Weekly Writing Challenge: Characters
This is a chapter in a novel I wrote about my childhood, but I just had to include it in today’s challenge, because it still makes me laugh to this day! The characters are of course, two of my brothers…. 🙂
They’d been playing by the pond in the front yard for hours, pretending to fish, pretending to gig for frogs, pretending the water wasn’t nasty so they could wade in to cool off. It was a stagnant pond and only had a few bass in it that Dad had caught up at the other lake and had put in the mosquito infested pond for fun. They didn’t usually last the summer, either caught or just floating dead for no reason other than there probably wasn’t enough food in the pond to survive on. The only thing she ever saw moving in it were pollywogs and worms and skippers. She’d seen a fish on TV one time that could stick its tongue out of the water and catch mosquitoes, but she figured bass didn’t do this because they had a million mosquitoes.
Her brother Duck was on the hillside whipping the sticker bushes and plants in a circle all around him with a nice sized switch when he froze mid swing, and started coughing out the words,
“Get. Dad. I. Think. A. Snake. Went. Up. My. Pants.”
The Grin began to smile, and she began jumping up and down yelling,
The Grin loved to run and took off at a sprint up the hill to the front yards, then spotted Dad coming out of the Garage, and ran towards him yelling,
“Duck says a snake just went up his pants.”
Dad turned right around and went back in the garage, grabbed a hoe, and head back out following the Grin down to the pond.
Duck had almost wet his pants, but had begun shaking a bit instead, holding his crotch thinking he’d rather have it bite his hand, and hunching over a bit trying not to pee on its head and piss it off. His eyes were wide open, and he kept pointing at his left leg, whispering,
“A snake crawled up my leg. A snake crawled up my leg.”
She stood there wondering what the snake would bite first, while giggling to herself because her big brother was scared shitless. He wasn’t usually mean to her, but he called her stupid all the time because he always got straight “A‘s“, and ugly was always added for good measure, and it made her smile wickedly to see him scared for a change. Not his usual calm, book worm manner.
Dad walked up with authority, to about three feet from Duck, and said,
“Are you sure it’s a snake? Did you see it?”
“No. But. It. Feels. Like. A. Snake.”
“Well take your pants off slowly, and step out of them.”
By now the Grin was sitting behind Dad about 10 feet, doubled over shaking with silent laughter, pounding the ground with his hand every so often, because he never laughed out loud. He was the silent grin. Tears would eek out the corners of his eyes, but rarely did you hear a sound. She was holding one hand over her stomach and one over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. If she looked at the Grin, she wouldn’t be able to walk up the hill and if she laughed out loud, Duck would get her later, this she knew. So she head up the hill, keeping her face away from Duck’s, and reached the Grin before Duck realized he had to take his pants off in front of them.
She didn’t know which would be worse for Duck; pulling his pants down, having his thing-a-ling bit by a snake, or having his pants around his ankles while a snake swung from his thing-a-ling. All of these things were playing out in his mind: she could see it on his pale face as he thought it over.
Then Dad turned around to look at her and the Grin squirming behind him, with a huge smile on his face, and grimacing as he tried very hard not to laugh out loud also. It was only a second or two, that smile on his face, before he went dead serious and turned back around to Duck. But she had seen it, and it was the first smile she had ever seen on Dad’s face that didn’t look fake. He was an insurance salesman, and they had to smile all day long to make the deal. This of course, made the Grin loose it and he rolled back onto the ground aahhaha-ing out loud, which was so rare she began to giggle too, regardless of her imminent death.
A second later, Duck had undone his pants and was slowly lowering them down to where he could step out of them even with his shoes on. Dad was serious, expecting a snake to pop up any time now, and held the hoe up in the air, just waiting for a chance to come slashing down. Duck lifted his right foot up, while pushing his pants over his shoe, almost lost his balance, but stepped back down with only a little jerk. He took a deep breath while his audience became focused again watching each movement in silence now.
Duck slowly began to pull his left foot up just as a huge Bull frog jumped out of his pants and right up at him, hitting him in the chest and knocking him backwards into the sticker bushes, pants around his ankles, before hopping a second desperate leap all the way into the pond.
Dad sat backwards onto the hill, dropping the hoe and began laughing, a chuckling kind of relieved laugh, wiping off his forehead with the back of his hand. The Grin had lost it completely now, and was howling out loud and pushing against her shoulder, managing only two words,
“A frog! A frog!”