Chopped Brothers


Submission for 2022-07-15 BOLLI Writer’s Guild meeting
Prompt: Chopped Writing
3 Objects: Sling-shot, Picture Frame, Piggy Bank
2 People: Magician, Entomologist
1 Place: Hospital Emergency Room


We were such brats as little kids and our parents’ reactions to us were just inexplicable.

When I was twelve and my little brother, Sammy, was eight, I used to kinda torture him. Nothing too serious. Things like sitting on his face when we would wrestle or putting on my magician’s cape and doing the trick of making his money disappear.

One day, Sammy figures out that all his disappeared change is in my piggy bank. So, I start waving the bank around and saying “Nooo, it’s magic and blah blah blah.” So he takes his little slingshot out of his back pocket and picks an earthworm out of his bait can for fishing and says, “Give it back or I’ll shoot this bug at you.” I taunt him back, “Dummy, a worm is a kind of insect, but not a true bug.” With my goading as the final straw, he lets the worm fly. I turn my head and get a real earworm stuck in it.

I’m crying and screaming and my brother is smashing my piggy bank with a rock to get his money back. Before taking me to the hospital to have the worm taken to a more appropriate final resting place, dad takes a picture, being careful to get in both the worm mush in my ear and the shattered piggy bank with the coins reflecting in the sun.

While the doctor carefully tweezes out my ear worm, my mom distracts me by telling me that earthworms, particularly ones that become earworms, are NOT insects. Insects belong to the class insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Earthworms don’t even belong to the same phylum.

They belong to the phylum annelida of ringed or segmented worms.

Meanwhile my dad is waiting outside with my brother praising him for being the real magician. Anybody can make coins disappear, but Sammy figured out where they were and made them reappear. Later, my dad made the photo he took into a poster. My mom put the poster in a fancy picture frame and hung it right above the fireplace in our living room. It is now officially part of our family lore that the “worm splat, shattered pig” picture documents why I became an entomologist and my brother a magician.

~ Scott Axelrod ~