It’s Day 27 of the 30-day challenge. I still feel like writing something absurd. More specifically, I feel like making fun of all of the young adult fantasy novels that I’ve read over the years. The heroes are all so incredibly likable and competent (Think Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Gregor the Overlander). They all come from some sort of pathetic situation. Why not write about a likably INCOMPETENT hero who just stumbles ass-backwards into good fortune? So, here goes…..
Hi. My name is Charlie Weaver. I am a hero and this is my journey.
First, I was born, which goes without saying. I have no memories of my parents, because what good hero does? My Aunt Bertha told me that a stranger dropped me off on her doorstep when I was a baby. I’m not sure if she’s telling me the truth. It wouldn’t be the first time that she’s lied. But I do know that I’ve been living with her for as long as I can remember.
My story begins on a typical Tuesday morning. I woke up to the shrill voice of Aunt Bertha.
“Charlie Weaver, you better get your butt out of bed right now, or I’m gonna skin you alive! Them cows ain’t gonna milk themselves!”
“Coming, Aunt Bertha,” I called out, as I scrambled to find my milking clothes in the toolbox that I used as a makeshift dresser. I dressed quickly, pulling out the stray pieces of straw from my hair. I raced down the loft ladder.
Aunt Bertha stood in the barn door, glaring at me. She was carrying Baby Susie in her left arm, and had my little cousin Tobey by the scruff of his neck with her right hand.
“Boy, what are you thinking? Sleepin’ in this late on a school day,” she grumbled, adjusting Cousin Susie’s position in her arms. Susie emitted on ear-shattering shriek, before starting to wail. “Now look what you done.”
Whap! I felt the blow on the back of my head. “You made the baby cry. She’s hungry. I coulda been feedin’ her right now, if I didn’t have to come out here and haul your lazy ass out of bed. Now go get the pail and get the milk.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, as I followed her and the kids into into the kitchen. I rubbed the back of my head, which still stung a little.
“Now, Martha, go easy on the boy,” Paw Paw Joe chided mildly from the breakfast table. His spectacles slid down his nose as he flipped through the obituary section of the newspaper.
“You shut yer yap, old man,” Aunt Bertha snarled. “I ain’t Martha. I’m Bertha. Martha’s been dead for a long time.” She strapped the wailing Susie into the high chair at the table. Tobey climbed up onto the chair next to Paw Paw and helped himself to a handful of Paw Paw’s crackers. Aunt Bertha saw him and removed the bowl from the table. Tobey responded by throwing himself onto the floor and howling.
“Aw, hell,” Aunt Bertha muttered, while she tried to pick Tobey up from the floor.
I quickly pocketed two biscuits while Aunt Bertha’s back was turned. Paw Paw saw me, winked, and slipped me an apple. I smiled gratefully and added it to my stash before reaching for the pail. A glance inside made me groan inwardly. There was a hole in the bucket. My stomach tightened, as I braced myself for another smack upside the head. “Um, Aunt Bertha, is there another bucket?”
She scowled at me, as Tobey continued to shriek. “Do I look like I have money to buy another bucket? Use that one.”
“But,” I began timidly.
“Boy, I thought you were supposed to be smart,” Aunt Bertha rolled her eyes at me. “Use your thumb to cover the hole.”
Her sarcasm stung. I didn’t want get hit again, so I just nodded and left. School started in a few hours. My history class was going on a field trip to the World History Museum. I loved field trips. This was the one day that I didn’t want to be late for school.
The walk to the pasture was at least one mile. I kept staring at the hole in the bucket as I munched on the biscuits. There was no way I could carry all of that milk without losing it to the hole. Aunt Bertha would beat the living daylights out of me if I came back with less than a pail of milk. But what could I use to patch up the bucket?
I was so worried about the hole that I didn’t notice that I was being watched.