I am writing to you from New Orleans, where it is raining, and there are homemade biscuits. Thank you for reading.
Alvin was talking on the phone with his son, Russ. “So how’ve you been?” Alvin asked. “Not so good.” “Why?” “Mom didn’t treat me that good and neither did her boyfriends, one in particular.” Alvin was 34 and Russ was 17. They had never spoken before. Alvin hadn’t known Russ existed till a minute ago. It was nighttime and Alvin was standing in the bedroom of his small suburban house. He lived off the modest proceeds of a motorcycle accident, had jobs sometimes but they didn’t last. He hoped Russ wasn’t going to ask him for money. “What do you mean, didn’t treat you that good?” “Beat me.” “With what?” “Different things, belts, fists, books.” “Books?” “He liked to read.” “Do you?’ “I’m more of an action guy.” “Me too. How often did he beat you?” “Once or twice a week.” “I got beaten too, same amount of times, different objects except the fists.” “By who?” “My dad.” “Would you have beaten me if you were around?” “I don’t know, I’ve been in lots of fights. Why are you calling me?” “I don’t know.” “Do you need money?” “You offering?” “Is that why you called?” “Gonna hang up now.” “Wait!” “Why?” “I don’t know. He still hit you?” “Not since I hit him back.” “Where are you?” “Outside your house.” Alvin walked down the hall to his front door and opened it. The face of his son made his knees shake. There was beer and soup and bread in the fridge. He figured there’d be a fight at some point, hopefully not more than one. They seemed about evenly matched.