My brother sits in the front row grinning like a Cheshire cat. God, how I hate him at this moment. He is waiting for me to do it, embarrass myself in front of the entire congregation. That won't be anything compared to the punishment my parents will give me after I do this.
It all started out as a stupid dare. Randy is four years older than me. He's fifteen, and I'm only eleven. We play a game where we dare each other to do something. Once the dare is made, there is no chickening out. Last week, we made a dare. He did his. Now, it's my turn.
We were in our bedroom. He was lying in the lower bunk while I was sitting across the room working on a homework assignment. I had just gotten back from rehearsal at the church. Our Sunday school class was going to perform a play in one week. It was a play we had written with the help of our Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Jefferson. She thought it was so good that she had convinced Pastor Orwell to let us perform it before the entire congregation. In the play, four farm children were going to try to convince God to deliver rain to our crops because of a severe drought. Each of us had a part in which we were to tell God what was important to make things grow. I was given the part of Rain. Horace was Sunshine, Emily was Wind and Joseph was Air. The others in the class were responsible for drawing pictures that they would hold up as we acted out our parts. I was anxious to perform because we had spent a lot of time on the play, and we all thought it was good.
Playing the part of Rain, I was to tell how rain makes the crops grow. Without rain, everything would die. Jill, one of the other members of our Sunday school class, would then walk onstage and water me without my shirt on with a garden watering can. I thought it would be fun to get wet onstage with everyone watching.
Then, I had to make that stupid dare with Randy.
Suddenly, Randy jumped from the bed and walked over to me. "Watcha doing, Gavin?"
"I'm doing homework," I informed him. I was completing some math problems that Mr. Hardaway had assigned.
"I'm bored," announced Randy. "Let's go outside and do something."
"Naw," I replied. "I'm tired from rehearsing at the church. Besides, I have to finish this assignment."
"Come on, Gavin," whined my older brother. "It's almost dark out, and we can shoot some basketball before it gets dark." He walked over to his bed, sat down and stared sadly at me.
Okay, I love my brother. Most brothers fight all the time, but not me and Randy. We're each other's best friend. We do almost everything together. He's not even embarrassed to take me along with his friends when they go fishing down at the pond.
I turned in my chair and said, "Alright." Randy's face lit up when I agreed to go outside with him. We stopped by the kitchen to get some sodas before heading outside.
Mother hollered out, "It's going to be dark soon. Don't go running off somewhere." I laughed when Randy rolled his eyes.
We shot baskets for a while until Randy became bored again. "Let's do something else," he suggested.
I asked, "Like what?"
I knew I was in trouble when a mischievous grin appeared on his face. "Let's do a dare," he suggested.
I looked around for something I could dare him to do. After playing the game for two years, we had run out of dares. Most were simple dares, like standing on your head or trying to balance yourself on one foot for a minute. "Okay," I said. "I dare you to shimmy up the basketball pole and touch the basket."
A disappointed look appeared on his face. "Come on, Gavin. You made that dare last week. Think of something different that we haven't done before."
I started to whine. "I can't think of anything. We've made every dare I can think of."
"Well," he huffed, "There has to be something you can dare me to do that I haven't done." He pulled his tee shirt over his head and wiped the sweat from his face with it. I looked at his muscular chest and wondered if I would ever get as big as him. Suddenly, I had an idea.
He gave me a puzzled look when I started grinning broadly. "I know that look," he laughed as he looked down and saw me smiling. "This should be good. What's the dare?"
I was really afraid if I should dare him to do it. If he did, then I didn't know what he might make me do that would match my dare. We had made some outrageous dares in the past, but this would surely top them all. It was also entering a new level of competition I wasn't sure I was ready for. I knew that Randy would have no problem doing it. He loved new challenges.
"I can't do it," I said as I turned and started to head into the house.
"Yes, you can, Gavin," replied Randy excitedly as he jumped in front of me. "What's the dare?"
It was now dark outside, so I knew that the risk of getting caught wouldn't be as great. I looked into the expectant eyes of my big brother and let out a sigh. "Okay," I said. "But you don't have to do the dare if you don't want to."
"No, Little Brother," he laughed. "Once you say the dare, it can't be taken back."
I looked up at him and grinned, "You sure?" He nodded his head.
I took a deep breath and said, "I dare you to streak down to the Fletcher house and back?"
His eyes widened. "No shit?" he asked. "You want me to run naked? What if I get caught?"
"See," I replied dejectedly. "I knew you didn't want to do it. Just forget it, okay?"
"Oh, no," he said. "You made the dare, and I have to do it." I followed him as he walked around behind the garage. I watched as he took off his shoes, and then pulled his shorts and underwear off. I could tell from his smile, he was enjoying the dare. He peeked around the garage and looked into the kitchen window to make sure our mother wasn't looking out.
"If I get caught," he warned, "I'm going to kick your ass." He then tore off down the driveway. I ran to the edge of the sidewalk and watched as he ran naked down the street cupping his hand in front of him. I sat down and roared with laughter. I couldn't believe he had actually done the dare. A minute later, he came running back, rushed behind the garage and fell breathless to the ground.
"God that was fun," he laughed as his chest heaved from the excitement. "I can't believe I did that."
We both jumped when my father opened the backdoor and hollered out, "Randy! Gavin! Get your asses in here. Now!"
Randy looked worriedly over at me. "Shit," he hissed. "I think Dad saw me."
Do you know how embarrassing it is to tell your dad why you were running naked down the street? I felt really sorry for Randy. I was happy, though, that he didn't tell him about the dare. It was our little secret, and he didn't attempt to get me in any trouble. Dad was mad at first, but he ended up laughing about it. He told us about the time he and five of his friends did the same thing. Only they streaked during a football game in high school wearing masks.
Randy still got punished. Dad took his cell phone for a week, and he has to clean out the garage. Naturally, I was recruited to help him.
As we were getting ready for bed that night, Randy gave me a wicked look. After Dad had caught my brother, I had forgotten that I wasn't challenged with a dare. I knew by the devilish look in his eye, he had something bad in store for me.
And I was right. The dare couldn't be any worse. But a dare is a dare, and I can't chicken out. So, I'm standing here in front of the congregation while Randy looks up at me with a stupid grin plastered to his face. If I survive this, I swear I'll get even with him.
We're half way through the play, and everyone seems to be enjoying it. My big moment is coming when I'm supposed to explain how God makes it rain to help things grow. Jill is standing off to the side with the garden watering can.
I stand nervously before the sixty people who have gathered to watch us perform. Most are parents, and Mom and Dad are sitting two rows back smiling up at me. I look down at Randy, and he mouths, "Do it now."
I give my monologue about how rain makes things grow. I then turn and open up my shorts. I hold my breath while I turn back to the audience and let my shorts drop to the ground.
"See," I say nervously as everyone gasps. "Rain makes everything grow."
I look down at Randy, and he is laughing so hard he falls out of his seat.
This story is part of the 2016 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The challenge period of 20 February 2016 to 14 March 2016 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.
The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:
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