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by Hungry
Rated: 18+ · Non-fiction · Biographical · #2179253
Siblings try to connect emotionally through a dangerous event.
Blood Brothers.


I always looked up to my Younger Brother. I always wanted to be like my younger brother. I always wanted him to like me. I was the runt jester with insatiable needs that tended to create insanity, in and around me. At an early age I was carving up Naugahyde couches, peeling paint off the walls, peeing my bed, and playing the clown, all in the name of love. I had night terrors that should have caused earthquakes. I always blamed my material destruction on Older Brother. I didn't know him well but he never got much shit from the brooding Breeder. When I was five, I carved my name with a razor blade on a brand new couch and then screamed the Older Brother was responsible. After a handwriting test and a brilliant deduction from the Breeder, (after all it was my name) I was whipped with a belt across my peachy bare butt like a slave. All the time my grandmother was crying and feebly trying to stop him, yelling,
"STOP ARTURO YOU GONNA KILLA THE BOY."

When he finally did wind down, I was left bent over the couch frozen in a prone position as my peach ass leaked red juice. My grandma was weeping, saying, "Paulie, Paulie, why you gotta do these things? Why you make your father so mad? He's gonna kill you." Then she filled a bucket with warm water and Epson salt and soaked my butt for an hour.
My Younger Brother, a year younger, would just gaze at me during these times with a look that clearly indicated he had no idea who I was. I would hold my head up like nothing had happened, pretending I wasn't a weirdo.

Blood is thicker than water. They said that in the Godfather and it stuck to me like a scab.
Our family dynamic didn't change through the years and I spent lots of time dancing for everyone. To music I didn't understand. I questioned everything, not with the inquisitive mind of a gleeful schoolboy, but with a sad, risky defiance, that would get me bludgeoned and caught between truth and our reality. "If I say the sky is black it's black." The breeder would yell with a backhand across my face. But, I wanted to save my brother from all this, even though he didn't need saving, for he never challenged. I don't know if he saw the sky as black but he accepted that it should be at that moment. I didn't, it looked beautifully blue to me, but I was blackened. Surely and soulfully I charred from the inside out. So I looked for other ways to protect Younger Brother from something he would never forget, to get his love. Even the breeder liked him, because they shared a blood that didn't run through my veins. My blood was thinner. He rarely beat him, while I was a punch, kick and ridicule magnet.
There was the time Younger Brother was trying to jump a hill on his Schwinn stingray bike and he went down hard. The end of the handlebar, which didn't have any rubber grips, smashed his left middle finger. It had to be chopped off at the first knuckle.
I wasn't there when the accident happened, but I wished I had been. I needed to stay late after school for detention. My P.E. and history teacher Mr. Black hit me over the head with a large history book full of glorious bullshit. It stunned me to the point of blacking out. All I said was the explorer Cortez brought taco's to the Americas. When I came to my senses, the class was still chuckling, and he gave me an hour of detention.
Fuck. Shit, piss.
On my way home from school I was followed by other sixth graders telling me Younger Brother had his arm chopped off, his leg chopped off, an ear ripped off. It shook me. I didn't want to show panic but I started walking as fast as I could. I loved Younger Brother, I wanted him to see my face and know that.
I thought he was going to die.
When I finally got home my mom told me he was in the hospital and that they couldn't put the tip back on his finger because it was so mangled. Mangled was much more frightening because of the rips, and tears. The once beautifully constructed tissues were now mashed together, no longer having any function, no longer recognizing the living mass it's in contact with; crying for a connection, but left to decay and infect.
My mom said she had to make coffee for the Breeder, who would be getting up soon, so she couldn't get to the hospital 'till later. "You had nothing to do all day so my goddamn coffee better be ready."
I rode my bike to the hospital and the sky started to close up on me. Younger brother was just a couple of months longer than a full term pregnancy younger than me. He was in fifth grade and had some friends. I didn't have real friends just a couple of followers and a pack of kids who didn't go to school. Kids who lived with sisters or grandparents; kids with names like T.C. and Boy.
I peddled my bicycle, balls out to Memorial Hospital.
He was in bed with one of those weird hospital gowns where your butt shows in the back. I blushed at the idea of seeing him exposed. His hand was raised and supported by a string type thing.
The T.V. was playing 'Psycho' and outside the rain started to hit the windows sideways.
There was more of openness in his face than I have ever seen. He just looked at me and didn't say anything. I wasn't sure if his eyes watered because I looked away first. I was not able to hold gazes for more than a blink.
"Hey, what's going on?"
"Nothing, I just smashed my finger."
"Does it hurt?"
"A little."
We fell quiet. He watched the television as a distraction. I had seen the movie before and while it was strange, it didn't scare me. It almost seemed like a familiar world, a world of odd and shameful desires. The man's strange loneliness and need hypnotized me and left me wondering if I had what he had.
The shower scene was coming up and I told Younger Brother it was really freaky. He just stared, his big brown eyes fixed on the picture. I thought, maybe if he could understand it, he could understand me better. The storm was now demanding our attention, as if it were competing with the movie, flashes of lightning and static interrupted the frenzy on the T.V. Only the shrieking sounds from the woman came from the small set - the screeches married the thunder. Every couple of seconds a face would flash on the screen, and then the blood washing down the drain.
When things were clear again the movie continued and the rain fell lightly. He was dosing off. I watched as he gave in to passing me by, without looking my way. I wanted to see his finger. I wanted to see something of his that was grotesque. I wanted to be the first one to see it, so we would have that bond. I stood there just watching him breath and wanting to somehow be a part of him. I didn't cry. My tears were saved for major violations and more private tortures.

