If You Can’t Be Good…

“I can do it,” Danny insisted.

Benny looked over at the cliff. “I bet you can’t,” he said to his older brother.

“Do you dare me? Danny asked his 10-year-old sibling.

Benny looked again at the cliff and then looked at his big brother, two years his senior. It looked dangerous, but Benny thought Danny could do just about anything. “I double dog dare you,” he said, tauntingly,

“I’m gonna do it. I’m going to scale that wall and climb out onto that tree,” Danny said with an air of confidence that he didn’t quite feel deep down inside. He handed Benny his iPhone. “Take a picture of me when I get up there.”

“Be careful,” Benny said.

“And if I can’t be careful, be good, right?” Danny quipped.

“No,” Benny corrected Danny. “It’s if you can’t be good, be careful. That’s what Dad always says.”

“Whatever! Stay right here,” Danny instructed Benny, and then set off on the 30 or so yard hike to the base of the cliff.

Danny arrived at the bottom of the cliff, waved back toward Benny, and slowly started to scale the sheer wall, gripping the crevices in the rocks with his fingers, pulling himself up with his outstretched arms, and pushing with his legs. Benny was virtually holding his breath as he watched his big brother ascend the wall.

Once he got close to the top, Danny leaned to his left and carefully reached out for the large branch protruding from the rocky wall. He pulled himself up and out onto the large limb and shimmied as far out as he could.

He waved at his little brother, who cheered for Danny and then snapped a picture of his big brother sitting on the branch. That’s when Benny heard the loud crack that echoed off the canyon walls and saw his brother and the branch fall toward the base of the ravine.

Benny screamed and ran toward the cliff, dreading what he might find when he got there. “Danny! Danny!” Benny yelled as he neared the cliff, tears streaming down his cheeks.

A wave of relief spread over Benny when he saw his older brother, his arms wrapped around the large branch, floating in the deep water of the quarry at the base of the cliff wall.

“Jesus Christ!” Benny yelled at Danny. “I thought you were dead!”

“Nah!” said Danny, waving to, and smiling at, his little brother. “Remember, if you can’t be careful, be good. And I’m damn good!”

This post was written for this week’s Thursday’s Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.


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