I received a package today from my brother. He wanted to thank me for the work I had done helping him get his first book ready for publication. Now, there are a couple of things you should know about my brother. First, he is an awesome gift giver. However, (say the word ‘comma’ out loud there, please … here, I’ll do it again): However, he’s also a brat. When I wrote the post about his birthday and his first book, I had to stop myself from telling all of the stories about the rotten things he did to me (us, whoever) when he was a kid. I didn’t want y’all to think that he was basically rotten. I should have told you more stories.
When we were growing up, Christmas, birthdays, Easter … whenever there was an opportunity for gift-giving … were also opportunities for entertainment for our parents. They loved the entire experience and made it fun. We didn’t have a lot of money, so even small gifts were a big deal and we had as much fun anticipating the gifts as we did receiving them and playing with them.
Dad loved to hide our gifts and then send us on missions to find them. We played a lot of hot / cold in those days. The big gifts – like a bicycle – were hidden quite well and we traipsed all over looking for those things. One year, he and mom tied string to a bicycle (I can’t remember which one of us it was for), wound it up and down the steps, through the rooms, and set the end in front of the recipient. The entire family paraded through the house looking for that gift. We always had fun.
That’s one part of this story. The second part of this story comes from the book my brother just wrote. I’m going to quote a little passage for you here:
Nick gave it the first shot. “After Tabby tossed me out of the door, I realized that I could open the bottles with the cutter by just hitting them through the control room wall. Once I hit it, the foam exploded into the room and trapped the three of them. You’ll never believe it, but one of them was a deputy. It took an entire day to cut them out of the foam, but they all lived through it. (Rookie Privateer, page 51)
Station Foam. They had to cut people out of foam that had exploded into a room. If you were reading the book, you might just pass by that little bit of information. I’m glad the people lived through it, but it wasn’t terribly important in my world.
I received a big box from my brother. He told me it was coming and that it was his way of thanking me for the work I’d done. He also told me I would probably want to open it from the bottom and then he got a little worried that I might not think it was quite as funny as he did. He also told me to have the camera ready. I had no idea what to expect.
I obediently turned the box upside down and attempted to pull the flaps back. Umm, what in the heck? Grrr. I turned it back over and attempted to deal with the top flaps. Same thing. I sat down at the computer and messaged him (excuse the bad language):
Then it hit me … oh, it hit me and I couldn’t stop laughing. I wrote:
His response? BINGO! He thought that the object lesson was a really great one for me. I totally understand how that stuff works now. Uh huh.
His next response made me worry:
lol, say that again in an hour when you are staring at a foam cube
I spent the better part of a half hour hacking away at the box and the foam. Then I knew that I needed to be a little more deliberate about this. It was going to take a knife and a whole lot of patience. I didn’t want to cut anything open and ruin it, but I wanted to do this as efficiently as possible, so I began sawing small slices down the foam (once I got the cardboard ripped away.
Some of the foam didn’t harden immediately, so it’s still holding on to the two bottles of Irish Cream Whiskey he sent and one of the immense packages of m&ms, but I extracted one bag of candy, a terrific card and an absolutely adorable Longfellow Dragon. As soon as the stuff dries, I’ll begin peeling it off the rest of the gift. I don’t need to be drinking tonight anyway, I have a book to finish and I’m getting so close! It occurs to me that I made a huge mistake in not giving Polly any siblings. They really do mess around in your life and do rotten things to you.
I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. I really am a perfect foil for my brother’s pranks. It’s been an awesome afternoon of excavation and laughter. Everyone needs a brat in their lives.
Check out his Facebook page. It’s all about the Fickle Dragon.