Reinventing Aaron: Chapters 1-8
Chapter 1: Why is Everybody Always Picking On Me?
It all started with a boy named Aaron Carraway. He was born in a small town in North Carolina. It’s a place where legends roam the beaches and myths are told by campfires; a place where the ghosts hide and then seek out their next victim. Aaron knew the stories well. He could tell you about the murderous pirate Blackbeard and the haunting helper Hatteras Jack. You see, Aaron had a talent for this sort of thing but that didn't seem to matter to all the other kids; all they saw was a little boy with a girl’s name. So, this is where we start our story: the day that Aaron started to see why he needed to reinvent himself.
“Mom, why did you give me a girl’s name?” Aaron asked.
“You do not have a girl’s name,” she chuckled. "A girl's name is spelled E-R-I-N."
“Oh, yeah, well Tommy and Amanda told me a couple of weeks ago that I did, and then Charity and Michael told me that last week, and Chris and Buddy said the same thing the other day. And then we had a substitute teacher today and when she called out role I didn’t answer and so she blurted out, “Is sheee here today?” Mom, why did you give me a girl’s name? Is it not enough that I almost died, like, three times since I was born and here I am finishing my 5th grade year and my substitute teacher is even making fun of me! AAAAAnd my girlfriend since kindergarten broke up with me today, even though I forgot that we were dating, but that’s not the case, because everyone was making fun of my name!”
“Well, we were going to name you after me,” Aaron’s mom said with delight.
“You mean you were going to name me Rhonda? MOM!!!!!”
“No, we were going to name you Ronnie, which is short for Rhonda,” she answered with a very poised expression.
Interrupting his mother, Aaron quickly replied, “Um, yeah, Aaron’s great, mom. Thanks for sharing and please never reveal that touching story to anyone, ever again. Hope to die put a needle in your eye.”
His mother laughed to herself. She loved her youngest son. She had to give him credit. He had the knack for telling stories. She smiled and continued to fold clothes while Aaron, his middle brother Billy, and his older brother Charles ran around her hooting and hollering like wild Indians, while at the same time pushing and shoving each other.
Any other mother would have spanked their behinds but this didn’t seem to faze her because she kept a smile and stared straight ahead. It was almost as if it was a scene straight out of the Twilight Zone. Once they were done with the Indian chants, Aaron walked toward the garage door and when he opened it, he saw a gigantic ladder. He remembered his favorite bedtime story that was read to him when he was younger: Jack and the Beanstalk. Aaron’s imagination went wild.
“I wonder if Jack left any treasures behind,” he pondered.
So, he walked over to the ladder and began to climb and climb the “beanstalk”. As he was climbing, Aaron started to daydream. That’s probably why he didn’t notice his brother standing directly behind him with a BB gun in hand.
“Hey, Aaron, watcha doin’,” Billy asked with a hint of a giggle in his voice.
“Climbing up a ladder, can’t you seeee,” Aaron said sarcastically without looking back.
This is when Billy shot his BB gun. His target was Aaron’s butt. And he was successful. Billy then realized that he might be in trouble as he watched his little brother plummet to the floor. Did I mention that Aaron was screaming to the top of his lungs? Well, he was! Now some say that Billy did it because the devil made him do it but others stated that it was that Christmas movie that he had been watching; you know the one where the boy thinks he is going to shoot his eye out. As Aaron went to bed that night, sleeping on his back, due to allergies I might add, he realized that even his brothers picked on him.
Meanwhile, in the other room, Billy was fast asleep and there was a knock coming from under the bed. Billy popped one eye open. He was now officially scared to death. He knew there was something horrible under his bed waiting for the moment to attack.
The next thing he knew a hand came from under the bed and grabbed him. He just knew that this was it. He prayed, “God, I promise that I will never watch another scary movie, ever again, if you will just save me.”
He peeked and when he saw the hand, he screamed. Now, for a chubby boy, he could jump. The boy’s dad, who stood around 5’7” tall with red hair and a big belly, heard his sons cry and ran to help. When he finally arrived into the bedroom, he saw the arm sticking out from under the bed. He quickly walked over and pulled the monster out into the open—Charles. At least Charles picked on Billy tonight because usually it was Aaron.

Chapter 2: Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Aaron typically woke up to the smell of pine trees (which he was allergic to) and the singing of birds. Instead of waking up to the birds chirping today, he woke up to a dreadful noise that appeared to be coming from next door. He quickly ran to the window and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and—oh, the heck with it, he thought as he stopped trying to battle the Evil I Won’t Open Window. So he bolted for the front door at the speed of lighting — ok, maybe, not lightning, but definitely the speed of “Aaron.” As he almost ran into the door, he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. It could be a trap. It could be one of the neighborhood kids ready to pounce on his puny head. Aaron slowly opened the door and put his head out to take a quick peek.
The noise got louder and louder. What he saw next was so frightening that he almost peed in his pants—like his grandmother does when she laughs too hard (Aaron and his brothers call her the pee-pee queen).
“La, La-la, La, La-la.” It was an older, round lady with short blonde hair and small tiny glasses twirling around and singing while she was feeding foxes, birds, raccoons, and cats, oh my. It looked like a fairy tale scene directly from the pages of Snow White. Except this Snow White was wearing a - a - a nightie!
“AAAAHHHHHHH,” Aaron screamed.
“AAAAAAHHHHHHHH,” the round lady with short blonde hair and small tiny glasses echoed. She threw her food into the air and ran for her house as Aaron slammed the door. He pinched himself and slapped his face twice to make sure he wasn’t sleeping. Nope, he felt it and it hurt.
“Whatcha doin’?" asked his brother Billy who was sitting on the couch with a sly smirk on his face.
“AAAAHHHHH,” came out of Aaron’s mouth once again. Billy had startled Aaron so bad that he jumped and turned in mid air to face his brother’s wrath.
“I was-was getting some fresh air,” he stuttered.
“Yeah, right, Aaron! You’re allergic to the fresh air, pine trees, animals and everything else in this gigantic earth. So, what were you really doing?” Billy asked with that same look on his face.
