Some Things Stick With You, Pt. 8

The old man narrowed his eyes, the act of squinting turning him from a bulldog into a pig. His eyes were bloodshot as they usually were, the air hanging around him heavy with the yeasty scent of spilled beer. He didn’t look drunk, and if memory served, he usually wasn’t this early in the morning, but that didn’t necessarily mean he hadn’t already begun drinking. Frank Calavera was always a man of insatiable appetites, and his tolerance for alcohol was impressive, as far as such things impressed anyone. “Well, shit. If it ain’t the prodigal fucking son.”

“The prodigal fucking son and the worthless fucking dad.”

Frank took in a deep breath and let it out through his nose. “You drive all the way out here just to piss me off, Pup? You want to go ten rounds and may the best man win?”

“Not at all.”

“Then what do you want?”

Richard pulled his hand from his pocket and held it up in front of Frank’s face. A bright light went off and the old man grunted.

“Goddamnit! What the hell?” Frank rubbed at his eyes with both hands. He’s getting old, Richard thought. Someone flashed a camera in his face when I was growing up and he would have pounced on ’em even if he couldn’t see shit.

Richard pushed past the older man, checking him into the doorframe with his shoulder. He snarled at that. “I’m here to take some pictures.”

“You’re a couple years too late for that CPS shit, Pup. Even Louie’s an adult in the eyes of Uncle Sam now.”

“An adult that still thinks you’re the goddamn bogeyman.” The inside of Frank’s house was worse than Richard remembered it, but exactly as he’d figured it would be. Pizza boxes and take-out cartons and cans and bottles everywhere. Without their mother around to try and keep the place in some kind of order, it had collapsed into filth and decay, just like Frank himself.

Richard turned to the older man and smiled, his eyes humorless and his face cold. “But I’m going to fix that. I’m going to show him these pictures so he can see exactly what you are. Old. And pathetic.”

Frank’s face twisted in rage. He raised his hands, balled them into fists, dropped into a boxer’s stance.

Richard’s smile turned into a grin. “I’m not a kid anymore, Frank. You really want to see what a trained soldier of the United States Army can do to your decrepit old body?”

Frank was silent. He didn’t move. His muscles relaxed and he stood up as straight as he ever did and he grinned, his eyes piggish, his teeth stained and ugly. “Well, look at that. I guess balls are standard issue now, huh?”

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