In my anger, I drove aimlessly for quite some time. All I knew was that I wanted to get the fuck away from Moonlight Falls and my stupid asshole of a brother, Carter. After awhile, I realized that I needed to either turn around and head back or decide where I ultimately wanted to go.
I recognized, vaguely, that I was heading in the general direction of Twinbrook. I’d never been there, but it was where my mom was from. Most of her family still lives there. They’ve been living there for ages. Thinking of my mom and dad, I realized that I didn’t really want to leave them. They were getting up in years. I wouldn’t have that long to be with them anyway.
But I couldn’t go back home. Maybe, I thought, being with my extended family in Twinbrook would help me achieve distance from my brother, but remain in contact with my parents.
I know it is illegal, but I called my cousins in Twinbrook from my car. JR and Sophie still live in Uncle Chris’ house. Neither are married. I asked if it would be ok to stay with them until I figured out what I wanted to do.
“Sure,” JR said. He’s the one who greeted me when I arrived.
“Thanks for letting me stay here, man,” I told him. He is significantly older than me and I didn’t know him very well. But family is family and JR told me that his house is always open to family.
When I approached Sophie (who had become an athlete, like our Aunt Sarah), she also told me I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted or needed.
“Just make sure you call your folks to let them know where you are,” she said. “Aunt Natasha will worry about you even if you are a grown man.”
“That’s true,” I agreed. “Thanks again, Sophie. I appreciate it.”
I called Adam first and then mom and dad. I didn’t want Adam to worry either. He was the one who saw me drive away so angrily.
“I’m glad you made it to Twinbrook, dude.”
“I talked to Carter.” Adam paused to see if I wanted to hear Carter’s excuse for kissing my girlfriend. I decided that I didn’t.
“I don’t want to hear his excuses, Adam. Fuck Carter. He just better stay away from her, or I’ll come back and beat him up again.”
“Dude, calm down. He’s not dating Marissa. And she’s not your girlfriend anymore!”
“I don’t care. It’s against the Bro Code to kiss her anyway. Carter violated The Code.”
“You’re full of shit, Ferris. I’ll talk to you when you come back. You are going to come back, right?”
I swallowed. “I don’t know.”
After a week of staying with my cousins, I decided not to go back to Moonlight Falls. I had plans to start my own business. I’d been dabbling at my work bench for years making this and that. I figured I could make and sell things to local shops.
Mom and Dad recognized that I needed to go out on my own, so they gave me the settlement I was supposed to get on my 25th birthday a little early.
“Since you aren’t going to go back to college, we suppose you will need some start up money,” Mom told me. “I know what it’s like to start out in a new place. At least you will have some capital to begin with. We’ve been investing it for you and your brothers for years.”
With the money mom sent, I decided to purchase an old, run-down piece of property that sits on a hill overlooking all of Twinbrook. Mom might not have approved of this decision. The place was pretty derelict. The person you lived there prior to me was considered crazy by the locals. His house was more of a barn on stilts. It had a broken wall with a door to nowhere standing on it. The lot had also been in a fire previously and the old owner had never cleared out the mess or replaced the landscape.
The realtor who showed me the property said the best thing about the property was that it had it’s own lake and stream “with some decent fishing.” Since I’d grown up right next to the ocean, the fishing appealed to me. And I liked the look of the old place. I figured I could fix it up.
I cleaned up the outside of the place first. Then I took some seeds mom sent me and planted a little garden. I didn’t want to have to drive into town ever time I needed fresh produce. It was better to grow my own. Besides, Mom told me that her ancestors had their own farm in Twinbrook at one time. I liked the idea of making a connection to the town that way.
I did some renovation to the over all structure of the house as well, but I decided to keep it looking like an old barn on stilts. I liked the idea of the surprise people would get upon entering the building. They’d be expecting a barn-like interior. But I had something more modern planned.
Modernization would take time, though. And money. At first I ended up keeping the old furnishings in the house and making due with what I had. The biggest thing I missed was a bed, but sleeping on the floor with only a lantern for light gave me motivation to keep working and earn money with my inventions.
The house came with a workroom and an old work bench. I fixed it up a bit and used it to help me keep up with the costs of owning and renovating such a large place.
Eventually, I wanted to gut the whole insides, but until I could afford it, I used my handiness skills to keep the old appliances running. I did have to spend a little money on some cheap furniture. It wasn’t much. The most expensive thing I owned was a console for playing games online with my brother Adam and my cousins. I know I didn’t need it, but a guy has to let loose occasionally.
The other thing I occasionally indulged in was pizza. I was lucky to find a place that actually delivered way up the hill where I lived. The drivers hated coming up there.
