The Continuing Narrative of All the Ways My Little Brother is a Spoiled Brat

            No one ever seems to believe me when I tell them about how Tommy has made my life one disappointment after another. I don’t get it. Why is it so hard to accept? He’s a spoilsport who ruins everything! No, I’m not yelling at you.

            Maybe it’s because I see things the rest of the world will never hear about. In that case, I think the time is ripe for me to be the whistle-blower and reveal how supernaturally troublesome a sibling he is.

            My first time going to a summer camp happened last year. You would not believe how exciting it is spending a whole week away from home. Mostly because I didn’t have to put up with my little brother at all. No having to keep track of him as he embarrasses me in front of friends or anything. Plus, most of my time at Camp Wallop involved games like Ultimate Frisbee and shooting paintballs with slingshots.

            I was so excited to go again this year until a few weeks into summer break. I came home from playing at a friend’s house and found my brother begging mom and dad to let him go with me to Camp Wallop. His cheeks were practically shimmering with tears. In that moment, the only wallop I wanted Tommy to see was one for his rear end. But I didn’t have a say in the matter. My parents were quick to cave to his pleas as usual. What really made me grind my teeth that night was when they pulled me aside and asked me to watch after their precious middle child. Sometimes I wonder if Cain had the right idea about little brothers. Why should I sacrifice my fun to be his keeper? Just don’t tell my mom and dad I said that.

            After the parentals made me promise to be a “good big brother” for the spoiled twerp, I started packing for Camp Wallop. You take the basic necessities. Clothes, sleeping bag, toothbrush, shampoo, and fresh underwear. Pretty simple, right? Well, my little brother thought he needed to bring every toy from the bin of stuffed animals with him. My mom had to set him straight, and he sulked the entire time as he put his toys away. Considering he just finished third grade, his playing with stuffed polar bears and kittens gives me migraines. I stopped way before that age. Then again, I was never as bratty as my little brother.

            I made one last attempt to make my parents see reason. My little brother would ruin camp for me just as he ruins everything else. I gave my asthma as evidence. Dad put his foot down and said, “If your brother doesn’t go, you don’t go either.” That decision was nowhere in the vick-city of fair, but I didn’t argue. When my parents pull out ultimatums, you know they mean business.

            The next weekend, it was time to leave for camp. The bus ride lasted hours, and for a large chunk of that trip, I pondered how best to handle my brother. It occurred to me that my parents would never know if I were actually protecting him from the imaginary dangers they envisioned eating him alive in the forest. After all, the worst I had encountered last year were mosquitos, and we packed bug spray for that very reason! Camp Wallop shattered that hope by placing my bratty brother in the same cabin as me.

            That first night of camp, I realized Tommy had managed to sneak one of his stuffed toys back into his bag. Empanada the Chihuahua had been his favorite for a few years, and its worn, tan fabric showed how much he loved it. Great, I thought. I’ll be the guy whose brother carries a toy dog everywhere.

            As it turned out, Camp Wallop had a Fiesta theme that year, so people thought the Chihuahua was a cute touch rather than a sad sign of childishness. In spite of that, seeing his stuffed animal every day bothered me. Why did he get to be a spoiled brat and get away with it?

            Our week at camp flashed by faster than a wary rabbit. For once, it seemed my little brother’s bratty ways had not ruined my life. As we packed up to go home, though, his high-pitch squeaky voice dashed that possibility.

            “Where’s Empanada?”

            “What?” I couldn’t believe he was spending all his time searching for a dumb toy when he still had a sleeping bag to roll up and toiletries to put away. But Tommy just had to know where that stuffed dog had gone as if it could have walked off on its own. He started accusing everyone with a face of stealing his stuffed critter. It’s a good thing our cabin didn’t have a clock on its walls.

            Camp Counselor Carter noticed my brother’s dilemma and asked me to assist in the search. Groaning, I stomped after my brother all over the grounds in search of his bean-filled toy. Why it should have been at the Ultimate Frisbee field, I could not guess, but Tommy insisted on searching every inch of Camp Wallop. Every time we determined that Empanada was not in one place, I noticed tears pouring out of my brother like a broken fire hydrant. I rubbed my forehead and felt like snorting fire, flabbergasted at Tommy’s attachment to the stupid dog. He doesn’t even like dogs in real life! He screams like a prissy girl every time one comes close.

            After spending my last hours of summer camp scouring Camp Wallop for a toy I didn’t care about, it was time to board the bus and head home. The entire trip home, I could see my brother weeping with his head resting limp against the bus’s window. I sat several rows away, hoping the distance would allow me to save face. Or at least as much face as I had left to save.

            Once the bus pulled up to the drop-off location, my parents were waiting for us, excitement wrinkling the edges of their smiles. I told them about how much I had missed them. That’s the sort of thing you’re supposed to say at a reunion, right? But you can probably guess what my brother did.

            Tommy sobbed as he greeted my dad with, “Empanada’s gone!”

            That statement startled dad. The whole way home, he disclosed his disappointment with my brother’s carelessness and selfish attitude. For once, I thought my bratty brother would get what he deserved. But then my dad asked why I had not been watching after my little brother. Sitting down was painful for a whole month. I gnashed my teeth, unable to fathom how Tommy had once again ruined everything.

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