by Brett M. Bourdon
Step 1. Your father must leave your mother. This is the easiest step. Dad will do all of the work for you! For best results, your father should move in with a new family, with a new wife, and two new sons.
Step 2. With your older brother, ponder the plundered family cd collection. All that remains is what Dad no longer wanted, what he left behind. Rummage through a stack of unwanted cd’s. Feel the smooth, glassy surfaces. See the smudged, scratched, silvery backs. See Madonna. Black and white. Nude. Teasing right hand resting on left breast. What is she hiding? See Enya. Look down at her; she looks up at you. Her red dress a blooming rose about her feet. What buried secrets do her roots strangle? See the Lion King Original Soundtrack. Simba on Pride Rock. Head tilted skyward. Distraught and lost. His father’s spirit, a Mufasa-shaped cloud, overhead. What is Mufasa doing way up there, so far out of his son’s reach?
Step 3. Watch your brother take Madonna and put his hands on both sides of her head and pull. See Madonna bend. Hear Madonna pop and see her face split. Say you don’t care what Dad doesn’t want. Say you don’t want them either. Grab Enya and frisbee-toss her across the room. She arcs and veers into the floor and breaks.
Step 4. Make a game of it! Grab half the stack of cd’s and run behind the couch. Your brother throws one and then two and then three at you at once. They slip past your head and thud against the wall behind you. Laugh a lot! Return fire! Britney Spears and NSync and Vanilla Ice go around and over your brother as he ducks and sidesteps and last-ditch-hail-marries David Bowie into the inzone. Bowie cracks you in the eye. Feel your eyes water. Feel your eyes sting. Feel them burn. Pretend it doesn’t hurt.
Step 5. Clean up the mess before Mom gets home. Grab triangle slices of Backstreet Boys and The Doors off the carpet with your bare hands. Accidentally cut your palm. Feel it sting. Feel warmth spill across your fingertips and pool on your fingernails.
Final Step. Go to the bathroom. Run your hand under the faucet. Watch red blood diffuse in clear water and disappear down the drain. Try to feel like you’re gaining something by losing something else.
Post-script. If you wanted your family whole, you should have bought an iPod.
Brett M. Bourdon is wannabe word warbler from West Virginia. It’s far away from Hawai`i. Sometimes he writes things. A lot of times he doesn’t write anything. This story is more a product of the latter than the former. His work has been featured or is forthcoming in BULL Magazine and Wilderness House Literary Review.