A/N- I haven't posted anything on here in a while...well, I was in a band lock-in and talking to one of the people working with the woodwinds, and he was wearing a neon bracelet. I asked him about it and he said he was wearing it because his little brother just died. This is NOTHING like what actually happened...just a little idea that I thought up after hearing about his bracelet. NONE of these events actually happened!! Feel free to review and give me your thoughts on this.

Dedicated to Jason BoCook.

The little stuff. Just how important is it to our lives? Do we realize just how often our course is changed by such an infintesimal thing? Like, Grandmother's earrings and her mother's diamond necklace. What happened to times when these things would be cherished for generations? I know what happened; life. I was there. And now I have a little thing to remind me of it. Something that tells me every day the unnecessary sacrifice that I made - my neon bracelet.

I suppose I should go back to the beginning and explain just what I'm talking about. The things I did to hurt my family and, now I've come to realize it, me. The scars have healed, right? Yeah. Right.

My little brother. His name was Jake. Yeah, I meant to say 'was'. See, it was my fault. Let me just tell the story and then you'll understand.

One day, Jake and me had just gotten home from practice. Yeah, we were band nerds. I was a senior that year and he was about to go into ninth grade. We're just about as much of opposites as you can get. He played trumpet and I played sax. Total opposites, right? It didn't stop there.

Jake, with his dark hair and quiet demeanor, was a twin to Dad. Acted like him, too - my little brother would spend hours locked up in his room, playing his trumpet or on the computer or reading. I, on the other hand, inherited Mom's sandy brown locks and hazel eyes. Tall, stocky build, medium muscled from sports. Soccer, basketball, football, baseball - I loved it all. I realize now I should have spent more time with my sax rather than some manner of a ball. Oh well, it occupies time nowadays.

Those few short years ago, I hated Jake with a fiery passion. I hated his shoes, clothes, his looks, his abilites - he was a much better musician than me. Heh, probably because he actually practiced. Anyway, I was saying.

Jake and me had just gotten home from practice. As usual, he grabbed a soda and headed straight for his room. I was heading to raid the fridge when the phone rang. I should never have answered it. I never liked that guy anyway. But I still picked it up.

On the other end was Jeremy Keese. I knew him from the backyard football games me and the guys would set up. What should come to mind first when you hear his name should be a weasel, and that's exactly what he was. He drank and smoked and did drugs and every other thing possible that would give him the exact opposite of a good athlete physique, but he was still a good player. He was always sure to be in, at, or around some form of a party every weekend and often during the week.

Anyway, Keese had recently introduced me to two of his pasttimes - alcohol and drugs. He'd called to tell me he'd found three passes to a beer blast where they'd have weed. I eagerly accepted and asked who the third ticket was for. He replied that I should take Jake along and to come by his place later for the passes.

The first thing that came to my mind was why bring along my boring tag- along brother? Now I know. See, Jake and me weren't exactly bad off. My dad's a surgeon and my mom's a secretary at some big-time company. So Keese's plan was flawless: get us hooked and we'd come crawling back with any price.

So I got back in my truck and drove way out to Keese's and picked up the passes. They were actually horrifyingly ugly plastic neon-orange bracelets, the kind you get at amusement parks and stuff like that. I was warned not to take it off during the party that weekend or I'd risk getting kicked out. Once home, I stowed them in my dresser until that Saturday.

Withdrawing them that evening, I went to get Jake. Only one guess where he was. 'Come on, kid', I'd said to him, 'we're goin' for a ride.' That's the last thing I can distinctly remember saying to him. We got in the truck and drove down to the party.

After that, I have only fleeting memories of putting on the bracelets, leaving Jake, beer, bright lights, women. And after that, the dark, cool room filled with hazy smoke and blaring music from outside. I think they forced Jake a few drinks, then some bitch came and forced him to have sex with her. At any rate, he came and found me. Apparently he'd gotten sick from all the alcohol. He said something about wanting to go home.

By that time, I was wasted. I reeled to the truck, revved the engine, backed out. We were almost home when he started feeling sick again. I swerved to the side; apparently the wrong way. The next thing I knew, I was lying facedown in the dirt some twenty feet from my inverted truck. For once, not wearing a seatbelt saved my life. Jake had been trapped. The eighteen wheeler that'd hit us was pulled over a few feet down the road, the front end slightly crushed.

My truck seemed like it'd been run headlong into a brick wall. I approached, but knew my brother couldn't have survived. Even today, three years later, I'm sickened by the image burned into my mind of his lacerated face and arms, how the right side of his face was crushed ing. his dark, lifeless eyes stared right at me, still wide with fearful adrenaline.

The rest is history. I'm now stuck in a prison in northern Florida for driving while intoxicated, involuntary manslaughter, and being under the influence of and possessing illegal drugs.

I ruined many lives that night, mainly Jake's, and mine too, I suppose. I feel worse over Jake's loss. I'd read his journal after that and found out he wanted to be a scientist and research cancer cures. After that, I knew I was meant to live; to remain and suffer the losses and consequences.

We had a small ceremony for him, when we buried Jake. Looking into the casket, I realized that he still wore the neon orange bracelet - the warscar that cost him his life. It was then that I realized I still wore mine.

To this day, I still wear it. I've let Jake become a part of me. See, when I got into the jail, I thought so much about suicide. But that's the easy way out - it's quite common to die for your cause or because life is too hard. The true heroism lies in living and suffering for your beliefs or your mistakes. My hero had to die for me to realize I was a hero to him.

My name is Alan Fletcher and I am a prison saxophonist. I'm twenty-one and I'll be here for a while. Now you know my story. What's your neon bracelet?