Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Argentina

Does the fact that I have no photographic evidence that I was in Argentina mean that I was not there? Should I really start some sort of bullshit philosophical discussion regarding the simulacra that encompasses our lives? Why the hell do I try and imitate the Wachowski Brothers' crappy trilogy? The points stands that I went on a plane supposedly headed toward Argentina and returned on one, but still.... the whole thing is suspect. That'd be amazing if someone pulled that off on me. It'd be nice to know that all of the people I ran into actually were from around the corner.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Not with a bang but with a whimper."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

On the Day that Bobby Died (v. #4)

"You doing okay?", my girlfriend asks me as I am crouched over the carpet stain in my room. What a fucking question. Don’t you know what my family is having to go through right now?!?! What do you think, you bitch?!? "Yeah.", I say. I'm being an asshole, truly, since we've only been together a month. She doesn't know what the hissing noise is that I do between my teeth. She doesn't know that I sweat profusely while concentrating really hard. She doesn't really know my brother. I do. And I'm left to clean up after him again.
There's a lot of commotion going on downstairs. That's probably why I decided to clean upstairs. "Do you need any help?" Yes, please. I have no idea what I'm doing here. "No, I'm fine."
I can’t get this stain out. I know I’m only supposed to be blotting at the stain when I am scrubbing really hard with my bottle that I bought on my way back from the hospital. Sweat just drips down my face as I crouch over this stain left on my carpet. This is not fair. I hate Bobby so much for doing this to us. We didn’t do anything to him, and this is what I get back as a favour. What a fucker. I hate having to stay here. I’ve always been the reliable one. Like always, I’m here to clean up his mess. I keep scrubbing without thinking and I know I’m just making it worse. The bottle I’m using doesn’t want to work at a 90 degree angle (something about gravity). Fibers in the carpet soak up the cleaner but don’t want to let go. The more I spray, the more foam that collects on top. Scrub. Like rubbing wood raw. When you’re OCD and forget. When all you want to do is to clean the wall and you rub the paint off. Congrats on a job well done, fucker.
There is no way that I am going downstairs, now that I’m sweating like a fat man in a fat suit in a subway. I hate being a sweaty Mexican, and that’s all that they’re going to think of me when I go downstairs, especially Bobby’s friends. Fuck it. I don’t need to be down there for them. I rub through the paper. My fingertips are rubbing the carpet with the paper in shards. I shouldn’t use paper towels. Lucy hands me another paper towel. ¨No, I´m fuckin´ this all up with paper towels. Gimme a second.¨ Timidly: ¨Oh.¨ I´d hate to be her right now. She´s gonna break up with me for sure now.
She approaches me from behind as I rub away the paper. A hand clasps onto my shoulder as if I had stolen something from her store. I keep running. She lets go so I can flee with my stolen bag of chips to supplement the breakfast that exists only in my dreams.
I keep rubbing the carpet hoping I get my three wishes. But it is all for naught. She walks into the bathroom and, without hearing her flip the light switch for the cavernous bathroom, rolls open a drawer.
I am hoping for her to grab the nail file I use for my toenails and to approach me from behind. She comes up slowly, enjoying the rise of the carpet between her toes. Each step just as thrilling as the one before. Slow. The sorta steps that seem to last for an eternity. Forever. Step. Air swooshes underneath. Another step. The giant foot moves through the air to plant itself on the small villagers living in my carpet. Slow. The sorta steps that seem to last for an eternity. Forever. Step. Air swooshes underneath. Another step. The giant foot moves through the air to plant itself on the small villagers living in my carpet, again. She approaches with her right elbow out to the side and her fist clenched to the right side of her. I am crouched over in a ball trying to get the stain out of the carpet as she paces over to me. From far above and to my left, she takes the nail file and plunges it into my back between the fourth and fifth rib on the left. Excruciating something as I yell out in pain and anguish at what I’ve now been dealt. Shock. Dismay. As I turn over, I see that she’s standing there, laughing like she’s pleased that she at least came up with the idea. So proud of herself. But who comes out of the darkness of the bathroom but Bobby with that silly fucking grin. If he were missing teeth it’d make more sense. I am so confused and upset. My brother’s dead yet standing over me, having convinced by girlfriend to stab me with my own nail file. Struggling to breath, I crane and strain my neck to see the nail file poking out of my back. As I labor to breathe in and out, the nail file goes in and out. It really looks odd, like some baby left in a carriage on a sidewalk, sticking out of my back with the blood trickling down. I roll onto my right side, with my head resting in the blood stain, and look up to Lucy as she stairs down on me.
She tosses me a rag from the drawer. It lands across my face. “Nice shot.” She laughs. They’re usually only supposed to be used for washing the face, but, oh well, today’s a special day. Not like anything else has been normal today. It’s like flying to India or to Santiago. It’s like sleeping from ten at night to five o’clock the next afternoon. She sits on Bobby’s bed. It’s still made from yesterday afternoon when I made. Like I said, I’m always cleaning up after his messes. Lucy’s the least bit uncomfortable and starts to look around, like when you’re at a party trying to get away from THAT guy. Wait. That example makes me THAT guy. Dammit. [I’ll fix that analogy later.]
She is looking around the room after spotting the headboard on Bobby’s bed. Uncomfortable like when you’re hoping that no one notices how you chipped a plate that is on the wall of a girlfriend’s house.
I hear noises downstairs. Odd. I think it was laughter but I couldn’t be sure. Hmmm. Is it too soon for laughter? Oh yeah. I just laughed a couple of seconds ago. It’s never too soon for laughter. Lucy and I look at each other. She’s probably thinking the same thing as I am. How apropos.

