It was a pretty decent day outside, good enough that a walk to the library seemed like a good idea. And that was exactly what Carl and Adam had gone to do. Of course, it was usually always Carl dragging Adam to the library, him being the nerd and Adam the risk taker. But this time, Adam didn’t seem to protest as much, which could be a good sign. But knowing Adam, Carl knew that nothing good was going on in his friend’s mind.
Carl was one of your stereotypical tech nerds – short, skinny, freckles on the face, tousled brown hair, glasses, striped shirt and even the suspenders. You couldn’t exactly call him a walking encyclopedia though, because for example, he had no knowledge of how American Indians celebrated their birthdays, or of who invented the underwear, but you could call him a walking gadget master, since he did know how to put together a working cell phone using nothing more than pennies, a rubber eraser and plastic bingo chips or a lawnmower with just a couple knives, an old car engine and some cardboard. He loved reading books, but only books about gadgets that is, and he hated taking risks. If there was one thing Carl wanted the most, it was complete and absolute safety.
Now Adam, who was 2 years older and 16, was probably the complete opposite. He was a thief, a hothead, one who liked to get into fights. He looked tough with his dark eyes and black hair, and the fact that he prefered muscles shirts and that he looked really good in them only added to that fact. Maybe the only abnormal (if you would call it that) thing about Adam, were the goggles that rested on his head, and sometimes he got laughed at for that. But a dream was a dream, and Adam was sure that he would be able to fly a jet one day. A real jet.
So as they walked down the street from the library, books in hand already, Adam patted Carl’s back, knocking his glasses slightly out of place.
“Listen up, my friend. I’ve got a proposal for you.”
Carl, who was trying to adjust his glasses without dropping his books, looked up at his goggled friend.
“Proposal?” He asked suspiciously. “Is this going to be another one of your crazy plans?”
“It’s crazy, alright, and it might not be possible to plan, but hear me out.” He looked around to see if anyone might be listening. Thankfully, the street was empty. “Have you read the town bulletin lately?”
Carl squinted at Adam.
“Possibly…” He tried to remember the last time he took a glance at that old worn thing.
“Not.” He added.
“Ah,” said Adam. “Now I know you haven’t. ‘Cause if you had, you would have seen this big-ass poster with bright letters that said ‘Thieving House’. It looks like an advertisement for a circus. But guess what?” His eyes shined with inspiration.
“What?” Carl muttered, getting a bad feeling in his gut already.
“It’s an advertisement for an adventure.” Adam couldn’t help himself as he became one of those old-time salesmen, arms wide open, grinning goofily, and tipping an imaginary hat. “A once in a lifetime chance to explore something never seen before.”
“Oh great.” Carl growled, wishing that he hadn’t asked Adam to come with him to the library. Confrontation. That was another one of his biggest hates. “Are you sure it’s safe? Lilia might kill me…”
Adam burst out laughing.
“That should be the least of your concerns!” He paused and composed himself, wiping the smile off his face. “But really, you should get out of your comfort zone sometimes. It’ll be just like old times.” He cringed mentally, regretting that he’d said that almost immediately.
“Yeah. Because flying an unauthorized airplane didn’t almost kill us. Or blow up the town. The old times were not okay. That’s why they’re the old times. I am NOT reliving them.” Carl rolled his eyes. Yeah, in an attempt to achieve Adam’s dream, they tried to fly a plane. A stolen plane. Of course Adam had to have grabbed the wrong manual and so after liftoff, everything went wrong.
Let’s just say that being still alive was their biggest stroke of luck.
“Fine, fine. Be that way. But send Lilia the news.” He gave Carl a wink and started walking off with his hands in his pockets and whistling.
“Hey!” Carl shouted, surprised at his friend’s sudden departure. But then he shrugged. He was sure that his overprotective sister would definitely not let him go. “I guess I’ll ask Lilia then…”
Carl sighed as he walked home, his back hunched over as usual, shivering from the wind as usual, wanting to sneeze as usual. He pushed open the door of his house and walked in.
“Lilia!” He shouted. “You home?”
Seconds later, Carl heard the familiar footsteps skipping down the steps. Carl looked up and saw his sister. And she looked worried.
“For some reason, I feel like something happened today. Did something happen to you Carl? Just now?” She stared at him with her intense blue eyes. Eyes that made Carl jealous sometimes. They were twins. Why couldn’t he also have those blue eyes? Why did he have to be born with eyes colored in such a lifeless blue instead?
“No.” Carl said with a straight face. “I was just wondering…”
He trailed off, not knowing what to say.
“What?” She looked over at him with concern.
“Well, uh, well…” Carl squirmed around for a moment. That maybe was another thing on his things to hate list. Being stared down by his sister. Especially since many would describe them as “doe eyes”. Carl hated the idea of being related to a… deer. “Well, Adam asked if I wanted to go to the Thieving House and I didn’t know if it was safe.” Carl blurted the whole thing out, forcing him to lean against the wall afterwards as he tried to catch his breath.
“Adam said what about the Thieving House?” She stepped towards Carl with a look of worry.
“Uhh, that he wanted to go to it…” Carl took a nervous step back. He didn’t like it when his sister got too close to him. It was something about the perfume. He must be allergic to the smell or something…
“And what was your response? Carl?” Lilia squinted at him.
“I… I said I didn’t know if it was safe.” Carl muttered. “He said it was like that airplane thing that we did.”
She paused for a moment thinking. “Well… if it’s like that, we have to make sure he’s okay…” She scrunched up her face and looked at the door.
“But- but is it safe?”
Carl watched as his sister opened the door and took a step out.
“Knowing him, it’s not. I’m going to go talk to him about it.” And so she left the house, closing the door behind her before Carl could respond.
“Well- I- okay then. I’ll, uh, just be here waiting for you…” He trailed off sighing with a shake of his head. He set down his books and looked around the house. He was in too terrible of a mood to do any reading. Maybe he could make a waffle.