Some people get away with being obnoxious. They hold the ticket, “that’s just how he is”. The only ones validating that ticket are the poor people around him who have given up. As I look around the ‘home’ Mom and Stan have made, it’s clear that everyone here has given up and looks to me that my oldest half brother Stanley Junior takes after his pop in all the wrong ways.
“Where’d you get that mangy mutt?” Junior sneers. I haven’t seen him in four years and this is what he says? I ignore him and his father. Roady hides behind my legs.
Little Jason jumps up and puts his arms around Roady, crouching on the floor, also hiding behind my legs.
Stan tries to stare me down but then concedes to his need for me.
“Why don’t you see if you can fix something to eat? I’m all out of cereal.”
Four sets of eyes are now on me, the dog forgotten.
Why anyone would think I can cook, I don’t know. I was left to scrounge for my own meals more than once when I was their age though so maybe I can come up with something. I go to the galley kitchen. Among the bowls, spoons, and cups, are pots with crusted red, brown, and green stuff in them stacked in the sink, on the counters; evidence that at some point more than just the now empty box of Cheerios was eaten.
I open a cupboard and find a box of spaghetti. In the fridge, there’s an empty milk carton, mustard and ketchup, peanut butter, a twelve pack of beer and a bottle of wine. Dried egg yolk on the bottom shelf suggests once there were eggs. In the freezer, ice.
I boil a pot of water and cook up the spaghetti then squirt the ketchup on the whole thing. It’s an instant meal I remember well. They eat it up like it’s the best thing they ever ate.
“You need some food in this house,” I tell Stan who is on his next beer and crashed into a ragged recliner, the television now blasting a talk show with people yelling at each other.
“Yeah, get some. Good idea.”
All the boys look at me with hopeful eyes. I can’t escape that kind of focus. How can I hide that I don’t have a whole lot of cash but I can tell Stan isn’t about to hand me even twenty bucks.
“And take them with you,” Stan adds. “Lord knows I need a break.”
See previous posts, in the category- “Roady Series” – Find it in the drop down “menu” at the header of this blog.
This post is fiction based on the back story of a supporting character in a novel in process by Clare Graith. See ClareGraith.com for more info in the author.