☼☼☼

I finally decide that I can face my family and my brother’s friends. I’m tired of cleaning this stain. It’s completely futile to continue cleaning this blood stain. I stand up.
“Wanna go downstairs?”
“Don’t you think you should dry yourself off first?”
“Yeah, that’s a good idea. Than-”
“And change your shirt.”
“Oh… okay.”
I head off into the aforementioned cavernous bathroom, but, this time, I flip on the lights. I roll open the drawer for my towels but it’s empty. What the hell? Oh, yeah. I used a lot of them this morning for Bobby. I open Bobby’s towel drawer. Full. To the brim. He never used his own towels, obviously.
“Can you get me a shirt out of the closet?”, as I peel off my T-shirt. I throw it into the laundry bin and wash my face with my Neutrogena acne wash. “Do you want a T-shirt or a collared shirt?” I hear from the closet. “Collared.” I hope she doesn’t pick that orange shirt. I hate the orange shirt. It’s so ugly. I hear Lucy rummaging through the closet.
I give myself a moment after my face is free of all soap. Elbows and wrists on the sink, I stare into the faucet’s stainless steel. This is probably how I look to a bug, or to my grandmother. I look up through my bangs at the mirror. Water is collecting at the base of my chin and the tip of my nose. I gaze for a while almost forgetting how long I’ve been looking at myself. So this must’ve been how Narcissus started. It’s almost as if I thought I looked a lot different than how I actually look. It’s a mixture of surprise and curiosity, a mixture of fascination and revile. “I have your shirt,” as she leans her left shoulder against the door frame of the bathroom. I dry my face with Bobby’s unused towel and turn to the right to see if Lucy picked that fucking ugly orange shirt. I turn my head to the right and see a blue shirt. Thank God.
I put on my glasses to see that this blue shirt is not mine but Bobby’s. Poor thing. She doesn’t realize what she’s done. I don’t like Bobby’s clothes. He never uses fabric softener. And by that, I mean that Mom never uses fabric softener. I do with my laundry since I separate my laundry from theirs so I can make my clothes smell wonderful. It makes them all soft and comfy. Makes me want to actually put on my clothes. One time, I was given one of Bobby’s long-sleeved shirts to wear to a formal and my nipples started to bleed the shirt was so rough. Like sandpaper. [God, I love fabric softener!]
Fuck it. I’ll let her have this little victory.
“Well, it’s a good thing that you picked that one ´cause I was thinking you’d pick the orange one.”
“The orange shirt? I thought that shirt was ugly. It doesn’t look at all like a nice shirt.”
“Yeah, I hate that shirt.”
“You hate it? Then why do you still have it?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to give it away since it was a gift.”
“From who?”
“I don’t know. It was a Secret Santa year.”
[Long pause...]
“Just give me the shirt. I’ll throw the orange one away tomorrow.”
I try not to snatch the shirt from Lucy but wait to receive it, but she takes too long to give it to me, so I end up having to snatch it out of her grimy little claws. I put it on only to reward her good taste. Hopefully she’ll make more good choices in the future. I raise my arms like a high school drop-out and let gravity do the rest. The top button is still done on the shirt, so my head gets stuck. Or maybe all the buttons are undone and my head is too fat. Has my head grown so much in such little time? Wouldn’t I have had the growing pains for that or something? Wouldn’t I have gotten beaten up for that at some point recently? Or maybe they beat me so senselessly on the head that I have a short-term memory loss and I’ve blacked out the fact that I (a.) had a head that, in two weeks, grew to the size of a small, less oblong watermelon, (b.) had growing pains for said watermelon-shaped head, and (c.) had received said beating. It happens everyday. I saw something like that on Nightline one night when Bobby let me use the TV to “watch The Apprentice”, but it was Thursday and The Apprentice only shows on Mondays. And I had to find the remote control ‘cuz he lost it. Asshole.
Lucy laughs. Okay...it’s the first one. A soft, delicate touch grazes my abs as she reaches with the other one to grab a hold of the top button to release my head from the Chinese Finger Trap I made for myself. (One more moment...) Freedom! My God! Lucy’s quite beautiful. How’d I bag this babe? Seems out of character.
I smooth out the crinkles and keep my palms facing outwards with my arms fully extended as if I had just performed a little trick with a backflip. “What do you think?” “Handsome.” And then she lays a little kiss on my lips. Just a short one. PG-13 at most. We stare into each others’ eyes for a moment, enjoying the exchange that just occurred. As if nonchalantly, I try to grab her hand without looking. But failure. It was supposed to be at the end where her arm hangs down. Fuck. Where are you, you fucking hand?!? Can’t I do anything smooth? Don’t look down. That’ll make it obvious. Maybe I should use the mirror. No. Don’t avert your eyes from hers. Just deal. Be smooth. Be suave. I’m so close. (A moment of pause...) Score! It was hidden in her pocket. I touch her wrist and she slips her hand out of her pocket. I grasp onto it but it’s just like two mittens in the wintertime. “Let’s go downstairs to talk to people.” “But I don’t know anyone down there.” “Neither do I, it’s cool.”