I continued being the blunt end of the runt, and got closer to no one.


Further up my blistered path I introduced Younger brother to sniffing ignition spray. It was something strange and awesome and I am sure he would have never found it without me. We were 14 and 15 years old. I had been doing it myself for a while. You would just spray this stuff into a paper bag and start huffing until you started to hallucinate. The trip would last maybe ten minutes but you'd be rendered non functional to true time. Sometimes I would do it for an hour at a time. Younger brother and his friend Miguel were in the garage with me and we were all sniffing when Younger brother started screaming that his hand was chopped off. He was hysterical. I was high, and his screams sent panic through my spinal cord the way my nightmares would. He started running around in the back yard. Because of his movements I couldn't really tell if he was missing his hand, so I just believed him. I finally caught him and checked both limbs and found them present. He was whimpering now as I tried to console him. I felt important in his life, reassuring him his hand was in fact not missing,
"Look Younger Brother, it's right here. Look, one...two. Now look at them together, see, they're here, together." These were some of the softest words I had ever spoken, with tones that would defiantly exist in a world of my creation.
He stopped crying and walked away. He seemed better. I wanted to ask if he was going to sniff some more now that he was okay, but thought better of it and let him go. I felt like I had been important to him just for that minute.
There were many more times when I would try to slip into his contained life and guarded psyche, but with no real rewards.
         He held jobs while I would quit, or be fired from many. He was able to restrict his drug and alcohol use to somewhat appropriate times. And he still maintained a rage and ridicule free pass from the Breeder; you might even say, some respect from him - while I was a left for dead, failure.
I watched him gather an identity and even some confidants through his next years, while I wandered soggily through my life.
I had a serious break up with my one serious girlfriend and it left me with new suicidal tendencies. So I overdosed (which convinced no one I was stable). Then, soon, had another near death experience climbing out of my crushed Volkswagen bug, which I had crushed to the size of a suitcase; followed by maybe ten tabs of acid, a gang fight or two, 18 gallons of booze, 100 reds, 1000 acts of masturbation, 50 gallons of tears, and oh, one more car wreck wiping out Younger Brother's 69 Cadillac convertible, he cautiously let me borrow. I am so lucky I had the top up, otherwise I would have been sent flying all along the street and gotten mashed by the damn car. As it turned out I hardly had a scratch on me but the car was totaled. A big ass 69 Deville, crushed to the size of a Toyota. I wasn't even that stoned, I could still see straight. The cops and the ambulance came. I was even in the Glendale news press the next day -there was a photo of the car and the caption read, "Not a Scratch" I had much to prove, to be worthy of the life I was spared. The message was becoming clear: I was doomed to live.
So, I was forced to look for some kind of job, career.

I received a western union telegram telling me I was hired to work the swing shift at Alcoa Aluminum. I swelled with pride for an altruistic second. The factory was on San Fernando road, not far from where the Breeder drove a truck for Van De Kamp's Bakery. A lot of factories were down on that side of town.
A few weeks prior I went and talked to someone in an office about the job. I was told, if hired, I would have to wear goggles and a protective apron to protect me from the molten aluminum. I would be like a specialist. I thought it might be kinda cool.
A next-door neighbor of my moms, a short, always tanning by the pool, darkly sunned man of foreign background, recommended me. His name was Lars. He was married to Molly, a woman that was a foot taller than him and old enough to be his mother. He, and them decided Alcoa was just the place for me at the ripe age of 20. They excitedly told me I could work 60 hours a week if I played my cards right. I was to report the following Monday.

