27. Reluctantly


“The thing you least want to do is the very thing you most must do.” I’m sure this is a fortune waiting in a hard twisted orange cookie in a Chinese restaurant somewhere. Well, it’s not really a cookie. It’s more of a sweetened noodle. To become a cookie you’d need to inject some cream or jam into the center of the twist and eat around the slip of wisdom. Then, of course, the paper would get soggy and tear, so the Chinese would have to add some vinyl or a fiber of some kind that would endure a few bicuspid snaps. If it seems like I’m avoiding the topic sentence, you are so right, my astute Blogee. I most don’t want to do the very thing that I must do. Nibbling around truth is not nearly as productive or honorable as biting right into it.

I have not seen my oldest brother in six or seven years. He is going to be 59 or 60 in a few days if he is living. He’s single and, I’d guess, unmarriageable.Most likely alone as a single molecule of water on Mars. Maybe you have a sibling or weird uncle like my biological brother. He lives in his own narcissistic world, probably around Washington, D.C. The last time I saw him he was being arrested in front of me on Route 30 West. He had just lied to the cop who was cuffing him and slamming him onto the hood of the cruiser. Just before that he was telling a couple of cops that he had a date down in D.C. with some heiress and that he needed to be getting back there. Before that he denied trespassing and attempting to enter the business/home combination across the four lane highway. He stated that he had walked to the Sheetz store at the west end of town and made a phone call to me. Twenty minutes before the cops showed up I had tried to help him get his black Lincoln Town car to start. After several attempts I diagnosed that it was an electronic sensor or something else beyond our ability to fix on that summer Friday night in front of the self storage place.

A year before this scene he had called me on a hot summer day to ask if I’d help him move…now. It was late afternoon. I live 100 miles northwest of D.C. I asked him why he did not contact our two local brothers or his nonexistent network of friends. He said they were all busy. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I’m the only person on the planet who can help him?’ I asked him if he got it yet that he had no friends because he is the most arrogant ass on the planet. He insisted that they were all out of town, and all his belongings were on the curbside, just off Connecticut Avenue, N.W. “Please try to understand.”

 “Why is that?” I asked.

“I forgot to pay my rent”, was his lame excuse.

 “Landlords in D.C. don’t put you out for being late on a month’s rent.”

“I didn’t pay my rent for three or four months. Today three guys with guns gathered up all my stuff and put it on the curb.”

“So you are sitting there with all your furniture and books and clothes on the curb?”

“Yeah, and when I went to the store for food, someone stole my laptop. I don’t know what else has been stolen, but it’s getting dark and I really need your help.”

“I’m two hours away. Have you got a truck and a dolly?”

“No, since I don’t have a license and my car is in storage, I can’t get to the bank, so I can’t get to U-Haul. It’s a mess. Could you rent a truck up there and drive down? I’ll pay for everything.”

My wife was present while I had this phone call. She looked at me and shook her head “NO,NO,NO’. I should have bailed out like everyone else had. I paused, “Let me think about it.” I had obligations the next day but none that night. I could pull this off even though I did not wish to. My wife said, “Don’t do it. He’s nothing but trouble.” I said, “I’d do it for someone I didn’t like. He is still my brother.” Something stronger than logic rose up from deep in me and long ago. I bit my lip and shook my head…

“Give me a couple of hours.”

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8 thoughts on “27. Reluctantly

  1. Kevin, I started reading your blog a few weeks ago in my spare time and I’m hooked. Your writing is excellent and as entertaining as any Seinfeld show. Kind of unsettling to read this about your oldest brother, my little league teammate. Hope he’s doing okay. You sound like your doing very well. Mick

    • Mickey, whoa what a blast from the past. How did you even come across my blatherings? I’m vacationing in Charleston, SC at the moment, but I am so pleased to hear your kind words. I’ll have to be more cautious in my lampoons and reveries.

  2. Kevin, for the record, I’ve lived in central Kentucky for the last 5 years and rarely get back to NVA, so throw caution to the wind. I started at the beginning of the blog and have made it up to entry 60 a/o Oct 14. Your wisdom and humor go together very well. As we used to say in the 70’s with one clenched fist in the air – Write On brother!

  3. I’m friends with Chris on Facebook. I was asking him about you and either he mentioned something about your blog or I checked out your FB page and saw something that alerted me to it. I’m just not sure. I started with entry #1 and I’ve made it to about #90. I had no idea you were such a fabulous writer… how could I? Seriously, you are gifted. Both my job and my wife’s job with the Army moved to Kentucky in 2010. I retired at that time, we made the move and she continued working at Ft Knox. She is retiring this December. We’re planning on staying here in Elizabethtown (south of Louisville, north of Nashville). I have zero desire to go back to NoVa.

    • Mickey, nice transplant. I left NOVA when Reagan was elected the first time. Raised three girls in so.central PA. Inside the Beltway folks take themselves and work too seriously. I’m glad that you have found a good fit too. I look forward to a continued connection. I can remember lifting weights at Richard’s house while you sang Santana’s “You got to change your underwear, Baby” in your inimitable way, making lifting weights dangerous.

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