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Sibling Rivalry

“Once upon a time in a kingdom far away...”

“Oh, geez. Why do all of your stories start out that way?”

“In what way?”

“In that ‘Once upon a time’ way. That's kid stuff. Where are the aliens?”


“Yeah, every story has to have aliens in it.”

“No, they don’t. Do you want to hear this story or not?”

“I guess so.”

“All right quiet. Now, where was I? Oh, yes... 'Once upon a time in a kingdom faraway', there lived a prince in a shining castle."

"A CASTLE?! Do I look like the kind of person who wants to hear about a prince in a castle?"

"Do I look like the kind of person who wouldn't kick your butt for being a pain?"

"Never mind."

"All right, then. Ahem--he, the prince, was very handsome--the most handsome man in nearly four countries--but he was also the loneliest. The problem with the prince was that he rarely left his room and he never, ever smiled. This distressed his mother, the Queen.”


“Why what?”

“Why was he lonely? I mean, if the guy was good-looking, wouldn’t you think he’d have a girlfriend or something? And why didn’t he smile? Was something wrong with his teeth? If that’s the case, then how could he be the most handsome man in four countries? Was he really an alien? Is that why he stayed in his room all the time?”

“Do you mind? If you'd quit interrupting me, maybe I could get to the good part."

"IS THERE a 'good part'?"

"Do you want me to get Mom?"

"Go right ahead; maybe she'll tell a better story."

"This IS the story Mom tells."

“Oh crap.”

“Anyway, the Queen tried everything she could think of to make her son happy, but nothing seemed to work. She introduced him to princesses in neighboring countries; she hired court jesters, and paid the castle physician to examine him. The Queen even went so far as to stand on her head to get him to laugh!”

“Didn't that hurt?”

“Okay, I’m going to ask, but I’m sure I’ll regret it later. WHY do you ask that?”

“Well, because if she was wearing a crown, that must have hurt her feet, not to mention the awful pain she must have had in her neck!”

“You’re being a pain in MY neck! Stop with the dumb questions!”

“But how am I supposed to understand what’s going on if I don’t ask questions? Mom told me that the only dumb question is an unasked question.”

"Do you see this look I am giving you? It means shut up and stop talking. Do you get that? Do you? Answer me and stop miming like an idiot!"

"But you said not to talk!"

"I didn't mean LITERALLY! Oh, wait, yes I did. Anyway...after a week of trying her best to get her son, the prince, to stop being so depressed, the Queen suddenly had an idea. She decreed that anyone who could make her son come out of his room and laugh could have his hand in marriage...”

“They must have gotten some oddballs after that one.”

“I told you...”

“Hey, that wasn’t a question! You said ‘stop asking questions’, and I did. I merely pointed out that when the Queen said ‘anyone’, I’ll just bet they got anyone.”


“I mean...women, men, goats...”


“Well, you said ‘anyone’. It could mean goats! Maybe the prince liked goats.”

“That’s NOT what I meant.”

“Well, what did you mean?”

“I mean to punch you in the eye.”

“You know I’ll just tell on you.”

“You’re a brat. Mom should have just left you in the trash can she found you in.”

“Oh yeah? Well, Mom shouldn’t have paid that creepy old Russian couple for YOU.”

“Whatever. Can I finish my story?”

“Yeah, as long as you don’t make any more mistakes.”

“I think it was a mistake coming in here and telling you this story! Now, be quiet. ...So the Queen decreed that any that better?”

“Yes, it is, thank you.”

“...Any woman who could make the prince laugh could have his hand in marriage...”

“YUCK! Who’d want to marry someone’s hand?”

“All right...that's it! What did I tell you?”

“About what?”

“You must be brain-dead or something. I said stop asking questions. I’ll never finish this story if you keep asking questions!”

“I wasn’t asking you a question, I was just wondering out loud.”

“Well, wonder in silence. Your questions are making me lose track of what I was saying.”

“And you said I was brain-dead. You were talking about the Queen giving away her son’s hand to someone, by the way. And you forgot about the getting him to leave his room part.”

“I didn’t forget, I just ...oh never mind. Why bother? Anyway, hundreds of women from foreign lands came to see the prince to try to get him to laugh, but he wouldn’t even leave his room to see them. A month passed and the Queen was about to give up. However, on that particular day, something strange happened...”

“All right! You’re finally getting to the point.”

“WHAT?! What are you talking about?”

“This story was getting boring. Where are the aliens?”

“THERE ARE NO ALIENS IN THIS STORY--and it would have been a lot more interesting if you hadn’t continuously interrupted me.”

“Well, because I kept interrupting you, I actually made it interesting--so there!”

“See this fist? I’m going to plant it in your face if you don’t quit it.”

“I’d like to see you try.”

“If you’d just sit still, maybe I could!”

“Yeah, right. I’m not going to let you clobber me!”

“How about we forget this whole thing so I can just finish my story?”

“All right. But if you touch me, I swear I’m telling on you.”

“Okay, Tattletale.”

“Shut up, Boring.”

“Man, if you weren’t living in the same house as I am..."

"Wow, I wish for that all the time."

"I'm ignoring you."

"You aren't doing a very good job...!"

"Hm! Whatever. Okay, back to the story. ...A young woman and her father happened to be riding past the castle that day. They were delivering a wagon full of glue to a man at the market..."

“A wagon full of GLUE? Man, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Yes, glue. Why? Do you think YOU could come up with something better?”

“As a matter of fact, I could.”

“Then by all means...tell the story.”

“Okay then. Ahem. A long time a go in a galaxy far, far away, there was this prince in a castle who never left his room and never smiled because he was really an alien from another planet. His mom, the Queen was really mad at him, so she made all of these girls come to visit him. This made the prince mad, so he took out his ionizing cannon and vaporized his mom and all of those annoying girls, then he ate some glue because he got really hungry from all that hard work. Then he flew away with a goat in his spaceship that looked like a wagon. The prince finally laughed because he was going back to his home planet and when he got there, he told all of the other aliens about the place he’d been to. But all they did was laugh at him, because they thought his story was so stupid--JUST LIKE YOURS WAS. The end!”


“What? I told the story better than you did and even got some aliens in there! So now who’s the better storyteller?”

“You’re weird. I’m going to bed.”

“Ha-ha! You’re nothing but a sore loser! Sore loser! Sore lose--OUCH! Stop hitting me! Stop hitting me! I’m telling! MOM!”


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