By Matthew S. Rotundo
Read by: Dave Thompson
First appeared in Cosmos
Host: Norm Sherman
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All stories by Matthew S. Rotundo
All stories read by Dave Thompson
Rated PG: For a wee bit of swearing, sibling rivalry, and parents who don’t appreciate a smart son.
- Feedback for Episode 255: Variations on a Theme.
- It’s our first full-text story! Read OR listen to it! We’ll have the epub version ready for download in the next few days.
- Next week… Halloween episode!
The third quarter report cards came out Thursday, and for Jamie, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The Nike man was coming over that night to sell his brother some new blood.
He took his time walking home from Gilder Middle School, weaving past cracks in the sidewalk and mud puddles left behind by the spring thaw. His pace slowed further as he turned onto Willow Avenue and saw his house, second on the left, a red brick ranch with spidery ivy growing up the east side. Old leaves, fallen tree branches, and other detritus left over from the winter littered the front yard. As he neared, he noted with dismay his father’s car already in the driveway.
“Damn.” Jamie trudged across the yard and let himself in the front door with his keycard.
Dad was at the hall closet, hanging up his overcoat. He stood just under two meters tall; a navy blue business suit wrapped his muscled frame. He beamed when he saw Jamie. “Hey there, kiddo. How was school today?”
“You’re home early,” Jamie said.
“Need to get ready for the presentation tonight. And I’d like you to clean up the front yard. Make sure you use the dirt rake to get up that thatch. Will you do that for me?”
Jamie opened his mouth to protest, but thought the better of it. “Sure,” he said. He unslung his backpack and headed for the stairs.
“Oh. By the way.” Dad fished in a suit pocket and produced a folded piece of paper. “I got this in my email today.” He opened the paper.
Jaime recognized the school’s letterhead on the printout. He slumped, leaning against the wall.
Dad tapped the paper. “What’s this C-plus in Basic Fitness about, kiddo?”