Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Hot Summer of Benjy

As published in Teen Cancer America's Calling Out Cancer

My older brother JD burst through the front door at 11 p.m. carrying three cardboard boxes, the exterior shells to heaven on my tongue. He said the large one held a 14-inch Domino’s Hawaiian pizza, and the elongated ones held cheesy bread and hot wings.

Perfect timing. I’d tired of watching fireflies and playing Donkey Kong 64 on this summer night in 2000, between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I’d even felt ready for bed, but stayed up extra minute after extra minute in hopes my delivery-driver brother would make my wish come true.

Late-night pizza was as much my fantasy as alone time with Britney Spears. Or perhaps the pizza held a higher ranking because I knew how to eat pizza but didn’t know how to converse with girls.

JD hadn’t paid for this dream to come true. He said this food was from the collection of pizzas and sides not fit for customers, and thus free for him and other employees. That food had burned in the oven or their pineapple bits weren’t spaced perfectly or they were manhandled being put into the boxes. That’s what he said. I knew the truth, though. This glory now sitting on our wobbly kitchen table in Manassas, Virginia, stemmed from a clause in his employment contract that read, “You may mishandle food at a frequency greater than never yet less than often and then deliver it to your younger brother.”

I ran upstairs ...keep reading The Hot Summer of Benjy


Dad said...

I enjoyed reading your Summer of Benjy posting so much I have already read it twice. Your Cancer Slayer bog fans and others who follow your writings appreciate your powerful story especially in your own words.

Benjamin Rubenstein said...

Twice, nice! Thank you, Dad. I'm glad you liked this one.


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Hau Huynh said...

I like the above story. It reminded me of my brother. It was very well taken care of by me, often buying Aloha Teriyaki food for it, but I scold it too. But after this story I think I need to do a lot better than before to build brotherhood.