“Hey, where’s mom?” Aaron said, trying to change the subject.
“She went a couple of doors down to visit with Mrs. Looney,” Billy replied as he was flipping through the television channels until he landed on just the right show.
Aaron excitedly leaped onto the couch in order to watch their favorite show of all time: WWF. Hulk Hogan was about to challenge Rick Flair. The boys thought Hulk Hogan was the coolest wrestler ever. He had really blond hair almost white like the kung fu scary guy that comes on early Saturday mornings. Their eyes were glued to the television set like white on rice. Billy was laughing so hard at the stupid move that Rick Flair just tried that his cheeks shook up and down.
Aaron looked over at his much older brother of one year and noticed that Billy wasn’t so bad. He hated when their oldest brother Charles called Billy "fatty, fatty, two by four can’t get through the kitchen door." It hurt Billy’s feelings and it also hurt Aaron’s, no matter how many times they fought. Billy had freckles all over his nose and was quite chubby. He had dark brown hair like Aaron but favored his dad mostly. Aaron took after his mother’s side of the family with big brown eyes and dark brown hair. He had chipmunk cheeks and he was very small in stature. In fact, he was so small that he slept on the floorboard of the station wagon when they would go on family trips.
Well, Charles may have been cool to everyone else but he was mean to his brothers. Yep, remember the trips where Aaron slept on the floorboard? Well, that’s when Charles would take it upon himself and try to smother Aaron with a pillow while he slept. Try waking up to a pillow buried in your face. Charles looked more like their mother’s father. He had Dumbo ears and a long skinny body with freckles everywhere. Just when things seemed calm and peaceful around the house, chaos stirred in the air. Billy immediately turned off the television and looked at Aaron. They both signaled with their eyes and off the sofa they went. They ran to their parent’s bedroom and climbed on to the gigantic bed. They started bouncing up and down and kicking at each other wildly. They were no longer Aaron and Billy but now Hulk Hogan and Rick Flair. Billy took on a slow mo pace and backed up while he slumped over with his arms ready for battle.
Aaron jumped off the bed and said, “Ha-Ha!” “You thought you had me….”
He stopped talking and looked up in the air with his mouth wide open. He couldn’t believe what he saw. No, it wasn’t the older, round lady with short blonde hair and small tiny glasses twirling around and singing in a nightie--it was his brother Billy flying through the air and headed straight for him. It was like the greatest wrestling move of all time. KABOOM! Crunch!
The noise was so loud that it startled Charles who was playing in the tree house all the way outside. Charles ran into the house and flung his parents' bedroom door open to see Billy sprawled out on top of something that looked like it was smooshed. What was it? He thought. Billy slowly came out of his daze and got up off the ground and lo and behold, Aaron was that smooshed object. He was lying flat and moaning something. Charles started laughing so loud that he could have alerted 911. Little did he know that 911 was about to be a part of the picture.
“Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!” he sang, “Aaron broke his first bone.” Billy knew that he was going to get it now when his mom came home.
Charles ran to Mrs. Looney’s house and told his mom everything that had happened. Their mom wasn’t the calmest person in chaotic situations. She ran out into the yard and started screaming over and over again, “Help! Help!”
The ambulance arrived shortly after and Aaron did break his first bone—his collarbone was shattered. The bone broke on through to the other side. The doctor put a tight brace on this area and Aaron looked in the mirror. Great, something else to be picked on about, he thought.

Chapter 3: Take A Look At Me Now
Aaron was waiting in the doctor’s office the entire evening with his parents and brothers thinking about all of the brushes with death that he has had in his short existence. When he came out of his dreary daze of deep thought, he was not prepared for what came next.
“Aaron was the cutest baby. He had beautiful big brown eyes and he was so tiny. We almost lost him at the beginning though,” his mother, Rhonda, said as she was eyeing to see who was interested. “He had blood poisoning when he was born. Thank God the transfusion saved his life,” she said with a southern accent.
“Oh, my, the poor dear,” said the gray haired elderly woman sitting across from his mother. This got her going even more.
“That’s not even the worst of it,” Rhonda said as she nodded her head up and down. Gasps were heard all over the room by now.
“He had no muscle structure at all. He never moved and if you raised his legs or arms up they would just flop down like a rag doll.”
“What happened?” the worried audience practically chanted.
“Well, it was a miracle. One morning when he was around 16 months old I woke up and went in to feed him and, to my surprise, he was playing.”
Claps could be heard for miles. Of course, Aaron would have to be in the room as she told this embarrassing tale. Thank God it was over.
“Oh, and I almost forgot. You have to hear what Aaron’s nickname was when he was a baby. It was soooo cute,” she said.
Aaron glanced over at his mother. She was a beautiful woman around 5’7” tall with an hourglass figure, long, rich chocolate hair, and olive skin. Her eyes were a deep brown and always looked so innocent--until now.
What was she about to say?
“It didn’t matter where I went, everyone wanted to hold him. They all would make a fuss over who was going to be next. I always warned them though….
“This one morning in particular, when we were at church, a very proper woman, who was elegant in poise and dress wanted to hold him. I once again threw out the warning but she would not take no for an answer. It was straight out of the Exorcist. The very proper woman was talking baby talk and telling Aaron how cute he was…and then it happened,” his mother said with a long pause afterwards.
“What, what happened?” said the nurse who had stopped dead in her tracks to listen. Whispers could be heard all around the room. These people could not wait for the ending.
“Well, like I was saying, she was gaga over him and then…he vomited all over her expensive Chanel suit. And I don’t mean a little bit. When Aaron threw up it was projectile vomit and it covered everything in its path. The very proper woman screamed to the top of her lungs. I told her that I tried to warn her,” his mother stated with an exaggerated flare, “and that’s where he got his nickname…Icky Pooh!”
Aaron was now mortified. He quickly looked over at his brother Billy who was sitting next to him and who was now rolling on the floor with laughter.
