See Eff


See Eff



I fell madly in love with my brother, Pierre when I was six. He was very sickly, pale and skinny, but to me he was the handsomest kid in the world. I adored him almost as much as my shiny patent-leather shoes from which I could see a blurry reflection of myself.

My brother saved my life more than once when I was six. Once he explained to me the life cycle of a bug. "When you step softly on them, they are little dead. When you step on them really hard, then they are big dead."

I felt this was very important to know, to protect myself from big dead bugs which I saw as skyscraper tall in my nightmares. My shiny shoes couldn't help me, but my brother could. He even had a Superman cape.

When I asked my mother if I could marry Pierre, she answered no. I couldn't understand why not, but she told me when I was older, I would understand. Sure, he was pallid, and coughed up mucus all the time, and at school people called him Pepe le Pew, but he was very handsome with his black hair, button nose, and piercing brown eyes. Who wouldn't love him with the silly sad faces he made to make me laugh?

Who indeed. Unfortunately for me, Sally Kellerman, a girl in the first grade, also adored my brother Pierre. Once, during recess, she kissed him right in front of me! So I hit her on the head with my lunch pail, well-deserved.

Even more unfortunately, her mother, Mrs. Kellerman, was the third grade teacher and the same size in my little girl brain as the dangerous big dead bugs. Sally ran crying to her mother, who charged at me like a furious bull, grabbed me by the arms and shook me.

"Did you hit my daughter?" Mrs. Kellerman yelled in my face, and her spittle landed in my eyes.

"No, no, I didn't," I answered, bursting into tears.

"You did, you did, you did hit my daughter," she said. She covered my mouth so I couldn't answer anymore. "Now I am calling the police, and they are going to come to your house and take you away and throw you in prison."

I started screaming, and she slapped me, hard, but I couldn't stop wailing till she hurried away to call the cops, and then I just stood there, numb, imagining the big black car with big black sirens that would come in the big black night to drag me away to prison.

My brother Pierre ran to me. He patted my back and said, "Don't worry, sis, I will walk you home and when the police come, I will protect you and I won't let them in." And he showed me how he would stop them with his fists.

He spent the whole night in front of my bedroom door that night, and the police never came. That's how convincing he was; even the cops were afraid of his SEE EFF power.

My brother had something called SEE EFF which made him cough. It was the only thing that made me jealous of him, because he got all the attention all the time. He even made it to the newspapers, "Poster Boy Pierre Fights SEE EFF," my mother read to us. Just like the police, SEE EFF was scared of him and never tried to get in our house to hurt him. Except once, I think.

We went to a fancy gala one night to celebrate his Poster Boy status and everyone there made a fuss, and I got even more envious of his SEE EFF worthiness, so when they called me up on the stage to talk about him, I was ready.

"Aren't you proud of your brother and his fight against Cystic Fibrosis? What do you want to tell us about him?"

I didn't know what a Cystic Fib was, but obviously it was what made everyone love him even more, and I wanted to be loved, too, not ignored all the time because of that SEE EFF thing. The man lowered the microphone to my face, and I tap-danced a little with my shiny shoes, and then I made a big mistake.

I said, "Aw, I wish I had SEE EFF like my brother."

I knew I’d made a mistake right away, like stepping on bugs too hard, or like hitting Sally Kellerman. The man with the microphone looked so sad, and a big silence fell in the auditorium. My parents looked embarrassed, and my mother shook her head at me.

I wanted to cry, to tell Pierre I was sorry but I didn't know what I'd done wrong. And no one explained. The man with the microphone just said, "No, little girl, you don't want SEE EFF."

We drove home in silence and my parents never spoke of it again.

But I found out why later you didn't want SEE EFF in your house. No one explained why he suddenly disappeared. But I knew the truth: My stupid speech made him go away.

 Louise Lemieux 

Louise Lemieux lives in Vancouver, BC. She has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. She has two ESL textbooks published (Lynx Publishing Listen Up) and several short plays performed in Canada and San Diego. Published works include stories with Everyday Fiction and TEAL writing contest. One of her stories made top 100 in the Launchpad Prose Writing Competition. Happily retired, she is completely committed to writing, but does work as the troupe musician for Vancouver Playback Theater, and as a Standardized patient actor for future doctors and nurses.


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