Flipping the Half Dollar
Nick smiled bemusedly as he led his little brother down the street.
He was a good older brother, or so he liked to think. He tried his best to
be there for his brother, taking him shopping, letting him tag along to the
basketball games he partook of with his friends. He wasn't mean or
dismissive because Kendrick was five years younger than him. At eleven the
boy still had a strong sense of curiosity, and was amused easily by novel
That's why, when the cashier at the small grocery had given him a
fifty-cent piece as part of his change, Kendrick's eyes had lit up with
curiosity. He was more interested in the coin then in the candy Nick had
bought for them both. He was studying the silver piece with great care, as
though memorizing all the details engraved into the coin.
The brothers continued the short walk back to their house, where they
immediately made their way to the gamecube set up in the study. They both
studied each other appraisingly before Kendrick grinned. "I'll flip you for
it." The smaller boy held out the silver half dollar. Nick agreed with a
nod of his head. Kendrick tossed the coin in the air, and Nick called
To the older boy's total surprise, it came up heads. Usually he won
the coin toss. Must be a blue moon or something. Kendrick cheered and
grabbed his favorite game off the shelf, setting into the disc reader.
It was later that night when the coin made it's reappearance. It was
after dinner, desert. Not surprisingly, this was a great favorite of the
two boys'. Their mother had come home from the bakery she worked in with
half of a strawberry cheesecake. They'd all had some, but there was one
piece left. Both Nick and Kendrick eyed the piece, then each other. The
familiar competitive glint came to both their eyes, and they grinned.
Kendrick whipped out the half dollar, showing it to Nick. Their
mother shook her head in the background, smiling indulgently. Nick nodded,
and the coin was flipped.
The shiny silver half dollar landed heads down, causing Nick to
scowl, but good-naturedly give up the delicious strawberry cheesecake. Nick
dismissed it as a coincidence.
The next day, though, seemed to lead to an even more bizarre set of
coincidences. Each time they went up against each other, Kendrick and his
shiny silver half dollar always seemed to win. Again Nick dismissed it,
accepting his defeat gracefully as Kendrick jumped about happily as he won
shotgun on the trip to the mall, the extra fries that their mother couldn't
finish at lunch, and the right to the bathroom first when they got home
with bursting bladders from the six pack of soda they had guzzled in the
car, even when they had known they were an hour's drive away from home.
When he was standing impatiently outside the bathroom door, anxiously
shifting from foot to foot, the thought fluttered across his mind - very
lightly mind you, no more than a mere caress of a thought through his mind,
no weight to it at all - that perhaps that shiny silver half dollar was
turning the odds against him? But no, it was nothing but a shiny piece of
currency. And so the thought was dismissed from his mind.
But over the successive weeks, it seemed to him as though he would
never win a single toss when the shiny silver half dollar was introduced
into play. Oh sure, a few times he had pulled out a coin of his own and
managed to break the winning streak. He would've claimed that Kendrick was
tricking him somehow, but there were several things that proved this to be
a misassumption. First, he didn't think Kendrick was that smart. Second,
the flips were always perfectly legal, called in midair, after the flip.
Third, it wasn't a two-headed or two-tailed coin, as he had lost on both
calls and he'd seen both sides of that damn shiny silver half dollar.
This went on, frustrating Nick for nearly a month. After a losing
particularly lucrative flip - who had to clean the bathroom (eulgh) - Nick
resolved to take that shiny silver half dollar and flush it to where the
sun didn't shine. Though the toilet seat sure did when he had finished with
That very same evening, bathroom sparkling, everyone asleep, Nick
carefully got out of bed, and padded down the hallway as though he was just
up for an evening bathroom break. Except, instead of entering the bathroom,
he went past it and slipped into his brother's bedroom. It was dark within,
but not too dark, as a streetlight that sat right outside his window shone
dim light through the not-quite-drawn curtains.
Nick snuck up to the place he knew his brother hid the shiny silver
half dollar and pulled it out from underneath the fuzzy teddy bear.
Sneaking back out, making sure his brother hadn't awakened, Nick entered
The very shiny toilet seat, much shinier than the silver half dollar,
winked up at him with a soft 'ting' noise. He smiled, a grin of triumph,
and dropped the shiny silver half dollar into the waiting shiny white
porcelain toilet. A quick flush and he was on his way back to his room,
The next morning he woke with a stretch and a smile, remembering the
bane of his existence, that shiny silver half dollar menace, was now
swimming with the fishes. He took no notice of the half dollar size wet
spot on his pillow, instead quickly getting dressed and heading to the
bathroom to brush his teeth. He was slightly puzzled by the small drippings
of water that were on the bathroom floor, but ignored it, heading
downstairs to get some breakfast. If he remembered correctly, there was but
one strawberry toaster strudel left.
Sure enough, it was there. But as he moved to take it, so did the
little hand he hadn't noticed sneaking up behind him. Both his and
Kendrick's hands locked onto the box at the same time. That familiar
predatory glint came to both their eyes.
Nick's eyes popped open wide as Kendrick pulled out a coin.
It was a shiny. silver. half dollar. and he could've sworn it was
laughing at him.