“Icky Pooh, Icky Pooh,” Billy hysterically chanted. Then it was like dominoes; everyone else in the room began laughing. Here Aaron was sitting in the waiting room with a collarbone brace on and he was now the laughing stock of the hospital.
“Oh, you have to hear this other story about my middle son, Billy. It is hysterical!”
Billy stopped laughing immediately when he heard his name. His face went from smiles to frowns in the matter of seconds. Now, Aaron looked back at his brother with the largest grin ever. He knew what story she was about to tell and so did Billy.
“One evening when church service had ended, we were all standing around talking. Well, sometimes I can talk, talk, talk, talk and talk and I walked right out without him. Billy had fallen asleep under the pew during service and I just plain forgot about him. When I ran back into the church to get him, hours later, I found him sleepwalking in front of the altar. What he did next caught me off guard. He pulled down his pants and peed all over it,” she stated with a satisfied expression.
Everyone’s eyes in the waiting room practically popped out. Then it happened. The entire room once again erupted with laughter. The crowd was eating her stories up. Aaron mimicked his brother well and started laughing uncontrollably as Billy tried to slump down in his seat. A really old lady leaned over and pinched Billy’s cheeks.
“Oh, you are sooo cute,” the really old lady said as she milked his cheeks.
At that awkward moment the doctor walked up to the boy’s mother and told her that the next appointment had been set and that they could go home now. The entire family was exhausted. It had been a long day. Their dad had left the hospital to go to a preacher’s convention and Charles had left earlier to stay the night over at Turtle’s house (Charles’ buddy that resembles a turtle). It was only the three of them now and so they left on their journey home. Little did they know that something worse was about to happen after they arrived.

Chapter 4: Nightmare on Dobbs Lane
As the car rounded the corner on Dobbs Lane, Aaron was thinking to himself. He wondered how he was going to reinvent himself before the summer ended. It would be his sixth grade year soon and he wanted everyone to like him. Thank God the collarbone brace would be coming off before school started. But Aaron was desperate for a plan. Suddenly it dawned on him. He had the strength within him to be brave and exciting. His family history proved this without a shadow of a doubt. How delicious it was when the boys were told the tales of their forefathers who came before them. Captain John Nelson was the first Englishman to settle in Beaufort, North Carolina. He had a deed from the King of England. The only other inhabitants were the Indians. Aaron couldn’t help but think about Blackbeard who frequented this southern colonial town often. This most dreaded pirate even took up residence on the nearby island of Wokokon. Legend has it that the name of the island changed when Blackbeard was impatient for the dawn to break on the night of his last battle. He cried out, “O’ Crow, Cock, O’ Crow, Cock.” And that is how its former name became Ocracoke. The attacks, the fights, how glorious it must have been during those days. Why couldn’t Aaron be brave like his great, great, great, great, great, great, you get the point, grandfather, Captain John Nelson or brave like his other great grandfather Zion Mickens Lewis who captured one of the largest whales around? The whale can now be found in the Raleigh-Durham Museum. It seemed to fly right off the pages of the classic novel Moby Dick.
Aaron’s newfound bravery rapidly faded when he entered the dark and silent house on 1121 Dobbs Lane.
“Man, this is a little creepy,” Billy said as he fumbled for the light switch in the black and cold room. “I wish Charles and Dad were here with us,” he said timidly as he realized the lights were not working.
“Now, boys, everything is going to be all right,” their mom said with a hesitation in her voice as she went to get some candles. “I’ll have this place lit up any moment. It’s been a long day and we all need to get some sleep anyways,” she yawned.
And to make matters worse, when Charles was away Billy slept in his room instead of the room he shared with Aaron. Aaron and Billy’s bedroom was directly across from their parents’ room at the end of the hall. Even though Charles’ room was next to the boys’ room, Aaron was still a little freaked out. He couldn’t ask his brother to stay with him in the room because then he would be a bigger wimp than he already was. He tried to be brave like their great grandfathers but the only problem was he was shaking the whole time with the covers pulled above his head. The covers didn’t stay there long because Aaron couldn’t breathe (allergies).
“I wonder if Captain Nelson would have pulled the covers over his head. I doubt it,” he grumbled. It was so dark in the room that Aaron had a hard time trying to fall asleep because he swore there was someone staring at him outside of his window. He could grab his sword and fight the man with all he had or he could pretend to go to sleep and hope that they would disappear. He chose the latter of the two and he soon drifted off to sleep.
Billy was in the next room having the exact same thoughts, although, he would never admit that to Aaron. He too finally dozed off to “Never Never Land”. The boy’s mother, Rhonda, finished getting ready for bed and she pulled the covers down and climbed in for a peaceful night of sleep. In next to no time, she started her usual nightly snore, when, all of a sudden, her covers tightened around her. She awoke with such a fright that she gasped and then terror set in.
“What in the world was that,” she shakingly thought. She was breathing at such a rapid pace now that her heart felt like it would explode. Rhonda prayed a silent prayer and decided that she was getting herself worked up over nothing. As she settled back in to bed it didn’t take long before she commenced to snore again. The covers drew tight around her once more and this made her bolt upright in her bed. The loudest blood-curdling scream came out of that woman. A figure arose from under the bed and stood directly over her.
Aaron jumped as he heard his mother’s startled cry.
“I will save you mom,” Aaron bravely shrieked but soon lost all momentum. No way was he going to try and prove his newfound bravery at a time like this.
“Billy help!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. It would take a hurricane to wake Billy but after hearing his mom’s earth shattering scream he quickly jumped out of bed and began battling the air. Yep, he was still asleep. Although, whatever he was dreaming, he was definitely winning because he was slashing the air to and fro. The only problem was the monster was not in Billy’s room it was in his moms. At last, he got a grip on reality and woke up. Billy sprang out of his bedroom to help his screaming mother.
When Billy arrived in her room she was crying uncontrollably.
