Brother For Sale - Chapter 2
That afternoon, Mum sat next to me and asked if we could have a little talk. Her lips were smiling but her eyes had that look - like when she dropped Nana’s ‘Charles and Diana’ teapot and it smashed into a trillion pieces. “You know it’s your birthday next week?”
I played surprised. “Oh yeah! I’d forgotten.”
Mum's spider-leg lashes double-blinked over her glare. “Don’t be rude Lewis – it doesn’t suit you.” Her scowl dissolved and smashed-teapot-face returned. “Thing is - since Todd arrived, I’m struggling with money. You wouldn’t believe how much nappies cost.”
I felt my teeth clench.
“I know you really wanted that Wee-Wee video game thingy,” she said, staring at her twiddling fingers.
“It’s called a Wii and you promised I’d get one this year.” A shaken can of cola exploded in my stomach.
“I know I did love, but I haven’t got the money. And before you bite my head off – I’ve got an idea. You can buy amazing second hand stuff from the internet and charity shops these days.”
She was serious. She almost looked pleased with herself. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t think. A storm cloud invaded my brain.
“I was on eBay last night. They were no Wee-Wees but they had older consoles. I even found the one I used to play on in the 80’s. They're so cheap!”
My face was on fire when she finally looked at me. I gulped to stop my eyes filling. “You promised Mum!”
A gurgling giggle floated into the room. "Better dash - your brother's awake." Mum stood up and ruffled my hair. “Maybe next year Lewis.” I swatted her hand away. She disappeared through the door, like there was nothing else to talk about. As though everything was all right.
Well it wasn’t. I scanned the toy-littered lounge for ideas. I huffed at the framed photo of me and Todd on the mantelpiece. A fan of unopened envelopes were strewn across the window sill. Cupboards and drawers were half open; their contents escaped onto every surface - headache tablets on the shelf, screwdrivers in a vase, a cuddly penguin in the fruit bowl. It never used to be like this.
Just then, flashes from the TV beamed onto a pair of scissors and lasered inspiration into my brain.
I ran over and shoved the scissors up my sleeve. I charged upstairs, sneaked Mum’s camera from the drawer and rushed to my room. I pulled my silly old teddy from beneath a pile of shoes in the wardrobe. I ripped out the centre pages of my homework book and scribbled down loads of ideas.
Just last week, we’d had to make posters in school advertising futuristic robo-pets that could transform into vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and other useful appliances. Miss Blaine banged on and on about being persuasive. This would be easy.
Minutes later, I had it - an advert for the coolest, cuddly toy in the world.
Next I became Doctor Lewis - 'surgeon of soft toys'. I plunged the scissors into Teddy and cut holes in his stomach and face. Then I plucked out the stuffing until my old playmate was completely hollow.
So Mum thinks eBay’s the place to buy and sell things? Maybe she’s right.