Just Don't Be An Idiot

Submitted into Contest #158 in response to: Write about a character with questionable morals.... view prompt



This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me. 

“Like you?” I said sarcastically.

“Just shut up for a sec, would ya?!” Keith retorted.

“You shut up!” I glowered at him.

“Argh. All I wanted to do was put a fake snake on Mar-Mar’s homework for that one time she told on me. Like literally, all I did was hide ONE broccoli in my sock.”

“You mean ALL your broccolis AND a carrot too!”

“Stop talking. My ears need a break.” Keith cupped his hands over his ears.

“What, this fabulous voice?” I started singing off key very loudly.



“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me.

“How could I be the idiot with you standing here too?” I replied.

“Shane, literally.” Keith groaned. “For the fourth time all day, can you just quit it? You're not even that funny.”

“Quit what?” I said in my most innocent voice and heroically ignoring the insult. “I was just mirroring your negative attitude, that’s all.”

“Whatever, weirdo.” Keith finished washing his hands and flicked the water at my face.

I rubbed it out of my eyes and scowled at him. “What’s the plan?”

“On my signal, go up to Mom and distract her. I'll put some gum in the cart.” Keith explained.

“What flavor is it?”


“No. Wintergreen or even a fruit flavor is better than that!”

“I don’t careeeeeeee. Spearmint, or nothing.”



“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me. 

“So basically, do the exact opposite of what you always do?” I smirked. 

“You know what I mean!” Keith shot back. “Look, Jen is coming over today. Don’t mess this up. It’s our first time hanging out and she’s just here to tutor me. So no teasing, mocking, or being rude to her.”

“Alright, alright. Oooooh. Do you like her?” I said teasingly.

Keith’s face turns red. “See? That’s exactly what I’m telling you not to do.”

“But do you?”

His face turns even redder.

“Dude, you actually like Jen…? Is she hot?”

“For real bro?!”


“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me. 

“This again?” I muttered.

“Yes! Guess what I have!” Keith said eagerly.

“Did you finally order yourself a brain and some common sense on the side?” I grinned.

Keith peered at me. “No, I got something better.”

“Then show me, slowpoke.” I said, finally interested.

“Just zip it and look.” Keith announced, pulling something out of his backpack.

I stared unimpressed at a stack of around 8-10 papers. “What, are you becoming a writer now or something?”

“No, dummy. These are the answer sheets to the tests for the rest of my school year,” Keith smirked, “And yours too.”

“Keith, what? You’ll get in so much trouble from that, you know that right? I’m not using some cheat sheet.”

“Come on, Shane. You can get 100’s for the next three months! Imagine how impressed Brynn would be…” 

I blushed at Brynn’s name. “She wouldn’t care if I had perfect grades. So no, I’m not going to use those.”

“Suit yourself.”

“You shouldn’t use those either. If you get caught, you’d ruin your chances of making the basketball team next year.”

“Then I just won’t get caught. I won’t be an idiot.”

“By the looks of things Keith, you already are.”


“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me. 

“It’s getting old Keith.” I snickered.

“Yeah whatever.” Keith snorted. “But really, if you screw this test up, we’ll both be grounded for life.”

“Easy for you to say. You’re cheating on this one.”

“Don’t you wish you’d taken the sheets before?”

“No. Because then I would have shredded them, burned them, and sprinkled the ashes into your soup like it was pepper.”

“Haha. Soooooo funny.” Keith said caustically.

“You won’t be laughing when you get caught…”

“When I get caught? Shane, what did you do?”

“I might’ve… kinda…”


“Well, maybe I leaked the fact that you stole school property.”


“Hey, only Marianne knows. It’s not that bad.”

“Mar-Mar, Shane? Really? Of all the people!” Keith shouted, pulling at his own hair.

“Relax, Keith. Besides, Mar-Mar said that she would only tell Fluffy, you know, her stuffed donkey.”


“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me.

“Sounds fun. Can’t wait.” I answered.

“We’re both in high school now. So here it comes baby! New year, new us!” Keith cheered, and shook two pills out of a bottle.

“Keith, what are those?”

“They’re… just try one.”

“Keith, how’d you get drugs?”

“Drugs? Pshaw. I don’t have—drugs.”

“KEITH! No… no—you can’t have drugs! Especially not in a public park!”

“Calm down, people can hear you.”

“Maybe I want them to.”

“Just have one. Or I will, anyway. You can be a loser and watch me.” Keith took the pills and dropped them in his mouth. He swallowed.

