Emily  Harper

“How much does this thing cost?” Travis says, walking closer to it.

Honestly, Travis is always like this. A negative nelly is what my mother would call him. He always has to ask the questions that nobody wants to answer because it ruins all the fun.

“Well, that’s a hard question. Are you talking about the rental price or the price of all the smiles on everyone’s faces as they are having the time of their lives?”

“The rental price.”

“Well, here’s the thing−” I start, but he holds his hand up and looks to Tina.

“$1599.00 plus deposit and taxes,” she says.

“WHAT?” Travis exclaims. “No way! Forget it. This is a veto.”

“You can’t use a veto for this!” I argue.

“Well, I just did,” he says, shrugging.

I can see he has already put the idea out of his mind, which is completely ridiculous. I mean, I know it is pretty expensive, but then I think of all the fun memories everyone will make together− and can you really put a price on that?

“Travis, you’re not seeing the bigger picture here!” I argue.

“We said a small party. A couple of friends, some food and wine. This,” he says, pointing to the obstacle course, “is not small.”

“Who wants small for a thirtieth birthday party? I mean, you only turn thirty once−” From the look on Travis’ face I decide to switch tactics. “What about if we charge people?”

“You’re crazy,” he says.

“Not our guests, but the neighbours and stuff. Kind of like a carnival.”

Actually, I just thought of that idea right here and now, but it’s not a bad one. Plus, it might be easier to have the neighbours agree to have it on the street if I let them join in the fun.

“Or we could just stick to the regular plan,” Travis says and turns to Tina. “I’m sorry we wasted your time.”

I already know the next part of this conversation is not going to go well.

“I kind of already put the deposit down,” I say, trying to get an imaginary piece of dirt off my sweater.

No one says anything and I am starting to feel pretty sorry for Tina because she looks beyond uncomfortable with the conversation.

“What kind of deposit?” Travis says in a low tone.

“The non-refundable kind,” I say, biting my lip.

“How much was the deposit?” he asks, looking from me to Tina. Tina’s eyes are wide and she looks to me desperately, asking me to rescue her from this awkwardness.

Honestly, if anyone needs a life jacket right now− it’s me.

“Nimfy perfin,” I mumble.


“Ninety percent,” I say, meeting his eyes. “The remaining ten percent is due on delivery.”

“You really are crazy,” he says, shaking his head.

“I don’t know what you are getting all worked up about,” I say. “I’m paying for it!”

“Etty, this… thing… is your rent for the month!”

“I’ll take extra shifts,” I say, shrugging. “I wanted to make sure Scott’s day was really special.”

“It’s going to be special because he’s with his friends and family. You don’t need to do these things.”

“Yes, I do!” I say. “It’s how I show people that I care about them.”

“Write them a nice card,” Travis says slowly.

“I knew you wouldn’t understand. You’re always the storm cloud that rains on my parade!”

“No, I’m the voice of reason in a land of eternal sunshine and daisies,” he says, and turns to Tina. “Is there any way we can get her deposit back?”

Tina is now fidgeting with her skirt. “No, I’m sorry, but−”

“Don’t worry Tina, I don’t want my deposit back. What I want is my brother to have the best day ever with his friends and family on a hundred foot inflatable obstacle course,” I narrow my eyes at Travis while lifting my purse further up my shoulder. “Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go and start my first of twenty overtime shifts to pay for the best day of all of our lives.”

Emily Harper, My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero
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My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero by Emily Harper
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