Truce? by Michael Signal
(1) Brenda shook her head emphatically from right to left. Her head moved left until her chin was right over her shoulder, and then it swung slowly and completely to the right. "But, please," her mother pleaded. "I will not dance in the recital," Brenda explained. Then she said, "I will not," with several seconds between each word. Her decision seemed to be final.
(2) "Honey, you've been practicing for months to get the dances right. We paid a lot of money for these lessons, and you've always liked them," her mother said. "I do not care," Brenda's tone was insistent. Then she said, "It's not my fault that dance lessons are expensive."
(3) "Look," Brenda's mother said, reaching into the large, gray bag. "Don't take it out!" Brenda yelled. Brenda had refused to wear the costume, but now she was refusing to even look. "I don't want to see the beastly thing!" she yelled.
(4) "Oh, it's not so bad," Brenda's mother assured her. "In fact, I think it's very cute." "Then you wear it, Mom!" Brenda loudly suggested.
(5) Brenda's mother had been very patient, but she was getting quite upset with Brenda's tone. "Now, you look here, Brenda," she warned, "I will not tolerate that kind of attitude." "I'm sorry, Mom," Brenda said. "But," she continued, "It's horrible. I mean it's a rhinoceros!"
(6) Brenda's mother showed completed confusion on her face. "Huh?" she wondered. Then she pulled the costume right out of the bag, ignoring her daughter's cries to leave the hideous thing hidden from sight.
(7) "Oh?" Brenda questioned with surprise. Her mother was holding a light-blue skirt with frilly black lace and shining gold buttons that zigzagged across the front. "That's not what Marty showed me." At that moment, Brenda's eyes got as big as tennis balls, and her mother's teeth showed in an angry frown. Brenda felt silly. She should have known that was exactly the kind of trickery for which her 15 year old brother was known. "I'll get dressed mom."
(8) The next day, Marty burst through the door after school. He slammed it behind him, drooped over, and panted heavily. He looked up at his sister and huffed out a heavy breath. "Oh, what's wrong, brother?" she asked.
(9) "Three dogs chased me home. They were killers. I know it." Marty spoke in short sentences as he caught his breath. "Oh, my," Brenda said understandingly. Then she said, "You should take off that backpack. It must have been very hard to run with all those books."
(10) "Actually," Marty said as he caught his breath, "it's not that heavy at all. I don't think there are any books in it." You're right," Brenda said, as she watched Marty open the backpack. "Those aren't books."
(11) Marty stared into his backpack for a minute. It was full of bacon. He looked up at his sister, who was smiling. His mother had also arrived. She was shaking her head.
(12) "Truce?" Marty asked. Their mother replied before Brenda could even consider the offer. "Truce," she said."