“KEITH LEWIS PETERSON! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING?!” A familiar female voice shrieked from the other side of the park.

We both looked up and saw their Auntie Aspen glaring at them from the slides. She picked up their baby cousin Phillip and walked over.

“What do you have in your bag, Keith?” Auntie Aspen said in a warning tone. A tone that said, don’t lie to me. A tone that said, you're in big trouble.

“Noth…nothing. Ma..ma’am.” Keith stuttered.

Clearly Keith was going against his own morals. Or he hadn’t heard the alarm in her voice. Whatever it was, Keith was going to get it soon enough.


“Just don’t be an idiot.” Keith said to me.

“After your little theatrical performance, I don’t think I could top that.” I grimaced.

“Yeah. But maybe someone shouldn't have been so loud.”

“Do not blame me for this! This was a hundred percent you!”

Keith lunged at me. We wrestled and tumbled until our dad came up and started screaming at us for being too loud.

“You two boys are so rough with each other. Why can’t you guys be more like your sister?” Their dad lectured.

“You mean bossy, prissy, and a snitch? Yeah, don’t think so.” Keith answered.

“Don’t talk about your sister that way.” Dad scolded.

“Well, she’s an idiot.”


“Just don’t be an idiot.” I tell myself. I’m cutting carrots and broccolis in the kitchen. I put my anger into the steady chopping of the knife. I’m still mad at myself for what I did. I remember the moments we cherished before you went crazy. Before you went to camp. Before you stole the smallest things.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Someone’s at the door. Probably one of those advertisement people, coming to talk about what they can do for my roof, like I wouldn't have called them already if I needed it. I politely ignore. For now.

The knocking gets louder. Knock. Knock. Knock. I frown at the potted plant that was leaning against the door, now fallen over onto the overly cheerful Welcome! mat. What do they want?

I swing open the door.

In the doorway, I see a bedraggled man with fuzz growing on his chin. His hair is sweaty and he looks out of place in the bright afternoon sunshine.

“What do you want?” I bark.

“Shane, it’s me.”

“Me? What kind of a stupid name is that?”

He laughs, and then collapses into my house.

“I was an idiot.” He says.

There's a lilt to his voice that I recognize, but it couldn't be...


“In the flesh, baby.” Keith groans.

“But how? It's been 7 years. I thought you were gone. I thought… I thought you were dead.”

“No. I wish I was, but no. They released me a couple days ago. Said to find family, to heal.”

Keith was in pain. I knew it. I have to do the one thing I can.


“JUST DON’T BE AN IDIOT!” Keith roared at me as the two drug camp workers were dragging him away. “SOON I’LL BE BACK!”

I cried silently. Keith had been my best friend, my guidance, my moral compass. And I had called the cops on him.

I had told them how he was planning to rob a drug store.

I told them that he had asked me to join.

I didn’t tell them that I had agreed.

I didn’t tell them that I too had gone mad.


I looked into Keith’s somber eyes and quickly glanced away. The depths of fiery rage struck over me.

I raised my head once more and stared deep into his eyes. One moment of, all my pain is your fault, a moment of, look at the monster you created. His eyes widened as I plunged the knife into his chest.


The light drained from his amber brown eyes as he said, with his last breath, “You idiot.”

And then he was dead.

“Shouldn’t have been an idiot.”

August 09, 2022 15:16

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Carter Obasohan
20:18 Aug 27, 2022

Wow, that escalated quickly. Reading that end scene literally, I could tell that Keith was murdered. Keith is dislikable, but I feel his murder was a bit harsh, unless there's more behind the story. Keep it up!


Havana Summer
02:13 Sep 20, 2022

Thanks for reading! Yeah, I realize that I made that a bit extreme. 😅 Shane had gone "crazy" as well and seeing Keith again made him swell up, also, seeing Keith in pain and remembering the "good 'ol days" made him want to "help" Keith, even though it might not have been the best approach. Do you have any suggestions on how I could get that message through better?


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11:02 Aug 18, 2022

Interesting story about 2 boys who headed in different directions. The dialogue was very authentic. I liked how he came back 7 years later “In the flesh, baby.” with the results of different life choices. For the critique circle, one thing, I wasn't sure at the end if the murder was symbolic, or really happened, or was a flashback to a robbery gone wrong.


Havana Summer
18:02 Aug 18, 2022

Hi Scott! Thanks for reading! The murder in the end was very much real, sorry if that wasn't clear. Do you have any suggestions on how I could improve that?


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