Snakes and Pills

198 - calm stairs

Both brothers stared out a window of their estate. The glass was clean, giving them not only a clear view of the outside, but also their own ghostly reflections.

"They're back at it again," said Fred, the older of the two. Next to him, Ted nodded, making his own observation. The two men looked nearly identical, born only eleven months apart. Both of their faces were grim, but differing slightly. Fred appeared frustrated, while Ted appeared angry.

"I told them to stop last week," Ted said. "They might listen to you, being the executor of the grounds and all. I've got no voice with these people."

Fred's eyes continued to glare off into the distance. For a few seconds, they slipped out of his view, and he thought that they had finally stopped. But then they came back into sight, and his feelings of frustration welled up yet again.

He had been playing this game of false hope for almost thirty minutes now.

"They're not going to stop, you know how they do," Ted continued. "Would you just go out there and talk to them?" he asked delicately. He tried to parse the question as a mere suggestion, not a demand. "They might even stop just at the knowledge that you are observing them."

Fred shook his head. "I haven't showered or gotten dressed yet. I can't go out."

This time, Ted felt the welling of emotion as he struggled to contain his anger at his brother's inaction. "So? Go bathe and dress now. What will it take you, twenty minutes? You know they'll still be going at it by then."

"I've got things I wanted to do before getting dressed today. Besides, we don't know when they began, they may stop at any moment now," replied Fred, once again entering a slight period of hope as they moved out of view.

Ted now stared at his elder brother, wondering what crippled him into unwillingness to act. He saw the crevices tighten on his brother's face as he winced and quietly sighed at their reappearance outside.

"A practical suggestion, then?" Ted offered.

"Yes?" Fred replied, not averting his gaze.

"Why not simply stop looking out the window?" Ted suggested.

"What ever do you mean?" Fred asked, sounding as if he genuinely did not understand his younger brother.

"If you're so bothered by what you see out there, then why keep looking? You've already indicated that you're not willing to do anything to fix what is bothering you. Then why torture yourself? Just look away," Ted explained, letting the slightest bit of his emotions show.

Fred scoffed, his face growing slightly red. "That's ridiculous. This is MY window. Of course, I will look out through it as I please," he said. A moment passed, and he continued, "Besides, I am going to do something about it. I just haven't decided what that is yet."

Ted scrunched his hands into fists, truly at the limits of containing the ball of anger within him. "Yes, I'm sure you will. You've been saying that forever."

"And I've meant it," Fred retorted, standing firm.

"Well, let me tell you, I'm tired of waiting around for you. I'm going to go take care of them myself, once and for all. You might not like the means I'm willing to resort to, but I can guarantee you that I will get the job done, goddamnit!" Ted said, finally releasing his rage.

He stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Fred continued to stare out the window, contemplating what his brother had been referring to when he spoke of unpleasant means.

Perhaps he ought to get dressed after all.

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