True Story by Lowell
It was a mild Autumn day and the leaves were falling. Great piles of leaves dotted my front lawn where I had raked them so Brady (my next door neighbor) and me could run and jump into them.
"I get to go first," I said, leaning on the rake (which was taller than me).
"Why?" You always get to do things first," Brady complained. He was two years younger than me and a lot shorter.
"Because I'm older than you," I said.
"So?" he replied.
"Plus I'm the one who raked all of the leaves."
"It was my idea though." He crossed his arms.
"Okay. Here's the deal. We will go to the big tree and race to the pile of leaves--whoever gets there first gets to jump first."
"No," he shook his head.
"Why not?" I asked him.
"Because you can run faster than me."
I liked to hear him say this.
"What?" I said, pretending I didn't hear him the first time.
"It's not fair," he shouted, waving his arms around.
I grinned at him.
He stuck out his lower lip, spun around, and ran for the closest pile of leaves.
"Wait!" I yelled, dropping the rake.
"Ha!" he laughed over his shoulder and he kept running.
He dove head first into the biggest pile of leaves while I was trying to catch him.
He sat up with big leaves stuck all in his hair. His eyes sparkled with mischief.
"I won!" he gloated, "I went first!"
I frowned at him and tried to think of something to say.
"Atchoo!" he sneezed.
I started grinning.
"ATCHOO!" he sneezed louder while he started trying to get up.
"What's the matter?" I asked innocently.
He rubbed at his nose. "Allergies." He sniffed and sneezed again.
I smiled at him.
"It's not funny." His eyes were watering as he fought back another sneeze.
"It is to me," I laughed.
"I'm going home," he pouted.
"Okay," I shrugged like I didn't care one way or the other.
He brushed at the leaves that stuck to his hair and clothes. I could tell he didn't really want to go home yet. I hoped he would stay and play for a while.
"I'm sorry for going first," he said after a minute.
"That's okay. I'm sorry you are sneezing." I tried not to grin.
"Want to play whatzit?" he asked, smiling.
Whatzit was our favorite Autumn game. We would lie down on the sloping hill beside the big tree and watch the clouds as they floated overhead. One of us would point at a cloud and say whatzit--the other one had to say what the cloud looked like before you could count to five.
"Sure," I agreed.
We laid down and folded our hands behind our heads.
"Whatzit?" he said, pointing at a small cloud, and then he began counting out loud.
"A snowman," I said.
He wrinkled his nose. "Where?"
"Right there!" I pointed.
"I see a duck."
"It's a snowman," I corrected him.
"No. I see a duck," he said while pointing up at the sky.
I looked up and sure enough, there was a duck flying overhead.
"Silly duck," he muttered.
"Why is he silly?" I asked.
"He is flying north."
I wasn't sure why that mattered so I bit my lip and hummed a sound that could mean anything.
"Ducks are supposed to fly south for the Winter," he said.
Well, that was news to me, but I didn't want to look dumb, so I hummed again.
"Know why?" he asked.
He did that all the time. About the time I was learning something from him, he would go and ask a question that made me look dumb.
"Yeah, but you don't," I answered smugly.
"Yes I do!" he yelped.
"Then tell me," I said with a mocking laugh.
He eyed me. "I don't think you know," he said.
"Well, I'm ten and you are eight. If you think there is something that you think you know that I don't then why don't you just say so and I will prove it to you that you are wrong because you aren't old enough to know everything I know," I blabbered.
"I said I don't think you know why ducks fly south for the Winter."
I hated it when he did that.
"Don't change the subject," I glowered at him.
"You are changing the subject!" he shouted with frustration.
"What are we doing here?" I asked, pointing at the hillside.
"Playin' whatzit," he answered.
"Then why are you trying to be mister know-it-all and talking about other stuff?"
He patted his chin and grinned. "I won again didn't I? He smirked at me.
I grabbed for him--but he had a head start. He ran home shouting insults at me all the way.
The next day my mom sent me to the store to get some bread. I rode my bike. The store was only about four blocks away. I rode slowly along the road--and when I turned the corner, I saw Brady squatting down catching crawdads from some water in a deep ditch. The ditch was about four feet deep and the water filled it up about half way. I rode as quietly as possible toward him. Just as I came alongside him, he looked over his shoulder at me.
"Watch out!" I yelled, as I put one foot on his back and pushed him off into the shallow water.
I glanced back at him and saw him standing up with water and mud all over him.
"Oops!" I yelled, laughing.
He put his hands on his hips and made a face at me.
He got me back...but that's another story.
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