My Cheeky Brother

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A childhood memory.

Submitted: September 16, 2018

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Submitted: September 16, 2018



A weathered and chipped chimney brick picked up speed as it tumbled through the air in a soot blackened shaft. It's final destination, family history.


It was a sunny but cool fall afternoon in 1981 when a skipped football practice to finish a project my dad and I had started on the day before. I could see my whole neighborhood from where I stood near the peak of the roof of our old Craftsman home. I watched my friend Danny Ray make his way up my street and then drop his bike in my front yard.


“Hey Danny!” I yelled down, getting his attention.

“Hey Ronnie.” he said, looking up while shading his eyes.

“Check this out, Dude.” I said, and then demonstrated how far I could spit from that height. Danny followed the arc of the wet projectile as it passed over the front yard and made a satisfying smack sound on the old cracked sidewalk. Danny laughed, clearly impressed. I put my hands on my hips in an impression of my dad, all business now.


“Come on up, Dude, and I’ll show you what’s going on.” I said.


In those days, both of my parents worked, which meant my younger siblings and I had certain jobs to do everyday or there would be hell to pay. My dad didn’t have a sense of humor when it was about work or when it came to how his house was run. For an example, My dad ran a real estate office four blocks from our house and would, on occasion, come home unexpectedly just to see if we were screwing around and not getting our jobs done. The first thing he would do, walking through the front door, would be to check the temperature of the television with his hand to see if we had been watching it. Of course we would be out of sight because we had heard him start his 1972 Chevy Blazer all the way from his office. You might say we were hyper aware of his whereabouts. And for good reasons I won’t get into in this story. But, being the oldest and meanest, I was in charge when my parents were out.


I first met my little brother in the Spring of 1971. I was not impressed and asked my mother to take him back. She didn’t.


Danny made his way through our old house, up the stairs and out the dormer onto the steep pitched roof. I showed him how I was taking a brick off the top of the chimney, one at a time, and dropping it down the shaft to where it would land at the clean-out door at the bottom in the basement. My little brother’s job was to pull each brick out through the small opening and stack them against the basement wall. My brother and I had already been doing this routine for about thirty minutes before Danny showed up and so I decided to demonstrate how we did it. I yelled down to my brother to let him know Danny was here and that the bricks would be coming down his way again.


“Hey STUPID! Danny’s on the roof with me now. Here comes more bricks!” and dropped one down the hole. Danny and I watched it descend and then make a puff as it hit the ash at the bottom. We then watched my brother’s little hand reach in and pull the brick out.


“Hi Danny!!” my brother yelled cheerfully up the shaft.

“Hey, shut up and stack bricks, Stupid!” I yelled back and dropped another brick. It puffed and a small hand retrieved it again.

“Stop showing off Ronnie. You’re an asshole!” he yelled back.


Danny guffawed loudly and I got embarrassed. After every brick there was an exchange of obscenities and general rudeness that went on for awhile. And this was only because I didn’t feel like climbing down off the roof and beat his ass in the basement. I’m sure now he knew this and was then so embolden to continue. At one point I had had enough of his mouth and dropped a well timed brick down the shaft just as his hand was retrieving the former one.


“AHHHH!” came the glass shattering scream from the bowels of the old house. Birds, startled from their perches, defecated mid flight in shock. Neighborhood dogs howled empathetically. Cats scattered in fear and the old deaf lady across the street looked out her front door with curiosity.


After the basement cacophony had subsided, I decided to asked if he was alright because I cared. I yelled down the shaft


“Hey Dick Nose! Are you alright?”


I saw a shadow move. And then in the dim light of the black chimney shaft I saw a small swollen hand tentatively enter the space with a proffered middle finger.


Cheeky little monkey.

© Copyright 2019 R.Guy Behringer. All rights reserved.

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