Gruurs in Peril

Written in response to: Write about a couple who fall out on the road.... view prompt

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Funny Drama

"I hate you, Leroy."

"Oh yeah? Well, that's funny. I was fixing to say the same thing about you!"

"Why don't you shut up?"

"Because I don't feel like it."

"I don't feel like listening to you."

"I hate you."

"I know."

The two brothers fall into a deep-fried silence, the air between them static and humid. The only noise is that of a humming engine and the other cars on the road. The truck is quiet. The truck, however, is far from peaceful. Leroy and Levy Gruur are in an argument, if you haven't picked that up yet, and they are convinced that they hate each other with a wicked, wicked passion. There is a corn dog sitting in the middle of their two seats, warming the truck with a tepid heat, a weak flame that only angers them more.

"Why do you still have that corn dog?"

"Mama gave it to me this morning and I haven't had a chance to eat it yet."

"You know what you should do with that corn dog, Levy?"

"What?"

"I think you should shove it."

A car to their left veers a few inches too close to the truck, and Leroy ceases his squabble to lay on the horn. For at least three minutes. And he makes sure to maintain eye contact with the driver of the car that dared encroach his territory. That is how the Gruur family does things. Loudly, angrily, and directly. Nobody wonders who smashed old Miss Durlon's beehives with a baseball bat. It was the Gruur family, simple as that. Not a soul ventured questions about the time three prized hogs ended up on the high school roof. That was a signature Gruur move. They are to put it kindly, the cockroaches of the town. And just like cockroaches, they have a reputation for never dying.

"Would you take a shower for once in your life? You smell like a beef cake cow patty double deckered sardine fatty."

"So? At least I don't smell like a lily-livered triple gutted two timing one minded polka dot bikini sunscreen bottle."

"That doesn't make sense!"

"Neither did your birth, and yet, here we are."

"Shut up."

"Not unless you do first, you stink stunk bad skunk."

The truck rolls into the parking lot. There is a teenage couple already there, in a sea of old shoppers, and Leroy and Levy know what they plan to do even before they look at each other. Here is a pair of seemingly happy, apparently in love, recently with paycheck kids. The girl sits in the shopping cart, looking at her phone- probably videoing something- and the boy pushes the cart around the parking lot. Leroy and Levy grin. Leroy steps on the gas.

"Did you see their faces?"

"Couple of dumb locks, is what I saw."

"Hilarious. One of our best. All that water-"

"And all their clothes!"

"That girl's phone-"

"And her little boyfriend just gaping over there like some kind fish. Idiots."

"Ha, yeah, they must take after you!"

"SHUT IT, LEVY."

And just like that, they are fighting again. Leroy yanks the wheel back and the car jumps into the road. Their shopping trip has been ruined by a volatile word. Their mother will be furious when they come home empty handed, but Leroy doesn't have that rattling around in his mind. It would be hard to form an original thought in there, what with all the cobwebs and dead animals rotting. Leroy only has one thing running through his head. He wants to make Levy pay for his wrongdoings. There isn’t enough room for all the Gruur family in this town anyway, would they really miss one? 

“Man, this corn dog is del-i-ci-ous. Don’t you wanna bite? Leroy, Leeeroy. Don’t you want a little nibble? You hungry? Go on, take a bite.” 

“I don’t want any of that nasty corn dog.” 

“You do, you do, Mama made it and you know you want a bite.” 

“Levy, now, you listen to me. You get that corn dog the heck outta my face or I’m gonna-” 

“What? What are you gonna do? Go on, do something, I dare you.” 

Levy does not remove the corn dog from Leroy’s personal space. He waves it around, twirling it like a baton, and bops Leroy on the nose with one end. Something snaps in Leroy. It was something he’s had in his heart, in his body, since he was a very young boy. An unbridled anger. He’s been able to control it, somewhat, until now. But now he wants Levy to stop. Stop mocking him, stop talking, just stop. Leroy and Levy. Modern day Cain and Abel, plus a corn dog as a sacrificed animal. Leroy looks out towards the road. He is deadly quiet. Even Levy is nervous. Leroy is unpredictable. His heart begins to race. Levy stops waving around his corn dog, but it’s too late. The dam is broken. The final straw has been chosen. The fate of Levy is not looking great. He blinks twice, and then no more. 

“You took the whole corn dog!” 

