Buttercup


I’ve known my kid brother all my life so I can confidently say growing up he was a typical pain in the butt little brother, only more so. The following story took place when he was around ten years old, and I was around twelve. Certain elements of this story could possibly be fatally dangerous. This is always one of the first stories I remember when I get in the how-the-hell-have–I-lived-this-long frame of mind. I’m serious, this is the don’t try this at home disclosure. Nut-Tongs is last I’m going to say of it for now.

Growing up I was always the independent rebellious son, and well, my little brother was the kind that didn’t even put up a fight when our mother gave him the nickname of Buttercup. He most definitely had most favored baby status. Whenever he was due for a good kicking he was hiding behind mom’s skirts.

We grew up during the peak of The Cold War and this story is really a true life analogy to the arms race between The Soviet Union and the USA of that time.

During the winter we lived in a large city so our mother could teach sometimes. The house was a fairly typical suburban home meaning it had a television, unlike the cabin where we spent our summers. This TV even had a remote control so you didn’t always have to actually get up to change to any of the other three stations. When you are nearly a teenage boy a remote is like a Scepter of Dominion only more powerful. Anytime we were home alone and watching TV a battle for this powerful object occupied more time than the actual program that was showing. For quite awhile a quick snap of the wrist utilizing the handy built in edge of the remote would settle the possession argument. Like all weapons the days of the remote’s state of supremacy didn’t last long.

At that time a lot of homes had an actual fireplace in the family room. The best sofa for watching television was right next to the fireplace. This fireplace had a complete set of tools, including, you guessed it, a set of log tongs and a poker. If the poker displaced the remote, like the English long bow displaced everything before it, the Log/Nut-tongs was in the same category as a Panzer Tank.

The Nut-tongs didn’t have as long of a run as supreme weapon as I thought it would because my little brother possessed the ethics of a drunken crack whore. If there had been something like The Geneva Convention written for this arms race he violated every principle of it the day he ran to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher’s knife. I will give him some credit; a guy gets some funny ideas when his brother is marching him around the house by his testicles via something that looks like an oversized BBQ tool, but that still doesn’t negate the immorality of his action.

His Czarist knife tactic allowed several months of television bliss for his treacherous little soul. I couldn’t escalate to this level because he threatened to tattle me out anytime I reached for the drawer where the knives were kept. His most favored baby brother status guaranteed he would be believed if he told and also guaranteed I wouldn’t be if I told on him.

One of the funny things about being repeatedly chased from a room at knife point is not only do you have time on your hands to think of solutions, you are properly motivated.

Not that long ago, before all the lawyers headed to the North Pole, Santa use to give good boys guns and was usually considerate enough to fill their stocking full of ammunition. Through some sort of elven middle management error or typo I had received a 20 gauge shotgun, and a rather heavy and boxy stocking the Christmas before.

Now I didn’t want the little snot nosed twerp dead….very much….or at least permanently. I had to come up with a non-lethal solution to my brother’s Cantina-ization of our family room. After a little bit of experimentation I realized that shot shells could be reduced to four parts; the outer case with a primer, the powder, the wadding, and the shot.

After seriously considering just dumping the shot and leaving the powder, I decided to error on the safe side and dump the powder and the shot out of some shells. The safety aspect really stemmed from the idea of what would happen to me if I burned down the house and not from any kind of fraternal love. I kept these handy for the next time the little turd chased me from the room at knife point. I didn’t have to wait long.

It all started with a remote control whack right above the knee, progressed through the fireplace tools and I was ushered from the room by a knife within three minutes. Making the mandatory evil laugh I loaded the primer only shot shells in the magazine. Anyone who has ever been around pump-action shotguns knows why I only loaded the magazine and not the chamber. Nothing and I mean nothing in this world grabs someone’s attention like the sound of a cartridge being shucked into a pump action shotgun, and I wasn’t disappointed doing it as I walked into the family room. I had his undivided attention at this point and decided to not fall for the whole monologing stereotype, but to keep it short and sweet. It went something like this:

CHEE-SHUCK

“You have chased me with a knife for the last time you little #$!^”

BOOM!

I’m glad to say that that was the end of the whole remote control arms race, and nothing except for a pair of boy’s briefs was harmed. It was the end not because of a signing of any treaty but because the little brother had received some sort of electronic device that last Christmas. I was a benevolent super power and would occasionally even let him pick a program; hardly a month went by that he didn’t get to choose the channel once.

It’s a good thing the arms race ended without any casualties; the kid has turned out alright. Shockingly enough, after having the nickname of Buttercup he even ended up a heterosexual. We all figured it was touch and go when he moved to San Francisco but tried to never think about that statement too literally. He now has an actual wife….or at least a “life partner” that looks very female to me. Someday I will receive one last dividend from this part of my life by being the uncle who helps good little nieces and nephews seek creative solutions to everyday problems.

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Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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