“Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply.” ~ Jayne Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814


Definition of BROTHER – Webster’s Dictionary
1. a male who has the same parents as another or one parent in common with another

Definition of SISTER – Webster’s Dictionary
1. a girl or woman who has one or both of the same parents as you


Even though it was windy and rainy, the night was going great for Marie. She actually had the house to herself, which she decided to commemorate by drinking red wine, eating Nutella straight out of the jar, and watching You Tube videos on her Ipad. She was staring intently at a shirtless Adam Levine lip syncing to “Moves Like Jagger” when her phone rang. She glanced away from the screen at her caller ID. “AMY” blinked furiously.

Marie sighed and put Adam on pause. It was 7:38 in Seattle, so it was well into the Boston cocktail hour. She thought about turning the phone off, but knew she would be obsessed all night that a relative had died. She decided to give her OCD the night off and answer the phone.

“Hey Amy, what’s up?” she asked. “Had a good martini lately? Or three? Just kidding.”

“Do you always have to be sarcastic,” Amy asked. “Are you this way with everyone, or do you just save it for family members?”

“Depends on who’s calling me,” Marie responded, putting down her Nutella spoon and pouring herself another glass of wine. “I can be nice if I want something from the caller. Just kidding.”

Marie paused. Amy was silent on her end. Marie took a deep breath and decided that Amy could be the one little thorn in her perfect evening’s side.

“So Amy,” she said “what’s going on. What have I done this time?”


THE BOOK OF GENESIS – A biblical overview of sibling relationships.

1. In the Garden of Eden, Cain believes God favors Abel. Therefore Cain kills Abel. “Where is Cain,” asks Adam. “I am not my brother’s keeper” Cain replies. Garden of Eden residents now find Cain repulsive. Shortly thereafter, Cain moves away from his family.

2. Jacob is the quiet younger brother with smooth skin. First born Esau is loud and hairy, but is possessor of the family inheritance. Their father Isaac is nearly blind. Jacob wants what Esau has. Naturally Jacob dresses himself in Esau’s clothes and animal skins to trick sightless Isaac into granting him Esau’s birthright. When Esau threatens to kill him for this, Jacob moves away from his family.

3. Joseph was the youngest of several brothers and the most favored; to show him this, his father Israel made him a coat of many colors. That coat was the last straw for his brothers. His brothers sold Joseph into slavery. The other alternative was murder, which seemed harsh only to brother Judah. Joseph was forcibly relocated away from his family.


“You haven’t done anything, Marie,” Amy replied. “I need you to do me a favor. I need you to come out to Boston for a week and watch the kids.”

“R rated Auntie Marie? Watching the kids,” Marie laughed. “And wait a minute. Last week you texted “You are a cunt” to me twice when I was at work. I thought I was on everyone’s hate list. You told Sue that you, Angela, and John can’t stand being around me.”

“Sue told you that?” Amy said. “I told her not to tell you. What a bitch.”

“She told me when she came back from John and Cynthia’s wedding,” Marie said. “It was the first thing she told me. That, and that Cynthia looked fat in her wedding dress. Are they still married?”

“You know they are, it’s only been a month,” snapped Amy. “They’re really happy. They’re a great couple. Oh, and nice of you to send black tulips to your brother’s wedding. You’re funny Marie. Ha. Ha. Everyone got a real kick out of it.”

“I said I was sorry I couldn’t make it,” said Marie in a high, sing-song voice. “You know how much I love her and all her entitled relatives. So tell me – did she really look fat in her dress?”

“Listen Marie,” Amy said. “I need your help. Angela and her new husband are in Barcelona that week…”

“Oh Bar-the-one-a,” said Marie. “Well what do you know? Miss Junior California is now Mrs. Millionaire again. Parte Dos…”

“Angela’s sick of that Marie, quit it,” Amy said. “She can’t help it that all her husbands are well off. Look, I’m going somewhere, and I don’t want to leave the kids with Joey. Someone has to feed them and get them to school and….”

“Do you mean their dad Joey,” Marie interrupted. “Is that who you are talking about? Remember when you got married, you told me you were madly in love with him. And now you don’t want the girls to stay with him. Is it because he’s bankrupt? I get this feeling that it’s really hard for you, Angela, and John to love poor people. Do you guys secretly vote Republican? Just kidding.”

SHAKESPEARE: A family playwright

1. Hamlet: Hamlet’s father the king is killed by his brother Claudius. Claudius marries Gertrude, mother of Hamlet and ex-wife of the king. Hamlet’s father is so disgusted by brother Claudius that he returns from the dead to complain to Hamlet, an only child.

2. The Taming of the Shrew: Sisters Kate and Bianca Minola’s constant fights indicate they would never willingly or happily share a Padua villa.

3. Richard III: Richard’s disagreeable appearance and personality are exacerbated by sibling rivalry with his non-hunchbacked brother King Edmund. Mayhem, war, and murder ensue.