As we exit the room I jolt back to the bathroom counter where I left the carpet cleaner and go to the stain to spray a lot on top of the blood stain. “That’s better,” I mutter as I grab Lucy’s hand again. She laughs mildly (out of pity). I guide her to the top of the stairs. I let her go first. We walk down the first half of the first flight of stairs, and I tell her to be careful since there is so little light until we reach the landing. I grab her waist to make sure that she’s stable. She places her right hand over mine so our fingers are wedged between each other. We reached the landing and turn to the left to continue this trip I do not want to finish. I release her to descend the last eight steps by herself, like a 4 year-old with training wheels.
I stand on the landing for a second to watch Lucy walk, gracefully, down the stairs. Very gracefully. I lean forward with my hands on the ceiling for a moment. Without thinking, I run the last steps in a tumble. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Like I was doing ropes during football practice or something. And obviously I’m staring down at my black Nikes since I would hate to trip on the stairs and to fall flat on my face in front of everyone. I know it’s been a sad day and all, but it still doesn’t mean that people can’t be cruel. The last two steps I skip and just make it to the ground floor of our living room/dining room/kitchen/foyer. Thud.
Most people are in the living room watching some Discovery Channel nature show on mute. They are piled onto the three couches that surround the entertainment system and spill over the edges. Two beefy linebackers are sitting on the opposing arms of the center couch in our living room. One girl, who I recognize as always demanding the answers off the exam which I always took three periods priors to hers, is sitting in my mother’s love seat. Father is at the head of the dining room table with his head in his hand supported by the palm and elbow apparatus he’s built to keep his skull from collapsing to the dining room table. His wife next to him, looking a little dazed (but probably from working out too much today and overdoing it in the sauna). My mom and Gerald are in the kitchen leaning against the sink with their backs to the dining room, facing the window that overlooks the drive-way and the front yard.
My landing, unlike Lucy’s eloquent entrance, startles everyone. They all look up at me with alarm and fright. Like interrupting a dog’s meal. Or maybe like interrupting a group of friends who are having a conversation about how to most delicately tell you that you’re now permanently un-invited to sit with them at the lunch table during your freshman year of high school. [True story.] Or maybe like a group of children who start screaming and shouting was they return from the area where they explode fireworks; all the parents sitting down enjoying the lemonade and the cream pie lift their heads like a deer who hears a noise in order to determine what the ruckus is about and to wonder if it’s his child who had the firecracker explode in his hand.
They look at me like they’re poor, dirty children in 19th century London looking for bread but cannot find it. With a hint of a tremor that pervades their entire bodies. I look at all of the eyes that look up and toward me, and I feel the pain that they have in their hearts. But that only lasts for a second.
The next second is what is the most important in this story.
I see hope in their eyes for a second or two that they are happy that they were frightened out of their stupor, and now have someone new to whom they can now converse. I had been upstairs way too long, and now I can try to help console people in this hard time.
I look in their eyes and I see children being made during Homecoming and born during prom. I see times where everyone is singing the same song but out-of-turn and out-of-key. I see more fireworks for some reason. I see the world the way it should be. I see the moment the sun rises and it breaks the horizon. Sun beams ripping through the clouds. I see the power of a smile and how I should really look more into people’s eyes. I forget sometimes how much it helps. I see the boy help the old lady get through the crosswalk. I see sailors on Magellan’s ship gazing upon land for the first time in too long. I see two friends meeting each other after being apart for so long. I see a clear manifestation of brilliance. I see a cast being taken off the arm of a really grateful baseball pitcher. I see an explanation as to how the couple met in the rain with only one umbrella to share between the two. I see everything. Maybe it’s nothing. Who knows.
I look in their eyes and I see joy in its purest form. Every other form of happiness comes from this sort of joy that I see.
I look at my mom, and her red eyes cannot bear the pain anymore. She takes three steps toward me and I take one to her. I say “Hey, Mom,” as she deflates into my arms. She hangs her left arm over my right shoulder and buries her head into my left collarbone. She starts crying but no tears are falling onto my shoulders. Maybe she’s laughing. Well, of course she wouldn’t be laughing at a time like this. She’s definitely crying. This is like that dog I encountered one time outside Vern’s restaurant that one cold day last March. The day had been the last attempt of winter trying to throw its weigh around, but it already had most of its body outside the house. It was like shooting the finger as you’re kicked out of someone’s house. Something we don’t agree with, but we can’t do anything about, so fuck it.