It's now my last Saturday night before I have to stop getting so fucked on Sunday nights because I'll have to be at work at six A.M. Monday mornings, and I have no fucking car. I was planning to take the bus to work. But no fucking way I was going to take a bus to party in Hollywood. Jesus, shit was fucking dreary.
No matter how I tried to pretend things were looking up, and, with the new job I might even be able to afford a new car, I knew working in another factory was putrid and ruptured what little faith I had in anything but getting high. It was the one thing I could control. So I sure needed it tonight.
         I was stuck in my studio apartment on the second story overlooking Glenoaks Boulevard . A fairly busy street and I wished I could use every car that passed me at the window. There were some joggers, a young couple. I couldn't imagine why anybody would jog on a Saturday night. People should be stoned by now, figuring where they were going to party for the night.
I didn't have much to get high on just a pint of Jack Daniels and a half a gram of coke. I'd walked a mile this morning to get it at the liquor store. I grabbed the Jack Daniels just in case I was going to be stranded later, and a damn good thing I did, I couldn't get a hold of anyone: a lost souls nightmare. My Social worker once asked me if I ever drank alone and I replied, 'Only when there is nobody else around.' She chuckled, and I had a truly clever moment.
But clever doesn't mean shit when the sunset strip is on the other side of the hill and you're lonely as a dry stillborn puppy. I need a goddamn connection, a connection, to someone, something. Been so long, and I don't enjoy me. I can't live in my own self. Too unpredictable, too scary, too embarrassing, too creepy, too dirty, too lonely, too shameful. Booze, drugs, and music gave me the out of mind courage to express myself. Fuck, I badly needed an arena tonight, a place to perform and engage; a place to love everyone and not give a flying fuck about anything, to shake my hips and take a chance on my hidden charms, my dearly buried truth of love, my sweating lust.
My last chance to get away from this Alcatraz with a record player called my home was Younger Brother.
Like the Breeder, he worked nights at the grocery store and slept during the day, so I had to wait until around 8:00 P.M to call. I have to let him wake up completely or he won't remember I called. This shit made me nervous, I don't like relying on other people for my compulsiveness. I like to do things when I do, especially when I've been looking forward to it, drinking for it.
Younger Brother was unpredictable with me, I was very susceptible to his moods and I still had no idea what he thought of me. Sometimes he would just look at me like I was some kind of abomination. I don't believe he did it on purpose; it just looked like he thought I had some screws loose, and my screws were weird to begin with.
I was much more decadent than him. I was all about the androgynous movement in rock and roll. I saw it as more of an opportunity to express myself. He kinda distanced himself from it. He was secure in his reliability to any governing parties, from the Breeder to his bosses. He was able to be quiet and nervously thoughtful, where I slaughtered silences with baseless, random, uncensored, ill defined, core material. Yet I still thought I had something to offer him, I wanted him to follow me to freedom, but he never set foot on the bridge.
He didn't question much, so acceptance stuffed him like the driver and only survivor of a school bus crash. He delivered his guilt like an act of duty and devotion. I had very little duty and no devotion other than to have my dirty being approved of, in any way I could.
Me. "Hey."
"Hey."
"What are you doing?"
"Not much."
'Oh Yeah?"
"Yeah, what about you?"
"Oh, nothing, just listening to some music."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah."
"Fuck I'm tired."
"Yeah? Long hours huh?"
"Oh Yeah." Pause of a lifetime. 'Lady Grinning Soul' was skipping on my record player, and it was pissing me the fuck off. I've only had, Aladdin Sane for two fucking weeks and it's already scratched. I waited in line at the first record store in Hollywood to get the shipment. I got the second copy in L.A. Whammy got the first.
"What are you going to do tonight?"
"Ah, I don't know. Probably nothing." I was like, fuck, there's no way I can't go out tonight. I was already buzzed and my being had the makings of a tragic ending if I was left alone. I was straddling the razor.
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, why? What are you doing?"
"I was thinking of going to the Rainbow. I was there last week and there were so many chicks, man you should have seen it."
"Yeah huh?"
"Hell yeah, and the music was awesome. Rod Stewart was downstairs in the restaurant."
"Oh yeah? That sounds good."
"Yeah man, it was. Hey, why don't we go and check it out tonight? Death pause. "Come on it'll be cool, we don't have to stay long if you don't want."
"I don't know I'm pretty fucking tired. Not tonight."
"You're off tomorrow right?"
"Yeah, but I don't know." Man I'm starting to take this personally. He knows I don't have a fucking car, and it feels like he's just fucking with me; paying me back for destroying his Cadillac. Well...shit, I wasn't going that fast, I've done that curve at 80 before. There must have been something slippery in the road.
After that the Breeder gave Younger brother the green Cadillac, and let him take over the payments, while Breeder got an Eldorado. You know the Breeder had a shitty job driving a truck at night, was never promoted in 15 years, couldn't sign his own name or read, but he always had a nice car that he took care of. Him and Younger Brother shared the same respect and desire to keep their vehicles in top shape. I on the other hand would start out with the best intentions, but my search for love always trumped taking care of shit. Without love, a dirty car doesn't matter. What good is Armor All without love?

