Portrait of Nick This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Nick. A dent in my mask to remind me to never, ever put salt in his deodorant.

Nick. A notch left as a hint to never, ever take a mannequin’s head, add a body dressed in exotic clothing and stuff it in his bed at night.

Nick. A scrape on my skin is a remembrance to never, ever wear his clothes or he’ll rip my arm off.

Nick. A scratch; never, ever soak his toothbrush in substances unapproved by the health administration.

Nick. A gash to remember that I will never, ever again pour liquid soap over the dishes so the dishwasher overflows when it’s his turn to do the dishes.

Nick. An incision to prompt me to never, ever spread toothpaste and shaving cream over his friends at night when he has a sleep-over. Never again will I leave him with the evidence in his hands while his friends slumber, the shaving cream soaking into their pruned skin while the minty paste stabs at their nostrils.

Nick. Most importantly, a gouge that has scarred me for life. A brother who always understands. An ally I can always count on in an innocent game of snowball riot. A shield that makes sure no one picks on his little sis.

So, next time you ask, “Hey, is Nick M. your brother?” once more, grinning ear to ear, I’ll reply, “Yes.”

Don’t say, “I feel sorry for you” (even though you probably don’t because you have some melodramatic crush on the poor guy) because I’ll have to disagree.

Nick, the appalling. Nick, the harrowing. Nick, the insufferable. He’s actually my quarry, my prey, my game.

He’s Nick, 17 and destined to die young from food poisoning or rotting skin, and all because of my mask of deception.

Nick. My brother, my victim, my friend.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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