“Our whole childhood was like some sick fucking joke. I used to be so jealous that you got to be home schooled and he… they… put me in public schools. And you remember what he said when I asked him why you got to be home schooled and I was stuck in kindergarten prison? He said that public schools trained pigs to be slaughtered and laughed that laugh of his when he’s not really laughing. The same laugh he gives before he knocks our teeth out or gives us our first cauliflower ear. I used to get so jealous he’d take you with him out of town ALL THE FUCKING TIME. And I hated you when you got home even more because you used to be so messed up and pouty afterwards. I was like… what the fuck is wrong with you… our fucking father just took you to Florida, or DC or L.A.! You were definitely his favorite then. Hell… up until he croaked. Always his little bitch.”
“That’s not funny, bro. Anyway, you ended up being more useful to him. In the long run. Anyway, I bore the brunt of Pop’s anger after you left.”
“Do you ever feel like we were some sort of— weird experiment? That mob shit we’ve heard people talking about behind our backs?”
“Do you believe that’s actually true?”
“Fuck. I don’t know, man. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t usually think about it and a lot of it I don’t even remember. It’s like big patches of my childhood are blank. Why are you making me think about it?
“At least he never sold you out to make those ‘anatomy’ movies. Think about it.”
“You don’t know that. It happened without my knowledge. You c’n bet your butt I’m in some ole, sick queer’s video archive.”
A pause falls between them. Then Tony adds, a little too proudly, “I was too manly. Even for a kid. I didn’t wanna get wood, but…” He kicks his bare foot against the tiling as he talks.
Chuff chuff chuff.
Tony flashes back to a scene between him and his father. A moment of true bonding after his father and brother had gone off together for several months in a row; that was one of the only times that ever happened. It seemed to him, now, like they’d been gone a lot longer.
When Tony turned nine, his body began changing at an almost hourly rate. His physical form- muscle development brought on by regular scrapping and hyperactive energy that often manifested in chronic weight lifting- exemplified the vibrant and resilient qualities of a man approaching full bloom.
One evening, after football practice, Tony was showering when his father came in to piss. Their father removed all doors in the household- save for his. Their mother had her own room but she never wanted to keep her door closed anyway. His father stood there watching him through the clear shower curtains. Pulling them back so abruptly that even though Tony knew he was there it startled him. Then, there was the look in the old man’s eyes.
“Well… look the fuck at you!” His old man had become a jackolantern of flesh. “I can’t believe it. You’re the one with the real potential here. I mean… look at you. You’re like fuckin’ Zeus or some shit. I’ve been blind! It’s you who’s gonna be the key!”
All the while the old man’s pulled the shower curtain aside and has got his hands on the boy’s shoulders beaming a smile like Tony’s never seen. The shower water is going all over. “This is the beginning of something very good. By Moloch, this is something very, very GOOD!”
Then he smacks him, open palmed square on the cheek.
“Now clean all this God damned water up, you fuckin’ pig! Manieggia!”
Meanwhile, one hopping from bar to mansion to movie set and the other from pig sty, to recliner to woods, both still feeling like it’s still their imagination.
In retrospect, I remembered overhearing him on the phone making arrangements right before we had this conversation. He was giving them the flight number and time, the usual stuff. It wouldn’t be a conversation I’d remember all these years later, especially with my memory lapses, but this one stuck with me because then he started describing my body in graphic detail, down to how much pubic hair I had and the size of my nine year old cock. Looking back on it now, those creeps were interested in a man boy. An overdeveloping boy at the edge of puberty with just the remaining trace of baby fat. A week later he tells me to start packing, he’d written me an excuse for school for the week, which wasn’t at all a problem as he was buddies with the entire school board. He softened me up by telling me we were going on a trip; the first one I’d ever gone on. He and I were going to California. I was stoked.
Is Terry going too? I asked him, hoping that my sissy brother wasn’t going to steal my thunder.
No. Just you and me on this business trip.
My response was, “This a business trip?” In my kid brain, I was slightly disappointed by it. I’m sure it showed because he added, “All my trips are. Even the ones I’ve taken with Terry.” I nodded my head and smiled. I was glad just to be doing something important with the old man. Then he told me about some filthy rich friends in Joshua Tree. Big wrestling fans interested in meeting me in the desert; they had a pool and game room. He also had day passes to Disneyland in Anaheim.
“If you impress them, you could stand to make your old man some fat moolah. And, my little man, when the old man brings home the bacon, the entire family’s happy.” He slapped me on the shoulder.
I don’t remember anything else about packing or leaving or where we caught the jet. It wasn’t at Port Columbus. My memory picks up during that fucking plane ride. The cabin kept falling and rising- I had to puke so many times my old man kept cuffing me while I hurled into a champagne cooler.
“What a fuckin’ pussy you are. You can’t be my son! Nothing this weak could’ve come from my balls!”
We stopped somewhere near a shoreline to pick up another kid, around my age. He was skinnier than me and had long blond hair. They kept us separated seeing as I was sick.
We arrived at a private landing strip near the biggest mansion I’d ever seen up to that point. This was my first business trip with the old man.
The pool area was full of old, white men. Some of them I recognized from TV. In that moment, I felt special. Privileged. That didn’t last long.
Yes and no. I swear the one night I thought I was dreaming; I was sleepwalking because I woke up with a pounding headache and there was mud in my bed. I swear I helped him rub someone out. Our father was some sicko motherfucker. He made us sicko motherfuckers.