At that moment she looked at her son and shouted, “There’s someone in the house. He just ran out of my room.” Billy darted down the hall. He saw a figure scram out of the front door. His adrenaline was pumping so fast that he did not think of the consequences that could lie ahead. Billy jetted out that door faster than a sprint runner in the Olympics, but it was too late. The culprit had escaped and no matter how bad he wanted to get his hands on the intruder there was nothing he could do.
When Billy shut the door and locked it behind him he was trembling as he headed down the long, dark, narrow hallway. When he arrived back in his mother’s room he found Aaron comforting their mom. Who could it have been? This was no dream; it was for real. The boys loved their mom and they were glad that she was safe. They called the authorities and within no time sirens were heard all over the neighborhood.
Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather Captain John Nelson would have been proud of his Great, Great, Great, Great Grandson Billy that night. But it wasn’t Billy that needed to learn how to act brave, it was Aaron.

Chapter 5: He Wears His Sunglasses At Night
The night had quickly faded after the intruder had escaped. The morning seemed like a blur and things started to settle down around the Carraway household. There was still an eeriness that filled the place but that soon changed when Aaron’s older brother came home. Charles was known as the cool guy. He had the looks, the brains, the muscles and the attitude. The problem was—he knew it. His head was soooo big that it could have exploded at any moment. It didn’t matter that his ears were extra large. The girls seemed to think that this made him even cuter. Aaron only wished that he could be popular like his brother. Charles could wear a pair of sunglasses at night and all of sudden it would be the "in" thing to do. If Aaron had done that he would have been beat up right there on the spot. So, he devised a plan to hang out with him. Maybe some of his brother’s coolness would rub off and eventually even make Aaron the stud that he longed to be—okay, that might be pushing it by a little bit. All right, it might be pushing it by a long shot.
“Charles, what are your plans for today, huh, Dude?” Aaron said trying to be cool.
“Um, none of your business, dude,” Charles said making fun of him.
As Charles walked away Aaron ran around his brother in order to block him from escaping. He had to give it his all.
He dropped to his knees and begged, “Charles, can I pleeeeaaase hang out with you today?”
“Pleeeeaaaaase,” Charles said mockingly. “You’re pathetic. Get up! Okay, you can hang out with me but if you tell mom or dad about anything that we do today then I will smash your already puny body into a dumpster.”
Aaron knew that he should run at this very moment. Was being cool worth getting in trouble over? Besides, his dad’s belt was gigantic--he was a Texan for God’s sake and a hefty one at that. Aaron felt his butt and rubbed it. He almost felt the sting right then and there. It wouldn’t matter if he stuffed his pants because he tried that once and got even more licks. So, how many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie roll pop? One! That’s all it takes when his dad gives the licks around the house because after one swing—pop, there goes Aaron.
“I promise I won’t tell,” Aaron cautiously told his older brother.
Charles walked up to him and got really close—a little too close I might add. He knew that this meant trouble. Aaron fell to the ground, covered his face, and then screamed, “Don’t hit!”
Charles stared at his younger brother for a moment and said, “Oh, my, gosh! You idiot, get up! I wasn’t going to whack you. I was trying to tell you something quietly.”
Charles stooped near Aaron’s ear, “Do you know where dad put the Volvo key?”
“Yeah,” Aaron said in a loud voice.
Charles clasped his hand tightly over Aaron’s enormous mouth.
“Shhhhh! Would you like for me to hurt you? Dad’s in the back room,” he firmly stated under his breath.
Aaron slowly shook his head back and forth as if to say no. He didn’t want to vanish without a trace like the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island.
“Then go and get them because we are going for a joy ride!”
Aaron jumped up, excited and scared, all at the same time—he knew his brother was only 14 and dear God he knew that they were dead meat if they got caught. Charles was suggesting that they steal a car. A friend of the Carraway family left her Volvo station wagon over at their house for safekeeping while she was out of town—so much for safekeeping.
Aaron crept toward the refrigerator and then grabbed a bar stool to reach the jar on top. He about knocked the stool over as he pulled the key out of the jar. This was a stepping-stone in their relationship. Aaron knew that his brother would be happy that he broke the rules. It’s funny how a person can be the odd one out but once they do something that they think is cool then all of sudden it’s like they have been cool all along and they would diss their old friends in a heartbeat.
Aaron had done this once before, last year at school, when he was walking outside for recess. Everyone was their usual self that day because he was surely getting picked on. As he rounded the corner of the building he saw a circle of people surrounding this girl. He soon realized that an onslaught of kids was throwing rocks at her. Who was she? When he got a closer look he discovered that it was Lena. Lena was a large girl that would always chase him around the playground just to try and get a kiss. If he wouldn't obey she would sit on him. The kids who were throwing rocks told Aaron to join in. And to make matters worse, it was the bullies that would always pick on him. Instead of helping her, he joined in that day, just to be a part of the “in” crowd. Aaron felt horrible about it and she would not accept his apology.
And now Aaron was doing the wrong thing to fit in with his brother. When he walked outside to get into the passenger seat of the station wagon he buckled up. Charles slowly backed the car out of the driveway and they were off. They were living the good life with the windows rolled down and the music blaring. Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty…The boys were singing to the top of their lungs and loving every minute of it. They had finally bonded and now Aaron was considered a part of the cool crowd. It couldn’t get any better than this.
“We did it Aaron,” Charles happily declared.
“I knowwww,” Aaron said in a “dyn-o-mite” sort of way.
Good Times?” Charles inquired.
“Inquiring minds want to know, huh?” Aaron jokingly reported, “And, sir, that is correct! You are the next contestant on the Price Is Right.”
They both started laughing until Charles glanced in the rear view mirror.
“Man, that car behind us looks familiar?” he said in a mumbled breath.
“It’s Dad!!!!!” Charles' thunderous voice shouted.
Aaron’s heart started pounding. He stuck his hand up in the air while putting his other hand over his heart and stated, “Elizabeth, I’m coming home!”
