Ikle Bits - 4. Sold
A short story inspired by Writing Prompt 148 - Cue first line, "How the hell did you think this would be a good idea?"
“How in the hell did you think that would be a good idea?”
“Oh for heavens sakes Adam, they did it to Joseph in the bible!”
I stared at my brother flabbergasted. “Dude, are you for real? Hell Luke, they didn’t have laws against….. kidnap and….. slavery, and god knows what other laws you have probably broken with this stunt back in those days. What on earth were you thinking?”
“Oh you so know you would have done it if you’d had the balls Adam,” Luke remonstrated.
“I might have thought it Luke, but I’d never go and bloody do it,” I cried, exasperated.
We stood looking at each other for a moment, before I ran my hands through my hair in a frustrated motion and sighed.
Luke just looked down and kicked at the dust.
“Well he’s gone now, and I’m not even sure we could get him back!”
“How the hell did you find these people dude?” I asked, turning to look out the door.
“Um, well, a guy at school kind of pointed me in their direction.”
“You’ve been talking with people at school about this?” I asked.
“Well yeah I guess so,” Luke responded, still kicking distractedly at the floor.
“Jeesh, you’d have thought you’d have had a bit more sense than to talk to the whole world about it Luke,” I muttered.
“Ah hell Adam, get off my back would you? I’ve had enough pandering to his every beck and call, having to stop doing the things I enjoy to make sure he’s taken care of. Hell man I just found a way of dealing with it, ok?”
“I’m not sure I’d call this dealing with it Luke. Dad’s going to kill you!”
“Yeah well dad loved him more than he loved any of us anyway. Maybe now he’ll realise it’s about time to spend some time with real people!”
“Don’t be so selfish Luke, it’s not cool!” I chastised my brother.
“Selfish? Where do you get off Adam? We’ve been looking after him since we were old enough to walk for heavens sake!”
“Yeah, I know dude. It’s not easy, but this? Heck this is just a little too far man.” I shook my head in worry and began to pace the floor. My tension filtered through to my brother who began to do the same.
“Well I never wanted him, and maybe dad should have looked after him more himself if he was so special to him. I mean its not as if he ever did anything for me, so why does it become my responsibility to always be the one to look after him, clean up after him, feed him….”
“All right, all right. Ranting like this isn’t going to answer the problem Luke,” I said. “Let’s think about this rationally and see what we can come up with.”
Luke nodded, stopping in his stride to look at me, a pleading cry for help in his big brown eyes. I smirked to myself. He was only seventeen, but he sure knew how to cause a fire storm.
“Ok start at the beginning. How did you set this all up Luke?” I asked.
“Well I was moaning to Karl at school the other day, and he told me he might know someone who would be interested in taking him off my hands for a little dosh. So I told Karl to look into it, and next thing I’m chatting to this bloke on Skype, he’s asking all the details, his age, height, weight, you know, so I fill him in and he offers me five hundred smackers for him no questions asked.”
“You sold him for five hundred quid?” I asked completely astonished.
Luke nodded, driving his hands into his pockets and hanging his head in shame. I felt sorry for him; it hadn’t been easy for Luke. Zeb was a handful, and Luke struggled to keep him in line and stay on top of things. Dad was always on his case for allowing Zeb to get into mischief. In some ways I could see his desperation.
Still, I am not sure that selling Zebadiah to some rogue was Luke’s wisest plan, regardless of what they did to Joseph in the bible. Giving dad’s prize horse to some crafty trader would not go down well, especially when you consider that dad thinks more of his horse than he does of his family.
“I think I’m beginning to realise I’ve made a bit of a blunder bro,” Luke said looking up at me.
“You think?” I asked, shaking my head slowly.
“Oh god, what am I going to do now? Dad’s going to kill me.”
“I just said that,” I confirmed.
“I’ve been a fool!” he said.
“I just said that too.”
“Oh stop being a wise ass Adam!” Luke whined. “What am I going to do?”
“Pack a bag,” I muttered.
Luke balked. “What? Run away? Leave home? Are you Serious?” His mouth hung open and terror danced across his eyes. “I can’t leave home, I’ve got no money!”
“On the contrary Luke, you’ve got five hundred quid,” I reminded him.
“Adam, shut up!” Luke said emphatically. “I want your help not your wise cracks.”
“You go off shooting from the hip without thinking and then have a go at me?” I retorted. “No point tying your knickers in a knot Luke, we need to think this out and come up with a plan.”
“Argh,” Luke groaned in frustration, slapping his thighs as he sat on a half barrel. He rubbed his hands across his face as he looked blankly out the door towards the farmhouse.
“Did you get a receipt from this stranger?” I asked.
“No,” he sighed.
“How did he take Zeb?” I asked.
“In a van with a box,” he replied.
“Ok, did you get a name or a licence plate?”
Luke pursed his lips in a tight line and shook his head.
“Urgh,” I muttered in frustration, leaning back against a hay bail as I folded my arms to think.
“I’ve still got him on Skype,” Luke said quietly.
“Fat lot of good that’s going to do Luke, he may not sign in again for weeks.”
Luke suddenly became very animated, jumping up while gesticulating with his hands. “No, no. You don’t understand. His Skype account is linked to his mobile phone. It’s on all the time.”
“So he’s got a Skype phone?” I asked, seeking clarification.
“Well I’m not sure it’s a Skype phone, but he’s got Skype on his phone. I know because I heard his phone beeping while we were loading Zeb.”
“So we can call him up via Skype on his phone, right?”
“Exactly,” Luke nodded excitedly.
“Well that’s easy then, we’ll call him up and I’ll tell him you didn’t have the authority to sell the horse and he’d better bring it back before I call the police.” I smiled.
“Oh thank god,” Luke breathed. “You are amazing bro.” He rushed over and enveloped me in a bear hug that rapidly squeezed the air from my lungs.
“Luke, let go of me,” I gasped. “Let’s get up to the house and get calling before we get too carried away, we haven’t got Zeb back yet.”
“Right ok, yes let’s go,” Luke agreed.
Together we left the barn, rushing towards the main house, a plan in mind at least. I couldn’t let Luke down, dad would skin him alive, and as mad as this hair brained scheme of his was, I just wouldn’t stand by and see some conniving toe rag land my brother in hot soup. My mind made up, it was time to go play some hard ball.
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