Jack Collins Our Brothers

His brown eyes looked over the sports section. With a rustle, he snapped the paper to attention. Surely she wasn’t going to start in again.  They had gone over it time and again.  He simple was not going to go, and that was final. Whap the paper sounded again in emphasis.

“Oh, come on, baby. I can’t show up alone.  Our brothers will interrogate me until I crack and tell them the truth.”

“The truth?”

“Yea, that you hate them.”

Yea, he did hate them.  He didn’t know why he hated them, he just…hated them.

His brother married her brother. That was just…he hated them.  It killed his mother.  Put her in her grave earlier than the cigarettes and booze and gambling would have.  Heart broken she pray for an early release and God smacked her good.  Pancreatic Cancer as fast as you please.  Gone in a 3 months time. September through Thanksgiving to early December she was gone. 

Yea he hated them.

“Fine, “ she said and gathered the deviled eggs and Patchouli oil.  What a family, red necks who like to defuse hippy dippy oil while they BBQ a whole hog on the smoker.  Eating deviled eggs with relish while streaming jazz through their Bluetooth speakers. Moonshine with fresh press pomegranate juice. 

After his wife left in their convertible coup, he sat down to the piano and stared to play.  Slowly at first soulful and melodic, picking the notes from the key as if composing a love letter to a mistress.  Each note he played rang out louder than the last until he felt his finger aching from the pounding and the tips near to bleeding. And he wept. He wept for the little lost children his wife and he could not bear, he wept for the brothers he no longer loved, he wept for the pains in his legs that kept him from running not just on a track, but away from this life, away for this house, away from it all.

When his wife returned, she found him slumped over on the piano asleep.  The key had made indentures into his face and he awoke with a start. Sucking in the drool he felt on his lips, he focus on his wife.

“Jack, Jack, Oh thank God you gave me a fright.”

“You think I was dead?  Did you start thinking how you’d spend the insurance money?”

“Nooo,” she protested loudly. “No, I thought how first thing I’d do was get rid of this piano! Put me a little chaise right her where I could read my books and drink tea.  You ass, “she said and she pushed his shoulder playfully. She’s had a bit of wine, just enough to make her eyes sparkle.

“The brothers asked where you were,” she said in her proper southern voice, using her Tennessee Williams distressed damsel stance to make her point. “I made up some lame excuse like you were composing a new musical, so you better get started and write one, so I don’t look like a liar.”

She was half kidding and half being serious.  He hadn’t written in 6 months and the publishers were making subtle suggestions that he start to produce something soon or they will withdraw their advance.

He needed to get out. Get out now.  Clean break, don’t talk to anyone he knew or knew him He need out.

“I’m going to Las Vegas next week, Sheila.”

“Las Vegas? That hell hole?  You hate Vegas.”

“I know, but Vegas likes me. I can do a couple shows, make some money.  We could take that trip to Italy you want to go on.  Probably make enough we don’t have to do the lame bus tour. Get a guide, go on our own. Go to one of those fancy blue and white villages on a hill you go on and on about.”

“That’s Greece,” she said.

He was getting excited now.  Yea, he’d go to Vegas.



Gad, he forgot how hot it was in Vegas.  Bake you but first dehydrate you like dried fruit in an oven.  Wrinkled like the apricots his brother’s potpouri. His wife had dragged him over to their house before he left for Nevada. One last supper of quail eggs and asparagus.

“Try this wine with the sauce on the eggs. Its divine.”

His wife’s brother poured white wine in a large glass just barely filling the bottom of the goblet.  Just breathing the bouquet would  probably empty the glass there was so little in it.

“Whatever,” he thought, and drank.”Quite good cold and refreshing.” He took another sip, opp all gone.

His brother gave him that look like its gauche to ask for more you lush, but Jack grabbed the bottle and filled his glass up.

“Fuck, Jack, that’s a $40 dollar bottle of wine, not your Crisp White, Franzia!”

“Well, its fucking good. And while we’re talking the fuck talk How the fuck are you?  Are you enjoying fucking my brother in the ass every night?”

“Not every night, Jack, sometimes he gives me a blow job.”

“Fuck you.  Fuck you and you.” He pointed around the room. “And you.”

Gad he was glad he was out of there.  He’d even take the heat of the desert, the stank of the Casinos and the aimlessness of the gambling homeless.  Carrying their possession in large shopping bags they had homes to go to but rarely left to go to them.  Building up their credits they would roam the casino halls waiting for the buffet to open and washing up in the hotel restrooms spending their comps for free food and plays on the slots.

Camped out on one of the slots as Jack enter the casino he had contracted to play at was one of these phuedo homeless.  A middle aged woman with fuchsia hair was pulling on an old man’s arm as he sat transfixed by the flashing lights. 

“Come on granddad.  Let go to the next one.”

She collected his stuff and moved him closer to the exit.  Settling him into his next spot she looked up and saw Jack staring at her.

“What?” she barked at him,  “What the fuck are you looking at?” and he fell in love.

Man was she a piece of work.  Bright pink hair and eye line black as coal. Her tank top said “Fuck World Peace.” Jack liked her limited vocabulary. Her denim skirt was short, very short, but she wore those bike short things under it. And the obligatory combat boots.

“What,” she asked again. "Im really getting tired of you staring at me old man.”

“Sorry”, Jack said, “Its just I see what you’re doing.  I use to do that with my mother to get her out of the casino.  Work her closer to the door till I could finally get her in a cab to go home.”

The woman relaxed, “Yea it’s a trip trying to get him home at least to shower and rest. I gotta go to work soon, I can’t leave him here.”

“I’ll watch him,” Jack said, though he didn’t know why he said it.

“Why would you watch him?” she asked suspiously.

“I don’t know, be kinda like old home week, like I was with my mom again.  This time letting her stay as long as she wanted to and not rushing her off because of my own agenda.”

“I don’t know don’t you have some place to be yourself?”

“Not until tomorrow night.  I’m playing in the lounge tomorrow at 8.”

“You’re Jack Collins. Fuck I recognize you.  Man you got fuckin’ old.” There it was again that limited vocabulary and there went the anonymity.

“You gonna take me up on the offer or what?”

“yea yea yea I gotta be on stage in half and hour. Got no choice.

You a show girl?

Yea what of it

With that pink head and arent you a little old?

“I wear a wig you idiot and look who’s talking old.”  Very endearing he thought.



She finally agreed and left in such a haste he didn’t know the old mans name or hers or where she works,.  Here he supposed.And was she really a showgirl at her age? Make up does wonders and she still had the body from what he could tell.

Still Jack felt a set up the hairs on the back of his neck were kind of standing up on end.  This probably wasn’t even her grandfather.  He probably caught her in the middle of fleecing the old man down about to carrying him outside to a waiting accomplish. 

That’s when he turned to look at the old fellow or he turnded and was knocked out

Kidnapp his for ransome

Kidnapp him fan of ganster




She accepts he watched old man old man wanders off into

1 car full of gangster

2 room full of poker players and wins big time

3 kidnapped and they have to find him in the desert

Or she does 1 2 or 3

Or they do 1 2 3

And he gets back in time to play in the lounge

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Work in progress

View djtj's Full Portfolio