Brothers? Not quite, but yes. (Random as always)
|He continued his story.
“He was eating the steak like a cannibal or something, it was so bloody and he was using his hands and every once in a while he'd look up and everyone staring at him would look away. It made me so uncomfortable I left without paying.”
“Well did the waitress or anybody do anything?”
“The hell can anyone do? Guy probably paid for his meal with a bloody twenty dollar bill and left to hunt for humans or something. He had a strange look to him, like he was trying to look like a fuckin’ werewolf or something.”
“A werewolf?” he asked. “Okay now I think the guy was probably just trying to get a rise out of you. Seems like it was some kind of show, like he's one of those weird lonely guys who needs attention in some weird kinda way.”
“You didn't see him. No, you're wrong.” He was chewing his burger like it was his last meal.
“If I saw you eating how you're eating right now, I'd probably get up and leave too. I'm about two bites away from kicking you out of my car.”
“Calm down, I'm hungry and didn't you just hear my story? I walked out. I had two fuckin’ bites of my pastrami sandwich, I couldn't even chase it with the pickle. The weird prick was just devouring that bloody piece of meat.”
“You need to eat slower.” Eddie glanced at him and filled his face with disgust. “You're starting to piss me off.”
“Made me want to never eat meat again.” He threw the burger wrapper on the floor of the car and took a big gulp from his soda. Eddie was focused on the road and Noah fiddled with the radio.
“Leave it here,” said Eddie.
“I can't listen to this crap.”
“It's Steve Miller Band, its music for the highway. I'm driving anyways so shut your mouth already and just leave it.”
“Ah hell, I can't listen to this crap. Just let me change it, I can't listen to this crap.”
“Touch my radio and you're gone. You still haven't even given me gas money, we've been on the road two hours. I'm doing you the favor, you asshole.”
“Gas money? Oh, gas money. My apology. Here, hold on.” He reached in his pocket and fumbled around for a bit. When he pulled out his hand, his middle finger was up and he shoved it in Eddie’s face. “Here's your gas money, asshole. You still owe me a hundred dollars, moron! This trip will be just about that much.” He put his hand down and said, “Keep the change, driver.”
“Why did I agree to this?”
“Just listen to your music and drive, I'm going to sleep.”
Noah shut his eyes and Eddie turned up the radio. The scenery changed often as Eddie drove the straight line east to the desert. The radio was useless. All the decent stations kept losing signal and eventually Eddie turned it off. He rolled down the window and saw Noah move, so he rolled it up in hopes of him staying asleep. Their friendship was more of a brotherly bond, but with that came bickering. Noah woke up when Eddie rolled all the windows down and a roaring gust of wind hit the car at all angles. Eddie was sick of listening to him snore.
“You need to get your nose checked,” said Eddie. “That was some of the worst snoring I've ever heard in my life.”
Noah was wiping his eyes and drool from his cheek. He was blinking slowly and his face looked animated like a clown.
“Eddie,” he said. “Eddie!”
“What? Jesus, I'm right here. Just say what you're gonna say. This is a small car, you have my attention without saying my name to get it.”
“You ever stop complaining?” He laughed and rolled up his window. His hair was all over the place and his eyes still weren't all the way open. “Why don't you smoke some weed?” he asked. “You'll feel better.”
“I will once we get there. Check your phone, how much farther do we have?”
“I don't know,” he said. “I haven't been mapping it. I thought you were.”
Eddie slammed his brakes and pulled over on the highway nearly causing an accident. The car behind him honked and he flipped them off.
“Are you kidding right now? Honestly. Are you fucking kidding?”
“Why the fuck would I be doing it? You're the driver.” He turned and opened his door. “I'll tell you what, though,” he screamed over the roaring highway. “We definitely aren't in the right place!”
Eddie sat in his car and remained silent. He was fuming and wanted to shove Noah in front of one of the cars blazing down the highway. His phone was out and he was looking at the map to see where they were. He got out of the car and walked towards Noah who was smoking a joint in some trees off the highway shoulder.
“We’re nearly three hours fucking farther north than we need to be, simply because you took me down the wrong fucking highway in the first place,” said Eddie. “Now this quick little round trip or whatever you called it, is going to be a very long annoying fucking trip.”
