Today Squeaky Books welcomes my good friend Q! Q recently stopped blogging, but she's still freaking awesome! Check out the birthday story she wrote:
Given that the last time Castor Sparks had seen his brother, he had set him on fire, pantsed him, and pushed him into a muddy river, the candid observer cannot help but expect that even five years later, sparks (if you'll pardon the pun) were about to fly.
Fortunately, Pollux had no idea that Castor was coming to his parents' house for his birthday celebration. That's how he thought of it--his birthday celebration--never mind that Castor was his twin and by all accounts shared both his parents and his birthday. As far as Pollux knew, his parents had disowned Castor the instant rescue teams had fished the half-drowned Pollux out of the river and he was able to explain the flaming-pantsing-drowning incident that had caused him to end up bald in the river with no pants, looking like a purple plucked chicken.
Castor, for his part, believed his parents were absolute lunatics for even suggesting that he should come within fifty miles of Pollux. Though perhaps because he had been telling them they were lunatics for years for being professors of Ancient Greek Philosophy (Mother) and Pottery (Father), they just ignored him and said that if he didn't come on his own they'd fetch him themselves.
"We want the family together, Castor," his mother said on the phone the day before his birthday.
"Mother, as far as Pollux is concerned, I died five years ago. Are you sure you want to resurrect the dead?"
His father chuckled. "Castor, even Greek gods can't resurrect the dead. And besides, in your case, there's no resurrection required."
(An aside: being the children of Greekaholics landed them with unusual names, and it had always been a sore spot for Pollux that he had been given the really unfortunate one.)
Castor rolled his eyes, though his parents couldn't see. "There may be after this party is over." He hung up without saying good bye and turned off his phone so they couldn't reach him until the party. He then called his insurance agent (also his coworker) and asked to take out a life insurance policy on himself. The insurance agent (also a coworker) had a good laugh about that, and Castor pretended to join him.
Pollux arrived at the party first. Balloons clustered in every corner of his parents' dining room, streamers swayed in the breeze from the window, candles waited in the two cakes on the table. For any other newly twenty-four-year-old young man, it would have been an insult to his maturity. But Pollux just shook his head and thought something gentle about nostalgic parents.
Then he did a double take. Two cakes. One of which was chocolate frosted and covered in crushed-up Heath bar. His eyes narrowed. "Mother--"
"Wow, where's the clown and donkey ride?" Castor interrupted, strolling into the dining room with far more bravado than he felt.
Pollux looked at him with unmitigated hatred. "You."
Castor looked over his shoulder. "I don't see anyone else."
Pollux cocked his fist and threw a punch at his twin, which Castor neatly sidestepped as he approached his mother to give her a kiss. As Castor said, "It looks beautiful, Mother," Pollux's unwontedly high expectations of his own punching ability allotted him too much momentum. He fell, fist-first, into the mahogany doorframe.
"Careful, son," Mr. Sparks said as he helped Pollux off the floor.
Pollux was so spitting mad he didn't even thank him or apologize for the dent his class ring made in the wood. "Father, I must--"
"And you'll be here, Pollux, dear," Mrs. Sparks said, practically shoving Pollux down into the chair at the table across from Castor. Pollux glowered at no one in particular.
The Sparks family lowered their heads to say grace, but Pollux had a better idea. While his mother was expressing her gratitude that her family could all meet in harmony, Pollux had silently lifted Castor's Heath-bar cake from the table. When she extolled God's grace for allowing them such a bounteous fest, he hefted the cake behind his shoulder. And when she closed with a shared "Amen," Pollux heaved. Castor opened his eyes and had just enough time to process what was about to happen before the cake smashed into his startled face.
Mr. and Mrs. Sparks were aghast. Castor had a chocolate-smeared candle stuck to his chocolate-smeared eyebrow. Pollux was triumphant.
"That'll teach you to push me into a river, you devious, flame-throwing, pantsing--"
"Pollux!" Mrs. Sparks interrupted his obviously premeditated speech.
He stormed out of the dining room. The front door slammed. A car peeled out of the driveway.
Castor removed the candle from his eyebrow and stared at the mess that had landed on his lap. He reached a hand down, picked up a bite of cake, and put it in his mouth. He said, cheerfully, "That went well."