He knew that Heaven’s gates were approaching. Aaron had watched way too much television. Instead of Charles slowing down he sped up trying to escape his dad’s wrath. His efforts were low because their dad was hot on their trail. Charles sharply turned on to the next street so fast that the station wagon was out of control. They were swerving right and then left while Charles was trying to get a grip on the steering wheel. The mailboxes all around were about to be demolished. Why did I talk myself into this? Aaron thought gruffly. He didn’t know the outcome to this horrible idea of trying to become cool but at this very moment he wasn’t feeling so cool. Do rebels always feel this way during the shoot out? Aaron glimpsed over at his brother and saw the gleam in his eyes. Why does he look calm in a time of crisis? Charles eventually got control of the wagon and he sped up faster to try and ditch their father.
“We’re going to lose him, Dude!” Charles bellowed.
Aaron looked back to see if his dad was still riding their bumper but there was no other car in sight. Shew, it’s over. Or so they thought. Just then, a dark blue square Buick, with black smoke trailing from behind, pulled out in front of them. Yep, the boys couldn’t miss their parent’s vehicle. The "old jalopy" barely ran and the black smoke was an embarrassment to them since day one.
“Prepare yourself to die, Aaron,” Charles said in a weary voice. The Dukes of Hazard joy ride had ended.
When they arrived back home they got a whoopin’ of a lifetime. Their father "tore the house down” with his belt that day. Aaron was now in his room crying when he heard a knock at his door.
“Hey, Aaron, let me in.”
It was Charles. What did he want? He had already ruined his little brother’s life.
“Dad left to go to the grocery store,” he said in a whisper.
Aaron sniffled, “Yeah, O.K.”
“I’ve got something to cheer us up,” Charles said in a sinful way. “Follow me!”
Aaron wiped away his tears and opened the door. He followed his brother outside. They went over to the large bush that was directly in front of the house. Charles had made a place to sit inside of it. When you touched the bush it felt like fiberglass chips rubbing off on your fingers. If you weren’t careful it could cut you like a knife. How did his brother make a hollow area in this rough to the touch bush? Aaron sat down inside of the area and looked over at his brother. Charles took out a cigarette and lit it. Aaron was shocked. Where in the Sam Hill did he get those?
“Here, take a drag.”
“No, I can’t,” Aaron amazingly said.
“Take it you girl,” his brother demanded.
Charles knew that would persuade him because he hated being called a girl. Aaron apprehensively grabbed the cigarette and took a puff. His lungs started to get heavy and he began to cough. The boys then heard something. Yep, someone had just pulled into the driveway.
“Charles, someone’s here. We’re dead,” Aaron said frantically.
Charles then replied, "Don’t worry. Remember this bush is covering us."
Aaron was scared to death. He knew that they were going to get caught. Not again! At that moment, a car door slammed and two ladies voices could be heard. It was the boy’s mom and her best friend, Barbara, walking toward the house. Rhonda was chatting away when she looked over at the bush and saw smoke coming out of the top. “Look Barbara! It’s the burning bush.”
The women began to chuckle as they got closer. Rhonda bent over and parted the burning bush carefully so she wouldn’t get cut. To her amazement she found two young boys smoking.
Their mom’s face grew red with anger as she screamed, “Get in the house, NOW!!!!”
The boys barely made it out alive and ran in for safety—or so they thought. Surely she wouldn’t spank them in front of Barbara-or would she? They waited nervously inside until the door opened. It was their mother with a belt in hand. Great, the boys were about to get two spankings in one day.
“Do you know how bad smoking is for your health, especially growing boys like yourselves?” she firmly asked as she bent Aaron over her knee. He was petrified to see Barbara standing there watching.
“This is going to hurt me as much as it is going to hurt you,” his mother “lovingly” said as she spanked his butt.
The rest was a blur. Remember, he wasn’t used to getting in trouble for his actions. It was his sarcasm that usually put him in the hot seat. After the spanking the boys were sent to their rooms to think about what they had done. When Charles arrived in his room he had already moved on but Aaron's thoughts were on something entirely different. He needed a “cool” plan fast because he was running out of options before the new school year started. At least his grandparents from Texas were coming to visit. They always made it fun around the house because his Grandmother Carraway (The Pee-pee Queen) was a riot.

Chapter 6: When The Light’s Went Out In North Carolina
It was a huge fiasco when the in-laws came to visit. Rhonda wanted everything to be perfect around the house and to do this she had to redecorate. Normal families would have only cleaned but this was definitely not enough. Plastic covered the floors so that a fresh coat of paint could be added to the walls. The curtains came down while the furniture was piled in the other rooms. A television set and a couch were the only two large items remaining in the living room. The weather channel had been blaring all day at the Carraway home. It seemed Big Bertha was about to approach land and boy was she huge. Bertha practically covered the entire state of North Carolina. The fat lady must have sung and someone must have made fun of her because she was mad, real mad. Hurricanes were a frequent visitor to the natives of this great land. The Great Hurricane of 1899 was a ghastly scene that wiped out Shackleford Island and devastated other surrounding areas. The dead rose from their graves and many new ones were made due to that ferocious cyclone. The Carraways were told these tales and usually left town by now but with the grandparents on their way they had no other choice but to ride it out in Morehead City, North Carolina.
The news declared that the hurricane would hit land by nightfall. The boys always appeared to get real excited over hurricanes. It was a mixture of adrenaline and fright all balled up into one. In fact the boys were so pumped that they decided to celebrate by skateboarding on their new ramp they had built in the woods.
Aaron ran for the phone and dialed his only friend David Jones.
“Hello, Mrs. Jones, can I speak to David?” he asked while gasping for breath.
“Sure, Aaron, hold on for a minute,” Mrs. Jones said as she put the phone down and screamed for David. It did not take long before David was gasping for breath and picking up the receiver.
“Hey, what’s going on?” David said.
“David, you have to come and go skateboarding with us,” said Aaron.
“Sounds fun but I don’t know if my mom will let me since Big Bertha is on her way.”
“Go and ask and, if you can, then meet us in the woods by the pond at 3:00 p.m.”
“Cool, later,” David replied.
