The phone rang.

Bradley answered it, hoping it was his mother telling him she was on her way home.

“Hello” he said into the phone.

“Bradley, it’s me.” Yes, thought Bradley.

“I’m going to be late, I just picked up a shift at the diner.” No! Bradley thought.

“But mom, me and the guys were going to the mall today!”

“I’m sorry, but we need the money.”

“Why do you always do this to me? I don’t like babysitting.”

“Yeah, but you like those new sneakers you want, right?”

Bradley thought on it, for no other reason than to think on it.

“I said right?” His mother was sounding angry. Better to answer her.

“Yeah.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear that.”

“Yes Mom, jeez.”

“Are you giving me attitude. Cause I don’t have to get them for you.”

“No, I’m not giving you attitude. It’s just that we were supposed to meet up and go there together.”

“Well I’m sorry. You know money’s tight. Now make sure your brother and sister are fed and did their homework.”

“Okay, okay.”

“Bye baby. I love you.”

“Yeah, I know.” He went to hang up the phone but she wasn’t done with him.”

“Hey hey, I didn’t get an ‘I love you’ back.”

Just then Alvin walked into the kitchen and saw Bradley on the phone. He walked up to him and stared him in the face.

“Get out of here” Bradley said to him.

“Excuse me young man?” came his mother’s voice.

“Not you, Alvin’s standing here.” 

“Then take care of him. Oh, and I’m still waiting.”

Bradley turned his back to Alvin, who tried to turn with him. “I love you” he tried to whisper, but Alvin heard and began grinning.

“That’s better. I’ll see you in a bit.” And she hung up.

Bradley hung up to, and turned to see Alvin staring at him again, this time with the hugest grin on his face.

“Ha ha, you love mommy, you love mommy.”

“C’mere you little…” Bradley went for him, but Alvin was a little quicker, dodging his hands and running out to the dining room, laughing the whole time.

“Freakin’ brat.” Bradley wouldn’t chase him. He knew that’s what Alvin wanted, and he wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Better to wait until he had dinner on the table, where he’d be trapped.

“Bradley, the TV’s broken” cried Mya from the living room. Great, the whiner, thought Bradley. He walked into the living room to see what was wrong.

Mya sat on the couch, watching a crime drama that had just come on. Bradley looked at the TV then back at her. He raised his arms to question what was wrong.

“I can’t find the remote” she said, like she expected him to find it for her.

“Have you looked?”

“No” was her only reply.

Bradley glanced around and saw it sitting on the TV cabinet. “It’s right there” he said.

“Cool, can you get it for me?”

Bradley looked at her like she was crazy. “Sure, I’ll get it.”

He walked over to the cabinet and grabbed the remote. Then he changed the channel to a horror movie. Feeling good about his choice, he put the remote on top of the cabinet, where she couldn’t reach it.

“I don’t like this! Give me the remote!”

“Did you do your homework?”

“Yeah, now give me!” She waved her hand at him in an attempt to will him into doing her bidding.

“Good, I’m making dinner. The remote is right there if you need it.” And he walked out to the sounds of Mya wailing after him.

Just as he was about to enter the kitchen Alvin came streaking past. With a quick hand Bradley grabbed him by the arm.

“You think that was funny?” he yelled, then punched him on the arm, hard. Alvin dropped like a ton of bricks, crying and holding his arm in pain.

“That’s what you get.”

He walked away, feeling a little better. He couldn’t go out, nut he could beat up on Alvin all night. It was better than nothing.

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