It was weird, when I was alone with Younger Brother. It felt like what it was like when I was alone with the breeder. I don't think I ever spent much time alone with him. I'd have to be pretty stoned to not feel weirder than a cat in a dog kennel.
ME again,
"I have half a gram of blow, it's that good shit from Johnny."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, this shit will pick you right up. It smooth too, remember?"
"Same shit huh?" he asked. I detected a slight raise of interest. I followed with the best shot I had.
"Yeah, You can have it all if you want it, I don't feel up for blow tonight." Of course I did but I would sniff a good chunk before we met.
"Yeah, okay, what the hell, right?"
"Yeah man, it'll be fun, I guarantee it." I was starting to feel a connection with him, like we were a team. Destination soul-land, bonding in our insatiability with the help of the best scar tissue glue ever - cocaine.
"Okay, let me wake up, and I guess I'll come pick you up," he said with a yawn. He moves at his own pace whereas I move to brain circuitry demand.
"Okay, uh, how long do you think that will be?"
"I don't know, I wanta wake up first."
"Hey, the coke will wake you up, just come on over."
"Okay, let me just grab a cup of coffee and I'll be over."
"About half an hour then?''
"Yeah around then." Goddamn, it's fucking hard to arrange life. So half an hour meant closer to an hour and I'd probably have to call again to make sure he didn't go back to sleep.

Looking out my window I pretended I could see the lights of Hollywood. There is love past them hills. I put on, 'Drive in Saturday,' did a line of toot and sang like my world was precious.
I saved some coke for him, (as long as I didn't sniff it all before he got here). I did another quick line then I took the little vial of blow went to the closet closed my eyes and stuffed it in the small mound of tee shirts to hide it from me.
I thought, I would put on some ELO to get him warmed up, he loves them, then maybe slip in some Iggy Pop and see if he likes it. He should do a line before Iggy; it'll help broaden his taste.

