“We all face situations which make us boil with fury towards people. In those times its essential to take a breath, walk away and be calm before taking the right action.”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Pensitivity’s three things challenge – Trash – Heroic – Pinch
FOWC with Fandango — Acumen
Your Daily Word — Drunk
Word of the Day Challenge — Bloom
Ragtag Daily Word — Homecoming
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Sunday Prompt — Ginger
Blood and Oil
Homecoming for me is always a nice event. I spend three months at a time working on the oil rigs; with one month at home in between. So, that’s one month to get drunk, watch trash TV, take in a heroic movie or two, and lower my acumen by lazing around and doing pretty much nothing. This homecoming would be very different.
My home was at the end of a wooded cul-de-sac with the one other house nearby. I live alone as love life has always evaded me. Having driven past my neighbours this evening, I was surprised to see a light on in my lounge. The flickering nature of the glow told me the TV was on. A fury welled within me; somebody had invaded my house and was living there without my permission.
I pulled over long before reaching my house. Despite my desire to run inside and beat the living daylights out of the intruder, I was also keen to creep up and see who they were first.
The darkness was my friend as I slipped through my unkempt front garden. I never bothered to keep it nice. At least mum’s rose was in bloom. Three months away at a time made it impossible anyway. A fox slunk into the oak and birch woodland as I arrived at the redbrick porch. Slipping along the wall, I peered into the lounge. There in my armchair was a man with scruffy ginger hair. His face was covered by my duvet so I couldn’t recognise him. Glancing around the room, I was shocked by the mess this person had made. Before I left for work, I always had a good tidy up. Now, there was beer cans, pizza boxes and trash everywhere.
With every passing second, my fists clenched tighter. As I crept back to my front door, I felt myself losing control of my breathing as I pulsed with rage. I carefully tried the door handle but it was locked. Ginger-features hadn’t gotten in this way. This door was close to the lounge, he’d hear me if I used my key to unlock it. I needed the element of surprise and so decided to go round the back.
My rear garden was the woods. The treeline began fifteen feet from the house it was only the small wooden deck they separated it. Reaching the deck, I saw my picnic table loaded with beer cans. This guy was a serious drunk, more so than me on my month off and I took some beating. The kitchen door was open – this was my way in.
The stench of rotten food assaulted my nostrils on entering the kitchen. My cabinetry and work surfaces were old pine dating from the seventies; the cooker wasn’t much newer. They served purpose and I saw no sense in upgrading them as I hardly here. I almost smiled on realising the cooker was as clean as I’d left it. The microwave, on the other hand, looked like several curries had exploded inside it. Every work surface and the table were littered with fast food trash. Ginger-features had been pigging out for quite a while. If I was a betting man I’d guess, he slipped in as soon as I left last time. Selecting a broad cooks knife I moved on.
Moving into the hall, I recognise the sound of snoring. This is where acumen comes into play. A snoring person is in a deep sleep. This was my advantage; I could slip in and do whatever I wanted so long as I was quiet.
Sliding open the hall cupboard door, I selected a small rope. Sneaking into my lounge, I was again choked by the cloying smell of rotting food and infuriated by the deplorable state of my home. This dirty scumbag was going to pay for every bit of damage he’d caused. With the slowest movements, I slipped my duvet off the sleeping figure. His face was covered in a thick ginger beard which matched his wild hair. He was naked save for a pair of stained red boxer shorts. Worse, he stunk of booze and hadn’t showered in weeks.
He’d done me a favour sleeping with his legs on the arm. I deftly tied them together with a rope. All the beer he’d been drinking and … My attention snapped to a bottle amid the rubbish on the coffee table. I felt my hand tighten around the knife. I raised it, ready to impale his chest. In that instant, I saw the picture of my mum and dad on the mantle. They wouldn’t want me to be a murderer no matter the circumstances.
I lowered the knife and switched off the TV. The sudden silence was enough to cause the man to wake with a start. He jumped up, lost his balance due to the rope, and crashed over the coffee table in a tidal wave of rubbish. “Evening, ginger features. See you been having a good time in my house.” I said in a cold voice, brandishing the knife.
“Please — please don’t kill me!” He begged with tears flowing into his beard as he cowered against the chair.
“Kill you! You broke into my house and turned it into a festering dump. You even had the audacity to pinch my special bottle of whiskey. No, I’m not gonna kill you. I’m going to break every bone in your stinking body! I stepped forward and —
“No, David please — I!”
“Been going through all my paperwork and stuff to get my name, have you? What else have you been stealing?” All my electrical stuff was still where I’d left it. My coin jar was missing from the fireplace though. “You’ve been dining on my money, I see.”
“David, it’s me … Christian … Please.”
Grabbing him by the beard, I hauled him to his feet. I looked into his bloodshot, brown eyes. It doesn’t matter how a person looks. How unkempt they are. What they’re wearing — their eyes never change. Recognition struck as I hurled him back into the armchair. “Christian?”
“I arrived just as you drove off three months ago.” Christian raised his arms expecting me to strike him. “I have nowhere else to go. I managed to get inside and decided to stay and wait for you. I …”
Pacing back and forth, I asked myself one question. Is it possible to kill your brother? Christian left home when I was twelve, he was four years older than me. He never even returned, even when our parents died in the car crash. Now, here he was destroying my home. I’d never felt hatred for him more than now. “Shut up! You had no right breaking in here.” I grew angrier by the word. “You have no right ruining my home, stealing my money and my alcohol! You …”
“I’m, sorry!” Christian cowered before me.
“Sorry! Look at the state of you. You look like a tramp and you made my house a dump to match. You make me sick!”
“Life hasn’t been easy for me, you know.”
“Yeah, I can see that. What happened? Did Felicia realise how disgusting you are?” I yelled.
“She abandoned me six weeks after I left home. I was too proud and stupid to return. I hitchhiked around. Made money by doing odd jobs and slept where I could. When our parents died, I was in Scotland. I learned of the death in the papers and couldn’t get home. I had no money and no way to contact you.”
“So, what, you’ve been working your way back ever since? I suppose you expect me to give you half the inheritance, do you? Well, guess what. Dad drunk every penny. When mum and dad died the bank foreclosed on the house and took everything.” I snatched a full beer from a pile on the couch. Cracking it open, I down the whole thing.
“David, I’m sorry. I didn’t come back because I wanted money. I came back because you’re all I have. I hoped we might have a second chance at being the brothers we were when we were kids. We …”
“And you thought wrecking my house was a good way to start healing the relationship! I suggest, you undo that rope and start cleaning my house — Now!” I yelled before stalking out of the room. By the time, I’d put my car away, bought my bag indoors and had a shower, I was feeling calmer. Christian helped as by then he’d already made a good start cleaning my lounge.
“I suppose you’re going to kick me out now, are you?” He asked when I rejoined him.
“I should kick your arse!” I told him of fighting with my demons. Half of me still wanted to kill him. The other half felt sorry for the way he lived his life.
“Yeah, I do deserve a beating,” Christian said having filled his third black bag of trash.
“More than you know.” I sat down to watch him work. “If you get my house clean. You can have the spare room.”
“Don’t thank me yet.” I cut him off. “You will live here by my rules. One wrong move and you’re gone.”
“Thank you, David. Just tell me what I need to do.” Christian shook my hand and continue to clean.
It was hard at first getting used to having my brother around. That knife nearly got used a dozen times in the first week. Somehow, we did grow closer by the end of the month. Now, we’re both on the way to the airport. Christian and I are both rig workers today. We’ve become brothers in oil.
Have a great day!