“He’s not dead?” I said. “Whaddya mean?”
“He’s not dead,” Bill said.
We were on my stoop. It was summer, with the ice cream truck tinkling up the block. Kids running like mad to be first on line.
“A hoax,” Bill said. “My brother . . . faked his own death.”
Scottie was alive. My husband—who, ten minutes ago was gone forever—was breathing again.
Was somewhere preaching the word of God, sucking on lollipops…
Feeling up little girls.
Bill took my hand. “Too many people were after him.”
We were bonded in our hatred. Bill, ‘cos Scottie had tried shit with his daughter, Tara. She had claimed.
She, Scottie said, came on to me. And God didn’t like it.
Bill was a strong fuck. Had beat Scottie so bad, Bill spent that Christmas in jail. Scottie got off with like jack shit. Hearsay, his lawyer had said. Nothing happened. Can’t prove that it did.
I squeezed Bill’s hand.
No way my Sofia had come on to Scottie. She didn’t want him. She loved some curlyheaded dope in English class. That Goth kid from South Park, he looked like. A vampire wannabe.
Still, he was better than Stepdaddy. If that Goth fuck had only popped Scottie’s throat, sucked every drop of . . .
* * *
When’d you find out? Bill had asked. And how?
Last year, cleaning out a closet. Tons of porn ‘zines were stored away, like buried treasure. Lately, Scottie and I hadn’t fucked much. Now I knew why.
Taped over every face was Sofia’s. Implanted bitches with my baby’s face. Bitches spreading their twat lips. “Sofia’s” face next to big, hard cocks.
Scottie was sprawled on the couch, watching the Mets game. Lollipop in mouth, smirking.
Him, I thought, and those fucking lollipops.
You fuck! I shoved the ‘zine at him.
We’re in love, he said, through the stick. Someday we’ll be married. You can’t come between us.
It’s God’s will.
Just in time, he spat out the stick.
I wasn’t strong, like Bill. Like a wildcat I scratched, and bit. Tasted blood. Grape, orange, every lollipop flavor he’d eaten that day.
Somehow, he fought me off. Then split that same day.
With no change of clothes, he moved down South. I wasn’t sure where. Maybe some state where you can marry a sixth-grader . . .
In the eyes of God.
He’s lying! Sofia sobbed. Nothing happened! Never!
I still wasn’t sure. But at least he was gone.
Then, suddenly . . . he was dead. Slumped over on his porch, with the lights gone out.
That’s what she’d said. The new chick. I pictured her: dark roots and three teeth in her head. “Your brother’s dead, sugar,” she told Bill, in a voice that had shed no tears. A voice that had its own baby girl.
Now . . . “She swears he’s alive.” On the stoop beside me, Bill clenched and unclenched his fists. “On his way back up here.”
To find Sofia, I thought.
“Who else knows?” I asked.