Littler Brother 2
Glad I've finally found smoethnig I agree with!
Not just for a few days. Forever.
I didn't know where to find this info then kaobom it was here.
I was — I was scared."Mom sat with me for a long time, not saying anything. Then, "What about Darryl's father?"She might as well have stuck a knitting needle in my chest.
Darryl's father. He must have assumed that Darryl was dead, long dead.And wasn't he? After the DHS has held you illegally for three months, would they ever let you go?But Zeb got out.
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Maybe Darryl would get out. Maybe me and the Xnet could help get Darryl out."I haven't told him," I said.Now Mom was crying.
She didn't cry easily. It was a British thing.
It made her little hiccoughing sobs much worse to hear."You will tell him," she managed. "You will.""I will.""But first we have to tell your father."#Dad no longer had any regular time when he came home.
Between his consulting clients — who had lots of work now that the DHS was shopping for data-mining startups on the peninsula — and the long commute to Berkeley, he might get home any time between 6PM and midnight.Tonight Mom called him and told him he was coming home right now.
Weeeee, what a quick and easy souliton.
He said something and she just repeated it: right now.When he got there, we had arranged ourselves in the living room with the note between us on the coffee table.It was easier to tell, the second time.
The secret was getting lighter. I didn't embellish, I didn't hide anything.
I came clean.I'd heard of coming clean before but I'd never understood what it meant until I did it. Holding in the secret had dirtied me, soiled my spirit.
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It had made me afraid and ashamed. It had made me into all the things that Ange said I was.Dad sat stiff as a ramrod the whole time, his face carved of stone.
When I handed him the note, he read it twice and then set it down carefully.He shook his head and stood up and headed for the front door."Where are you going?" Mom asked, alarmed."I need a walk," was all he managed to gasp, his voice breaking.We stared awkwardly at each other, Mom and me, and waited for him to come home.
I tried to imagine what was going on in his head. He'd been such a different man after the bombings and I knew from Mom that what had changed him were the days of thinking I was dead.
He'd come to believe that the terrorists had nearly killed his son and it had made him crazy.Crazy enough to do whatever the DHS asked, to line up like a good little sheep and let them control him, drive him.Now he knew that it was the DHS that had imprisoned me, the DHS that had taken San Francisco's children hostage in Gitmo-by-the-Bay.
It made perfect sense, now that I thought of it. Of course it had been Treasure Island where I'd been kept.
Where else was a ten-minute boat-ride from San Francisco?When Dad came back, he looked angrier than he ever had in his life."You should have told me!" he roared.Mom interposed herself between him and me.
"You're blaming the wrong person," she said. "It wasn't Marcus who did the kidnapping and the intimidation."He shook his head and stamped.
"I'm not blaming Marcus. I know exactly who's to blame.
Me. Me and the stupid DHS. Get your shoes on, grab your coats.""Where are we going?""To see Darryl's father. Then we're going to Barbara Stratford's place."#I knew the name Barbara Stratford from somewhere, but I couldn't remember where.
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I thought that maybe she was an old friend of my parents, but I couldn't exactly place her.Meantime, I was headed for Darryl's father's place. I'd never really felt comfortable around the old man, who'd been a Navy radio operator and ran his household like a tight ship.
He'd taught Darryl Morse code when he was a kid, which I'd always thought was cool. It was one of the ways I knew that I could trust Zeb's letter.
But for every cool thing like Morse code, Darryl's father had some crazy military discipline that seemed to be for its own sake, like insisting on hospital corners on the beds and shaving twice a day.
It drove Darryl up the wall.Darryl's mother hadn't liked it much either, and had taken off back to her family in Minnesota when Darryl was ten — Darryl spent his summers and Christmases there.I was sitting in the back of the car, and I could see the back of Dad's head as he drove.
The muscles in his neck were tense and kept jumping around as he ground his jaws.Mom kept her hand on his arm, but no one was around to comfort me. If only I could call Ange.
Or Jolu. Or Van.
Maybe I would when the day was done."He must have buried his son in his mind," Dad said, as we whipped up through the hairpin curves leading up Twin Peaks to the little cottage that Darryl and his father shared.
The fog was on Twin Peaks, the way it often was at night in San Francisco, making the headlamps reflect back on us. Each time we swung around a corner, I saw the valleys of the city laid out below us, bowls of twinkling lights that shifted in the mist."Is this the one?""Yes," I said.
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"This is it." I hadn't been to Darryl's in months, but I'd spent enough time here over the years to recognize it right off.The three of us stood around the car for a long moment, waiting to see who would go and ring the doorbell.
To my surprise, it was me.I rang it and we all waited in held-breath silence for a minute. I rang it again.
Darryl's father's car was in the driveway, and we'd seen a light burning in the living room. I was about to ring a third time when the door opened."Marcus?" Darryl's father wasn't anything like I remembered him.
Unshaven, in a housecoat and bare feet, with long toenails and red eyes. He'd gained weight, and a soft extra chin wobbled beneath the firm military jaw.
His thin hair was wispy and disordered."Mr Glover," I said. My parents crowded into the door behind me."Hello, Ron," my mother said."Ron," my father said."You too? What's going on?""Can we come in?"#His living room looked like one of those news-segments they show about abandoned kids who spend a month locked in before they're rescued by the neighbors: frozen meal boxes, empty beer cans and juice bottles, moldy cereal bowls and piles of newspapers.
There was a reek of cat piss and litter crunched underneath our feet. Even without the cat piss, the smell was incredible, like a bus-station toilet.The couch was made up with a grimy sheet and a couple of greasy pillows and the cushions had a dented, much-slept-upon look.We all stood there for a long silent moment, embarrassment overwhelming every other emotion.
Darryl's father looked like he wanted to die.Slowly, he moved aside the sheets from the sofa and cleared the stacked, greasy food-trays off of a couple of the chairs, carrying them into the kitchen, and, from the sound of it, tossing them on the floor.We sat gingerly in the places he'd cleared, and then he came back and sat down too."I'm sorry," he said vaguely.