by Katie Clark
We pull into the drive and Mom gives me the eye. “Braxton,” she says. “This year, you boys better use your manners!” She emphasizes each word slowly.
Joel and Richard will be there. They’re my cousins. Mom says every time the three of us get together, there’s trouble. Last Thanksgiving we wanted to play a trick on Uncle Keith. We put salt in the sugar bowl just before he made his coffee. He spit the coffee all over the floor. Aunt Jana says that she still has a stain on her carpet.
The rest of the family has already arrived. Joel and Richard are in the yard throwing a football, but there’s another kid there, too. Joel says his name is Kyle. He’s spending Thanksgiving with Aunt Jana because his mom has to work.
Richard tosses me the football. Kyle, the new kid, charges me and tries to rip the ball out of my hands. “Hey!” I yell. “That’s mine!”
Mom harumphs. “Manners,” she says.
I frown, and then glare at Kyle. “Would you like a turn?” I ask, handing him the ball.