiver back on it's hook.

"Tomorrow," I say aloud to myself, "Yes, that's it, I'll try and call him again tomorrow, but not today."

In the distance, I think I hear the evil sound of laughter as old kill-joy chalks up another win...and I? Chicken and gutless, I fall down on my knees and weep bitterly.

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This article has been read 786 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw05/08/08
Powerful message, from title to end. Well done.
Debbie Wistrom05/08/08
Great! It would have been so easy to end this with a warm and fuzzy call to the brother, but you tied it all together.

Well writeen and engaging.

Chicken and Gutless-Wow!
Jan Ackerson 05/09/08
Great title, really good voice, and and ending that really drives your point home.

A few little things: you have "it's" for "its" once or twice, and "I think to myself" is redundant; just "I think" is enough.

This one left a lump in my throat for the relationship that wasn't. Really well done.
Dolores Stohler05/15/08
Marilyn, this is great writing. Congratulations on your win. "What if..." is probably lurking in your brain but you need to call your brother if you haven't already done so. You'll be glad you did, trust me.
Sheri Gordon05/15/08
Congratulations on your Highly Commended. This line is really good: "Tomorrow," I say aloud to myself, "Yes, that's it, I'll try and call him again tomorrow, but not today."

So much wrapped up in that one sentence.

Nice job with the topic.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/15/08
Author's Notes:
#19 in Top 40
#5 in Level 3