It showed the bones of her arm, in startling black and white; you could see all the bones of her hand, and the two bones of her forearm with a big snap in one of them.
She showed it to Xavier with a big grin. “You don’t have one of these,” she said.
Xavier seethed. He and his sister held a long-standing rivalry, and although their parents had tried to make sure that they had everything in equal measure, they weren’t exactly going to allow him to break his arm to keep things equal.
However, he soon came up with a cunning idea.
“I don’t care about your x-ray,” he said to his sister, “Because I have my own x-ray machine!”
“You do not!”
He shrugged. “Fine, don’t believe me then. I’ll just keep it all to myself.”
“Prove it,” she said.
“Okay,” he said with a smile. “Give me something to x-ray.”
“I want another x-ray of my arm,” she said.
“I can’t do that. You already had an x-ray, and it’s dangerous to have too many. That’s why the nurses and doctors leave the room. Give me one of your toys.”
She glanced around the room for a moment, then grabbed the nearest thing.”X-ray this!”
“Your xylophone? Okay. It’ll take a while to develop the picture, but I’ll show it to you as soon as it’s done.”
“I want to watch,” she said.
“Oh no, you can’t. It has to develop in the dark, you see. Like a photograph.”
“Well I want to see you take the x-ray then.”
They went to his room, where he had set up a large box. “X-RAY MACHINE,” it said on the side. He placed the xylophone inside and picked up a smaller box. “This is the control,” he said.
They both left the room, and his sister watched as he held the button on the control box down, counting carefully to five.
“That’s it,” he said. “You can take the xylophone back now, the x-ray will be ready in about an hour.”
His sister laughed and ran off.
Xavier went back into his room and opened his drawer. He had a large sheet of glossy paper ready, and a stack of black pens. It was difficult, painstaking work, but he had always had a knack for art and soon he had a very passable image.
“Here,” he said to his sister. “One x-ray.”
She stared at it for a moment, then ran to their parents. “Xavier has an x-ray machine! It’s not fair! I want one too!”
© Kari Fay