birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

JMRO

My favorite scar is a little crescent moon on my left forearm, remnants of a bite mark from a childhood fight with my brother.

He and I were born only 18 months apart, a curse to both us and our mother. We were huge babies - 9 and 10 lbs, respectively - and had the energy to match.

When he was first born, I was furious. Who was this creature taking my parents' attention from me? I took it out on my wallpaper, painstakingly ripping and peeling off the border my mom had put up. It was filled with lies! Just like her! This would show them!

An absurd but somewhat effective approach, I'm told years later. They kept the baby but got the message.

Upon realizing that I could be in charge, I decided I liked having a tiny follower. I loved to read to him even before I could read. I would flip through pages of books spewing nonsense words while he sat at my side, adoring me (or possibly napping - more likely the latter).

When he grew old enough to speak full sentences I found out we both had the same big mouths, compacted energy, and tempers. We fought often, resulting in this and a smattering of other scars.

Despite this, we were fiercely protective of one another. I can't remember ever being as angry as when I overheard a librarian say something disparaging about him to he colleague, unaware he was my brother.

As we grew older, our fights became verbal. He thought I was too PC (I was) and I thought he was an asshole (he was). Two polar opposites with matching fiery attitudes.

When we became actual adults, everything changed. We both still have sharp tongues, but we're kinder. We both still have strong opinions, but we're smarter. And we're both (in my completely unbiased opinion) the funniest people on earth.*

*My mother does not agree.

Fortunate Man

Just Left of Eloping