Rachel and Jeff

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Rachel called out to her brother as he banged loudly on his drum set.


Jeff continued to beat his drums, completely unaware of anything that was going on around him. Rachel knew what she had to do. She made her way over to a dusty corner of the basement, grabbed the broom, walked up behind Jeff, and jabbed him in the fleshy part of the back of his arm.


“Oh, I have your attention now, do I?”

“What, now that you tried to break my arm, ruin my future as a musician, and force me into a life where all I can do is turn tricks working for a guy named Slick Money? Yeah, you have my attention.”

“Great. You know, it’s interesting that you mentioned your future just now. That just so happens to be the reason for my visit into this dusty old roach lodge of a basement.”

“Yeah, well that doesn’t mean you had to poke me so dang hard. By the way, the more standard approach would have probably been a simple tap on the shoulder.”

“Eh, didn’t feel much like getting gouged in the eye with a drumstick as you flailed about.”

“Don’t make fun of my art, sis. People have paid good money to see me ‘flail about’, as you say.”

“Two things. One: the buck-fifty that people pay for access onto the patch of grass that you and your buddies perform on every Friday night has less to do with you, and more to do with the fact that it’s a dark place to fondle one another. Two: we need to talk, for real.”

“Man, somebody’s being kind of a meanie.”

“Whatever. Look, we got our report cards in the mail today.”

Jeff stared blankly at Rachel for several seconds.

“…and I opened yours”, Rachel continued.

Jeff continued to stare unknowingly.

“…and I saw your grades.”

Drool literally began to leak slowly from the side of his mouth.

“Certainly, you must have some inkling as to what I’m going to say next.”

“Uhhhhhh, ‘good job buddy’?”

Rachel picked up the broom and made another jab at Jeff, this time hitting him right around his belly button.


“Yeah Jeff, just wanted to say good job to my dumbass of a twin who is failing three out of six classes.”



“What exactly am I failing?”

“Let’s see. Math.”

“Oooh, I was a little worried about that one.”


“No! No way. That teacher has it in for me.”

“What teacher? Who do you have?”

“The old tall one with the mean face. You know, old Mrs. Yarborough.”

Rachel paused for a few moments, then took a swipe at Jeff’s head with the broom.

“There is no ‘old Mrs. Yarborough’ dipshit! Nobody has that name at our school! I’m pretty sure you have the same teacher as me, Mr. Roberts.”

“Hmmm…you may be right. What’s the third one”

“Foods and nutrition.”

Jeff thought for a moment.

“Ok, well that one’s on me.”

“Jeff, this is really bad. You need all these classes to graduate in May. How are you going to fix this?”

“Well, the first thing I’m going to do is take a deep breath and relax. What’s done is done, right? Can’t change the past. The second thing I’ll do is go have a sandwich, as I am quite famished.”

Rachel waited patiently as Jeff delicately placed his drumsticks on his drum kit and stood up to stretch his back and shoulders. After he didn’t say anything else for a whole minute, she couldn’t wait any longer.

“And third?”

Jeff looked over at his sister with a confused expression.

“Third what?”

Rachel reached for the broom.

“Wait wait wait, I’m just kidding!”

“What do I need to do for you to take this seriously Jeff?”

“I’m sorry, but what did your report card look like?”

“All A’s.”

“So, what are you so bent out of shape for? You are doing great! I mean, I appreciate the concern, I guess, but why do you care so much about my grades?”

“You are my brother. We shared a womb for nine months. I could have just left you in there and gone out into the world all on my own, but I am better than that. I brought you with me then, and I’m bringing you with me now.”

Jeff considered this.

“Again, I appreciate it sis, but I don’t see the point. Let’s say, worst case scenario, I don’t graduate. How does that change my future? I’ll still leave at the end of the summer with the band for the west coast. A high school diploma’s not going to get me more money as a drummer.”

“Stop being so short-sighted. You’re smarter than this. I’m not going to waste my breath explaining all the reasons you need a goddamn high school diploma, because you already know them. Again, you are my twin. We are tied together in some way, shape, or form for the rest of our lives. If you don’t graduate with me, I know that somewhere down the road that will have some kind of affect on me. Don’t know what, but it would be something. So to avoid whatever negativity that could bring into my life some day, I’m going to need you to graduate.”

“You make me feel so gosh darn warm and loved sometimes.”

