And another

They sat there in silence.

Then again, Brother had been doing that for some time. He tried not to look up, to see what Brother was reading. Because that was what Brother did, read.

Brother turned a page.

It wasn’t like they both weren’t adults at this point. He really should have started acting like one. Not like a child. Not following Brother around as if he was the only thing that could float during a flood.

He looked down at his own paperwork. He had started bringing work home with him because he wanted to get more done. Maybe because Brother would be proud that he was so focused on his career. Well, it certainly hadn’t gotten him dismissal. Yet it hadn’t seemed to given him pride either. More like Brother hadn’t expected less of him.

Maybe he should have been doing this work in his office, instead of out here, where his brother had decided to read his book. Perhaps the problem was that he was sprawled out over the couch, because that was how his brain worked.

Or he should just focus, because he was already here. He might as well work. He needed to do so.

Brother turned a page.

And so did he.

Not a part of a complete breakfast

Dying, in retrospect, was not the best way to start the day.

He opened up his eyes. It was like waking up for a second time. And there was one time in his life, when he had a proper job and wasn’t wanted as a murderer, that waking up early came naturally to him. That was no longer the case and therefore doing it once was hard enough.

“Oh my god, are you okay?”

There was the lucky aspect that his brother didn’t actually know how bad it had been. The unfortunate part was the fact he had been there to see it at all. “I’ll… be fine.”

Yes, pretending that he had been hurt, now that the death was over. Fantastic, he loved to act. This was all sarcasm.

His brother wasn’t an idiot, but he was a bit more practical sometimes than observant. “Okay, I’ll bring the car around, we’ll get to the hospital.”

That was the most unfortunate part. How was he supposed to say otherwise?

With a sigh, he nodded. Time to bribe a medical professional. This was annoying.

Brothers

“Is she…?”

Zamir pushed his hair back, the gel once keeping the dark waves from his face long since having lost their hold. “What took you so long? You couldn’t call?”

Shachaf must have realized what that meant, because his urgency fell off the map immediately. He looked away, then back at Zamir. “Car broke down outside the towers’ range. I didn’t even get your message until…”

Zamir sighed. Shachaf cleared his throat.

“Did she ask for me?”

His brother was an idiot. Always hoping for the favour of a woman who had never liked him. Zamir wanted to lie for him too, but he couldn’t do so in the way Shachaf would want. “She didn’t say much, near the end.”

“Ah.”

They both stood there. Zamir wished he was anywhere else. He wished he could have been out there, stranded like Shachaf. He would have even done so alone, swapped places with him.

“I’m glad you made it,” Zamir said.

And Zamir would be the only one.

Maybe he’s thinking too hard

No one had told him that building a treehouse would be so hard.

No one had said it would be easy, either. He hadn’t expected it to be. However, he was not the constructing type. When his niece said she wanted one though, well, she was going to get one. He let his brother know that. When his brother looked at him with confusion, he knew he would have to do it himself. She was away at camp. A week to get this right.

It was easy enough to put the wood together in a straight line. But then there was the tree in the way. And how did people attach it? He spent hours on the Internet, looking this up. The words entered his eyes and fell out somewhere in the back. Maybe where he’d fallen out of a tree when he was younger and had to get stitches. In any case, they weren’t in his head. Where they belonged. Where they would have helped him.

This would only be worth it if he could honestly claim it was sturdy enough for an eight year old to play on. If he was the cause of her injuring herself, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

Occasionally he knew he was being watched. His brother, out on the back porch, drinking either a soda or a beer. As no one else was home, it was probably the later.

“Going to help?” he called out, irritated.

His brother’s eyebrows shot up his forehead. “I’m allowed to help now?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Sounded like you had it in the bag.” Before he could yell back at his brother, the man chuckled. Placing down his beer, he made his way over to the base of the tree and looked up. “Yeesh.”

“Spare me.”

“I’m gonna spare my daughter instead. Okay, here’s my advice.”

His brother was lazy, but it didn’t mean he didn’t know how to explain something in a way that meant his niece would have her treehouse when she returned.

Siblings are there for this

His brother slept, not much of a surprise. He looked over him, lying there. His brother deserved to sleep, the performance had been exhausting. He felt it too and he wasn’t in charge of as many things as his brother was. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop him from really wanting to do something right now.

Reaching down, he poked him in the cheek.

His brother’s nose wrinkled, then returned back to its resting state. He poked him again, on the nose.

A hand came up, waving away at nothing because he had retracted his own hand quickly. A grin grew on his face. Then he poked his brother’s chin.

“Go to sleep,” his brother said clearly.

Grin faded, he retreated back to his kip.

Working the strings

He untangled the strings, fingers working with precision at the difficult knots. How it had become such a mess was a mystery to him. None of them could be cut, leaving this convoluted task to his mind alone.

“Is it done?”

“No,” he told his younger brother. “Not yet.”

His brother left him be, moving to the back of the wagon, likely sitting with his legs hanging off the edge to pick up the dust from the moving wheels. Those long limbs would catch a lot of dirt and later he would hear about it when his brother noticed and chose to complain. All of the things his brother could do, he still found time to make his own life difficult. Meantime, he had his own difficulties to deal with, such as these strings.

The hours passed by. His brother interrupted him occasionally and he would send him away. Sometimes his brother dropped out of the wagon, but somehow managed to catch back up and jump back in. He supposed they weren’t going too fast. Good. There would be enough time to finish this task before the strings were needed.

There were two left, nearly embedded with each other. Ragged nails could not pick them apart, almost as if they were one now and this was how the lines should be forever. That could not be allowed and he was running out of time.

“Done yet?”

He sighed. “No, it’s not. I have these last couple left and they are being…”

“Can I give it a try?”

He looked at his brother and knew he wouldn’t make it worse. “Of course.” Carefully, he placed the strings in his brother’s hands. With a deep frown, his brother fidgeted with the knots, longer fingers having just as much luck as his shorter ones.

“We’re almost to town.”

“I know. And I have to have these free by then.”

His brother nodded, though didn’t remove his eyes from his work. “They’ll like the show. They can’t not.”

“Double negative,” he said instinctively. His brother stuck his tongue out at him without looking. An easy smile rose on his face.

“Doesn’t make it any less true.” That said, his brother handed over two, long, separate strings. “Easy.”

His smile turned to a bigger grin. “You were struggling with that too. I worked out most of the kinks.”

“Not on that one! That was the most difficult and I worked it out.”

He patted his brother on the head. “Sure did, kiddo.”

Before they arrived, he had enough time to string the puppets. Tonight there would be plays.