A Rainy Day

It was a rainy day, and I was bored. Mom was doing her weekly grocery shopping, and I was stuck in the house with my younger brother. “Jeff,” I said as I walked into his bedroom. “Let’s play baseball.”

“It’s raining,” he said. My brother looked at me like I was insane.

“So? We’ll play indoors.”

I went to my closet and pulled out a sock. I rolled it up and tossed it at my brother. “There’s the ball.” I went over to my desk and picked up a metal ruler. I waved it and said, “And here is the bat.”

My brother chuckled. “Let’s do it.”

We quickly devised some rules for our game. And then we spent the next thirty minutes alternating between tossing the sock and swatting at the sock with the ruler.

It was the bottom of the sixth inning when I stepped to bat. I swung and the ruler flew out of my hand. My brother and I both laughed as the ruler embedded itself into my bedroom wall. And then we realized what that meant. We were busted. Big time.

I pulled the ruler from the wall. We both stood looking at the two-inch gash in the wall. “Shit,” my brother said. It was the first time I had ever heard him curse.

“Now what do we do?” I asked. My brother was the artist in the family. I figured he’d have a creative solution.

“Toothpaste,” he said without hesitation.

I looked at him like he was insane. And, as far as I was concerned he was. There had certainly been some advances in toothpaste technology, but I wasn’t convinced that Colgate was going to solve the problem confronting us at the moment. “Let’s fill the hole with toothpaste,” he said in response to my confused glare. “And then we will find the paint in the basement and touch it up.”

For the first time in my life, I thought my little brother was a genius. It was the perfect plan. While he carefully filled the gash with toothpaste, I went to the basement to find the paint. Ten minutes later, we stood back and admired our handiwork. Nobody would ever know what we had done.

A few hours later, my mother entered my room while I was lying in bed reading. “Did you do something to your wall?” she asked.

“Noooooooo,” I said. At that moment I became convinced that mothers possessed some kind of psychic ability that defied explanation. I sat up. “Why do you ask?”

My mother pointed to the wall behind me. “What happened?” she asked.

I shook my head. “I don’t know.”

“Why don’t you look?” she said softly, but firmly. She pointed again.

Slowly, I turned my head. “Oh my God,” I shouted as I jumped up. “What is happening?” There was a streak of white running down the wall. The gash my brother and I had repaired was smiling at me like a maniacal demon.

My mother chuckled as she walked toward the wall. She furrowed her brow and placed her nose close to the gash. “Judging from the scent, I’d say that someone decided to put toothpaste on your wall. The question is: who did it and why?” She turned to me with narrowed eyes.

“It was Jeff,” I said without hesitation. For some reason, I thought that my answer would satisfy her curiosity.

“And why would he do that?”

I shrugged. My mothered cocked her head and gave me the look that only mothers can give. I relented and spilled my guts. “I have to admit that was clever,” she said. She thought for a moment. “So who won the game?”

“Uh, we didn’t finish the game,” I stammered. That wasn’t the reaction I had expected.

“Why don’t you get your brother and finish? And when you are done, I’ll show you how to repair the wall properly.”

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