I sang along with, 'Raw Power' and needed another line. I easily found where I hid the whiff, did another line and re-hid it. Did this two more times, and I realized I was dangerously close to doing it all.
I heard the knock and quickly put on, 'Evil Woman' by ELO and acted as if it was happenstance.
He brought a couple of quarts of beer with him.
"You like ELO?" I asked knowing the answer.
"Yeah, they're pretty good."
"Yeah, me too, they're one of my favorites." Well, not really but I did like some of their songs pretty well. He drank from his Budweiser and I polished off my Jack
"Hey, you got that coke?"
"Oh yeah, sure, I'll get it." I found it again, no problem. I can't hide shit from me except for what I don't know yet. He finished it off pretty quickly; I cleaned the vial out with a cue tip and sucked it dry.
We weren't long at my apartment. I tried to enter his grownup world while my hollow self shamefully bled through. The insane need for approval and the fear of rejection was the fluid that diluted my truth.
I haven't been in his new to him, 1970 Deville. It was very clean as expected but felt very grandparenty, like it should be wrapped in protective plastic. The Beatles, Abbey Road album was blaring out of the 8-track stereo and helped it feel cool. We stopped at a liquor store and I bought a half- pint more of Jack, and he another quart of beer.
The Beatles were our common thread as we wound our way down Chevy Chase Blvd. He reached over and turned the music down and I waited for his words already thinking of what I was going to say. I would validate whatever he said with a tone as cool as his.
"You talk to Mom recently?" he asked with a hint of recrimination.
"No, not in a while, why?"
"She has to have another heart surgery."
"What? Another? Why?"
"She said the doctor said her valve is going bad again."
"Fuck, they should just put a zipper on her this time so they don't have to keep cutting her open."
"Yeah huh? You should call her. She was asking about you. She said you never call."
"I do, I will. Man It's hard to talk to her. We just end up in a fight."
"She's still your mom."
"Yeah, I'll give her a call tomorrow." I waited to see if he was going to turn the music back up to drown out the shit, but he didn't. When I heard, "Oh Darling' I took a chance and did it myself. He didn't say anything, so I was happy. A serious brother to brother conversation about our Mom and now back to fun. This is what real brothers do. Real brothers hang out, they know blood is thick, they stand up for each other, against fathers and mothers and mother fuckers.
"Are you going to pay dad back?" Man this meeting was going to hell fast.
"Yeah, I will soon."
"He said you haven't made a payment in a couple of months."
"Why should I, the car is trashed?"
"You're the one who wrecked it, why should he pay for it?"
"Because it's in his name."
"But he financed it for you."
"Yeah, but he didn't want to." Man there wasn't enough booze in this bottle to make me comfortable now. I was thinking about just getting out of the car at the next stop but there was too much at stake, my life, my dreams, and the heart of the night. I didn't want to argue with him because he would be so technically right. But he didn't understand me. The Breeder didn't care about me. He cared about him.
"So you're just going to leave him stuck with it?"
"No I'll pay him man, when I get this job." I tried to sound as grown up as possible.
We stalled in our connection, the music was muddled and the streets were bare. Sunday morning bare, not Saturday night. Where the hell was everybody?
The fog in the car was whispering, "Just go back home." The night's enticement waned. Man, family fucks everything up; it sucks, throttles, and deadens the senses. It injects fear through the veins with the force of a tidal wave. It shrieks you towards needing acknowledgement and redemption without a tact, just like a sponge for the blood spilled.
I had lost Younger Brother; he went in to that place of confused allegiance. He chewed at his fingernails switching hands on the steering wheel. His stubby middle finger, isolated and non functional as if it didn't participate in this life anymore was the only still life in the car. I knew Younger Brothers behavior, it's contempt and disdain, it's, 'fuck everything I don't give a shit,' it's raw fingers and silence. I held out for contact, if not with him then the revelers on the other side of the hill.
There was a defining left hand turn to be made at the next light. It's a left that would commit us to the decent into Hollywood. We were a block away, in the right lane, and I wasn't sure if he was going to merge over to make the turn. I did not want to go back home, for me that would be dismal, suicidal purgatory.
A car pulled along side of us on the left. We looked through the window and saw the driver, he just stared back giving us a, 'what the fuck you looking at' nod. We did the same. He paced us window to window nodding.
"What the fuck you looking at?" Younger Brother said looking at the driver but addressing no one. We were trying to get in the left lane but the Chevy Impala kept the pace blocking us from getting over. He would speed up or slow down nodding his head with a jerk towards us like a beckoning traitor to mankind. A dream murderer.
Younger Brother was locked in to his, 'you don't give a fuck? Watch this, I don't either.' I knew one thing for sure, we were taking the left into Hollywood come what may. It was a challenge beyond reason we were now in.
I started to pick up the vibe and gave the guy the finger yelling like Al Pacino on amphetamines, "FUCK YOU."
Younger Brother was hoping the guy was hearing his chants of, "Come on, I don't give a fuck about shit, asshole" through the closed window of the Chevy. The battle was about who cared least about life, and who would prove it. Not necessarily cocaine behavior but blood was thicker than waning chemicals. I usually started the confrontations that the world deserved. This was different I had a cause beyond my own vengeance. I was along for Younger Brother's rage. I tapped in to his need of a life that somehow made sense beyond the views that formed us. There was revenge to be had and anyone willing to trigger the deep longing to justifiably hurt something was nurtured to the draw. Our blood was at the same temperature
