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The Nanny From the White Legume
By Linda Rees Seger, Bailey E Riley, Oliver
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Linda Rees Seger
All rights reserved.
Everything about this day had gone absolutely right for Brock—that is, right up until the incident in the kitchen. As far-fetched as it sounds, Brock had been toying with a white bean from the Saturday jar and was planning to fire it into the back of Dane's head as he was busy washing the dinner dishes. Ostensibly, he launched it perfectly to brain Dane straight into a nasty rage but instead it took an impossible 180 turn doubling back unmistakably into the middle of Brock's forehead! Brock was stunned, angry, humiliated, and aghast! Dane could barely keep a lid on his derisive laughter; Brock tried to save face by making a fast and fastidious exit. How could his loser of a brother pull off a magic trick like that?
Brock had remembered a weird sensation when he breezed past Dane—like a chill ..., or his heart skipping a beat, or trembling ... but certainly, something indefinable; he headed straight up to his room—amusingly referred to as his 'laboratory'. His mind was preoccupied with a few bits of bullying he planned to visit upon Dane and whomever else that might be innocently standing by, but his mind was anxious about the peculiar bean incident. Everything surrounding that brother of his, lately, was just plain weird and he had to really apply some super concentration skills to figure out a plan to get him back. His forehead still stung from the kamikaze bean that had just smacked him full force between the eyes—unconsciously rubbing the reddening target. He scanned his room for ideas and absent-mindedly emptied his pockets on top of his homework—the offending white bean included. Nothing came to mind easily—however, for Brock, one of the most enjoyable feelings about his 'teasing' was the challenge it presented in figuring out not only the torment inflicted on his victim—but also how to get by with it undetected.
Brock knew the family was downstairs preparing to play board games as an alternative to TV; usually he was pretty good at Scrabble, Trivia, Boggle, all of them, and loved competition (and frequently winning)—but he was bothered by the recent weirdness from Dane that seemed to plague him night and day—but also that Dane irritatingly won more often. First, Dane never seemed to get mad very much anymore and Brock had relished those tantrums—from a distance, of course; but he did love how Dane's eyes bugged out, got bloodshot ..., his ears turned bright red ..., and it seemed like his head puffed up like it was ready to explode! Brock laughed softly to himself just thinking about it. Then he wondered for a short moment why it seemed so humorous to him. He guessed it felt good somehow, it felt ..., oh, what was the word ...? Don't know—don't care. He was never one to languish over useless information. And second, how could his loser of a brother always seem to get the best of him in the process? He was not liking that feeling one bit and he resolved to amp up his strategies.
Moving on, he scanned the objects on his desk for ideas with which to inflict irritation on his hapless victims. Brock's desk was impeccably clean ... ; in fact, his entire room was impeccably clean! He was one intentional cleaning machine! Ooo, woo ..., maybe perfectionistic? Nah ... When one was constantly planning, devising, formulating, and concocting activities to 'try out' on other people for personal entertainment, one needed to be necessarily organized! Just now, though, Brock noticed a strangely out-of-place object sitting at the back of his desk. It was nothing except a miniature rocking chair—a curious, extraordinary, miniature rocking chair. What the ..., he shook his head as his mind trailed off. H-m-m ... how/when/why ... could/ would/should a tiny, rocking chair suddenly appear out of context on his neatly-arranged homework desk among textbooks/study materials/ pencils and paper?
Brock sat back on his chair in wonderment. Maybe his Mother set it there when she was inspecting his cleaning job or forgot it when she left his room. There had to be a logical explanation; in fact, Brock was all about logic, but right now, it was not important enough to deter him from his real objective of stirring up some devious entertainment. He immediately got out a sheet of paper and decided to make a list as his mind geared toward charting a plan for his dear brother, Dane—first on his list. Sedrick, Dane's fish was second on the list for certain reasons; Brock ever-so briefly recalled the recent scare the fish had given him—but quickly got back to the 'list'. Brock licked his lips and suddenly thought of Janie, Dane's little dream girlfriend! Then Ricky, the goofball who caused all the problems with having to work on restoring the flower garden in the courtyard of the School! Yowza, he realized this list could go on forever and he furiously scratched down names/projects/ideas until he filled up the top half of the sheet of paper.
Ah, yes ..., Brock recognized the familiar, odd, but good feeling of power ... or, maybe ... superiority when he was able to set Dane into a rage. Some of the things that kid did when he got mad! Brock thoroughly enjoyed the drama—but the best part was when Brock could essentially step out of the picture and nobody would be the wiser! The rush of being the instigator behind a plot and getting by with it! Very seldom did his parents ever figure out who caused Dane to rip. Brock thought every day his parents got more and more clueless ..., or was it just because he was so dang good at pushing buttons! Love it, love it, love it! He socked a fist into the air to celebrate a guaranteed future personal victory against those on his List!
