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An Unlikely Foe

Whenever I filled out information cards that asked for “a random, yet unique” fact of mine as a young kid, I always put down that I was an identical twin. I believed it special enough for such a distinctive honor that kids reserve for things such as “able to lick one’s elbow” or “pop 23 joints.” Until I began to mature, however, did I realize how different it was from everyone else’s unusual body habits. To drill this uniqueness into me would be my mom always telling how much DNA my brother and I shared, much to my dismay. You see, I did not want to have someone so like me. I accepted it, but did not appreciate it, and still do not. But just like my big nose, and excessive body hair, it remains a fact that I had learned to deal with early on. Therefore, since I could not change the laws of nature, I began to use my special case as a medium to increase my popularity; at sleep-away summer camp, my brother and I often fist-fought, much to the enjoyment of our fellow campers. Sure, we were called down to the head counselor’s office, but that did not ebb the turbulent rise of our reputation as the coolest twins to tread upon the gravel roads and sun soaked basketball courts. But whenever we packed our bags to go home, our rivalry would end, and besides the annual fight for the “shotgun” seat, we mostly got along, a trend that would continue throughout the school year. As long as we kept out of each other’s businesses, we would have success in avoiding any instance of bad comportment.
However, from the beginning of my brother’s and my relationship, there remained one gigantic enemy to our getting along. An enemy so despicable, an enemy with such a façade of pure benevolence behind which an endless hole of malevolence stood waiting to suck one in without a second’s thought. And yet, we knowingly found it at the local supermarket, and consciously took it into our home, where it would infiltrate our fridge, luring us with its sweet aroma and propaganda. For the bane of our existences lived in one fruity drink, of such caliber and quality… lemonade! Its name is such simple and inconspicuous bait to distract one from the evil, inner workings of such an acidic drink. Once one takes a sip of the devil’s liquid, one is trapped, forever and ever in a cycle of longing and disappointment. My brother and I were hooked early, and this is the tale of my fight against the evil of the lemonade.
I never really understood why we always remained so enthralled with this drink. I guess something in our DNA similarly forced us to appreciate the tangy sweetness of the lemony concoction. Some people have the gene to become alcoholics in their family life; for us, we were destined to become lemonholics. My brother and I coexisted peacefully with the liquid for most of our early childhood, a remarkable feat for such unruly children as we were. But it was in sixth grade that we had our first encounter with the dangers of this fruity drink.
“David, please just buy me a lemonade,” I whined to my brother in the crowded middle school cafeteria, full of chattering pre-teens.
“No.” he rudely responded, angering me to no end.
“Just buy it! I don’t have any more money, and I’m parched!” I retorted, smiling at my use of a seventh grade vocabulary word.
But he still remained defiant, and therefore, I acted like any other sixth grade boy would have: impulsively stupid. I punched my brother square in the jaw, inopportunely at a lull in the conversation of the nearby kids.
“Fight, fight, fight!” the adolescent boys screamed, and giving in to peer pressure, my brother started to slap me back, until my brother and I were both engaged in an awkward attempt at a fist fight. Kids started to pull us back, but we remained flailing our arms, in an attempt to recommence the fight. But then school security came in, and ultimately, the school administration, and our bad comportment was cut short.
“Boys, I don’t know what to say. You guys are identical twins, and you’re supposed to love each other,” my aged yet still obnoxious principal declared to my brother and me, as we sit in his claustrophobic office. “Since you guys have no bad records, suspension will not be given, but rather, you boys have to serve a whole week of detention, starting today,” he continued, much to the strain of my ears. We both grumbled while walking out of that hellish situation, not looking forward to the long hours of twiddling our thumbs due this week.
Although I first blamed my brother for this not-so-pleasant piece of news, looking back as a mature teenage about to hit eighteen, I now realize who (or rather, what) can the blame fully be given to: you guessed it, lemonade! That concoction had betwixt us into acting so differently from how we usually acted, especially in such a prestigious and academically notable place as our junior high! But because I happened to be quite immature for my age, I did not see the animosity in the lemonade, and therefore, my taste buds would continue to fight for it up until my late teenage years.
“It’s my lemonade! You already drank like five this week. Give it back!” I screamed at my brother as we fought one random morning during our senior year. We unusually had woken up and gotten ready on time, but our arguments over who would be able to take the last lemonade were slowing us down. Fed up, and worried that I would arrive late to school (which might result in my losing credit from first period, if you can believe it!) I gave up and submitted the sweet drink to my brother’s selfish fingers. I would later regret the situation at lunch as my parched throat would desire something more than the lead-traced water coming out of the schools’ water fountains.
Later that night, I complained to my mother about how unfair it was for David to be taking all of the lemonades, and for me to get only one or two out of a pack of twelve. Since this had not been the first exaggerated complaint to reach my mother’s eyes about lemonade, she decided upon doing something never done in any other household: labeling each drink individually lest someone take more than their share of fruit drink Opening up a new pack of the acidic concoction, she took out a Sharpie and began to write a “B” for Brett, and a “D” for David on an each number of lemonades, and then shoved them into the fridge, aggravated at us interrupting her soap opera time. This system would work well for a time being, until to my annoyance, I ran out of B’s one fateful night. Spying a lone D without protection, I slyly slid it out of the fridge, and grabbed a Sharpie, changing the D to a B with no detection. I then proceeded to walk into my mother’s private TV room, sipping juice from the can, totally confident in my criminal abilities. My mother, always being the watchful one, held out her hand in order to see the lemonade to make sure the correct letter was on it. I, ever so confident, calmly put it into her hand.
“What is this?!” my mother retorted, laughing, which surprised me.
“What?!” I replied, shocked at my mother’s reaction.
“Well, it indubitably seems like you’ve drawn a B over a D! There are two shades of permanent marker!” she said, laughing hysterically.
I took a look at the can, and sure enough, it was easily noticeable that a B had been drawn over a D. Cursing my carelessness, I implored my mom to return the can to me, and just forget about the whole incident.
“Not a chance,” she replied, as she walked over to the bathroom sink and dumped the rest of the can’s contents into it, much, well, very much to my dismay.
“Now, I’ll remember to change another D to a B next time!” she retorted to my shell-shocked face.
My mother probably expected it to be a lesson to teach me to always be honest, but that did not happen in the least. I was just too darn thirsty to pay attention to any intrinsic moral lessons to be learned.
Although I had to settle for ice-cold water that night, I never stopped my sneaky habits, concerning the lemonade. One time, I even opened up a new package of the lemonade, and put 10 B’s on mine, and 2 D’s on David’s. But my mother always was one step in front of me in my efforts, and soon I surrendered to the equal sharing of the lemonades.
As I write these words, I am sipping a can of lemonade, and so is my brother. I would love to write that my brother and I give toasts, while clanking our cans together, but that is not the case. Maybe in 12 years or so, but not now. All I know is that I have to end this story prematurely because there is a lone can of lemonade in the refrigerator waiting to be claimed by a B.
And the D is right around the corner.





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