David was a good friend from down the road who had white blonde hair and blue eyes. They were the same age and about the same in stature. Aaron wished that David went to the same school as him, but he didn’t; he attended the local private one.
It wasn’t long before Charles, Billy, Aaron and David were hanging out and having a blast while they skated the hours away. It was getting dark and the huge pine trees that covered the forest were starting to look a little scary. It didn’t help that the wind began to howl. Aaron looked up and saw one of the pine trees come to life. He closed his eyes and shook his head and then glanced up again. Thank God it was his imagination. The darkness spread rapidly and a hush soon fell. It was now pitch black. The boys grabbed their flashlights and pointed them in every direction searching for a way out. The silence fell prey as the pines began to sway and the mighty wind began to roar.
“Let’s get out of here,” Charles suggested. Just then a low growl could be heard. Aaron was beginning to get scared but he didn’t want his friend David to know.
“What was that?” David whispered. Good, he’s scared too, Aaron thought to himself. Within seconds, it sounded like a pack of wild horses stampeding their way. The boys looked in every direction until the surprising force knocked them off of their feet--it was a torrential downpour.
“Run!” Screamed Billy.
The boys ran as fast as they could to get out of the woods and to try and make it back to the house safely. Aaron didn’t know where to run because he couldn’t see anything. His flashlight caught a glimpse of his brothers running but the only problem was they were much further ahead of him. In fact they were almost to the neighborhood. Why did they leave him? He panicked and began to run against the wind with all of his might. He was not going down like this.
“Wait up you guys,” Aaron yelled to the top of his lungs while tears were falling down his cheeks. He was determined to make it out of the woods alive no matter what. Cuts and bruises adorned his body as he made it to the pavement road. He placed his skateboard down, jumped on and let the wind do all of the work. Since he was small the skateboard lifted off the ground and Aaron went flying in the air until he alone hit the concrete. BAM! It was a sound like no other. Aaron lay motionless for what seemed like days. He was definitely hurting all over and the blood that was on the ground couldn’t be good. Aaron hoped that he hadn’t damaged his collarbone again. He then slowly pulled himself up and sat groggily on the cold, wet pavement.
His brothers and his friend were nowhere to be found and here he was out in the middle of the storm. He looked around in the pouring rain and saw lawn chairs and tables and signs flying everywhere. He freaked. What if he was kidnapped and murdered? This set him in motion. Aaron ran so fast that he didn’t even notice that he was now getting close to home. When he arrived on the doorstep and walked through the door it was as if no one realized that he was gone this whole time. He was angry but he didn’t want his friend to know it. The other boys were sitting on the couch that was facing the window. Plastic still decorated the floor and without the curtains and blinds there was nothing left for the outside world to imagine. Anyone could see what they were up to.
“Hey, we’re telling David some of the spooky stuff that has happened to us in this house,” Billy told Aaron. Aaron quickly forgot about his misfortune of being left out in the rain, and a smile appeared across his face.
“Did you tell him about the guy that was under mom’s bed recently?” Aaron asked. David’s face went from normal to pale white in a matter of seconds. Aaron walked over to the couch and plopped down next to David and began to tell the story in only a way that he could tell it. All eyes were now glued to him and all mouths were opened for flies. Not a sound could be heard, except for the scary story that was unfolding….
As Aaron told the ghastly tale he looked over at the window. A man in a ski mask was standing right in front of it, in the pouring rain, staring straight at them. Aaron pointed toward the window.
“AHHHHHHHH,” echoed through the entire house as the boys screamed bloody murder. Their dad, who was taking a hot bath to relax in the back bedroom, jumped out of the tub so fast that he almost wiped out. Danny grabbed a towel and ran to save his boys. He saw the creepy man in the ski mask standing there in front of the window and he ran straight outside. The man took off as Danny got closer. The boys were looking through the window to see what was going to happen next. Aaron knew that his dad would save them by catching the man.
Just then Danny slipped in a puddle of mud and his towel went flying. Aaron gasped at the sight. He could not believe what he just saw. Not only did his dad slip but he was now stark naked. And to top it off, his friend David saw the whole thing. Aaron’s dad was a large man and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Danny slowly got up and put his towel on and went back inside. He walked past the boys and called the authorities. Was it the same person who had been under their mother’s bed? The boy's hearts were pounding as they went and got a sheet and tacked it up to cover the window in the living room. They would have to ride out the storm that night and hope that Big Bertha wouldn’t bring forth any more surprises. Would the man in the ski mask be back?

Chapter 7: Once Bitten?
The dew was fresh on the grass when Aaron ran outside to see Big Bertha’s revenge. His socks were now soaking wet as he looked around at the disaster that lay before him, except there was no disaster, it was only rubble thrown here and there. Aaron was sooo sure that when he woke up his house would be the only one standing, but nooooo!
Well, at least the day could only get better because today was the day that Grandmother Mildred Carraway was coming to town. This was his dad’s mother and boy was she crazy. Mildred was a short, plump lady with auburn hair and glasses. She also had false teeth, which Aaron loved for her to take out and try to talk. He laughed his head off every time. Now don’t call their grandmother, granny or grandma because that would set her in motion to try to give you a good whoopin’. She said it made her feel old. Well, hello, she was. She must face facts at some point in her life, right?
The boy’s Grandfather Wiley was a true cowboy. He had dark leathery skin with jet-black hair. This feisty Texan was really short and loved to talk. Bring up the weather and you could have him chatting for hours.
Now, Aaron was also realllllly pumped that his aunt was coming. Kay was a beautiful strawberry blonde that could give Daisy Duke a run for her money any day. She was Mildred’s accident. Aaron and his aunt were only ten years a part. His dad and Kay were actually fourteen years apart. So, Aaron felt more like her brother than her nephew. He was brought back to earth when he heard a voice sing, “Hello!”
He jumped ten feet in the air because it scared Aaron to death.
“I’m your new neighbor from next door,” sang the older, round lady with short blonde hair and small tiny glasses.
