Okay, I didn’t mean to brain my asshole brother-in-law.  But, sometimes some people just need a braining.

When I stepped in the abode after pulling a double shift, there he was.  Drinking my gin (the good one I hide in the back of the freezer behind my wife’s soy, veggie burgers — the “Southwest Style” ones), watching my flat-screen, and sitting in my favorite couch-spot.  I let the first three slide off me like Rain-X fleeing off your windshield if you drive fast enough.

It was that bestial braying sound that passes in his life for a laugh that made me pull up short.

“Alfred,” I said softly, trying to rid myself of the box of bees breaking free in the attic of my head.  “Tell me you’re not watching my favorite program.  You know, last’s night episode of Torque Wrench that I DVR’d because I had to work and all.”

Alfred didn’t dignify my inquiry with a response — at least a verbal one.  Instead, he lifted his right cheek and treated me to a single, perfect D-flat delivered from the brass section.  His eyes never left the LCD screen.

I took a deep one.  I walked over to the oak coffee table and with as much restraint as I could muster, I snatched the gin bottle from its surface.  The container’s calming blue tint was sweating like a Hasidic diamond merchant on a sweltering day on West 46th Street.  It was no longer cool to the touch.

I retreated with the drippy, wet mess into the kitchen.  Opening the cupboard, I found no clean glasses.  Etta told me she was going to wash them yesterday.

I took a pull from the bottle.  The gin’s juniper sweetness was tailgated by the liquid’s hot, rash, after-burn in the arrogant manner of an impatient teenager in an SUV trying to push your granny’s Subaru to go faster in the passing lane.

The beverage’s lack of coolness left me yearning.

“So, brother-in-law,” I said with the maximum calmness I could muster.  “Where’s Etta?”

Alfred’s eight-second reaction time was maddening.

“Whut?” was all he offered.  A Polygrip commercial played out on the tube in all its dramatic glory.

“YOUR SISTER, DICKHEAD,” I stated with greater feeling.

“Oh,” he replied with a total lack of wonderment.  “Said something about settling up with her pimp.”

There was a time when I would have found this amusing.  But, never funny.  That time was not this time.

“Look, Shecky,” I started while edging my way into the family room where he sprawled on my Microfibre suede sofa.  “Was she here when you arrived?  Or did you break-and-enter?”

For some, this would have been just an idle, throwaway line.  But, Alfred had passed a short spell in juvie as a result of some injudicious, youthful choices.

He looked over at me with a gimlet scowl.  He lifted his right cheek again.  This time the f-note came from the woodwinds.  I swear his left eye closed partially as a testament to the effort he devoted to this response.

I didn’t mean to hit him over the head with a chair.  I meant to hit him over the head with the entire house.  It’s just that I picked up the closest heavy object within my reach, expecting the entire house to follow along as an extension.

Alfred’s blood dripped onto the Microfibre.

Admittedly, I had not thought through the entire endeavor very carefully.

— The Major


One response to this post.

  1. In-laws are the reason one should always keep a shovel and a bag of lime handy at all times. Call it an emergency kit.


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