“I heard this place was haunted, Dude,” the first one said to me. “No one wanted to come, so we Rock, Scissor, Papered it.”
“Sorry to make you drive up so far. I tip pretty well.”
“Dude! Thanks, dude!”
“No problem. I haven’t seen any ghosts since I’ve been here. But you can keep telling the others that it’s haunted if you want.”
Since I’d given him like a 30% tip, I figured the reputation of my house would continue to grow.
At first my business to sell the widgets, toys and inventions I had developed only attained modest success in Twinbrook.
“People just aren’t looking for these types of gadgets and gizmos,” Pablo Martinez, the owner of the consignment shop told me.
Then I hit on something the people of Twinbrook did want. It was an improvement on an invention my brother Adam and I developed back in Moonlight Falls. It was a floor hygenator. Basically, it was like an air conditioning unit and air-freshener all rolled into one. The improved model had three scents: Air Freshly Fresh, Scientific Electrification, and Fruity Potpourri. I had the prototype in my living room to cut the smell of the stream that ran next to and under my house. I sold a few to Pablo, who immediately asked me to make 10 more.
“Ten!” I exclaimed when I called me. “When do you need them?”
“I need them by next Monday. The guy who wants them says he’ll pay double if you can make them that fast.”
I was flabbergasted. It was such a small invention. Who knew it would be in such demand? Pablo asked me to come into the shop to discuss how he could help me market and sell them on the internet. “The demand will outstrip the supply, son,” he told me excitedly. “It will make us…I mean you…rich!”
Pablo was right. The Improved Hygenator did make me quite a profit. I did a lot more renovations to the house and upgraded my shop. I still had no bed, but I didn’t sleep much anyway. I was so busy working, I barely remembered to eat!
Then, a few months after the success of the Hygenator, something terrible happened! I got a call from Adam.
“Ferris!” his voice cracked as his said my name. I heard him sniffle.
“Adam, what’s wrong?”
“It’s m…Mom, Fer. She’s…she’s dead.”
I gasped and felt tears fill my eyes. “No! What happened? How is Dad taking it? Was she sick? Did she suffer?”
“Dad seems to be in shock,” Adam said. “I would have called you if Mom was sick. She was never sick. But the other day she was doing some of her alchemy. I don’t know what she was making. She just collapsed.”
“Oh no! Who found her? How long was she there?”
“I found her. I don’t think she was there too long. I was working at the work bench and I heard a sound. I knew mom was out there. I didn’t know what the sound was, but something told me I should check. She was already dead when I got there, Fer. I can’t believe it! Mom’s gone!”
Both of us cried on the phone. I hated that I was so far away. Finally, when I could manage it, I said, “I’ll head out right now, Adam. I’ll be there in a few hours.”
I arrived in Moonlight Falls at dusk. It was a full moon, so we weren’t able to stay out too long. All of us guys went out to the spot where mom had died. Adam told me that they said she had a heart attack.
We all cried. Dad said something about her dying during a full moon being fitting. He said she’d been born on a full moon, too. I had no idea.
During Mom’s funeral, Carter and I were civil to each other. I still wouldn’t listen to his excuses about Marissa. Both he and Adam told me that they hadn’t been on a date and that he hadn’t been really kissing her like a boyfriend.
“She’d just broken it off with some college dip-wad and wanted some comfort,” Carter told me.
“I don’t give a shit. She was my girlfriend!”
Before we could get into a fresh fight about it, Adam told us to cool down. “Mom just died! Can you guys try and get along for the next few days?! Don’t fight or you’ll upset Dad!”
Dad wasn’t doing very well. He cried throughout Mom’s funeral. Carter held him and let him weep. I can’t remember ever seeing my dad cry. When he wasn’t crying, he sat on the porch where he and mom always used to sit and talk. He slept a lot in that chair. When we told him to go in because it was cold, he told us that it was the place where he felt Mom’s spirit the most.
I knew I should go back to Twinbrook with my Aunt and cousins, but it was hard to leave my brothers and my dad all alone without mom. I knew I should get back to work, too, but even that wasn’t as important to me.
I stayed an extra week. At the end of it, Dad wasn’t moping quite as badly. He said it was good to see the three of us together again. “Mom would have liked that.”
I knew she would have, but I also knew it wouldn’t last. Carter and I eventually got into it again. He’d gone out on a date. I had no idea with whom until he got home.
It wasn’t Marissa. For that, I was grateful. I would have killed him if he’d been going out with her. It wasn’t Marissa’s sister, Henrietta, either. It would have been hard to see Henrietta, too, since she and Marissa looked so much alike.
