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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: Proven Theory
By Marita Thelander


My brother’s a dufus…an annoying royal pain in the derrière. It’s his fault we’re stuck gallivanting around town on a perfectly beautiful Saturday. Mom said we can’t be trusted to be left alone.

It all happened two weekends ago.

“Mark! Doug!”

We tromped down the stairs.

“You two stay out of trouble, this time. You hear me?” She stuffed her shopping list into her purse and hoisted the ridiculously heavy hunk of leather onto her shoulder.

We shuffled our feet, anxious for her to leave.

“Do. You. Hear me?”

“Yes,” we chimed.

“I mean it.”

We watched the dust cloud swirl down our country lane. When we saw the cat-eyed brake lights flash off, and the black station wagon turn right at the mailbox, we scrambled upstairs to grab our stuff.

“We’ve got three hours. Four at the most,” I reminded Doug.

“Duh. I’m not stupid.”

“Says you.” Grrr…he makes me so mad sometimes. I wonder why I let him hang with me and my friends.

“Got your pocket knife?”

“Yup,” I assessed our haul. “BB gun, pocket knife, wrist rockets...Ready?”

I skipped steps but Doug-the-dare-devil hopped the last six and bounced off the wall. He’s always jumping off stuff. I wouldn’t dare let him know he scares me sometimes. He just doesn’t think. He’s an impulsive dimwit.

We belly crawled under the neighbor’s electric fence, hopped over cow-pies, and cut a diagonal path across the pasture to Ronny and Brent’s barn.

“It’s about time you got here,” Ronny had his BB gun slung over his shoulder.

For the next hour we knocked over pop cans with rocks, shot holes in them with BBs, and chucked our knives into the barn walls. We sprawled out on hay bales, whittled spears, and told jokes our mama’s would wash our mouths out with soap for. In a lull-moment, Doug turned from stupid to stupider. He climbed half way up the hay bales and turned around. Doug’s the youngest of the bunch…always showing off and trying to measure up with the guys.

“Dare me to jump?”

He didn’t wait for an answer. He sailed through the air and hit the barn floor with a thud, rolled perfectly, and hopped up on his feet.

“That’s pretty good Dougey. Bet you can’t jump from the highest one,” Ronny nodded his head up the stack.

Doug didn’t even hesitate. He scrambled the ten feet to the top, turned around and hollered “Geronimo!”

I cringed when his feet pushed off and the bale wobbled. More worried about the hay toppling, I didn’t even watch him hit the ground. I heard Doug land and grunt in pain. “You okay, Dufus?”

“Don’t call me that.”

Doug stood up and played tough. It was time to go before he did something beyond idiotic.

“We should…”

“Hey, Doug,” Brent spit on the floor. “I’ll give you my Beetles record if you jump from the loft outside.”

“You’re on,” Doug hobbled to the loft ladder.

“Come’on, Brent,” I pleaded with the oldest of our group. “Seriously?”

“Shut up, Mark, this doesn’t concern you,” Doug hollered from the top rung.

“Mom won’t even let you listen to the Beetles, anyway.”

We ran outside and there he stood, at least twenty feet above the uneven ground. I’m convinced Doug was dropped on his head as a baby and this act of stupidity proved my theory.

“Well, at least try landing over here, Doug. It’s softer,” I coached.

“Jump…Jump…Jump,” the guys chanted.

He beat on his chest and let out his best Tarzan yell. Before I knew it, he slammed into the ground.

“Ahhh, my leg, my leg.”

I ran over and knelt next to him. “Where’s it hurt?”

He slammed his fist into my thigh. “My leg, Dipwad.”

“Great. Now I’m gonna have to piggy-back you home.”

He screamed like a little girl when I heaved him onto my back, his leg dangled awkwardly. I knew it was broken. We practiced our lie all the way home.

“You eat too much,” I groaned. I had my head down and didn’t see Mom come out the back door.

“What were you two thinking?” Mom stood with her arms crossed, madder than a hornet.

“Mark told me where to jump.”

I dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

Mom shuffled through endless coupons and ads. “One more store…I promise.”

“Quit poking me with your crutch, Dufus.”

“Knock it off, boys.”

I hate shopping. Yessiree…I’ll think twice before I take Dufus to hang with my friends again.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood09/09/10
This was completely delightful - and as a mom to 4 boys, living out in the country - more than a little scary! Boys! You captured the moment well with completely believable dialogue. Excellent!
Gregory Kane09/12/10
Ditto delightful. Great tomfoolery. I wonder if you meant to say the Beatles?
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/13/10
This was an enjoyable read being the youngest myself I understand that need to prove yourself thanks for the nice chuckles and the hobble down memory lane.
Francy Judge 09/13/10
Great story! I could see the scene unfolding. Fun, believable dialogue. I'm also a mother to four boys; one is especially athletic and daring and has been to the hospital a few times for "not thinking."
Catrina Bradley 09/15/10
The voice and the dialog made me forget I was reading--I was there in the barn with the guys. Excellent tale telling!

A little "red ink" - I feel the "flashback" would stand alone as a very strong story. As I read the segue from beginning into the flashback was a little confusing, and the return to the present at the end was jarring and the atmosphere you created was gone.

The writing is superb, however, and you captured the personalities of your young characters well. Excellent entry!