Marie poured herself another glass of wine. “So let’s change the subject,” she said. “How was Christmas? I saw everybody at the ski lodge bar on Facebook. Looked like fun.”

‘We invited you Marie,” Amy said. “We all wanted to you to come. But you refused. You always say you’re too busy, that your social schedule can’t be interrupted. Well, the girls really missed you. I saw them Tweeting you non-stop the entire time we were at the ski house. It pissed me off.”

Amy paused for a minute. “Actually Marie we all missed you at Christmas. Even Cynthia. She said she felt weird because nobody had made fun of her ski clothes.”

“Amy, Amy, Amy,” Marie said. “Be honest. If I don’t have fun with you guys and you don’t have fun with me, why should we torture each other during the holidays? Let’s just continue hassling each other via text.”

“Here’s why we should be together. Because we don’t have anyone else,” Amy said. “We only have each other now. You know that better than the rest of us.”

“Now I do agree with you there; I do think we had shit luck in the parent department,” Marie said. “Dad’s dead. Who knows where the hell Mom is? And frankly who cares. What did they ever give to any of us but huge psychiatric bills?”

“Well, at least they were both really good looking,” Amy laughed. “Look at all of us. We’re all good looking. Everybody we know says so.”

“Well thank God for the really important things Mom and Dad passed on to us,” Marie said. “How the hell else would you and Angela keep marrying rich husbands. Maybe we should hire a private detective to track Mom down, and send her a thank you card.” Marie snorted. “Look at me. I did the right thing and made my own money.”

“Don’t be mad at us because your downwardly mobile,” Amy said. “It’s not our fault you were too stupid to marry one of your fiances in LA. We all know your noble past; you put yourself through school, took John in when he was a teenager, made your own money, blah, blah, blah…”

“You’re right,” Marie said. “You, John and Angela are right. I’m an idiot.”


THE SOUND AND THE FURY: A Yoknapatawpha County study of sibling dysfunction – Wm. Faulkner

1. Caddie Compson – loves her retarded brother Benjie, loves her neurotic brother Quentin, tolerates her cry-baby youngest brother Jason. Gets her drawers dirty in the muddy river. Becomes a nyphomaniac, has illegitimate daughter. Marries a Nazi.

2. Quentin Compson – loves his tomboy sister Caddie a little bit too much, tolerates retarded brother Benjie, refuses to acknowledge little turd Jason. Gets ass kicked defending nymphomaniac Caddie’s honor to his Harvard buddies. Tries to explain said ass-kicking in really long letter. Kills himself over Caddie, ass-kicking, loss of family honor, and his broken watch.

3. Benjie Compson – loves his darling tomboy sister Caddie, not absolutely sure who neurotic Quentin is, dislikes horrid little Jason for teasing him, and loves his various babysitters and golf balls. Underestimates what an creep Jason is much to his detriment.

4. Jason Compson – hates all his siblings; whore sister Caddie, depressed suicidal brother Quentin, and embarrassing retarded brother Benjie. Only loves his mother; unable to recognize she is 100% the cause of family problems. Castrates Benjie because he is retarded. Burns Caddie’s letters to her illegitimate daughter. Plans on selling the family property and keeping all the proceeds for himself.


“Marie, can you shut up for just a minute?” Amy asked. “Just one minute so I can explain.”

“Go ahead, beautiful Amy,” Marie said. “Do tell.”

“You know that guy I’m seeing?” Amy said. “The guy from New York? I was telling you about him, remember.”

“After you told me about him, I googled him,” Marie said. “And you are correct, he is very famous. He’s also married. I told you that. I think that was the start of those infamous cunt texts…”

“You should talk, Marie,” Amy hissed. “You’re no angel. Remember? Me and Angela hauling you out of LA? Me and Angela helped you and I thought it was bullshit. John too. None of us are perfect. So what. We supported you in a lot of things we thought were crap.”

“So I watch the kids for a week,” Marie said. “And you manage to get him away from his wife. Is that the plan?”

“Yep.” Amy paused. “Will you do it? Come on, they aren’t happy anyway. They don’t live together. I love him. This is the one. All I want is to be in love, to be happy. Like you.”

Marie was quiet for a few minutes. “Will you leave me your Range Rover?”

“Yes,” Amy said. “Will you loan me Grandma’s mink?”

“Yes,” Marie said. “Can I take the kids to Salem witchcraft museum?”

“Yes,” Amy said. “Are you going to go for lessons? Brush up on your spells.”

“Fuck you, Amy.”

“Get your plane reservation, Marie. Good night.”

Marie turned her phone off. If anyone died tonight it would be too bad. She grabbed her Nutella jar from the nightstand, and rooted around in her bed for the spoon. She looked out the window. It was still windy and rainy. She took a drink of wine, and pushed play on her Ipad.


About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on February 25, 2014, in Fiction, Seattle, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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