Younger Brother stopped the car for the ultimate act of confrontation. The Chevy stopped as well. If he were going to take this guy on I would stay back unless he needed protecting.
We waited a minute, and then the other driver got out of his car and went to his trunk. He pulled out a baseball bat and started smashing in the back window of our car.
I was excited because I knew I would be needed. We would have to work together to solve this.
Just before the guy got to the driver's door, Younger Brother opened it, and smashed his quart of beer on the ground holding the neck in his hand with the jagged edge out. I jumped out of the car and came up behind the guy. Younger Brother was able to keep some distance by poking the glass at him, but I knew my being behind the guy was key to brother's survival. The guy had to share his focus from front to back. I would fake an attack when the guy was looking forward, and brother would do the same when attention was on me. We did this barbed dance well in to the middle of the intersection of Chevy Chase and San Fernando Blvd.
Younger Brother threw the bottle to the side and charged the guy. He tackled him. The guy was down on his back but wouldn't let go of the bat. I came in and tried to pull it from his hands. His savage hand became part of the bat.
"Let go of the bat motherfucker." I yelled in his face.
"Come on, what's wrong with you? Get the bat."
He didn't understand I was doing my best. I pried at his fingers, I smashed his hand against the asphalt, but his bony fingers had morphed into the bat. Younger Brother was on top of the guy holding him down when he said,
"Come here hold him, I'll get it."
Fuck, he didn't trust me to do anything. Just like the Breeder. He would surely get the bat free and I would bury the failure along with the thousands of others into my leaking vault.
"No I'll get it." I said, not knowing how, but determined to be recognized. I stood up and started kicking his hand. Still nothing. I started jumping up and down on it like I was putting out a small fire. His fingers started to move.
A car crept up San Fernando road very low like a snake. It was full of some gang dudes. Probably, 'Toonerville,' we were close to their turf. It came to a stop and guys were sticking their heads out the windows.
"What the fuck man? Two on one?"
"Leave that dude alone, or we will fuck you up."
"Yeah, see how you like it Pussy. There are four of us in here," The driver said.
They waved their own bats and crowbars.
"We better get the fuck out of here? I said, torn about try to get the bat or bolting.
"Fuck it, let's go," Younger Brother said as he jumped off the dude and started walking fast to the caddie. I put my hands up in the air and backed away.
"He had a bat man, we didn't start it."
The Low rider rolled on by us.
The guy with the bat flew after Younger Brother, I was lagging behind sure he wouldn't be able to get up so quickly.
He ran up, raised the bat and smashed it down on Brother's head. His neck tweaked with a supernatural snap as he went down. Some things in my life have been perceived in a vacuum. The very real moments that define existence, when I know for sure I am at the precipice of passing through to another plane. When I see all of life's experiences halt, and get washed with knowing something beyond this world could be taking place. I have had these moments during car crashes, overdoses, and dreams.
I saw him, the hospital room, the mangled finger, I saw him sniffing and crying, I saw when he would sometimes really smile at me; his eyes, so sad, I knew I could fix him, beyond the clown I appeared to be.
He was in the under the desk atom bomb position, but I saw blood leaking through his fingers.
I yelled, just some kind of squall, and ran to the guy. His bat went up over his head again and came down on the forearm that went up to protect my head. My arm was cracked in half, two elbows, one natural and one in the middle of my forearm. My wrist dangled. I threw my body at the guy to move him off brother who was rising. His eyes were low and he tried to tackle the guy. I stood there ready to get in the way of another blow if necessary.
Two police cars came screaming down Chevy Chase. They seized the guy with the bat. Urgent calls were made for an ambulance. The police had us all standing in a semi circle, brother was dripping blood, I was dripping forearm. The guy was wide-eyed, unafraid to appear the attacker.
The ambulance arrived and when the police turned to guide them to us properly, brother rushed the bat guy cursing at him. Younger Brother had very little energy and the police quickly broke it up, but brother showed courage, and blood vengeance. Even if it wasn't about me it was surely about us, our family. He was protecting our bloodline. And no matter what was said or not said about me I was part of that mixture. I was right now on the front lines protecting brother and that part of the Breeder that gave half a damn about him or me. I was going to be heralded for jumping into action and saving the favorite one. The medics ran straight to me and carefully placed my noodle of an arm in a blow-up cast. My brother was escorted to the ambulance and placed on a stretcher. I sat next to him all the way to the hospital. I was hoping we could somehow connect. His eyes would open and close as they roamed the cabin. They rolled past me then rebounded back to lock in for just a second or two. There was a sadness, but it was infused with the stubbornness to survive.
I nodded, and whispered,
"You okay?"
"Yeah, you?"
"So, So." I showed him my arm.
He didn't say anything; he looked away and closed his eyes. He went away without letting me know. Just like that afternoon when he mashed his finger.
My eyes lingered on him. I was wondering if he knew what I did for him, and if he did, what would my brother say to the Breeder?






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