I had to finish cleaning up the restaurant with Maxwell ‘cuz Vern had given me the keys to close solo. Maxwell was Vern’s 15 year-old nephew, so he (a.) didn’t know what he was doing, (b.) didn’t want to be doing it even if he did know, and (c.) admitted to the fact only to advise me that he’d make the next hour of my life miserable. I obviously obliged since hopefully I’ve been doing a good job so far. The half-and-a-half passed without much problem. I shut off the lights in the entire restaurant but left the foyer lights on. I exited with my messenger bag in-tow. As I take out my keys I see some movement, I try to completely forget the code for the alarm system and the combo for the safe. Don’t ask me why I thought it’d be possible. I’m just weird; let it lie.
It’s a dog. A sort of pug/chow mix standing there, staring at me since I interrupted whatever he was doing in the bushes. He was shivering. It must have been confusing for him to wake up from his slumber in such cold conditions. He went to sleep with it being 85 degrees and awoke at two a.m. to 40 degree and a 20 mile-an-hour wind. I let him in to feed him. I took some of the cooked meat for tomorrow and made the dog a little mush to eat. I never saw the dog again.
She cries but with no tears. Her right arm clutches my waist. I wrap my arms around her back although I’m kind of unsure what I’m supposed to do. Isn’t she the one that’s supposed to be the strong one? Oh no, wait. I’m an idiot. She’s the first one to be sad. I raise my right hand to place it on the back of her head where the occipital lobe is. This reminds me of that scene in that movie with that sad part. I scan the living space again and see that no one’s gone back to what they were doing originally. They usually do. I guess they want to see this tender moment between mother and son. That makes sense.
They stare now in awe. It’s amazing the energy that is being riled up between the people and me. I don’t know what’s happening. I am going to have to talk to everyone now. I guess I don’t really mind. I might as well be the strong one here. Apparently no one else can fake it right now.
“It’s okay, Mom. Bobby’s in a better place.” Where did that come from? My mom trembles as I cradle her head. The roles have reversed here and I have no idea why. “You miss him a lot, don’t you? At least it was quick.” I have no idea if that’s true. Lying seems to be a lot more important than the truth right now.
I feel the crowd in my house shift and drift toward mother and me. Like this scene is so rare and precious. They seem to be creeping closer little by little. She looks up at me with eyes so red that she needed to take a break. I look around and put my arm on Gerald’s shoulder. He reciprocates and starts to tear up. We hold that pose for half a minute. I start trying to rub my mom’s back like she’s cold. The people keep surging little by little. More and more. Wanting more and more. Kids in a candy store. Shoppers during a Christmas sale. Fans attending a rock concert. Pick your own metaphor.
☼ ☼ ☼
It was at school when I first noticed what the major theme of this story is supposed to encompass. I was walking through the halls, prepared to be the same guy I had to be back that afternoon at my house. I try to go through the main entrance at the front, but there’s a huge group meandering outside there. I park my bike around the backside of the school like I usually do. As I turn the corner, I spot the huge group milling outside. Some smoke, others want it to be 3:30 already. I turn around to retreat behind the other side of the building’s corner.
I spy them. Man, fuck this. I enter through the side entrance that the janitors leave open on Monday mornings. I use it to evade any humiliating castigation that might be given by any of my brother’s friends. It is only a Monday morning thing. I slip open the door and slide into the corridors near the science area, the locale for my first period class. I have to now cross the school to get my to my locker, which I share with Bobby, so hopefully I can get there and back in time by the time the bell rings.
I walk by my AP Chem teacher’s classroom, and I decide to tell him that I might be late, unless I run to and from my locker (which is prohibited anyway). I open up the red door with the jail-cell window viewing in. In one brusque movement, I open the door to poke my head inside. There’s no one in the room. It’s fifteen minutes before class, and there is absolutely no one even sitting at a desk asleep. Not even that. I assume that maybe they’ve moved the class to some other room, or maybe even that class was cancelled. I start passing by all of the classrooms, and there are no teachers or students inside of them either. The teachers and students usually enjoy BS-ing with the students before class, so this is really odd. A tumbleweed rolling by the bottom part of the screen would be appropriate at this point.
Where is everyone?

