This story is by Emmy Kolbe and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Okay Cam, this is a foolproof plan. We have distractions and a formula to uphold it. Just follow my lead, remember the goal, and act cool. This guy might be a backup quarterback, but right now, he’s our friend. Joe will handle the outside legwork. We have the easy role.”
Cameron gave his older brother, Billy, a quick thumbs up just as Ian, their oldest brother Joe’s teammate, burst through the front door carrying an armful of snacks.
“Alright boys, dinner is served. Tonight we have Cheetos of the puff variety for our appetizer, Slim Jims for our entree, and our finest gallon of cookie dough overload ice cream for dessert. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what order you eat it in. Oh — almost forgot. To rinse our fine meal down, we have these cold guys.”
Ian placed two Bud Light cans and a bottle of Molson on the granite island.
Billy and Cameron looked toward the beer then at each other, each yelling out some variation of “cool,” or “awesome.”
“You said your parents are out for a date night, so I thought we’d have ourselves some PG-13 fun tonight.”
Cameron, who’d only just turned 12 last week, slid a Bud Light can toward himself with an uncertain look. Billy did the same, but held a more convinced, determined face that said ‘I’m 16, so I guess I should learn to drink beer now.’
Ian cracked open a can and handed it to Billy, then opened the other for himself.
“Haven’t had one in a while. Been stealing Jack from my parents lately instead,” Ian said with a smirk.
“Oh, yeah. I uh, I usually drink liquor too. Just been taking it easy lately,” Billy said “But without Joe under this roof, it’s less of a party scene and more like my parents’ home again.”
Ian held his gaze for a couple seconds, something obviously crossing his mind, then nodded and took a longer than necessary chug. Billy tried to mimic his move, but choked after a small sip.
Cameron shifted from one foot to the other, feeling the awkward discomfort lingering in the kitchen.
“Hey, why don’t we go watch —”
Before he could finish, the familiar crack of an egg slamming against a window sent Ian out of his chair and into the air.
“What the…” he started.
Billy stayed quiet and raised the Bud to his lips, watching Ian’s reaction to the surprise noise. Cameron ate a handful of cheese puffs and opted for a can of mountain dew to wash away his single sip of beer.
The outside disruption seemed to have vanished, while the silence inside remained for another minute or so.
“Well, guess it was just one tonight. Like I was saying, let’s go watch the Arizona game. There’ve been lots of eggings in our neighborhood lately. Better to leave it alone,” Cameron said.
“Why do you wanna watch college football?” Ian asked, a little bothered.
“Well Joe always had it on, so we got pretty used to the game,” Cameron shrugged.
“I heard you don’t really play anymore, do you Ian?” Billy chimed in.
Ian looked frustrated and searched for a response before settling with “Wasn’t really my sport I guess. Found out I was better at other stuff.”
Billy kicked his brother’s ankle at Ian’s response.
The three spun around simultaneously.
Again, the bell chimed through the house, somehow seeming louder on the second ring.
Billy and Cameron sat still, neither making an effort toward the door or looking like they had any intention of answering it.
“You gonna answer that?” Ian said, a little too loudly for indoors.
Both brothers stood, feeling they’d given Joe ample time to hide from sight by now.
Ian, clearly frustrated by the amount of time such a simple task was taking, strutted toward the door and spun the metal knob around, feeling the cold October night creep into the home as he flung the door open.
He looked left, then right, then left again. Just a shitty suburban neighborhood featuring rows of overpriced homes, professionally tended gardens, but not another human in sight.
Billy and Cameron ran to the door, standing on either side of Ian. The three gazed out into the dark night, orange lights flickering across neighboring houses and Jack-O-Lanterns lit on front porches. Despite the festive decorations, the street was quiet.
“Alright, clearly everything’s OK and some loser was bored tonight,” Ian said. “Let’s forget about it and go raid your parents’ liquor cabinet,” he demanded, not trying to be friendly or quiet anymore.
“Why’d you invite me here again? Something Joe said? You know him and I weren’t really friends, right?”
Billy and Cameron looked at each other, unsure of where to go with that statement.
“Oh, shit! Your pops has got some Jack in here. Let’s crack this baby open and have a night, shall we?”
“Uh, sure” muttered Billy, trying to sound excited.
“What, Bill? Afraid daddy might not be happy if he finds out? Don’t worry, we’ll fill it with water.”
Billy took a quick swig and winced while Cameron watched by his side. Ian took a much larger, much more comfortable chug and let out a loud ‘WOOOO’ as he slammed the glass against the mahogany table.
“Ian, maybe we should just—”
“Just what, dude? Wanna go watch football again?” He laughed. “The fuck was that about?”
The booze was hitting him, and it was clear he’d been sneaking swigs when the brothers weren’t watching too.
“What do you think about Molly Dresner?” Billy asked, keeping a generous distance between himself and Ian.
Ian smirked, took his fifth or sixth swig of Jack, and sat down in a dining room chair.
“C’mon, man. Why do we have to go there? I don’t wanna tell ya all the degrading things your perfect, star quarterback brother did to her, and a lot of other girls at that party, for that matter.”
“You’re lying,” Cameron screamed. “You know Joe had nothing to do with it. You’ve always been jealous that he’s the best high school quarterback around and you could hardly get into a game. So you pinned your sick antics on him.”
For a minute, Ian didn’t respond.
“We know you…had your way with Molly and those other girls Ian,” Billy said. “You’re sick.”
Once again, Ian let out a chuckle.
“C’mon, Bill. Let’s talk like men here. I crushed some pills up into their drinks. I gave them way more booze than they needed. I made sure their phones weren’t within reach. And I took them to an open bedroom and gave them what they wanted anyway. Not like any of those prior steps were necessary, just added some more fun to the game. After all, bitches love to suck co—”
“Fuck you!” Billy screamed as he lunged toward Ian. Cameron ran back to the kitchen, hands covering both ears.
“You’re a piece of shit, Ian,” Billy breathed. “Joe deserved that scholarship, but you got him suspended and ran his name through the mud. And hurt all those innocent girls.”
“What can I say,” Ian breathed. “I prey on the weak.”
Ian wound back and landed a solid throw to Billy’s left eye, altering his vision and putting a temporary stop to the commotion. Ian sat up and reached for the bottle of Jack, grasping its cool exterior and taking a moment to appreciate the confidence it had given him in the past year.
For a second it was silent, and Ian cupped the bottle a moment longer, listening. He heard a short step behind him and turned around, spilling the Jack all over the carpet.
“Stay the fuck away from my family you creep!” Cameron yelled, whacking a pan as hard as he could across the back of Ian’s head. Ian fell forward, losing consciousness and failing to regain it quickly enough to fight back.
Cameron and Billy ran outside, Billy calling the police and Cameron calling their mother. Joe climbed out of the bushes lined in front of their home and ushered them toward his car parked a few houses down.
The brothers climbed into the black Lincoln, Joe driving toward the police station.
“Hello. This is Billy Edison. I have evidence regarding the sexual allegations against Joe Edison. We need to talk now.”