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Prank Wars Revisited

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Sam is asleep in the seat beside me as we roll down the open highway, sparse trees and plowed fields flashing past the windows. It's been a week since we last saw Dad-- we'd separated in Chicago after that bitch Meg had used us as bait to get to him.

Sam begins to snore and I glance over at him, distracted by the noise. The innocent, almost childlike look on his face reminds me of the way things were before he left for college.

The way he'd fall asleep halfway through our quickie mart meal because we'd been up since four in the morning doing a salt and burn with dad before first period.

The time he'd tripped on a shoelace as we were running from a rakshasah in, where was that again? Denver? He'd fallen face first in the mud and swore a blue streak I'd never heard the likes of before. I didn't let him live that one down for weeks.

The day his soccer team won the division championship and I was there watching from the bleachers-- Dad couldn't be there because he was hunting a rugaru three states over. That kid was happier that day than I've ever seen him at any other time in his life.

The way he'd dip his fries in my chocolate frosty and declare it to be the best invention known to mankind. God, he could be such a nerd.

I remember the day Dad bought the truck and gave me the car, her ebony exterior shining in the hot Texas sun as Sam called shotgun and I revved her engine three times before we spun out of the lot, just for kicks. The excitement on his face as we sped over miles of blacktop was enough to make me fear for the upholstery-- there's only so much a twelve year old bladder can take.

And then there were the prank wars. It had started with a little salt in his coffee my senior year. Oh, the face he'd made had been priceless. He promised retribution, and found it in the planted lacy underwear in the drawer I usually reserved for condoms. I could still feel the sting from Tracy Freshwater's back hand across my face. He had been a good prankster, I had to hand him that. I'd gotten him back with a little Nair in his shampoo, and paid the price of having to be the one to pay for his buzz cut when his hair started coming out in clumps. He still had a complex about that, apparent in his blatant refusal to go within 100 yards of a pair of scissors these days.

Yeah, those were the good days. It makes me long for a bit of that old childish innocence again. A great trumpet of a snore wakes me from my reverie, and it gives me an idea.

And so I reach for the spoon.

Now I have to get this just right...