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Us and Them

By @ZoeAmber

Hayden

Wednesday / September 25th / 3:43 PM

Have you ever wanted to be the oldest sibling? The one with most authority? Well, let me tell you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

After an earful, I walk out of the principal’s office and wind through the hallways toward where I can bet my little s**t of a little brother is right now.

By the time I reach the end of an empty hallway, I am positively fuming. My brother, Adrian, is a sophomore with a bit of a nasty habit, the kind that gives you a reputation.

I turn the corner and use the element of surprise to grab him by the collar when I see the burner phone in his hand. I slam him against the lockers. Whoever he’s just dealt to has been spooked and is long gone. There is so much rage and blood in my face, I can feel my jugular throbbing. His face is shocked for a second but then re-animates into his stupid signature grin, his dimples taunting me.

“What the f**k do you think you’re doing?” I shout are him, only barely surprised that literal fire isn’t rushing out of my mouth with every syllable. He doesn’t answer me, but his grin disappears.

Adrian’s been selling small quantities since one of his sh**ty friends got him jumped in, freshman year. We go to a big school, so there always seems to be a demand for it.

Mom and Dad were devastated when they found out and they’ve tried everything to help him, but he won’t talk to them.

He’s got two younger brothers and two sisters that think the world of him. But after a few months, they couldn’t afford to keep getting him help that he’d consistently refuse. So now, they’re relying on me. I’m all he’s got left.

Answer me.” I slam him again and there’s a slight aggravation on his face this time.

“I don’t know.” He says under his breath, knowing how much of non-committal response it is.

My teeth grit in anger and I take him off his feet, the muscles in my biceps burning. He squirms a little, knowing I mean business now.

“Ah-look, you can’t just quit these things cold turkey, okay? The suppliers are crazy dudes. They almost killed a guy last week for not making quota.”

“Maybe if I kill you now instead, they’ll understand,” I say, being only a little sarcastic.

Adrian partly covers his face like I’m not joking. “I’m workin’ on it, man.”

I drop him to his feet and he takes off down the hall. I slam a fist down hard on the metal lockers, splitting open three of my knuckles. The pain is not why I gasp, but because of the person I didn’t notice standing a few feet behind me, peering around the corner.

She looks a little startled as she takes a step forward and clears her throat.

“Wanna… talk?”

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  1. Kathleen Fazio

    Feb 2, 2022

    omg I love it so much! you are an amazing writer.

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    0 Replies Feb 2, 2022
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