Josh and... Who?
Part IV)
A short story about one of Danny's slightly older brothers.
written by S. Rodgers

It was growing colder now, the days were getting shorter, and winter would be there soon. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and all the children were on vacation from school. Danny sat out on a train track bridge over the large part of the river, some distance from his house. He wore a heavier flannel now with his overall's, as well as a pair of long underwear underneath his clothes. But being a cat and having fur, there was really no need for a heavy coat or anything of the like. Danny sat with his legs swinging back and forth over the edge of the bridge, and he sang quietly to himself as he carelessly tossed stones into the river below.

Danny: Way down upon the Swanee river....far, far away.......way down around that Swanee river, that's where the old folks play......

He continued singing as he tossed stones, thinking about nothing in particular, other then a certain neighbor girl. He didn't notice that an orange tabby was climbing skillfully up the post on the other side of the bridge that supported it. Joshua remained as quiet as possible as he scaled the post, until reaching the top. Then he raised himself up and quietly snuck up behind his younger brother. He'd done this more times then he could even remember, and still, Danny was never prepared.

Josh: (thinking) He just never learns.....

Quickly and professionally, Josh shoved Danny completely off the bridge, and at the same time, grabbed the back straps of his overall's. Danny screamed out of momentary shock, then realized what he'd done, AGAIN!!!

Danny: (struggling) Joshua!?!

Josh: (mocking) Yes, Daniel?

Danny: You drop me and I'll pound you, ya weasel!!

Josh: I hardly think so, remember who's older.

Danny: (fed up) Put me down please. On the bridge, not on the water!

Josh: You're no fun.

Josh heaved Danny up just far enough so that he could climb back to apparent safety, and Danny grumbled something under his breath as he took his position again. Josh sat down next to him.

Danny: (annoyed) Why do you always have to do that?

Josh: Because you're never ready.

Danny: (sarcastically) Gee, there's a good reason.

Josh: Gosh, talk about a ten on the grouchy scale. What's eating you?

Danny: Nothing was until you showed up.

Josh frowned.

Josh: I was just playing around, it didn't upset you THAT much, did it?

Danny: No, I guess not.

There was a long pause then as Danny continued tossing rocks into the water, and Josh simply sat there, watching.

Josh: Hey, Dan....Can I ask you a question?

Danny: Sure, I guess so.

Josh: What do you think of Cora?

SMACK! Danny felt the force like a slam in the gut, and he hesitated to say a single word.  He wasn't sure what to say.

Danny: (lying) Frankly, I don't really think of her at all.

Josh: Oh. She's nice, ya know? I like her a lot.

Danny: I know.

Danny was trying to say as little as possible, for the exact purpose of keeping himself from blurting out something he'd regret.

Josh: I think.........I think I want to ask her if she'll go to the soda shop with me.
(pause) Just us two.

Danny looked up at Josh, but didn't say anything.

Josh: Do you think that'd be a good idea?

There was a long pause then, and Danny looked down at the water below. Then he looked back up at Josh, he couldn't tell him the truth. It would brake his heart.

Danny: Yeah, I do. I think Cora would really like that.

Josh's smile was enough to make Danny feel like he had done the right thing. Despite how he felt about Cora, he knew his family came first.


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