Aaron came to the realization that she was wearing her nightie just like the other day and so he ran for the door without saying a word back to her. He was petrified.
SLAM! He was now safe behind closed doors. How was he going to pass the time before his grandparents and aunt arrived late in the evening? Aaron just couldn't seem to get granny off his mind.
“Aaron, grab your bathing suit and surfboard because we’re going to Hatteras today,” said a very bossy Charles.
Aaron loved Hatteras but most of all he loved riding the ferry. As he packed his belongings, Aaron got a little nervous because he was just learning how to surf from his brother and all he could remember about Hatteras was that they had LARGE waves. What would happen to him? I’m sure my brother will take care of me, he convinced himself. Charles would hitch a ride with his buddies' parents whenever they went to Hatteras Island and so off they went. Aaron jumped out of the car when it was safely parked on the ferryboat. The smell of salt-water air and the sound of seagulls caused Aaron to leap for joy. He couldn’t wait. After a couple of hours of playing around the deck and buying snacks, the boat finally arrived on the Island.
Aaron stood next to his older brother and his mouthed dropped to the grass. It couldn’t be! It was a disaster. Tons of people were working to clean up this once beautiful island. Aaron figured that the ghost of Hatteras Jack must have warned the residents because they would have been in a solemn mood if anyone had died. Aaron remembered that in 1790, captains in this area came to trust a white albino dolphin who led their ships to safety. They called him Hatteras Jack. Locals say that he also appears on land as a white haired man so that he can prevent any further danger from happening.
When Aaron came back to reality he noticed his brother talking to a couple of girls. Charles ran toward Aaron and told him that there was a section of the beach still open. Aaron picked up his surfboard and followed his idol like a lost puppy. They found the hot spot and they both started running as fast as they could. They didn’t have to meet back at the car until 3:00 p.m. That gave them several hours to have fun in the sun. It took Charles no time to catch his first wave and then second and then third. Aaron was still waiting for that one perfect wave. Well, maybe he was just a little scared.
“What’s a matter, Aaron, chicken? Brock, Brock,” Charles chanted over and over.
That’s it! Aaron saw his moment of fame and he took it. The wave was gigantic. It was the Goliath of all waves. He bravely stood up on his board and off he went. He was sooo proud of himself as he started to ride the wave…Oops! Aaron went up and Aaron went down. Obviously, his brother had forgotten to tell him that the waves were different. He hit the ground harder than a skydiver whose parachute wouldn’t open. His neck crunched in the sand and then panic began to set in because he couldn’t move — he was paralyzed. He began to scream for help and then he noticed his brother laughing his head off. In a time of death his older brother was laughing. How mean could you get? Aaron was starting to go under because the waves were crashing down on top of him. This caused him to pee in the ocean. The warmth comforted him for a moment. And then he saw it. It was a shark’s fin swimming right in front of his very eyes.
“Help! Shark!” he screamed to the top of his lungs although they were filled up with water at the moment.
He still was able to scream in the midst of his final minutes on earth. Aaron started to get movement back in his body and he began to swim as fast as he could. The shore seemed like eight hours away. As he got closer to the sand he realized it was extremely cold but why? He was bare-naked. His swimsuit must have come off in the ocean when he was paralyzed. He scanned the water looking everywhere for it and he hoped that the shark had disappeared. What if I dive under looking for my swimsuit and I bump into “Jaws”? He looked at the beach and directly in front of him, lying on a towel, was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. I can’t run on the beach stark naked in front of her!
Aaron felt something hit his leg. He went wild. “Help! Help! I’ve been attacked! Shark!” he said as he jumped up and down kicking and hitting whatever was in his way. Charles swam on top of his surfboard to help his brother. When he arrived he pulled out the culprit. It was Aaron’s bathing suit.
“You moron! It’s your shorts, not a shark,” Charles said with a disgusted look on his face as if he had been bothered.
Aaron snatched the suit and slipped it back on and decided that he was going to call it a day. “Piss off! There was a shark over there,” Aaron yelled.
He then went up on the sand and sat on top of his surfboard trying to keep the tears back. 3:00 p.m. arrived and Aaron did not speak the rest of the way as they rode on the ferry. When he walked through the front door of their house he went straight to his room and dropped on the bed from exhaustion. He didn’t even hear his family from Texas pull up in the driveway. Mildred had finally gotten there.
“Where’s Aaron?” She asked the rest of the gang who was sitting in the living room.
“He’s in the bedroom sleeping,” Danny answered.
The short, plump lady with auburn hair and a big booty walked to the back bedroom and quietly opened the door. She crept over to Aaron’s bed and sat on the edge near his face. “Boo!”
Aaron jumped a mile in the air. When he finally landed he realized that his grandmother was sitting beside him.
“I just wanted to come in and see you,” she laughed. “Go back to sleep because tomorrow we have a big day ahead of us.”
“Oh, I’m sure I will fall fast asleep after you scaring me like that. His grandmother smiled and leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. Aaron decided that “grandmother knows best” and rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Once he drifted off he had nightmares that night. Sharks seemed to be the theme.

Chapter 8: Poo-Poo Platter, Anyone?
Aaron was up and out of his bed in no time. He woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs. The boy’s grandmother was in the kitchen making breakfast and pouring freshly frozen orange juice. Aaron snuck up behind his crazy grandma, gave her a big swat on the booty, and yelled, “Hey, Granny! What’s happenin', hot stuff?”
“Don’t you call me Granny, boy,” his grandmother said as she chased him around the kitchen with a great big smile and spatula in hand. Aaron knew that she was having fun with him but he also knew that she was serious about not calling her “granny.” Aaron stopped running and turned around and gave his Grandmother Carraway the biggest hug ever. Man, he sure had missed her and man she sure had missed him. It was like distance had never been a factor in their relationship and they were soon laughing it up.
The other boys straggled into the kitchen and gave their grandmother a kiss and sat down for a delicious meal.