Noah blew some smoke and put the joint out on the sole of his shoe. He was looking at Eddie, squinting rather, and had one eye open and one eye closed. He said, “Well this little hiccup doesn't effect my hundred dollar credit, just FYI. That wouldn't be right since, well, we can't be for certain whose fault it really was.”
“Is,” said Eddie. “Whose fault it IS. And it's yours. One million percent yours. We're right in the thick of it. This IS your fault.”
“I should've just asked someone else to take me,” said Noah. “What else did you have to do today? Cry over Abbey?”
Eddie gave Noah a stare that made him tremble. He walked backwards and tripped over a small boulder. The line had been crossed. Eddie got in the car and rolled up all the windows. He locked the doors before Noah could get in and started driving up the shoulder with his blinker on. Noah stood there staring with his arms up. Eddie merged onto the highway and drove off. Less than a minute into the drive Eddie began to feel bad. He got off at the next exit, got back on the highway, took the next exit and rounded himself back onto the previous highway and saw Noah on the side of the road attempting to hitchhike. His thumb was pointing in the wrong direction. Eddie got closer and Noah flipped him off and started walking up the highway.
“Get back in Noah, I wasn't going to leave you. Don't be stubborn right now.”
“Fuck you, Eddie. I don't need you or your shitty car. Who the fuck has a tape player? This is 2020, this is a robotic year you fuckin’ straw eating farming hobo. You don't even have AC!”
“Get in Noah, I can't be driving like this on the shoulder. Get in.”
Eddie saw Noah’s worried face as he mumbled oh shit. There was a siren off in the distance. In Eddie's rear view window was a highway patrol officer stepping out of his car. Noah immediately hopped back in the passenger seat and put on his seat belt and began saying, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck…..I'm sorry Ed, I'm sorry. Fuck, fuck…”
The officer came to the passenger side, Noah’s side, and tapped on the window. He rolled his fist and pointed downward for Noah to roll down the window. Eddie rolled it down from his side, controlling the windows from his small cockpit was the most technologically advanced feature about his car.
“License and registration,” said the officer. Eddie handed them over. Noah’s lips were sucked in like he was holding his breath. He had just smoked and the scent of marijuana was lingering in the warm car. The officer handed back the registration and took Eddie’s I.D. back to his car.
“You fucking idiot,” said Eddie. “He definitely smells the weed. You fuckin’ reak.”
“You're the one who left,” Noah whispered. “Fuckin’ hot head.”
“And I came right back. You should've just got in the car. You knew you would've eventually. I know that you knew for a fact you would. So why didn't you just do it? You had to prove some mindless point like you always do.”
Noah raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders, “You shouldn't have left me.”
“No,” Eddie said. “I should have.”
The officer returned and handed Eddie his I.D. and asked, “What the hell were you guys doing?” He was staring at Noah.
“He's my little brother, sir, and we were arguing and things escalated a little faster than expected. Pulled off on the shoulder for a bit and when he got out of the car, he refused to get back in,” said Eddie. “He can be a real stubborn asshole, sir. Not sure if you have siblings but if you do, I'm sure you can relate.”
The officer was eyeballing Eddie. “Smells like a party in here,” he said and began sniffing excessively. He was staring at Noah again, who was fixed blindly on the passing cars. “I have a little brother and a big brother,” he added. “My little brother can be a little sour bitch too.” Eddie and the officer began laughing. “I was the young one before he was born, and my older brother would beat my ass, he'd torture me. But I never cried or acted weak, only made me stronger.”
“I agree, sir,” said Eddie. “Exactly. I'm just trying to help him out, because as of now he's still very weak. And weak minded.” He smiled at Noah. “That's why he wouldn't get back in the car. Not smart enough.”
“You better respect your brother, son,” said the officer to Noah. “You're lucky he didn't just drive off and leave you stranded here on the side of the road..”
Eddie laughed and turned it into a cough, “I’d never do that officer, no matter how much he acted up, despite anything stupid he’d ever say.”
“I'll let you off with a warning this time, only because I know what it's like. And you,” he said pointing a stiff finger at Noah, “You better shape up and respect your older brother. Or I'll give him full permission to kick your sorry ass!” He let out a laugh and hit the roof of Eddie’s car. “Be safe boys.”
“Thank you, officer!” yelled Eddie. He started the car and merged back onto the highway. It was silent until Noah said, “Older brother?" He was staring at Eddie. "I’m fuckin’ older than you.”
“I know,” said Eddie. “That was hilarious.”