All my life, thinking of Mikey’s father and how I’d failed him when he was growing up, I’d always blamed my drinking, my absence. “If I’d been there, if I’d been sober,” I’d tell myself, “None of that would have happened. I would have been able to catch him before everything went wrong.” Well now here I was again, watching another young man in my charge slowly slip away from me, except this time I couldn’t blame my drinking. I wasn’t even sure I could blame myself, though there was plenty of that involved, I can tell you. I kept trying to figure out how to get Mikey to open back up to me, to help him find his way back to that sweet kid I’d been raising, but suddenly it was like I was living with someone else entirely.
There was the smoking. I couldn’t prove it, I would turn his room over while he was at school searching for cigarettes or ash, but I never found anything. Still, it was the drinking that made me even more furious. I’d worked so hard, freeing myself from liquor. I’d told him everything, I’d told him how the devil was in alcohol, how it had ruined my life, his father’s life, and then there he was, coming home with booze on his breath, eyes unfocused, that new sneering grin of his on his face, pushing past me and locking himself in his room until the morning, when he’d leave again, picked up by those two foul twins. “They were to blame,” I told myself now, it was their influence which was ruining him somehow, but I knew it was a lie. Things just fell to shit sometimes–I’d known that for as long as I lived. There was only so much I could do. So…I was there for him as best I could be that spring, but things only got worse.
He started packing on weight, going from thin to pudgy in a matter of months. He wasn’t taking care of himself, refused to brush his teeth or shower. He’d wear the same disgusting clothes for days at a time, usually just a pair of overalls with nothing else, not even overalls. Dale and Rick liked the look, he told me, wanting me to be furious. He refused to go to church, he burned my bible at one point after one of our common fights, when I’d slapped him for disrespecting me. It wasn’t too long after that I decided I’d been passive for long enough, that I had to do something, or Mikey would ruin his life before it even began.
I started following the twins around in my own truck, both with and without Mikey. I’d been getting calls from the school, telling me that Mikey’s attendance had slipped severely, and I found out that the twins almost never went to school. They’d pick Mikey up, and then drive a few miles down the road to the trailer park where they lived–one even more rundown than mine, and they’d spend all day there. They lived there with their father, a man who reminded me in all the worst ways of myself when I was younger. He’d leave once a day–long hair, scruffy beard, huge gut–and take the truck to a gas station down the road, stock up on way more beer and cigarettes than he needed himself, and then go back home. Obviously he was supplying his sons and Mikey–I confronted him at the station one day, but he just sneered at me with a smile missing more than a few teeth. “Gotta give my sons what they want, ya know? Best be stayin’ away if ya know what’s good fer ya,” he said. Well when Mikey stopped coming home at all, that’s when I’d had enough. He stayed out two nights, and then I got in my truck and drove off, planning on dragging him back home if I had to.
They were obviously home. I pounded on the door for close to ten minutes, and I could hear them inside, laughing at me. The door wasn’t exactly strong, and I might be sixty but I still had some strength left. I forced the door open and stormed into the trailer. The place was a complete sty–ashtrays and booze bottles everywhere, the stench of the place made me gag. There in an armchair was their father, staring at the TV screen, wearing nothing but a pair of whities stained yellow with who knew what. He had his cock out and was jacking off, tongue out, but a thick cigar stuffed in one corner spouting smoke, drooling at the screen. I came around but the screen wasn’t showing anything but static. I tried to get his attention, but he didn’t even seem to notice I was there at all, aside from a low, guttural chuckle. I could hear something in one of the bedrooms–I forced my way in again, and found the twin’s bedroom lit only by candles, and Mikey was between them, and they were all naked. I didn’t want to know what was happening there, in the dark. The light from the candles was burning bright, but it couldn’t quite manage to extend light to the entirety of the small room, leaving what was happening there to the imagination. It was almost like there were too many bodies on the bed, too many arms and legs. I suppressed a gag, and fumbled for the light, flipped it on and soaked the scene in fluorescent clarity.
There they were–Dale buried in my grandson’s ass, Rick in his mouth. I was nearly sick again. I’d never had tolerance for faggots, it was never something I’d ever been able to understand. I’d had my suspicions with Mikey, given his disinterest in girls, and I’d…been trying to think about what I might say to him, if it came to that. Trying to figure out if I could still love him or not. But this filth–it was too much. My head was reeling. The smoke was so thick in the trailer, it was hard to breathe, my head spinning. I didn’t feel good, and I tried to get out, but without me hearing him, Dale and Rick’s father got up and blocked my way, and whispered in my ear, “Told ya tah stay away. Who knows what might happen to ya now…” He laughed–the sound was filled with his own terror and desperation, and that hopeless sound filled me with more terror than anything he could have said to me, right then.