My only remaining brother, A.B., owes a small debt to me. I make interest free loans to my siblings from time to time, unlike my sister, the loan shark, who charges 100% interest. I’d like to have the money he owes me, it’s not much but still I’d like to have it. I couldn’t think of a diplomatic way to approach the arrearage.
A.B. is hyper-cognizant of the fact that he is the last sibling of his gender in our family. He wonders aloud if there is a plot afoot to eliminate the brothers. He has laughed, nervously, and requested advance warning of my impending visits to his home. If he falls ill he wants me to stay AWAY.
A.B. is the oldest brother. It has been his lifelong frustration that he will never be first because I am. For a while, he tried to advance his cause by claiming certain wild hallucinations as truth. He has told me that our dead relatives liked him the best or didn’t trust me because they told him so before they died. As you can imagine his pronouncements didn’t sit well. I implemented a strategy to remedy his derangements when I became the official Vigil Sitter.
I called him yesterday.
“Hey, I’ve got something I’ve been meaning to tell you. As you know, I was with Joe when he died. Just before he breathed his last, he opened his eyes, looked up at me and he said, ‘You’re going to have to keep an eye on A.B., he’s a cheap crow-bag. Whatever you do don’t fall for that poverty tale he’s always telling. He’d stretch a quarter till the eagle shrieked. Oh, one last thing- Gramp, Gram and Mum told me they loved you the most and YOU were their favorite. They also told me to tell you to be wary of A. B. because exact words, I swear right here on my death bed, he’s a cheap crow-bag.’
Then he turned his head away, made a little sputtering noise, and died.”
A. B. called me this morning, still laughing. As soon as he finishes paying for his son’s summer camp he’ll pay me back. I know my brother Joe is laughing too.