by Robert Clifton Storey Jr
Alcatraz! They’re sending me to Alcatraz!
Miley stared at her sentence as they approached it. The Martin’s cabin. It was a little shack of a cabin perched precariously on a humongous boulder. And the boulder was all by itself plumb in the middle of the lake. One hundred miles from shore.
Well, maybe not a hundred miles…but too far for me to swim to it.
With each stroke of his paddle, her older brother brought her closer and closer to her doom. She put her head in her hands and frowned. Her shoulders were slumped, her body was slumped, her whole world was slumped.
“Stop pouting. You did it to yourself, Little Sis.”
“It wasn’t my fault. It was his.”
Her brother stopped paddling and stared at her.
“You’re not going to use that excuse on me too, are you?”
He shook his head and continued paddling the little canoe.
“Your crazy. It’s fake. He’s all in your head,” said her brother, as he tapped the side of his head. “I wasn’t too sure about this when Mom and Dad came up with this scheme. But now I think maybe you do deserve it.”
“No computer. No phone. Not even my notebook. What am I suppose to do there? I will die, you know it’s true,” lamented Miley. “You and Mom and Dad are all going to go to jail for this. You’ll see. You’ll be sorry then.”
Her brother laughed.
“You’re not going to die, Miley. You’re just too dramatic for your own good.”
“I’m supposed to be dramatic. It’s what I do.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t be. That’s what got you into this mess.”
“He did it. He got me to—”
“Well, he did.”
“You crashed Mom’s car. First, you stole it, then you crashed it.”
“It was just a bump,” Miley assured him.
“Just a Bump? The rear fender is almost completely off.”
“I don’t back up so well, that’s all. In forward, I’m the best. Better than you even.”
“You’re twelve. You’re not better than anyone. I’ve been driving for over a year. And I’m not even good.”
“No, you’re not. But now I know how it works. How a car works. And now he knows too.”
“I hope it was worth all this,” said her brother. Her brother stopped paddling. It was quiet as the two of them glided across the calm lake. “I’ll save you a s’more.”
“I should be in my tent with my phone and my computer and my notebook. Not stuck out here watching you guys have a bonfire with hamburgers and hotdogs and corn on the cob without me,” complained Miley. “It’s going to be dark and spooky out here.”
“You can see us at the campsite on the shore. We’re like only two minutes away.”
“What if I get eaten by a lake monster?” Asked Miley. It was a serious question. She watched an old, old, old movie once with Dad where a creature thing came right up out of the lake or lagoon or something. She thought it was hokey back then. But now, not so much.
The tiny boat bumped up against the giant rock that was the cabin’s foundation. “We’re here.”
She felt tears welling up in her eyes.
It had been worth it. It had been, she insisted to herself.
“Won’t you stay with me…at least for a while?”
He pause before nodding that he would. He was a good brother. The best really. Even if he didn’t drive so well.
“Here, your backpack that Mom packed for you,” said her brother. “I think there’s a flashlight, some snacks, a bottle of water in there.”
She nearly ripped the zipper in her haste to open the bag. Hurriedly, she rummaged through its contents. It was just a long flashlight, a bag of chips, a peanut butter sandwich in a plastic container, two snack cakes, and an apple.
“No phone. No computer. No notebook. It’s a barbaric life here. And I have only a flashlight to see by.”
“Don’t be silly. Mr Martin said the power is working, and there’s food in their little fridge. And Amy said there’s no TV or internet, but there’s puzzles and stuff.”
“You like her, don’t you?”
Her brother’s cheeks and neck were suddenly colored with red blotches.
“No. She’s just…a friend.”
“It’s just me and you out here. You can tell me. I won’t tell.”
“Ok. Maybe a little,” admitted her brother.
“See, I have a nose for these things.”
“You’re just twelve, what do you know?”
“Miss Jane knows.”
He rolled his eyes. “Let me tie up the canoe, and we’ll go inside. I can’t stay long.”
Miley looked up at the little shack of a cabin and donned her backpack, but as she was about to step up onto its boulder foundation, her brother put his hand on her arm to stop her.
“I brought you something,” he said, and from the pocket of his jacket, he pulled out a notebook and a pen. “Here. I know you’re not supposed to—”
“My notebook! My notebook!” she squealed. She grabbed it from his hand, held it close to her heart, and hugged it.
“I knew you would die without it.”
He laughed. He was about to step onto the boulder when it was she who stopped him this time.
“I don’t need you to stay.”
He looked at her with skepticism in this eyes.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I have all I need now. I have all my friends with me now. And he and I can talk about driving. I can’t wait for that.”
“You know he ain’t real. Jack Skillman, super spy, race car driver, and your Miss Jane’s boyfriend isn’t a real person. You just made him up.”
Miley looked at her notebook and patted it gently.
“Don’t worry, he doesn’t mean that,” she whispered to the notebook. He was a good brother, but he had a lot to learn about who is real and who is not.
“You really are crazy, Little Sis.”
She kissed her brother on the cheek and jumped up onto the boulder to serve out her sentence. She turned to her brother who was pushing off to head back to shore and said, “It was his fault, you know. Tell Mom. Tell her he had to know exactly how to drive a car to be a proper race car driver. ”