☼ ☼ ☼
The night I tied to kill myself, I had planned it out completely but something went completely wrong. Mom and Gerald were in Galveston at the beach house hosting the Michols. This meant that they were all gonna get really trashed and spend the night at the beach house, without a doubt. Bobby was going to Steve McGill’s house part. Normally we’d have the party here since Bobby knew the deal just as well as I, but Steve’s pool actually had a slide, which apparently is a big attractor despite the fact that no one will ever use it throughout the night. Regardless, Bobby was going to be spending the night at either Steve’s or Rebecca’s.
I had been thinking about it a lot, and it had been a cold, calculated decision to end my own life. Not one of those moment where you’re really drunk and get in a horrible emotional fight with your girlfriend, then decide to end your life since “it’s not worth it to live on without her,” or something like that. Nor was it choosing between Jiff and Peter Pan. This was like buying a house. This was whether to move the majority of your portfolio into stocks or bonds. This was whether to move your parents into a nursing home. That was it. [I even made a list. You can see it later if you want. It’ll be at the end of this story. Seriously.]
☼ ☼ ☼
This hurts, though, missing my brother. There’s no one else to blame. The most hurtful thing, though, is that I’m bent over with this rag and carpet spray, but he is just sleeping. He won’t help me, as usual, and it pisses me off. I wish I had been the one to do it. I don’t want to be the one who’s left here. Mom is only going to picture him whenever she sees me. That’s the frustrating thing. I will always have to embody the boy that never grew up. "Remember how your brother used to love rugs?" His hair and nails will grow for another 3 weeks, but I’m the one left having to deal with the scratches.
Being a twin brother to this reprobate has been one of the most painful things since I never felt the brotherly love that would ever accompany the joy of having someone who looked exactly like you. We were nothing alike, yet always mistaken for each other. Every time I look in the mirror, I will have to look at the person that I hate. The person that represented so much that is wrong with the world. I never had too many defined principles or goals, but ever since I’ve gotten to be around Bobby more, the more that I realize that I hate everything he represents.

