Once upon a time in the happy land of Manila, Philippines, lived a not so happy lad named Brutus. You see, Brutus had everything in the world: good food, good toys, good clothes, and shoes as well as the best parents a child could ever ask for. But the problem was, he had to share it all with his three other brothers, Mack, Jack and Robert.
Brutus had to share his favorite cereal box with Mack who always finishes the whole box before Brutus could take a bite. He also had to share his toys with his youngest brother Jack who always end up breaking them. Brutus also had the unfortunate privilege of being given his older brother Robert’s hand-me-downs of old clothes and shoes.
Brutus hated sharing and wished he had nobody to share his belongings with. ‘’Why can’t I be the only child?’’ Brutus sighed one lonely night as he stared at the stars outside his window. “I wish I had no stupid brothers,” Brutus demanded at one sparkling star in general.
To his surprise, the star suddenly twinkled and fell towards his direction. Brutus gasped and panicked as the star inched closer and closer to his bedroom window. He screamed and tried to wake his brothers up but alas, it was too late. The star crashed inside their room and exploded in a disorienting display of sparkles, drowning everything with a blinding white light and an ear-splitting explosion.
The next day, Brutus woke up with a bad headache. He massaged his temple as he looked around. “What the hell happened last night.” He wondered. “The star!”
Brutus gasped as he suddenly remembers the events that happened in the previous bedtime. He rushed to his brothers’ beds to ask them if they were okay but was quickly shocked to see that their beds had been empty. He moved downstairs and called out his brothers’ names one by one.
“Mack? Where are you?” He yelled. “It’s breakfast time, want some cereal?”
But Mack was nowhere to be found and Brutus had the whole box of cereal to himself that morning. Next, he called out for Jack with his toy dinosaur in his hand. “Jack? Where are you?” He cried out. “Want to play with T-rex?”
But Jack was also nowhere to be found and Brutus had the fortune of spending the whole morning playing with his toy. Later that day, Brutus got bored and decided to go out for a walk. “Big brother Robert? Where are you?” He called. “Want to go to the mall with me?” He asked but just as expected, he had no response.
He went back to his room and took out his brother’s brand new clothes and sneakers which fit him perfectly. As he was checking himself in the mirror, he suddenly realized that his wish had come true. His brothers are gone and he had the whole world to himself. “I can get used to this.” He exclaimed with a grin drawing on his face.
As he got out of their house, he was suddenly greeted by his neighbors Mister and Misses Smith.
“Hi, Brute! Want some candy?” The folks offered him an assortment of his favorite sweets and chocolates. The Smiths were usually busy tending to their four children but somehow today seemed especially lucky for Brutus who was now downing on his fifth chocolate bar.
“Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, But I should go now.” Waved Brutus.
The look on the couple’s faces quickly turned sad and disappointed. “But there’s more where this came from, sweetie.” Said Mrs. Smith. “Don’t you want to come in to play some videogames?” asked Mr. Smith.
“No thanks. Say hi to Meg, Meggie, Meghan, and Miguel for me.” Brutus parted with the Smiths and as he turned his head back to give them a wave, he noticed the confused looks on their faces.
While walking to the mall, Brutus bumped into a lot of couples giving him compliments and stuff. “Brutus take these homemade cookies.” Said the Johnsons. “Brutus, play with this toy robot.” Begged the Cruzes. “Brutus, this shirt will look good on you.” Said the Pauls.
Everybody was giving him free stuff and attending to his needs that day that it was getting a little suspicious. Later that day, he happened upon the Smiths again who were shopping for food. “Oh hey Brutus! Want to head back to our place to play some games? We’re having roast pork tonight!” Mr. Smith said with a look of excitement on his face.
“Uhhh… No thanks, Mr. Smith.” Uttered Brutus. “Miguel doesn’t like it when I play with his Z-Box.” Brutus was responded by a confused look on the Smiths’ faces.