“Maybe if you hadn’t replaced me with drums when bursa escort we entered high school then you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Rachel could tell that she had finally said something that affected him. Jeff looked deep in thought and at least mildly troubled.

“Pepper jack.”


“That’s the kind of cheese I’ll put on my sandwich. In the mood for a little spice.”

“Fine. We’ll just see what mom has to say about all this.”


As Rachel approached her mom’s office, she could hear clearly the sound of pan flutes and harps, and smell clearly the odor of whatever hippie bullshit her mom most recently “cleansed the air” with.

As Rachel reached the closed door and lifted her hand to knock, she heard her mother call out to her.

“Enter, my love”.

Rachel cautiously opened the door, and carefully peeped her head around its edge. She never knew what kind of freak show she was going to walk in on. One time, Rachel had the unfortunate experience of walking in on her mother giving her vagina a steam bath.

Today wasn’t too bad. Her mother was standing on her head, but she was fully clothed, which was always a relief for Rachel.

“Hey mom.”

“Please dear, call me Genesis.”

“No thank you. Listen, I need to talk to you about Jeff. He isn’t-“


“What the fuck?”

“Certainly you wondered how I knew you were out there before you knocked. You are on your period, yes?”


“My love, don’t feel embarrassed about it. But yes, I could smell you coming. You are not getting enough magnesium in your diet.”

“I’m just going to move past that. Jeff is failing three classes.”

Her mother stared at her for several moments and said nothing.

“…and in real danger of not graduating.”

Her mother continued to stare.

“Which I am sure we can both agree would be bad, yes?”

“Why does this upset you dear?”

“That isn’t self-explanatory then?”

“Jeff must blaze his own trail, as must you. I am proud of both you no matter what. Life will be what it will be, but I trust you both to do what is best for you as free thinking individuals.”

“Sounds like you just said a whole lot of nothing.”

“Jeff is fine, my love. I’m not going to worry about it, and neither should you.”

“Mom, you are the nicest person that I have ever wanted to murder.”

“Love you too honey. Can you put that lasagna thingy in the oven when you get downstairs?”

“Sure mom.”


“So what did Genesis have to say?”

Rachel stared menacingly at her brother as he joined her in the kitchen.

“I see. Not the victory you were hoping for then? If it’s any consolation, I do recognize that you are probably right on this one, and that I may very well regret it if I don’t graduate. But I’m just not worried about it. So, do me a favor. You worry with your future, I’ll deal with my own.”

“Asshole”, Rachel said as she started to leave.

“Rach, wait.”

Rachel normally wouldn’t have stopped, but something about his tone of voice made her think that Jeff was going to actually say something real this time.


“Do you really think I wanted to replace you with drums?”

Rachel just stood there and stared at her feet.

“When dad died, that’s just what made the most sense for me as a grieving process. Just like mom turning to…whatever it is she does now. I never meant to shut you out, it just sort of happened. I know we were inseparable for the longest time, but after he was gone…I just felt like I had to turn inward. It makes me happy that you care enough about me to worry like this, and I am so sorry for giving you grief over my lack of effort in school. I wish I could say that I am going to change, but that wouldn’t be honest. Please stop worrying about this, I’ll take care of myself.”

With that, Jeff walked up to Rachel and did something that he hadn’t done in years. He hugged his sister.

It felt so good to be held by him. In the four years since her father died, Rachel wasn’t sure she had received a hug from anyone, except mandatory ones at the funeral.

“I love you Rachel, and I am sorry for causing you pain.”

Jeff placed his hands on both sides of his sister’s head and kissed her on the nose. He had disappeared into the depths of the basement before Rachel snapped out of her stupor.

Maybe her mom and brother were right. It was very possible that Jeff could pull through on his own and make it to graduation, and be that much stronger and wiser for it too. Or like he said, so what if he doesn’t graduate? Will that impact his life that much? No matter what she believed was best for him, she did recognize the importance of one learning from their own mistakes, and in this case Jeff probably needed to learn that lesson.


“Here ya’ go!”

The next day at school, Jeff was sitting outside at a picnic table with his bandmates, like normal, when Rachel jovially bounded up to him with a huge smile.

“Sup, Jeff’s sister. I like bursa escort bayan that shirt.”

