Josh pulled his feet out of the river and dried them off as best he could before putting his socks and shoes on.
“Going somewhere?” Lance asked.
“Yeah,” I think I better go home,” Josh said.
Lance stared at Josh, “I thought you said your brother wants to kill you?”
“He did yesterday,” Josh answered.
“You can stay at my house again,” Lance said. “You can stay as long as you want!”
“Yeah, I know.” Josh said, “but sooner or later I’ll need to face reality.”
The two boys started to walk away from the swimming hole.
“Hey, where are you guys going?” a friend shouted from the water.
Lance answered, “Josh wants to get thrashed by his brother. He’s going home!”
“We’ll come with you,” the friend answered. “Common guys, let’s go protect Josh” All 14 grade 5 boys were at the waterhole. They joined Lance and Josh.
Lance laughed, “You’ll be safe now. You’re brother may be bigger than you. But he isn’t bigger than all of us!”
The crowd of boys started walking to Josh’s house. With each step, Josh got more nervous. Finally he turned to Lance and said, “Maybe we should send someone ahead to see if Eric is still angry.”
“Good idea,” Lance said. “Hey Joel, come here.” A scrawny boy joined them.
“Yeah?” Joel asked.
“You’re the fastest runner in our class,” Lance said. “Run to Josh’s house and see if Eric is still mad. Tell him Josh is coming home and see how he reacts. If he looks threatening, just run—he’ll never catch you!”
Joel laughed, “Yep. I’ll be right back!” And with that he sprinted away.
It what seemed only minutes, Joel was back.
“That’s some seriously low flying, mate!” Lance laughed.
“What did he say?” Josh asked.
“There’s a huge group of high school guys watching football with him,” Joel panted. “Eric said they will all come meet you.”
Josh’s face fell in horror. “I know those guys,” he said, trembling. “I’m dead if I don’t change Eric’s mind.” Josh stood still thinking. His group of friends gathered around. “Does anyone have any money?” Josh asked.
The boys pooled their pocket money. “Here’s $22.45,” Lance said as he handed a hat, filled with money, to Josh. “If it keeps you alive, you can have it!”
Josh turned and gave the hat to Joel, “Here. Run! Take it to Eric. Tell him I’m sorry and I have more in the bank!”
Joel took off sprinting again. The group of boys could see Eric’s mob just across the park. They watched as Joel made it to Eric. The could hear the laughter of Eric and his friends as the hat was handed over.
As Joel ran back, Eric followed, nearly keeping up. Eric’s group jogged behind. Josh started walking forward to face his fate.
Josh walked ahead and met Eric in the clearing between the two groups. As they reached each other Eric held out the hat full of money. “What’s this?”
Josh hung his head, “I didn’t want you to kill me.”
Eric hugged his little brother, “Mate, I’m sorry for getting mad at you yesterday. Mum and Dad are worried sick!” He turned to his group of friends as they approached, “He’s fine!”
The group whooped with joy. “Let’s get back to the football,” one of them laughed.
Eric wrapped his arm around Josh, “I’m so glad you came home.”
(Jacob and Esau is the comparison story. See Genesis 33.)
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