☼☼

I leave the hospital to get some fresh air. But Houston air sucks though (and a human manifestation of Irony gives the camera a wink). I fucking hate this place. It's even hot during the winters. I start sweating, and I am grateful that I wore an undershirt today. I start to just walk down the street with my fists curled up, elbows out. Shoulders hunched over. I try and mimic all of the winter scenes I've seen on the screen. There's nowhere to walk. There's a lot of pavement for cars and little else. I take a left. I cross Main Street. I’m at Rice. Oh fuck. My apps are gonna be due sometime soon. I should get on that. I just keep walking away from the hospital. There’s no reason why I want to get away from the hospital. I just do. Leave me alone.
☼☼☼☼☼
Okay. I was just kidding. Please come back. Can you come back? I’m ready to talk now. I don’t know why I went off like that. I guess I’m just a little angry. It hasn’t been my day. It’s been Bobby’s day. Not that we switch days. It’s just whose get more on his plate that day, and who’s more vocal about it. Okay, I’ll tell you more if you really wanna hear what happened to me today.
I'm on the trail that surrounds the whole place. Fuck, gravel in my shoes. I walk to some Belgium-waffled building. I pass that and just head into their main little courtyard where they have the statue of the dude who they named the place after. Another rich guy who never had any kids. (That’s usually what happens with set-ups like this.) I cross the huge courtyard and intersect another little one-way road. There's a car parked with it's hazards on. It's a Camaro. A red one. Bobby found me somehow. What the fuck. I stop in front of its front bumper. I stoop down, half with my back and half with my knees, and my fingers crawl underneath the bumper. With a firm grasp. I pull my arms taut. Nothing. The car barely budges. I let go and stand back. I think of all the blood that's settling on my carpet right now. I look around. I can’t stand for this. No way. I stoop down again over the front bumper and clench tightly under the bumper, knowing that all I have to do is believe. I pull my arms taut. Nothing. I let go of the bumper and walk away back towards the hospital.

