My Brother’s Nuts!

He is you know, he’s stark raving mad! In the most pleasant and funny of ways. Sober, he’s witty, inebriated he’s the singer of singers and the fighter of all fights!

Space at home was very limited for the size of our family and at one point, me and two of my brothers had to share a room. Me and my next eldest brother were of Junior school age, however, my eldest was a young adult, busy with apprenticeship, earning money for the family pot and enjoying the fruits of women, music and alcohol; and whatever else tempted the curiosity of a late teen, of age and world-knowing.

There were times at weekends when my eldest would come in very late, more than slightly fueled with booze and merriment! More often than not he’d wake my brother and me and before we had a chance to rub the sleep from our eyes he’d be dragging us out of bed and the scrapping would commence! Fun-fights were brilliant with my eldest because no matter how hard we tried to hit him, he never lost his temper when caught with an uncomfortable right hook! Or even when we had fistfuls of his long, hippified locks. The fights didn’t happen all the time but when they did they were ferocious! At some point pillows were used too, and using pillows meant that you could hit really, really hard and nobody got hurt – well not much anyway… I recall at least several times one of us would end up crying and taking a strop! The frolics would end when dad, who was either downstairs with mum, or trying to sleep himself, would tire of the thumping, banging, laughing…and swearing at times, then stroll into the room – with a mighty presence that loomed large and with a deep growl of a voice, as one who ‘would’ be obeyed. Often though, at the risk of more wrathful telling-off and ordering to bed, the giggling would start – sometimes, after a few quiet pauses, we’d throw things at my eldest – who could fall asleep in drink quite quickly… I do recall one more morning, really early being up in the light, eldest still sprawled in bed, mouth wide open, hair the style of a banshee – dragged not only backwards through a hedge but forwards too, and probably side to side – and snoring, taking some red nail varnish and painting his eyebrows while he slept! Very gently, very quietly….actually quite artistically! Needless to say that didn’t go down too well – roughly a fortnight with shorn eyebrows, mother fussing and offering to draw them on! You’ll understand when I say that was the one and only time I ever felt the need to apply anything permanent to a brother’s facial features… I gave that form of artistic expression up immediately.

In sleep, I used to dream, I’m sure, of nice things (on the odd occasion not so nice things). The cares of the World were nowhere near me and drifting off would be unhindered by anything too cumbersome needling my conscience, and waking would be warm, comfortable and slow – refreshed, readied for more fantastical adventure, imaginary or otherwise. For a period of time I’d sleep soundly, aided by the crack in the door left ajar, just letting enough of the landing light through – it remained on at my insistence. I wasn’t scared of the dark, and my brother was always there, so it’s not as if anything could hurt me (except my brother). It helped though.

It was Friday night. My eldest’s pay-day so we just knew that he’d be rolling home late, full of himself and that at some point, stumble in and start thumping us over the covers and dragging us out of bed! Although it was a predictable tradition, we loved it. This time, we’d love it all the more! No doubt on his way to bed my mum or dad would order him to be quiet and ‘no fighting’. Those words wouldn’t even make it into his ears – deaf to reason, his one driving urge was to wage war on his little brothers! Of course we knew what was coming and had taken to a plot of our own; he could do as he wished with us but the end result would be our triumph!

My mother used to knit quite a bit, and had quite a handy sewing and knitting basket. There were all sorts of goodies inside – a real treasure trove of coloured wools and threads, skinny, fat, long and short bobbins, shiny buttons of all colours and sizes, thread pickers, crochet, sewing and darning needles…and drawing pins. I remember scraps of wool coming in handy when in my playtime I’d need something to tie up an action man, or hang one…

It was late. Sleep hung on my lids with a weight too much to bare, and unconsciousness followed. It was unusually quiet. That quietness was broken by the sensation of being pulled by the feet, quite roughly, down to the bottom of the bed! Almost as if being weighed down with stone and sinking to the bottom of a linen lake, and no amount of waving of arms and kicking of feet would prevent it. And we’re off! As we fought, my eldest spluttered breathlessly the story of his night – he’d gotten himself into a scrape and struggled to let us know every detail of his drunken brawl. As was the norm, lights were turned on and dad appeared to calm us – asking us, as always, did we realise what time of night it was?? This time though he seemed a little calmer… Our earlier sleep had kept any knowledge from us as to what actually happened that night before round one began. Eldest had actually been taken to hospital, however, was cleaned up, stitched and packed off home. Dad had been there and with parental concerns for children’s injuries, and with eldest home safe, a calmness of relief was evident with mum and dad, only too happy to have the family back in one piece, safe and sound. So any antics weren’t too harshly scolded. Eldest continued babbling on about this fight while dad was ushering us back into our bed. My brother and I had lost all memory of our plot until eldest excitedly threw back his blankets and dropped himself unceremoniously onto his own bed…

Then came the absolute tumultuous rage that was a drunken, beaten eldest brother, pierced by hundreds of drawing pins! He leapt from the bed, yelping and swearing in agony! He knew instantly what we had done. Dad was there still and almost threw himself at eldest to block his path to us, and our certain, painful beating! He was raving obscenities and threats to perform murderous injury on us, grappling with my dad to let him go! In any other circumstance we’d have been terrified but the hilarity of what we could see swinging about besides his arms and fists, was far too hilarious for a single ounce of fear to take hold. There was eldest, trying to push past dad, almost in southpaw boxing stance, naked save for a pair of loose-fitting, big, baggy y-fronts, and what I can only leave to your imagination to complete the picture!

Happy days…


About Robert

A fifty-something, retired Celestial Travel Agent. Walked many paths; some good, lots bad. Meandering through the past, plodding in the present, crawling toward the future.
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