We booby-trap the house to prevent Dad from drunk posting on Facebook. He lost his career at Raytheon and his reputation throughout Maricopa County. Dad is a good man—when sober—and Dad doesn’t drink often—but every Friday after midnight he hammers nails through his mahogany coffin. In the morning, Dad’s snoring on our kitchen table; tighty-whities scarred with skid marks, surrounded by busted Milwaukee’s Best cans and wounded soldiers of Natty Light, freezer open, his inbox growing with the inertial majesty of lava gushing from a volcano. An empty fifth of Jose Cuervo sifts sunlight from the filthy sink filled with fire ants, kaleidoscopic urine, and five-inch pubic hairs.
We survey the damage with perspicacious dread of first responders searching a collapsed kindergarten for survivors after a tornado.
“How bad is it?” Grandma asks. I add infractions, the tip of the iceberg.
“Dad exposed himself to hordes of soccer moms. He pierced his scrotum then forwarded the photos to the school board. He spewed hundreds of lewd comments on our female friends’ posts.”
Dad loses numerous friends every weekend—yet new ones send requests from across the globe—his tequila and beer-fueled escapades travel faster than sunrise.
Sometimes, Dad goes viral.
“Wake the old dirty bastard,” Mom says.
Grandma fills the coffee pot with cream and cold water, dumps it on Dad’s head. Dad curses us, wooing the day of our funerals, traversing his one-story house toward the master bedroom. The red notification numeral hits quadruple digits as the monster slams moldy bedpost.
“He’s killing this family,” Grandma says. “We can’t survive his garbage forever.”
Shit gets real. We booby-trap the house to prevent Dad from destroying us. The kitchen reeks of beer and farts. Good Samaritans honk horns, aiming grimy or manicured middle fingers from tinted windows. We squint to distinguish the colors of their vehicles—but everything’s blurry inside our bubble—yolky glass coagulated with organic eggs hurled by tweens Dad trolled when we were sleeping. The barrel cacti, bougainvillea, and Toyota camouflaged with toilet paper and shaving cream.
“When will he die?” Mom asks.
The tumor makes Dad do weird things when he mixes pills with booze. Dad was never a monster—seldom one to cause a scene—but he’s different now. His balls grew gargantuan after they castrated him five years ago. Before the metathesis, Dad had all his anatomy attached and shit was better. Some of our friends apologize for Dad, explaining his condition, pleading for clemency. Others want Dad dead, locked up, electrocuted, and mocked in grocery store aisles. Why prevent Dad from doing what he wants? He’s meltingin prison, an empty sack—why cut that last view of the outside?
“Soon,” I say, “he’ll burry us alive.”
“Come in—quick!” Grandma says. “His scrotum is infected.”
Grandma’s rubbing a cotton ball soaked in alcohol on Dad’s sack. This is what the world has come to. Dad doesn’t feel a thing. Grandma cups gangrene junk with varicose veins as he snores. I listen to obstinate rhythms of an unconscious troll as fresh yolk drips down our windows—gripping Grandma’s pillow full of feathers—smothering my mother’s mistake.
About the author:
Matthew Dexter is an American author living in Baja California Sur, Mexico. His fiction has been published in hundreds of literary journals and dozens of anthologies. He writes novels and abhorrent freelance pieces for exorbitant amounts of pesos to pay the bills while drinking cervezas in paradise with tourists.