It was Belynda Burgos. I have no idea why this got to me. Maybe it was because Carter had always been stringing her along. He’d gone to prom with Henrietta instead of Belynda, crushing her hopes. He’d continued to flirt with both her and Henrietta when he wasn’t dating either one. He’d always been selfishly keeping her on the side, but dating tons of other girls whenever he felt like it.
When Belynda left, I confronted Carter. “I can’t believe you’re still messing with her,” I said.
“What do you mean? ‘Messing with her’?” he asked.
“You’re still keeping her around when she’s clearly in love with you, but you don’t have the same feelings. That’s unfair Carter. It’s an asshole thing to do!”
“Dude! Leave it alone Ferris. It’s none of your business who I date and who I don’t date.”
“Well, you should leave her alone or make a commitment or something. You’re just jerking her around!”
“I am not! She knows how I feel. She’s a great girl. I’m not looking for a serious relationship right now.”
“You never are!”
“Fuck you, Ferris. Just because you want a steady girlfriend doesn’t mean that everyone does. It’s called dating! It can mean no more than a good time hanging with a friend.”
Before Carter and I could come to blows again, Adam interfered. He glared at me, though, and pulled Carter away. “Go out and work or to the garden or go somewhere, Ferris. You’re being a dick.”
It wasn’t fair, I thought, but I once again did what my little brother said.
Later Adam and I talked. “Maybe it’s best you go back to Twinbrook,” he said. I nodded. It hurt that my family didn’t want me around, but privately, I admitted that I was being a jerk. Since I couldn’t stop opening my big mouth around Carter, I really should head home.
“I’m sorry, bro,” I said. “I know I’m being a dick, but I hate him. I can’t stand how he treats women.”
“It’s not that bad, Ferris. At least he’s nice to them. If Belynda didn’t want to be with him, she wouldn’t agree to go out with him.”
So I went home. I continued to work on the Hygenators and some new inventions. I was making pretty good money, so I decided to splurge on a couple of new things. I got a chess set and a nice ping-pong table. I set them up in my great room. I was really excited by my new purchases, but I realized once they were up, that I really couldn’t do anything with them unless I invited someone over to play with me.
That prompted me to invite Adam up to Twinbrook.
“Come and check out my house,” I told him. “I can show you my workshop and where I sell my stuff. I owe you a big check, too. I put your name on the patent for the Hygenator since we built it together. I was going to tell you about it, but then Mom died and it slipped my mind. You’re rolling in it, bro!”
Adam laughed and agreed to come to Twinbrook. He made some noise about not needing the money from the patent. “I know you don’t,” I said. Adam had his settlement from our parents, too. “But it’s good to be financially secure.”
“What do you think of the house?” I asked when Adam had settled in. I’d ordered us pizza and we were watching the game while we waited for it to arrive.
“It’s a dump,” he answered.
“Seriously, dude. There are no beds!”
That was true. I hadn’t gotten around to furnishing the bedrooms. I’d done the ground floor and was working on the upstairs bathrooms. So unfortunately Adam had to join me in roughing it with sleeping bags.
“What do you think of the main floor?” I amended.
“It’s like bachelor chic,” Adam answered. “I noticed your trash compactor squeaks and your toilet has something wrong with the flusher.”
“Come on Dude!” I exclaimed, a bit hurt that he didn’t notice all of the great things about the house. “I’m not done renovating yet! I’m working on this level and the upstairs plumbing. Then I’m going to refurnish and paint everything!”
“It’s a work in progress, I guess,” Adam said, then he laughed. “I do like the work room!”
I’d set up another bench in there for both of us to work on our gadgets. Adam was as much of an inventor as I was.
“I’ve got something new to show you!” he told me.
“It’s an Air Bender!” he said. He explained that it took static out of the air so that you wouldn’t create electricity when you walked and cause minor shocks when you touched things.
“It’s good for a rainy climate like this one because there’s a lot of static electricity here!”
I agreed with Adam when he showed me the machine. I told him we should so it to Pablo.
Adam hung back when I took him into the store. Pablo, as I suspected, was thrilled with the new gadget. He thought that the same people who loved our Hygenator, would love the Air Bender as well. He was excited about investing in the product.
I told my brother about it, equally thrilled. “Isn’t this awesome! We’re going to make a million!”
“But…” Adam protested.
“Don’t worry, bro,” I assured him. I knew he hated the idea of dealing with people. He liked making things, but I was more of the business person. “I will take care of the sales end of things. You can build the product. We’ll be partners!”