--NOT NEAR ENOUGH
…The first episode of season 2, “Orange Is The New Black” is pretty impressive. And it’s amazing how many unique, individualized characters the show can develop. As a writer, I’m quite captivated.
…I’m equally captivated by “The Bird Box” from Josh Malerman. The book starts sprinting from the first page and never stops.
…Upon pulling into the driveway yesterday, there were three fawns on the lawn near the blueberry bushes. They were pretty docile as well, and stood there for ten minutes while I chatted. Deer are my favorite animal, just behind giraffes.
…Here’s something I just wrote recently:
The Party’s Already Over
The day my brother comes home from prison there is a celebration, and even though I haven’t read the Bible in years, I can’t help thinking of the prodigal son story.
He’s easy with a laugh and quick with a drink. It’s a sizzling day in the backyard, burgers and dogs on the grill, watermelon split into four husks, its meat the color of pink lemonade.
There are twenty of us. Gnarls Barkley, my brother’s favorite band before he went in, keeps singing, “You make me craaa-zeeey.”
My girlfriend wanted to be here. “I’ve never met a murderer before,” she said. But I told her another time.
People mob my brother like a swath of human gnats. You’d think he was a war hero. The evidence that exonerated him was sketchy, but my parents have the money for good lawyers, and they made his release happen.
Eight years he’d been locked up. He looks less dangerous, not neutered necessarily, but calm, at peace.
What people didn’t know because I never told them, and because my brother ditched the magazines after he learned I’d discovered them, is that my brother had a hardcore bondage fetish. Really dark stuff.
So is it a coincidence that the girl was found, legs and feet bound, a gag in her mouth? Who’s to know for sure about anything?
My brother keeps eyeing me even as he nods or cooperates with a joke by chuckling. He hasn’t lost his gift for multitasking.
Mom comes over. “What’s your deal?”
“Everyone’s having a great time and you’re over here sulking in the shade.”
“It’s cooler in the shade.”
Screw, not fuck. Mom‘s polite that way.
After the party winds down, I find myself alone with my brother. We’re folding up the collapsible tables.
“You’re a quiet little shit,” he says to me.
“Apparently I am.”
“You ain’t got nothing to say?” He slams the metal legs against the table top.
“Oh, I’ve got plenty to say, just not now.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I join his stare. When we were young, before the thing happened, we’d have staring contests to see who’d blink first. This time I let him win.
When I try to walk away, he grabs me by the shoulder and we go at it, wrestling, throwing punches, kicking, scratching, whatever it takes to maim and hurt. We’re stopped when Dad flings me off and I slam my head on the protruding root of our old maple tree.
“It’s too late to ruin things,” Dad says, a confident scowl on his face. “The party’s already over.”
I stand up and stagger away, unsteady though I haven’t had a single drink.
Days pass. Months.
The next girl could be a twin of the other. Same red hair and pale skin. Bound and gagged and murdered.
Mom and Dad still believe my brother is innocent. They hire more lawyers. I hear Dad say, “There more than one way to skin a cat.