Brock took a sneering look at his homework and decided to call his best friend, Ruk, to 'share' answers. Ha ha! Teachers were as clueless as parents! Brock was counting the days when he would turn 14—only ten and a half months away—and could start driving to school with a Learner's Permit—then the fun would really begin! He could tantalize Dane with riding along and drive off without him, have more speed available to spy on him, tempt him with all sorts of tricks and then innocently say to Mother, "I thought Dane was walking home today ...,". Still smirking, Brock dialed Ruk's number to quickly exchange answers to their pointless, boring homework. One of the activities was even a test! Why would a teacher send a test home and tell you not to cheat? Geez ...
Ruk answered, "Hi Slimeball! What's your answer to #13—what started the Civil War?
"Hey, Jerk, I don't know anything about the Civil War—all I know about is my current war and how I'm sure to win it ..." laughing, then turning serious, "hey, are we going to play paint ball this weekend?"
"It's an oxymoron."
Laughing, Brock quickly inserted, "Yeah, just don't tell your parents or my parents will find out and I'll be grounded for the rest of my life. My 'source' came through with the ..., an oxymoron? What's that?"
"You don't know what an oxymoron is, Moron?"
"Of course I do, idioso, I don't know what or who you are calling an oxymoron!"
"The Civil War, Dopus! Civil and war are oxymorons—like ..., there's nothing civil about a war ..., a war isn't civil ..., they mutually negate each other!"
"You probably got that stupid idea off Jeopardy! You would learn a lot more about life, Dufus, if you would get your pimply head out of the useless dictionary and TV! Just don't breathe a word ...," Brock feigned making fun of Ruk's intelligence to cover up the fact that he, himself, was secretly an overachiever. In fact, Brock often reported to other students that he never studied for tests when actually he crammed incessantly to make 100%—and, usually, the head-of-the-class grade. He was organized, committed, motivated, and smart. His teachers called him an autonomous learner and he relished those frequent compliments.
"Whatever ..., you ought to try watching more Jeopardy, Gloatacious! Yes, of course we're going to play ..., did you get a hold of Big Br ...?"
"Of course, I got hold of your loser cousin, Big Brother Jack!"
"Sh-h-h, the phone might be tapped!"
"Oh, whatever, you're such a suspicious freak!"
"Well, you never know who might pick up ..., gotta go, Mom's calling me for some dumb reason ..., Later ..."
"Outta here." Brock was torqued because Ruk always answered his Mother ..., couldn't he say he was 'occupied' in the bathroom or something? He was so lame at times. Brock scanned the layout of his room for the best hiding places. He would have to hide the paintball stuff from his parents, too, because they were so old-fashioned they didn't believe in war games or, basically, having any kind of fun. Ruk said nothing could be hid at his house—likely excuse—Brock could think of all sorts of places at Ruk's to hide a dab of contraband. One of these days he would find some real friends—not the lame ones he always seemed to get stuck with—friends that weren't so intimidated by their parents or a few little obnoxious and perfectly bendable rules. Good trustworthy friends had to be out there somewhere! Brock, without hesitation, quickly added Ruk's name to his 'List'.
Perversely, Brock's Mother was calling him from the bottom of the stairs.
"Hey, Sweet Boy, are you going to join us for Scrabble?"
Brock hollered back down, "Did you mean ..., am I going to tromp all of you in Scrabble? Sure, I'll be right down!" Since Ruk was not free anyway to copy the answers from, he might as well waste some time with the rest of the family and hopped on the banister to quickly slide to the floor into the living room. He noticed that the family was exchanging wry looks regarding his comment about winning. Mother, on the contrary, rumpled his hair and smiled even though he knew that she disapproved of him sliding down the banister. Parents were constantly trying to kill fun with 'safety' rules.
Mother had a quirky expression on her face with one raised eyebrow that seemed to say, "Are you so sure about 'tromping' all of us"? The best thing about Scrabble in this family was that there were no rules. In the spirit of learning and succeeding—Mother and Father's main goal being literacy—if any player could summarily defend the word they contributed, it would be allowed. In fact, Brock did not remember a single incident when a word was not accepted, including abbreviations, proper names, and more ..., clearly in opposition to the official game rules. They also got to draw more letters than the true Scrabble rules allowed in order to make more words. At any rate, it made the game much more fun and achievable, especially for his younger brothers ..., big deal, he could beat them anyway!
