My brother found me in the strip club. A consequence of small town living, instead of the law, Big Karl called my kin on account of my antics.
Before my passive and weary view had come dances, lap and otherwise, drinks a plenty, three near-brawls, and half the dancers in the joint slapping my face. Into dulled ears had come the echo of my voice, gone dark and gravely, uttering all manner of filth.
From a dark corner, I watched it all: mute, numb, and powerless.
“Billy,” came the call, uttered in false confidence bordering on bluster, “Time ta be gettin home now, ya hear.”
Laughter answered him in mocking rolls.
“Billy,” he said, all stern and serious-like, but he stopped there. His eyes locked with mine. That angel’s face of his screwed up like I hadn’t ever seen before. I felt my own face twist and sneer. The view before me didn’t waver, just rested locked and steady on his face as it fell with dark realization.
My brother may have been sweet as Summer molasses, but he wasn’t dense, no sir.