I was reading a novel – nothing special. It was Saturday, and I was relaxing. I heard a resounding crack – and a small thud afterwards. I cringed, because it sounded painful.

Turning quickly, I saw trouble walk in my door – in the shape of a nine year old. Completely unexpected, and completely unwanted. I was perfectly comfortable – and he was a perfect terror. He was known as a troublemaker – a veritable dervish of frightful pranks. Here he stepped – to my front door. I cringed, wondering what he had broken today. He informed me, in a matter of fact tone of voice, that he had knocked down the mailbox – and that he was sorry – and please, don’t tell dad. I thought for a moment, and responded.

“Since you knocked it down, I want you to help me put it back in. It will take a few minutes – but it’s hard to break something so badly that it cannot be fixed. Come on – we’ll go get a shovel, a bucket, and a bag of concrete.”

His eyes lit up – most probably at the thought of concrete. What kid wasn’t fascinated by the thought of mixing concrete, and digging holes? We trudged down to the garage, retrieved the items, and headed back down to the road. I had him dig a hole, a foot or so deep, while I mixed the concrete. He struggled a bit, but finally got into the rhythm. The concrete was beginning to set, so we stuck the pole in the ground tightly – and poured it all in. I had him hold the pole while the quick-dry set. It only took a minute or two. I surreptitiously examined him, as he concentrated on keeping the mailbox upright, and level. He had several scrapes on his arms – several of which were bleeding. His knee was skinned up, as well.

The concrete was set enough to keep the pole upright. “Do you want something to eat?” I asked. He looked thoughtfully at me, for a moment, and rejoined with “Yeah, I would.” I smiled and said “How about a tall glass of milk, some chocolate chip cookies, and a ham and cheese?” He smiled. “Sounds good to me.” “Go wash up before you eat.”

My little brother and I walked in the house to make lunch. Dad always got upset when he broke something – and I didn’t help him fix it. I was 14, and the oldest – what else are big brothers of clumsy little brothers for?

I ruffled his hair before he ran up the stairs. He smiled.

(Submitted for King of the Blogs – trackback to this post here, to vote for me, if you feel so inclined.

Note to the judges: Although I’m relatively sure I’ll be marked down for not linking profusely… I’m working on another project, for the betterment of my future subjects. So… my subjects must take precedence. I’m sure you’ll understand. This caught me at a bit of a bad time – although I’m honored to be nominated. The Future King has spoken.)