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Growing and Going Up
|It's not always easy being an older brother, especially if you have a little brother like Jack. My name is John. Ever since I can remember, my little brother has been the thorn in my side. That's Jack in the picture below. Because he's five years younger than I am, he has always had everything he wanted at my expense.
Growing up, my parents made me give up my toys every time Jack wanted something. They told me over and over again, "Now treat your brother nicely. You're older." I felt like I was robbed of my childhood because of that. My parents hoped that Jack would outgrow his spoiled behavior, but they were horribly wrong. Things only got worse when Jack hit adolescence.
Jack developed a horrible temper, getting in fights, and breaking things in the house. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, Jack refused to help care for her. After she died a few years later, he blamed my father for her death. My father gave up on our family and retreated into his work. He was a construction worker and spent all his time between work and the bar. This left me alone to take care of Jack.
On many occasions, I wanted to beat up my brother. Obviously, I am bigger and stronger than him, however I have never been one to use force. Besides if I ever started hitting my brother, I would be tempted not to stop hitting him. I hated him. I was twenty-three and, thanks to Jack, I had to give up a full scholarship to college in order to take care of this broken family. Instead of being in college, I was working at a go-no-where job at a video store to help support Jack and my father. Meanwhile, Jack didn't appreciate anything. He was still a spoiled eighteen year-old who was about to flunk his second Junior year in high school.
Jack and I constantly got into arguments at home. He complained about being poor. He complained that I made him go to school. One day, everything changed.
"I hate this stupid family! You don't understand what it's like to be the youngest kid in a screwed up family," Jack complained. "Don't complain to me about your life being difficult. Dad and I have worked hard to make our family work since Mom died, and I don't see you trying at all," I replied. "Well, this family sucks. All the other kids at school are better off than I am, and I don't want to go back there. I wish you knew what it was like. You were always well-built, and I'm a scrawny eighteen year old. I wish we could swap places. You have it so much easier. You're not in school anymore, and you can go anywhere and do whatever you want," Jack shouted. I looked Jack in the eye, and shouted back, "Oh, yeah? I hope you get your wish. I didn't have a childhood growing up thanks to you being a greedy little ass. I wish you could see things from my perspective. Maybe then you'll see that my life isn't as easy as you think. You really have it easy. I wouldn't mind swapping lives with you at all!"
Just then, something it felt like the room was moving. It was getting bigger. I looked at Jack who was also getting bigger. I saw that his bare chest was expanding. I also noticed his arms becoming more defined. I looked to the side at my arms. They were losing muscle. I examined my fingers, and saw that they were growing smaller. I looked down at my sinking chest, and saw that the hair was getting lighter. I realized what was happening. We were getting our wish! I was becoming Jack. In a matter of minutes, I became my scrawny eighteen year-old brother. I was speechless.
I looked up to see my former body looking back at me. Jack had taken off his pants and was flexing.
"This is fucking great!", shouted Jack with my former voice. "I'm stronger, and I never have to go to school again." "Well, now you'll have to go to work, Jack" I replied, shocked at the harsh, high sound of my voice. "The name is John, little boy. And who's going to make me go to work? You can't make me do anything. Now, you have to listen to what I say, or I will beat you up," he said approaching me in an attempt to intimidate me with my former body. I felt helpless in Jack's body. Jack continued looking down at me, taking pleasure in his dominant position. My now older brother continued, "Well, now you know how it feels to be a helpless shrimp in this messed up family. I'll also show you how it is to be beaten up by bullies. I only wish that I could also teach a lesson to Dad. I wish he knew what it was like to be a kid in this fucked up family."
I looked up at the towering body, awaiting a beating, when suddenly the look in this beast’s eyes changed. He suddenly had a shocked expression. "Where am I?", my former body said to me, "Jack is that you?" "Uh, no. This is John in this body," I replied confused. He looked at me, "You are John in Jack's body? Well, then . . ." Just then my former body walked over to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I heard my former voice scream, "I'm . . . I'm John. I'm in John's body!" "I thought we established that, Jack." I said smugly. I was enjoying being a sarcastic teenager. "This is Dad . . . Well, this was Dad. The last I remember, I was at my construction site, wishing that I were young again -- that way I could do things right," he said starting to feel his new pecs. "John, I must admit that it feels great to be in your body. I feel like I have a new lease on life. How does it feel to be in Jack's body." "I am enjoying being a kid again. I feel like I can do things that I missed out on," I replied. "I like this change. I'm in no rush to change back," Dad said, flexing in his new body. “Me neither. But I’m kind of concerned about Jack,” I said. “Well, now you’re Jack, and I’m John. I think that our crazy Dad will have to fend for himself”, my new older brother said winking at me. “Now, let’s get dressed and hit the mall.”
Meanwhile on the other side of town, a middle aged man trembled looking down at the city from a construction site . He murmured to himself, "I wish I were me again... I wish I were me again." His wish wasn’t working. He was trapped in his middle-aged father's body. Jack would have to learn to live life from a new perspective.
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