☼☼
The day that Bobby died, the skies cried in an effort to tell us that his life had affected this world. I don’t ever want to feel like I did that day. On the day that Bobby died, I could not get my carpet clean. The day that Bobby died, I found myself looking around the room and I found all of his porn. (Don’t ask me why I had decided to up turn everything in the room that day. Maybe I was trying to get some sort of solace by immersing myself in all his stuff. There’s a lot to be said for the firing of synapses in the medial temporal lobe.) It was stuffed under his mattress. Dick. He never told me about it. I found that frustrating. Why couldn’t he let me in on his little secret?
He was always like that, though: hiding shit from me. There was one time he was dating Danjya Kuvinokic, and he never told me about that. You know, all is fair in love and war and all that bullshit. But the thing was that he pretended to be me, with the letter he promised me he was going to deliver to her. Twelve days later, and I found out why she acted as if she still didn’t know who I was whenever she passed me in the halls at school.
It was on Valentine’s Day that I walked in on the two having sex in my bed. I guess it made sense since our names are carved into the head-boards. “Robby, I think you’re making too big of a deal about this”, Bobby tried to convince me. "Bobby, you were having sex on my bed with the girl who I’ve had a crush on forever." "Could be worse." “Bobby, I don’t understand how you think its okay to pretend to be my brother, yet do something like this.” A pause passed awkwardly as Bobby stared at the lettering on my shirt. “Well, it’s your fault, really.”
It was my fault, really. I should have figured that he had something up his sleeve. He always had an angle he was working from. I mean, "an angle from which he was working." He and Danjya ended up dating for a couple of months. He cheated on her most of the time, too. He made me be him on a movie that they had, so he could go out with Melissa Scarlow. It was awkward the entire time. I made 50 bucks. I’m such a whore. I didn’t even kiss her at the end of the night. He told me his night with Melissa was worth the money. They’d watch TV for the entire night, which made me miss my Apprentice. He knew what time I wanted to watch TV, but he just kept “forgetting”. He did it on purpose. To make me jealous. To flout my insufficiencies in front of me.
He was always flouting my insufficiencies in front of me. “The problem is, Robby, is that you’re just too up-tight about everything. You care too much.” “Fine…be a dick.” “It’s the truth.” “Fuck you, Bobby.” “Whatever, go blog it on your website. See if I care.” “Asshole.”
I was an asshole. But he was an asshole first, so I felt like that was justified, although I wasn’t really abiding by my Primary Principles that I had written out when I was at that spiritual workshop in 8th grade.
He would make fun of me with the other guys on the football team. You know, I was a good cornerback, but he still was able to create a posse that did not approve of my cultured humor. "Fag talk" was the usual thing I would hear. Like an epithet. Once you start down that path of being observant, "Your a fag" [which is probably how'd they write it anyway] or "You're a creep" is what would result. It was unavoidable, really. I think it was all because I'm an inch shorter than my brother. One time, he couldn't remember anything about a girl except the fact that she was in his Algebra class (which he only remembered since he cheated off her numerous times throughout the year—and even of this, I had to remind him).
Insistence on proper grammar and diction got me thrown into a gym locker, one time. I never really knew how much a mob could overtake me. I had always thought that my strength and size would be sufficient to fight off a group of 8 guys, but it wasn't. They restrained my legs and arm and sat on my chest. Without any air to breathe in, I was more than willing to comply with someone (probably my brother, you know, for the effect) putting a bandanna around my eyes.
I ended up breaking out of the locker by kicking the door open in one fowl swoop. I ran over to the practice field, but there was no one there. "Where did they go? Why didn't they go to practice? Why wasn’t there practice in the first place” I figured they had gone to The Hill. I got into my car and drove over there to exact my revenge. I drove up to The Grove on The Hill where we ("we" being a misnomer since, in reality, I had never actually stayed for any longer than 10 minutes, and only coming to pick up my brother who needed to be removed from The Hill) would go to drink and smoke out. I took the bat out of the trunk of my car and just started swinging at the cars. I started off with a casual stroll that let everyone know that I was ready to do something destructive with the bat. (Like a bobby walking through the mean streets of the Newham with his baton swinging. Or a copper through the Five Points with his billy club. Or through Compton. Pick your borough.) I hit the side mirrors off the three Camaros. I smashed the windshield of Gary's grey F-150. Everyone was blazed around The Tree. The couple that were still awake didn't know it was really going on since they had just assumed that the sights and sounds were only a hallucination. I slashed tires, keyed side panels, smashed windows, put potatoes in tailpipes, and threw water into the floorboards. This last one is really deleterious for the resale value of the car [look it up]. I drove away content with all of the havoc that I wreaked on those assholes. They deserved it too. Bobby should not have fucked with me. He leads those guys, and he could've stopped the whole thing. It's just so fucked that he would let them bind and blind me and throw me into a gym locker.
After a couple of hours, a janitor let me out.
☼ ☼ ☼
As usual, he gets the credit for the things he never does:

Mom: “Oh! I think these pearls earrings are so fantastic! Thanks, Bobbert!”
Me: “Wait, Mom, there’re from…”
Mom: “Look, Gerald! Bobby bought me pearls earrings!”
Gerald: “Good going, son. So good at gift giving you are.”