“Mankind, that trip was a long one,” complained the boy's Grandpa Wiley. He loved to complain. You could definitely see that Charles and Wiley were a part of the same mold. And their Aunt Kay was sitting there, makeup and all. She once told the boys that she would scare them off if they ever saw her without any makeup on because she was as pale as a ghost. Aaron did get to see this phenomenon years later and boy she wasn’t kidding.
Life seemed grand at that moment. The whole family was gathered around the kitchen table talking away.
“Boys, Kay and I are going to the store in a little while. Anyone want to come?” Grandmother Carraway announced, “We need to get a few things before we go to the beach.” Aaron jumped at any chance to get out of the house and this was his first class ticket out the door.
“I’ll go,” he said.
It wasn’t long before the three of them were off together in the big Cadillac. Man, was this car a huge difference from the ‘Old Jalopy’ that the boys usually drove around in.
“Grandmother, can I ask you a question?” Aaron said with a serious look on his face.
“What is it sweetie?” She responded.
“Did you fart?” Aaron asked as he tried to keep a straight face.
“No!” His grandmother shot back with a not-so-innocent look.
“Because it sure stinks in this here Cadillac and I know I didn’t do it,” Aaron said with a hillbilly accent.
“First of all, young man, I do not fart, I poot, and second of all I would not do something that disgusting,” Grandmother Carraway laughingly replied.
“Right, mom, sure you wouldn’t,” Kay chimed in.
“Now, Kay, how do we know that it wasn’t you?” Grandmother Carraway stated.
“Because my poots don’t smell bad and yours are silent but deadly,” Kay managed to say as she kept a straight face.
“In fact, as bad as that smells, you might want to check your undies.”
Granny tried to change the subject by putting the pedal to the metal and yelling to the top of her lungs, “WEEEEEEEE!”
Oh, great, just what they needed, granny’s crazy driving. Grandmother Carraway was the type of lady that would pull out in front of ongoing traffic, ride the curb, and sharply turn the corners. It was a wonder she had made it out alive after all of those years behind the wheel.
“Slow it down, Granny!” Aaron jokingly blurted out, “You drive like a bat out of hell!”
The details are still sketchy to Aaron because the next thing he remembered was that somehow they were parked on the side of the road with his grandmother screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Don’t you ever call me Granny again and then have the nerve to cuss in front of me. Boy, this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”
Uh, ohhh! That was the same thing his mother told him before she….
Grandmother Carraway directed him to reach into the glove compartment. What he found astonished him. It was a huge wooden spoon. Who kept wooden spoons in their glove compartment?
“Aaron get out of the car and bend over,” she instructed.
What? Could this really be happening? He thought. Aaron slowly got out wondering if it was all a bad joke but when he received two licks in front of the entire highway he soon realized that she was not playing. One car that passed screamed out the window, “You go Grandma!”
The rest of the car ride was uncomfortable because no one was talking and it did not help that Aaron’s butt was sore. When they pulled in to the Roses parking lot in Morehead City, Aaron climbed out of the Cadillac. He was still surprised over the incident. One moment they were joking and the next moment he was mashed potatoes.
"Grandma, I am sorry that I said Hell," Aaron humorously apologized.
"That's okay, I know it slipped out, just like that poot I did in the car," his grandmother said with a sly evil smirk.
"I knew it! You did fart in the car," Aaron said as he jumped up and down with his arm sticking out and his finger pointing in her direction.
"Shhhh, it's our little secret. Don't tell Kay or she will joke me for the rest of the day," Grandmother Carraway quietly responded.
When they entered the giant store, Aaron was chattering away with Kay. Kay looked over at her mother with an accusing glare and said loudly, "What on earth is that smell? It's raunchy."
Grandmother Carraway ignored them and kept on “truckin” with her head held high and her booty swaggering. They were cracking up as they walked down the aisle. And to top it off, they were so engrossed with laughing that they didn't notice the humongous guy heading their way.
He looked to be about 6'6" tall and what looked like Andre the Giant's twin. It was too late! When Kay turned her head she ran smack dab into the man. She bounced back about 20 feet and landed on her butt. The funny thing about it was the giant man never once looked down to acknowledge that he had hit something or someone. Aaron was shocked by what had just happened. He helped his aunt up and they both began laughing again at the craziness.
It wasn’t long after that when an older woman's voice rang out,
"Help, Help!"
Kay and Aaron stopped what they were doing and began looking for the person that was screaming. Their hearts were beating a mile a minute. The hairs on the back of their spines rose and they were off to help the woman in need. As they sprinted around the corner they began looking in every direction trying to follow the scream. A trail of brown dots could be seen along the floor. The two ran faster and faster until they saw the older lady screaming. It was Grandmother Carraway.
She spotted her daughter and screamed, "Help Kay, I need some new clothes, no time to talk." Grandma began to run faster than any young person Aaron had ever seen. The weird problem was she was holding onto her butt the entire time. When Kay looked down she noticed the trail of brown spots again. She looked down and then back up at her runaway mother. It shortly dawned on her that her mother was having an "accident" in her pants. Kay ran to pick out some new clothes for her mother as Aaron froze. His mouth gaped open because he realized that his grandmother was pooping everywhere. He looked around the store and noticed a crowd of people were staring. The cashiers were on the phone and running around in a panic. Ambulance and fire truck sirens could be heard outside. Why would they call an ambulance and a fire truck?
They must have thought she needed a hose and then a doctor right away. Aaron went to find a seat. This day was insane. Hours later his grandmother finally emerged from the restroom and walked toward Aaron.
"Let's go because I am highly embarrassed and once they see that rest room they might call 911 again," his grandmother mumbled under her breath. Aaron and Kay got up and they all "mall walked" their way out of Roses. The drive back home was not what he expected. They were laughing about the day’s event and Grandma was not just laughing she was howling with laughter.
"Stop, don't say anymore, Aaron, you’re going to make me pee in my pants."
"Yeah, like that would happen," Aaron snickered.
"Uh, oh,” Grandmother Carraway said with gargantuan eyes.
Aaron and Kay jerked their heads toward each other. Had Aaron's grandmother just had another accident?