Denver knocked on the front door of a modest but charming house, rubbing his hands together to keep from going numb in the December evening air. He was back in town to celebrate Christmas with his family, except it was meant to be a surprise, so he hadn’t told anyone yet. As he heard the latch begin to unlock, he stood up straight, with a smile wide on his face, and then the door opened to reveal his sister Jackie, dressed only in a loose t-shirt and her underwear. “Surprise!” he shouted, ignoring her hyper-casual apparel as he opened his arms up wide for a hug. She grinned even wider than he had and threw her arms around him, squeezing him tightly. After a few moments she released him, and he stepped a bit into the house. “I figured coming after dinner would be best and I saw a few cars in the driveway," he said, looking around to see why his parents had come to greet him.
“Mom and Dad headed out hours ago and took my car, I don’t remember where,” she explained, full of energy and adrenaline from the holiday surprise. “I like your beard by the way,” she said, stepping forward and rubbing it.
Denver glanced at himself in the mirror, nodding slightly and admiring it too. “Right? I wanna keep growing it even more actually, just to see what it’d look like.”
“Come on,” she said, beckoning him over to the couch, “we should catch up before the others get back.”
* * * * * *
They spent at least an hour talking, catching up on each others’ lives. They hadn’t seen each other in person since last Christmas, and while they’d talked on the phone or video-called a few times, it hadn’t been the same as having an in-person conversation. But eventually their talk died down a bit, so Denver was just getting up to use the bathroom when he felt his stomach gurgle, urging him to hurry up. He got an idea and paused, glancing for just a second at Jackie sitting in the corner of the sectional. She recognized that look, especially since it followed his stomach's grumbling, and her eyes bulged as she shook her head. “Denver, no!” But he ignored her completely, and jumped back onto the couch, standing on the couch cushions as he quickly spun around and released a loud, nasty fart that lasted several seconds, right into where Jackie was sitting. She screamed in disgust and tried diving to the side, but he already anticipated her escape attempt, so his butt just rotated along with her as he fired out another couple of toots. “Denver!” she shrieked, holding her nose as she stumbled off the couch, anything to get away from him, before climbing back onto her feet and running to the other end of the room. Her brother started laughing so hard he had to catch his breath; that was easily one of the most dramatic reactions she’d had since they were kids.
She just glared at him, unable to believe he could still be so immature at his age. “What the fuck?! I’m so fucking tired of you always doing that! You’re 27, it’s so annoying to have to deal with a decade after you were supposed to become an adult.”
“Jeeeeez Jackie, chiiiiill ouuuut…” he groaned, rolling his eyes. He turned around, hopping off the couch to make his way back to the bathroom. “I’m just playing around, it’s not like I hurt you,” he added with his back to her. “It lasted like, 5 seconds, boo hoo.” He shut the bathroom door, while Jackie remained where she was in the corner of the living room, fuming over his total indifference to the whole situation. They’d been getting along so well, like such normal siblings up until that point. But every time their family would all get together for something, it was just a matter of time before he devolved into playing childish pranks that weren’t funny to anyone but him. It was the same thing year after year, and she was sick of it. In every other way her brother had grown up, but he still messed with her with the exact same pathetic tricks that he had when he was a teenage boy. She almost never got back at him, because she didn’t want to stoop to his level. But maybe that was the only way he’d learn.
After flushing the toilet and washing his hands, Denver headed back out into the main area of the house. Except Jackie wasn’t anywhere to be seen. He sighed; She’s probably in her room, he thought, heading back to the couch. Maybe I did go too far… But not far enough to warrant apologizing to her yet. He lay down at the end of the couch, but with his body facing the hallway. Jackie usually didn’t try to get back at him, but just in case she came back out, he wanted to make sure he’d know about it.
Except he hadn’t accounted for the possibility that maybe she'd hid herself instead of going to her room. He was merely scrolling through Twitter on his phone when he suddenly saw her body fly over him from behind the arm rest, knocking his phone out of his hands in the process as Jackie landed on his chest. He reached to push her off, but before he could grab her, she backed up a few more inches and let loose one of her own farts. It was angled more towards his neck, but he still caught wind of it nonetheless. He angrily shoved her off of him, and she stumbled onto the floor, but when she turned around she gasped at what happened to her brother. It was very slight, but definitely noticeable: by just a little bit, his whole body had seemed to somehow get smaller. And the sight was accentuated by the fact that his clothes seemed to become slightly baggy on him. It had only taken a few seconds before stopping, but she knew what she saw.
He noticed it too, since his vision seemed to narrow as everything around him became slightly bigger. And he could feel the difference in his clothes too, like they were several sizes too big. He thought he might’ve just imagined it at first, but judging by the look on Jackie’s face, she saw the exact same thing.