Friday night.

I hear Brad getting ready to leave.  Mom and Jimbo are down in the living room, waiting to see him off.  Me, I'm up in my bedroom . . . just waiting.  Waiting to hear the front door slam.  Waiting to hear his car drive away.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting . . .

Then, right before he's supposed to go, I hear the thud thud thud of footsteps coming up the stairs.  The thud of footsteps coming down the hall towards my room.  I listen.  There's silence – then the sound of knuckles rapping on my door.  I open it and there he is, Brad, standing in the hallway, grinning at me, grinning at me from ear to ear in that way that I hate so much.  I stare back at him.  He sticks his hand out.  Like, what – I'm supposed to shake it or something?  Like we're supposed to be fucking friends now all of a sudden or something?  I slap his hand away.  He shrugs, still grinning at me, and says, "Well, little bro?  You made up your mind yet?  Chickenshit or badass – you decided?"  I scowl at him, but he just keeps on grinning.  Grins like he knows already what my answer's gonna be, grins this smartass grin at me like he's known all along what my answer would be.

So I tell him.  Get it over with.  "Ok," I say.  "Saturday night.  When you get back.  You and me.  One-on-one."

He nods.  "Good.  And remember, little bro – it's winner takes all this time."

"Yeah, yeah" I say.  Then I take a deep breath and give him a hard look.  "You got it, bro.  You fucking got it.  Winner takes all."

~ END ~