by Russell Kee

“Woo-hoo! The school holidays are here!” John whooped with joy as he sprang up from his seat. A boisterous cheer erupted in the wake of the shrill ringing of the dismissal bell. John dashed out of his classroom like Usain Bolt, along with all his other classmates. He could not wait to get home and play with a newly released video game that his mother had just bought.

John’s uniform was drenched in perspiration from cycling home under the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun. He noticed there was someone standing in the middle of the living room, staring at him sharply, as he entered the house. It was John’s younger twin, Jack. Jack was the more hot-tempered of the twins and was also more energetic and playful than John.

“How did Jack get back so fast?” John thought. “And why is he glaring at me like that?”

“You!” Jack barked as he held out both hands. One hand had a vicious-looking Velociraptor toy without a head, while the other hand had a seemingly severed Velociraptor toy head.

“Why did you do this to my toy, you stinky rat?” Jack fumed. John was extremely puzzled as he had no recollection of breaking any of Jack’s toys. John insisted that he was not the culprit.

“How dare you deny it!” Jack roared like a Tyrannosaurus, seething with anger. “At least have the decency to own up!” Jack’s face turned livid with rage.

That was the last straw for John. Anger simmered in the pit of John’s stomach like acid eroding and eating away at him. John shoved Jack back with all his might.

“Stop accusing me!’ John bellowed while Jack elbowed back in rage. The boys bristled like cats with backs arched in animosity. Soon, the twins got into an all-out fistfight.

Both Jack and John rained blows down on each other. They were bruised but neither of the twins wanted to back down. Suddenly, as they were trying to avoid each other’s punches, they both bumped into a vase. It was no ordinary vase. It was their mother’s precious porcelain vase that had cost their mother $500!

“No!!!” the twins screamed in terror, turning from enraged to terrified in a millisecond when they realized that they had done. However, it was too late! The vase toppled over and shattered into millions of tiny fragments. The noise echoed all around the house.

At that moment, they heard enraged stomping coming from upstairs. Imagine Godzilla stomping through a city, only many decibels louder! The boys cowered in fear as they stared helplessly at the shards of porcelain on the floor. They knew that it was their mother who had heard the commotion and that they were in hot soup. Very hot soup.

“What on earth…!” their mother ranted. Her face scowled in fury as she gave the twins a serious dressing down. “You two are so irresponsible and rowdy! I can’t believe you got into a fight just because of a toy and broke my favorite vase! You know how much that vase cost me?” The boys hung their heads low in shame, and their faces turned so hot that they felt as though a dragon was breathing flames at their faces.

“Mum, we are so sorry! How can we ever make it up to you?” Jack fretted.

All of a sudden, the twins came up with a solution at the same time. “We can try to buy the same vase back for mum and show her that we are truly sorry!” they chimed as they started to plan immediately.

Over the holidays, they set up a pop-up stall in their neighbourhood selling icy cold, freshly squeezed lemonade to raise funds for the vase. Their lemonade was an instant hit with those who needed to cool down after exercising under the scorching sun. The twins also started being extra nice to their mother. They completed their daily chores and homework without any reminders. They gave her massages whenever she returned home from work. They even sold some of their video games to raise more funds.

By the last week of their holidays, the twins were exhausted. However, they were overjoyed when they counted the money they had raised. They had raised $520 in total!

“Yes! We did it!” John cheered. They rushed to a few shopping malls along Orchard Road and hunted down the exact same vase that they are smashed. They finally found the exact same vase and bought it. They surprised their mother that night with the vase and explained what they are done to raise enough money for the vase.

“Well done! You have rebuilt my trust, boys! I’m glad I’ve given you a second chance,” their mother beamed and broke into a wide smile. John and Jack hooted in delight, knowing that their mother had forgiven them. That night as they drifted off to sleep, the boys felt thankful that they had been given a chance to redeem themselves.

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