“Thanks rhythm guitar guy. So Jeff, check this out. I spoke to Miss Rudd this morning, and-“

“Wait, who?”

“The guidance counselor, fool. I explained-“

“Oh the hot blonde woman with the triangle face?”

Rachel impatiently snapped her fingers in Jeff’s face.

“Focus. I explained your situation, and told her that you would likely be more successful if you had a caretaker to hold your hand to, and during, each of your class periods, and she agreed to switch your schedule around. Now you will have math first, history-“

“You got my schedule changed? You can’t do that.”

“I can and I did. There are about 9 weeks left of school, and with the right level of focus and attitude, we can get you across that stage in May. I’ll be right there with you in all your classes from here on.”

“So yesterday, when I told you I would take care of this matter myself, you heard a desperate cry for help begging you to get involved?”

“No I heard you loud and clear, and I recognize this isn’t what you wanted. This is just something I had to do. You can hate me all you want for it, but I have no regrets.”

“Guys, can you believe what my sister thinks she-“

“Hey Jeff? Yeah, they all left the moment I started talking about school.”


“So anyway, in a nutshell, you have first and second period with me, then we both have a free period third where we can study and work on homework, then fourth and fifth period together. Now, sixth period I have free, but that’s when you have your foods class. I thought maybe I could get you out of that, but it turns out you need that elective credit to graduate. That should be an easy one to get caught up in. At the very least, I can walk you to that class and sit in the back to make sure you are staying as focused as possible.”


From inside the school, a bell rang.

“Alright, the first day of the rest of your high school life is starting! Let’s go!”

Rachel pushed Jeff off the picnic bench and locked her arm in his.

“So is this how we are going to walk to class from now on?”

“At least until I can trust you not to wander off and get lost.”

They entered the building together and headed down the hall. However, to Jeff’s surprise, Rachel stopped him well before they got to first period.

“Oh good, are we turning around?”

“Yeah right. I’m going to the bathroom before class starts, that way I won’t have to go during class and miss anything important. Obviously, I’m going to need you to do the same.”

“What if I drown myself in the toilet instead?”

“Now that would make my life easier. But as tempting as that is, I’d probably miss you a little if you did that. Now go pee, and please wash your hands when you are done.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Jeff allowed himself to be dragged around by his sister, and basically did everything she asked him to do as it related to school. Not surprisingly, Jeff’s grades drastically got better and better. There was still a long ways to go, but Rachel was starting to feel good about his chances of passing.

One morning at school, during their shared free period, Rachel and Jeff sat quietly in a secluded corner of the school library.

“Hey Rachel?”


“You did number 7 wrong.”

“Unlikely. What makes you say that?”

“We are supposed to be adding rational expressions here, not multiplying. You can’t cancel a factor in the numerator of one fraction with the same factor in the denominator of the other fraction. If we were multiplying, you’d be right. But, alas, we are adding. You are getting your rules mixed up.”

Rachel stared at her brother, then stared at her paper, then stared at her brother some more.

“I’m torn.”

“About what?”

“Part of me wants to hit you in the face with my shoe, and the other part of me wants to wrap my arms around your neck and kiss you.”

“Hmmm…I might suggest none of the above. Pretty sure there are cameras in here, and I think either action would get you in trouble. Especially the one where we make out.”

“Ewww, I said nothing about making out with you!”

“You just said you wanted to kiss me.”

“Yeah, like on the forehead or something! I’m not trying to stick my tongue down my brother’s throat!”

“What if I get an A on our math test this Thursday? Are you going to want to straddle me and dry hump my manhood?”

“Shut up jackass!”

“Calm down girl, you know I’m just teasing you.”

“Whatever. And I’ve gotta say, I’m impressed you even remember that we have a test on Thursday.”

Jeff looked deeply into his sister’s eyes.

“Impressed enough to give me a little sugar?”

Rachel quickly removed her shoe and hit him on the nose with it.

“Owwwww, bitch! That was hard! I hope that got caught on camera and you get in trouble.”

“Hah, I’ll just say that my brother was trying to osculate with me.”

“Not going to pretend like I know what the hell escort bursa that means,” Jeff mumbled.

Several more minutes passed before Jeff spoke up again.

“Hey Rachel?”

“What’s up?”

“Thank you for this.”

Jeff seemed very genuine to his sister in this moment, a side of him that she hadn’t seen much of in the past, but had started to see more of in the past weeks as their relationship rekindled.

