I head to the back room where I will be sleeping during my stay. Suey is sprawled out on his back in the hallway. I scrunch down, “I see you got two more trophies. Congrats?” “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln,” he says before singing what I think is a Jewish hymn. No, we are not Jewish. I proceed to the only place I will get a reprieve from this living purgatory, the storage closest that will be my room for next two days. How apropos.
I stand corrected. It looks like it will also double as a whorehouse. A naked, from the waist down, woman gets pushed out the window by Popper, my pussy-popping father. “Hey son! Did you see that? That homeless woman was going to steal clothes from us if I hadn’t stopped her. Damn homeless. They get more shameless every day. First homemade signs then home invasions.” “At least she got her nails manicured and her vagina bedazzled so she could commit B&E in style. Your penis is still hanging out and dripping on the floor,” I point out. Without batting an eye, “Big Willie is sweating because he was burning inside these new pants your mother bought me. They don’t breathe like they used to,” he quips. Then he walks out without putting his penis away as it drips all over the floor I am supposed to sleep on. I may have to look up The Therapist when I return to Hollywood-land.
We sit to have Family-Dinner. I query, “Where is Mother?” They look at me like I spoke that which is never to be given voice. “I am joking. I hope she gets more tequila,” I say quickly. Actually, I was not joking. I am not completely in the rhythm yet. I have made more blunders in the first few hours of being home than I made my whole childhood. What was going on with me? I timidly question, “So why we having Family-Dinner?” “Your grandmother was popped for profiting off kiddie porn.” I am floored. No one else raises an eyebrow. “Robin, you’re a poor excuse as sidekick,” PAG screeches. She adds, “Everyone looks sixteen at my age, how did I know he was actually sixteen. Once he showed me his penis I thought he was lying. No one had a penis that big at sixteen when I was his age.” “She considers herself a professional photographer now. She had men coming in at all hours taking pictures of their dicks.” “They’re called artistic nudes, Peter Parker! And Tony Stark, you didn’t have a problem with it when you were getting a twenty percent cut,” she shouts. “He’s just mad because he couldn’t hide his whores in the house any longer,” she says, waving her finger at him. “Those were potential dates I was bringing over for your grandson,” he offers as his defense. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln,” Suey’s contribution. “I hope you all get AIDS,” Fake yips out of the blue. “Impossible old man. AIDS was made specifically for the Niggers, Wetbacks and Democrats. Whites only get it if they’re friends with one of those,” PRU says joining the conversation. “Why do I have nightmares of a monster getting bed with me and hiding things in my cave with when I was a kid,” Hammer speaks up, wanting attention too. There she goes running over to her release valve, pounding away on the purple safe. All of our phones beep simultaneously. PAG giggles uncontrollably. Popper chimes in, “Haven’t we seen this big black cock before?” Annoyed, PAG blasts him, “They don’t all look the same, trust me!” “YES, THEY DO! Don’t fight me, fight the truth,” PRU says with indignation. “Did your California visiting brother tell you guys we almost caught a homeless person trying to steal some clothes? I had to pound the thief’s ass until that thief’s eyes rolled back and the thief almost passed out from the intensity of my powerful thrust,” Popper gleefully recounts his twisted version of the ‘home invasion’. Unable to stomach anymore of this tainted remake of Twin Peaks, I head for the front door. Popper continues, “I wouldof called the cops but I felt I punished that thief’s ass enough with the magnitude of my engorged punishing machine that it was only fair to let that thief heal to learn that—.” I close the door before I hear the end of Popper’s bastardized assault on reality.
Sitting on the porch, unable to hear the exactness of the vile swirling through the house behind me, I wonder why I am here. I love my family. I do not wish them any harm. I only see them about three to five times a year and I wish that was about three to five times less. Am I evil? Are they right, have I changed? Has California changed me? Do I think I am too good for them now? I sit here, letting the unrelenting rays of the sun bathe me, as if I am getting baptized into the light.
The door opens behind me. Every part of my body tightens. “Crabs! Crabs! I saw the letter from the doctor. You got crabs!” Is all I can hear Faker yammering before the door closes again. Suey sits next to me. Out of the corner of my eye, he looks serene and at peace. He says nothing. I say nothing. We sit as the sun’s ray’s dance on our foreheads and tickle our skin underneath our sweat-soaked clothes. This is the most amount of time my older brother and I have spent alone together since we were…maybe five and eight years old respectively. Without warning he takes my hand. We hold hands like we use to when Mother made him walk me home from school. Then he looks my way. I feel him looking at me. Feeling bonded and fearful all at the same time, I decide to face him. We stare into each other’s eyes. He smiles. I almost cry. “Never find fault with the absent. Alexander Pope,” he says as he lets go my hand, pinches my cheek and walks back inside the house. I weep, on the inside.
Moments later my Mother, with a B&H cigarette in her mouth and one between her fingers, strolls up with two full bags of various brands of alcohol. She barks, “You gonna stay out here and hide or make me a proper drink before I pass out from dehydration?” She lights another cigarette before heading inside the house. I let the sun have one more pass over my body. I stand up. I replay my brother’s words in my head. A chuckle escapes my lips. I open the door just in time to hear my sister pounding away on the purple safe and PRU rambling, “Those Injuns have it good! Maybe if they stop drinking long enough they would realize that.” I read somewhere that ‘Home is where the heart is’. Mine is in California.