Gerald: “Hey, Bobby. Thanks for helping me out with the yard today.”
Bobby: “Huh? Oh yeah. No prob.”
Me: “Hey! Wait a minute! I was the one who helped you, Gerald!
(Back door slams) Dammit.”
Bobby: “Snooze, you lose, mothertrucker.”
Me: “Fuck you, Bobby.”

Bobby: "Is this your book?"
Me: "Oh... Yeah. I thought I misplaced it."
Bobby: "It was under the seat of my Camaro."
Me: "Oh."
Bobby: "You been driving my Camaro?"
Me: "I had to; Mom was driving my Camry."
Bobby: "Don't let me catch you doing it again."
[that last instance didn't really have anything to do with either of the previous instances. I guess I fucked up. Sorry.]

The bastard. How did he know that he’d get credit for what I did? He didn’t. He never knew what he was doing. But he had that sparkle that made everyone love him, even me. I don’t love him anymore, but I did back whenever I found him face-down on the carpet. I thought I loved him. I really didn’t. I just didn’t want to get into trouble; that’s why I called the ambulance. I didn’t even call my mother. "Robbert, why didn't you call to let me know?!?!?" "What were you going to do? I didn't want to bother you at work."
So what I’m gonna have to end up doing is that I´m left to pick up pieces that I didn’t know existed. How did this ever get like this? This is a fucked up existence. Like dust in the wind to quote Will Ferrell’s comedic genius. Bobby’s death made no sense to anyone, least of all, to me.
“Softly spoken lies…”, he whispered to me as I was waiting on the paramedics to come. I found out later that Bobby had been dead since 4:30 am. He came in drunk during the middle of the night, and I could only tell him, “I got practice tomorrow. Stop dicking around.” I slept the rest of the night in the same room while. He stumbled around for a while. Still crashing into things that were placed there as a test to his willpower. I don’t remember what time it was, though. Not like it matters.
There was no way he could’ve whispered anything to me, but I heard what I heard. Maybe I was experiencing some hallucination due to the trauma of seeing my brother dead. I heard what I heard, though.

He was my doppelganger in life. Now he is one in death. [I just looked that word up in the dictionary. Actually, it was in a book by a gay middle-aged Mexican-American writer from Sacramento. Please, read nothing into this reference.]

What a catharsis it’s been to reveal all of the injustices I’ve experienced in life because of this boy, my brother. What remains a mystery, though, is whether I actually loved my brother or if I just had some sorta working relationship with him, like I was some wife who realized she had to stick it out in the marriage solely because of ¨the children¨. Like we were two parasites living off each other and neither of us were able to leave the connection between. I mean, the two of us had a way interacting that wasn’t healthy but could be interpreted as such. We were a couple that needed each other. What makes sense, though? Which side of the coin will we be placed? Maybe just flip one and see how it turns out.
The sad thing is that I am feeling a happiness like when you pour salt on a snail. Or when you fart in an elevator and leave. Or when you acolyte while really trashed off the sacramental wine. That’s not a normal way to go on with life. I think Bobby rubbed off on me. Possibly a point of departure for me. Like the end of the story where I am walking away perpendicular from the camera with my hands in my pockets as if I were dressed for cold weather. I’ll be wearing a hoodie and jeans with dirty white tennis shoes and a brown corduroy jacket. My words become visible as I talk to myself, smiling about some memory. You can only see what I leave in the air as life enters me without being seen. Then maybe a zoom out to get a wider shot of the busy walkway at Rice. Other student dressed similarly hustling and bustling to class as they walk around me. Since I’m the main character, the whole world seems to be parting for me as I make my way to wherever I decide I need to be next. Then maybe a casual pan upward toward the sky. Very slowly, though. Not too fast. It’ll ruin the tranquillity that this denouement has established. The juxtaposition needed for an ending like this. What a better way to end a fucked story like this then to have me walk away from you, the audience, no longer needing your approval, leaving my words in the air to be seen for just a few moments, leaving me with a feeling of relief of getting rid of that stagnant CO2.