Brutus couldn’t believe his ears. “Only child in the world”. The words hit him like a brick. He quickly rushed to the Juans who were nearby. “Mr. and Mrs. Juan! How’s Jun-Jun and Jen-Jen?” He asked. The couple looked confused as if Brutus was speaking an alien language. “Who are they, boy?” Asked Mr. Juan. “Are you okay Brutus? Want some barbecue?” Offered Mrs. Juan.
Brutus went to different couples asking them about their children but to no avail. Everybody seems to have forgotten about their sons and daughters. And every time he asked a couple or even just look their way, they would offer him food, drinks, toys, clothes and all sorts of other things as if he was their child. It was all fun and games at first. But eventually, he got too full or too tired or too fashionable that he began to miss the company of a friend or a brother.
“Man, this steak is delicious. Right, Mack?” He looked beside him but Mack wasn’t there. “This game sure is fun to play, am I right Jack?” He searched and realized Jack was no more. “Brother Robert would freak when he sees me in these fresh pair of sneakers.” He whispered in the wind, sadly knowing he will never see Robert’s face again.
The offers went on endlessly and the house seemed to pour with various food, toys, and clothes that his parents bought for him. Brutus could no longer keep up and needed to go outside for some fresh air. As he went out he was surprised as a horde of parents lined outside their gate, each holding presents for him to have. The crowd cheered when they saw Brutus and they began an endless chant of “Brutus have this” and “Brutus have that.”
Brutus couldn’t take it anymore. This was a crazy world he was suddenly transported to and he did not like this at all. Sure he had everything but what’s the point if he couldn’t share it all with someone. An idea suddenly appeared in his mind as he rushed upstairs to his bedroom window. There he looked up to the stars and saw that the one particular shimmering star was exactly where it was yesterday. He closed his eyes and made a wish. “I wish I wasn’t the only child anymore.” He screamed at the top of his lungs and when he opened his eyes, he quickly shielded the shut again as a huge shining ball of light threw itself in front of him.
The familiar sound of explosion and a series of flashing lights engulfed him and the whole neighborhood. In this disorienting state, Brutus shed a tear, remembering the good old days with his brothers. And then everything faded to black.
“Wake up you lazy fart.” A pillow hit Brutus in the head, waking him up. “Big Brother Robert! You’re alive!” Brutus shouted, embracing his brother. “Of course I’m alive you idiot. Now go downstairs and eat.”
Brutus rushed downstairs to the dining room and found Mack happily downing the entire box of cereal by himself. “Mack! I missed you buddy!” Brutus pinched Mack’s cheeks which were still swollen from the food he was eating. Mack took a spoonful of cereal and gave it to Brutus. Brutus laughed and happily chowed on his offer.
While he was busy sharing the cereal with Mack, a severed T-Rex head rolled around the floor in front of him. Suddenly, a worried Jack came into the room. He picked up the head and was suddenly nervous when he saw Brutus. “I’m sorry brother Brutus. I killed your toy.” Jack started to cry. Brutus embraced him and gave him a pat. “Don’t worry Jack, I can fix it.” He said.
Jack’s eyes brightened and a smile appeared. “Really?” He doubted.
“Yes, and you can play dinosaurs with me after I fix him.” Jack was then jumping around like crazy. It got so loud that big brother Robert had to step up and shut things up.
“Sshhh. Everyone settle down and hurry, the bus is coming here any minute.” He ordered. “And Brutus, You can have my old sneakers. They’re still clean and stylish. I know you don’t like hand-me-downs but this is-“
“I’ll take it!” Brutus interjected. Robert’s face was shocked.
“Well, that’s great. I love that attitude. Keep it up bro.” Said Robert giving him a wink.
It took a massive falling star before it finally hit him, but Brutus was just glad the universe gave him a wake-up call. Now, he embraces his brothers and would never be caught dead wishing again if he could be the only child.