I call him Jem and he calls me Hoss. Jem ‘n Hoss. Names reminiscent of the two ornery loafers* under the dollar store awning. Leaning and lazy in our straw hats without a care in the world.
We grew up together you see, Jem and I, and as a result our agile imaginations seem to jump to similar heights. Yes, we grew up being impassioned by the same ideas from the same books, and changing as a result of the same friends and escapades. We grew up together, scouring the wet floor of the Adriatic for Sea cucumbers so we could squirt them at each other, and searching for bullet shells among the bombed out buildings of little Sarajevo. Later we grew up chucking walnuts at each other from our fortresses in massive Valparaisian trees and more sophisticatedly, comprising the strings section of our attempt at a band in high school.
We dabbled together. I joined him and his manly friends in their pursuits of archery, fort building, filmmaking, the odd potato cannon, and of course a myriad of yo-yo tricks. In turn, it was not uncommon for him to be only fella attending when my friends and I went to the new restaraunt for dinner, watched a movie, or strolled through the park.
When we’re not loafing and borrowing the odd chaw off one another, we fancy ourselves to be Holmes and Watson. Jem is Holmes of course, what with being generally more brilliant and significantly taller. As Watson, I often find myself at his heels always ready to follow orders, take notes, and risk my neck. And what kind of Watson would I be if I didn’t write about him? Because he’s just that swell of a fellow.
Ah but I’ve forgotten to mention, Jem is my older brother.
He’s a writer and a legend. He graduated last Spring with a degree in English and journalism and now he’s indoctrinating the minds of America’s youth as an english teacher at a private school. He writes for magazines as well, and someday he’ll publish an epic book and be too famous to bum the streets with the likes of me. Life changes: he’s ascertained a lovely wife and a dog and I tend to traipse off to college in the city for most of the year, nevertheless, I think we’ll continue to grow up together for a very long time: Jem ‘n Hoss… or was it Holmes and Watson?
You can get to know Jem a bit here if you please: http://themindthatknowsitself.wordpress.com/
*The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, p. 139