Leroy doesn’t say anything. He’s speeding. There’s a patrol car. He doesn’t care. The truck sputters under the pressure, but Leroy continues. 

“You ate my lunch!” 

The truck bounces along the highway. It swerves. The road bends under the weight. There is peril in this day. Peril called Leroy, and no one can stop what he plans to do. There’s an open field, just up ahead. It’ll be a moment of truth, of survival, of the ultimate settling of an age old rivalry. May the best brother win. 

“Get out of the car.” 

“Leroy, I don’t know what you’re thinking-”

“I said get out of the car.” 

“If you hit me, I’ll tell Mama.” 

“You won’t be telling anyone a thing, brother.” Leroy wipes his hands on his jeans. He realizes this is the last time they’ll look so clean, no red mixed with the blue of the fabric. “Not a single solitary thing.” 

They’re both out of the car. Levy is backing up. Leroy is getting closer. He has a crumpled butter knife in his hand. He found it at the bottom of the truck’s floor. It was stuck to a paper plate that had been left there last week, after Sunday dinner. There is still a smudge of pumpkin pie on the knife. Leroy wonders if the crows that come for Levy’s body will like the extra sugar. 

“I don’t think you wanna do anything drastic.” 

“That’s a big word for such a little brain.” 

“Put your knife down, buddy, I didn’t mean anything.” 

“You never mean anything. That’s your problem. Empty words. Empty thoughts. Want something else empty? Oh, you’ll get it. I think I oughta carve the bones up out of your hands.” 

“Leroy, we’re brothers. Listen to me. Who else is gonna wake you up on Christmas morning by dumping hot cocoa on your head? Who can you always count on for a good riling of the townspeople? You know I’m here for anything. Are you going through something? You can tell me. I’m your brother. We’re family,” Levy takes two steps forward and puts his hands on Leroy’s shoulders, “And family doesn’t turn their backs.” 

The butter knife drops. Leroy wipes his eyes. He hasn’t cried since yesterday, when he happened to walk by a shop showing The Notebook in their front window televisions. He wraps his arms around his brother, realizing all at once that this is what he wanted. Not to kill, but to receive the love and attention he was so in lack of. He missed his brother. Was it possible this emotion had trickled down into hatred?

“Aw, Levy, buddy, I didn’t mean to scare you.” 

“Naw, brother, you know I wasn’t.” 

“You sure? That knife was pretty scary seeming.” 

“What do you say we get ourselves a bite to eat?” 

“I think that’s a great idea.”

“Alright then, I’ll drive.” 

Knife discarded in the grass, Levy and Leroy get back in the truck. Levy turns on the radio. A rollicking good country song starts to play. A man sings about his guitar, his wife, and their roller coaster marriage. There’s something about boots. Sweet tea. He calls his wife a firecracker. Burns some toast. It’s a classic. Leroy is so into singing along that he doesn’t recognize the glint in his brother’s eyes. He forgets about how he reached over and chomped the whole corn dog. It was the corn dog their Mama gave Levy, not him, and he ate it. The scandal. The travesty. The disloyalty. Betrayal. The more Levy thinks about it the more his blood puddles and boils and scrunches under his skin. 

“Hey, Leroy?” 

“Yeah?” 

“I’ll tell Mama you loved her.” 

Levy leans over and opens the truck door. Leroy and all the consumed corn dog fall into the road. 

September 04, 2021 03:45

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5 comments

u g. h the plot twist lol- I loved this purely because of the anger Excellent job :D

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u g. h the plot twist lol- I loved this purely because of the anger Excellent job :D

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Keya Jadav
04:58 Sep 04, 2021

What! Whaaat!! C'mon plot twists! Don't be so painful. Coming to the author, excellent work! While reading the story I was pretty clueless about what was going to happen next. Nice descriptions and how you conveyed the thoughts of both the brothers. Great Work Rhondalise!

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Ruth Porritt
09:11 Dec 01, 2021

Hello again, 'deep-fried silence'--I adore this metaphor! :) Ruth P.

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Dhwani Jain
12:33 Nov 15, 2021

Hello all! https://wp.me/pd3y1A-fD Please check out my latest post, THE VIRUS, YOU AND ME, a podcast. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did writing it! Dhwani Jain Dream DJ {https://djdhwanijain.wordpress.com/}

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