“It’s my pleasure. Honestly, these past couple of weeks have been kinda nice. I mean, I feel closer to you now than I have in a long time. Our family has had this weird dynamic for the longest time, almost to the point where it feels like we are three strangers living together on a reality show or something. I mean, you and I didn’t even acknowledge our eighteenth birthday with one another back in November. It just feels nice to feel like I have a family again.”

Jeff put his arm around Rachel, squeezed her tight, and kissed her on the side of her head.

“I agree. I’m glad to be on good terms again too.”

Rachel looked into her brother’s eyes and smiled. He looked back, closed his eyes, stuck out his tongue, and slowly approached her mouth.

“Hey, get back weirdo!”

Rachel pushed Jeff out of his chair. He fell to the floor laughing hysterically.

“You are such a moment killer, asshole.”

“Yeah, but you know you love me for it sis.”


That Friday afternoon, Rachel was waiting at the front of the school for her brother to get out of his sixth period class so they could walk home together. The bell had rung several minutes ago releasing students, but Jeff still wasn’t out yet. Usually he was very quick to leave school, so it was a little strange that it was taking him so long.

“Hm, Jeff must have gotten lost or something,” Rachel wondered aloud. “I guess I should go find him.”

“You don’t think very highly of my intelligentality do you Rachel?”

Jeff has snuck up behind her.

“Wow, that it a hell of a word brother. And it’s hard to give you the benefit of the doubt sometimes. Last night, for instance, when I caught you eating that bowl of soup with a fork.”

“I told you, I like to savor my food! You know, I’m not so sure that I want to share my good news with you anymore.”

“Ok, I’m sorry, what is it?”

Jeff held up a piece of paper and showed it to her. It took a few seconds to register what she was looking at, but when it clicked, Rachel dropped her stuff on the ground and jumped into her brother’s arms.

“You got an 88 on the math test! This is so great! I am so proud of you!”

“Thanks Rach!”

Several more seconds passed before Jeff spoke again.

“You know, you were only supposed to grind on me if I got an A.”

Rachel realized then that in her excitement, she had wrapped her legs around Jeff’s waist and was being held up by his hands supporting her underneath her thighs.

“Oh shit, sorry.”

Her face was turning very red, so she quickly changed the subject.

“Well again, I am so proud of you. You wanna go out and celebrate? We could stop and get ice cream at that old timey pharmacy thingy in town.”

“That sounds great, but I’ve got to get back and start setting for the show tonight.”

“You guys are playing again tonight?”

“We play every Friday night, we’ve been through this. Now who’s being unobservant?”

“Well I just figured that people would be tired of hearing the same old two and a half songs that you guys actually know week after week after week.”

“You know, you have a lot of negative things to say for someone who has never even seen us play before. Melting Pot is quite talented, and if we make it big you are gonna regret-“

“Woah woah woah. Your band is called…Melting Pot? For realsies?”

“Yeah, well you’ve seen us. White drummer, Asian rhythm guitar, black bass player/lead singer, Hispanic lead guitarist.”

“Yeah, I cracked that code. I’m just trying to decide if the name is racist or woke.”

Jeff rolled his eyes.

“So look, why don’t you come out tonight to the field and watch?”


“Come on, please? What are your reservations?”

“First of all, I’d be nervous about getting groped in the middle of a dark corn field.”

“No, it’s not dark. Teddy’s dad has these huge lights that light up the whole area for like 100 meters or something.”


“Hispanic lead guitarist. His dad is our manager. So what are your other concerns?”

“I don’t know. No concerns really, it just really isn’t my scene.”

“Ok, so bring a friend so you can feel less awkward. How ’bout Wendy?”

“Wendy only listens to Christian music. Do you guys play Christian music?”

“We do use the Lord’s name quite a bit in the song ‘Goddamn Whores’.”

“Ok, so Wendy is out.”

“Fine, then just ask a dude.”

“What dude?”

“Any dude. How about that one?”

A student who looked to be around their age was walking by at that moment.

“Hey guy! Yeah, this is my sister Rachel, and she was wondering-Ow!”

“I apologize for him, he just found out that he has lice and is struggling to cope. You can go.”

“You know, I use my feet when I play drums too, so I would appreciate it if you didn’t stomp on them. And what is your problem?”

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