Before I say anything more in this post, let’s get this important detail out of the way:
Now, who’s ready for a story? I’m curious to see if anyone catches on to the challenge. See you at the end, where I’ll reveal what it is!
I didn’t know what to expect when I met my brother at the airport. Whatever had happened while he was away, it was clear from our phone conversations that he’d been brainwashed. From what I could tell, everything that was once important to him—horseback riding, football, volunteering at the animal shelter—had become as meaningless as rollerblades to a paraplegic.
I hardly recognized the man who sauntered toward me wearing designer sunglasses, a crisp necktie, and shoes as black and shiny as obsidian.
“Little sis,” he said, setting down his suitcase so he could scoop me up in a hug.
“Come on,” I said. “Mom made a big dinner for you. We’re having Oreo milkshakes for dessert.”
On the way home, my brother said, “I have to tell you something.” I wished he would have waited until we were off the highway.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s hear it.”
“When I was in New York, I didn’t really go to a retreat for aspiring screenwriters.”
I nodded and pretended to be concerned with something in the rearview mirror. Really, I wondered if my heartbeat could possibly get any faster. We all knew he hadn’t been forthcoming about his trip, but I hadn’t guessed that he would tell the truth to me.
“Okay,” I said, trying to keep the butterflies in my stomach from flying out of my mouth. “So what did you do?”
“You can’t tell anyone,” he said.
“Okay,” I said.
“Not even mom and dad.”
“I mean, I’ll tell them. Just…in my own time.”
My brother takes a deep breath. He tells me he’d reconnected with an ex-girlfriend. Found her online. Cheyenne. She’s a newscaster in New York.
“Oh, so you went to New York to rekindle your romance?” I asked.
No, no, he told me. They didn’t feel that way about each other anymore. But the more they talked, the more they realized how much they had in common.
By now we were only a mile from home. I would have no time to recover from his secret before we pulled up to mom and dad waiting on the doorstep.
There is a pause, and then he says, “She wanted to have a baby.”
“So?” I asked.
“More than anything,” he said. “She wanted to have a baby.” Another pause. “And you know, I’m not getting any younger.”
I nearly swerve the car off the pavement.
“I was there to interview for a job.”
I did not foresee this.
“And I got it,” he said. “It’s in finance, and the pay is phenomenal.”
The thought of Oreo milkshakes makes me want to vomit.
“And in nine months, I’m going to be a dad.”
The challenge was: I used at least 25 unique compound words in a story less than 500 words in length.