Dad is plump and yellow. An overripe banana, fever jaundiced, covered in liver spots, kidneys failing. Skin taut, fluid with nowhere to go. "This will solve it" Toms says as he takes out a fork and stabs Dad's legs. Driving the tines down into the fleshy part of the thigh then instantly pulling them out. As soon as he breaks the skin, pressure is released and greasy fluid spurts then bubbles out in tune with Dad's heart. I am reminded of Italian sausage links on a hot stove. The way they spout and bubble just before they're done. I realize how hungry I am. I also begin to wonder. Is Dad done too? After 78 years is he finally fully cooked and ready to be eaten by the Reaper ever patiently standing behind us all? Right then the night nurse comes in and the moment is shattered like a brick through glass. She looks at Dad, fluid bubbling from his leg. She looks at Tom fork in hand and with a tongue sharp as a knife she cuts Tom into pieces and tosses him into the hall like a salad. I follow before she can tear into me as a tramp tears into a steak found in the dumpster behind Le Bistro that fancy French restaurant on the corner of Fifth and Floogle. Tom and I retreat to the waiting room and stand there not sure if we will be allowed back inside Dad's room. Not sure if we should leave and come back tomorrow. The decision is made for us when Doc Throck comes in to tell us Dad had passed. In no small part due to Tom's "help". I hear Tom softly say in his best Tim Curry "It was a mercy killing", before he turns and walks out the door. I would not see my brother again for almost seven years and only then at his funeral. During the wake I stick a fork into his leg and do my best Tim Curry.
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