Brock was not concerned in the least about not winning, and he drew his 12 letters out of the bag. He got the letters y, c, r, t, m, o, p, x, g, blank, w and i. His thought and expression were smug—this was going to be a quick game ... then he could get back upstairs to his most favorite hobby—strategizing! He liked getting difficult letters with high point values—secretly liking the challenge but he absolutely loved the victory! And the victory dance ..., and lording it over the rest of them ..., Brock wallowed in that fantasy for a few.
Father began with the word cat; Dane self-importantly placed c and h behind cat. Cole proudly added e and r. Grandmother smilingly added s. The points compounded. Mother and Afton worked together and used the t down to make type.
On Brock's turn, he added the letters, w, r, i, t, and the blank e to make the word, typewrite ... shooting his points ahead of everyone.
Dane hollered, "That's not a word! You have to have an n at the end!"
"Not necessarily, Dane ... and anyway, it would require two t's to make typewritten," hummed Grandmother.
Mother, Father, Grandmother and all swung their heads toward Brock waiting for the inevitable defense (and probable acceptance) of his word.
He merely said, "Typewrite is a verb—the act of typewriting and a compound word. Any more pointless questions?"
"Okay, okay, okay ..." all the way around diffusing any disagreement, and the game continued.
Grandmother said, "Good job, Brock!", then, added r onto the end of typewrite and garnered herself points in addition to all of Brock's points. Brock gave her a protesting look but said nothing. Nobody argued with Grandmother; she was so sweet and everybody loved her, her company and cookies so much that her points were automatically certain. She had a knack for bringing out surprises ..., usually her famous freshly-baked cookies at just the right time. Actually, Mother and Grandmother had a secret pact requiring Grandmother to always provide the cookies for family get-togethers. Mother did not want to waste money or unnecessary calories on store-bought cookies laden with additives, so Grandmother's official job in the family was to bake natural-ingredient cookies. She more than happily obliged and everyone more than happily obliged in devouring them. Grandfather was her self-proclaimed official cookie tester.
Next, Father added letters o, u, g, t to the h in catchers. Cole saw his opportunity to add n after the o in ought making on. Dane got excited and placed m, o, r in front of on.
Brock tried to intimidate Dane with a look and said, "Moron?" secretly addressing Dane as a 'moron' within the question. Dane gleamed and simply did not care; he merely recorded his points which doubly irritated Brock. Still couldn't get that kid mad! In nearly the same instant, Brock recognized the word that Ruk had used earlier and promptly put the letters o, x, and y in front of moron. He stood, jammed his fist into the air, and exclaimed, "Yes!"
Kudos were joyfully added by adults and everyone to Brock's incredible word as they were taught to celebrate everybody's success—big or small.
"Gee, that's a great word, Brock!"
Brock shrugged it off, "Yeah, I read it somewhere a long time ago," not revealing for a second that he had learned it exactly four and a half minutes ago.
Then he said to Grandmother, "I suppose you are going to put down another s to make it plural or something, right?"
Grandmother casually shook her head and mumbled, "Huh-uh".
Brock mistakenly thought this surely must be near the end of the game until Grandmother, waiting patiently for Brock to completely enjoy his triumph, clicked an i and c onto the end of oxymoron making oxymoronic, sweetly and innocently stealing Brock's thunder. Grandmother never spoke a word or gave lectures, but often her commitment to and lessons about civility and humility were revealed in pertinent actions such as this opportunity. She also knew when the lesson had hit home and how to wisely back off.
After several more similar rounds, it was perfectly clear that Brock would easily win the game. Cole, Afton, and Dane were in a mild funk; Mother and Father expected that Brock would probably (and academically should be able to) defeat his younger brothers; although, Dane, could and would quite often give Brock a decent run for his money. Dane was pleasingly learning to be a literati in his own right. It had not yet occurred to Brock that the boys' always winning was part of their parents' 'Master Plan' for literacy and learning.
About forty five minutes later when Brock was declared the official winner, the group disbanded into the kitchen for the beyond-belief cookies and milk. Brock quickly grabbed two melt-in-your-mouth cookies, excused himself and shot upstairs to his various projects—bragging all the way. On the way, he passed Dane's room and gawked in to see if he could quickly disturb Sedrick. Brock had not forgotten Sedrick's recent strange behavior that could only be explained by his own vivid imagination. Just a few weeks ago when he had sneaked into Dane's room, had that fish actually told him to 'go away' or had he completely lost his wits? He quietly stepped into Dane's room and tiptoed toward the fishbowl.
"Hi, Sedrick ..., you fishy little science project!" with a wicked gleam in his eyes. Sedrick was swimming around like he was on a mission—almost like he was nervous that Brock was in Dane's room.
Excerpted from The Nanny From the White Legume by Linda Rees Seger, Bailey E Riley, Oliver. Copyright © 2013 Linda Rees Seger. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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