Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.
– Gaius Valerius Catullus
At least I got to say goodbye. That’s more than a lot of people get.
I never would have expected anything like it from my brother. He was one of the kindest, gentlest people I knew. I thought the world of him. Even now it’s hard for me to believe he did what he was accused of.
I’ll always remember how it happened. We were driving back from the store. It was a scorcher that day so we’d driven down to grab some beer and ice cream when the sirens went off behind us.
“Oh shit bro,” I said. “Did you run a red light.”
He just sighed.
“What? You don’t have a joint on you or something do you?”
“You need to get out Mark.”
I wasn’t sure what he was saying. I understood the words but not their meaning. When the cops pulled you over you pulled the keys from the ignition, gathered your licence and registration and waited patiently until they came and asked if you knew why they pulled you over.
You never got out of the car.
But Sam hadn’t pulled the keys from the ignition. The car was still running.
“I’m sorry bro,” he said to me. “But I’m not exactly who you think I am. I knew this day was coming and I’m glad it’s you I’m with. I can just say ‘I fucked up.'” He smiled at me. “I have to go. You’re gonna hear some stuff. I’m sorry.”
“This is a joke isn’t it?”
“No, bud. You really need to get out of the car.”
I put my hand on the door latch. I was terrified that when I stepped out the cop behind us would open fire on me. He didn’t. He just shouted over his bullhorn for me to get back into the car.
“I love you little brother,” he said as he peeled out and bolted down the street.
A second cop car appeared out of nowhere and tore after him. The police officer that pulled us over came out of his car with his gun drawn and told me to lie on the ground with my hands over my head.
What did you do big brother? I wondered.
He’d kidnapped several women, chained them in his basement, raped them and buried them in the backyard when they died. It wasn’t the type of thing I’d have expected from the guy who’d tossed a baseball with me in the backyard and picked me up from little league.
When I thought of how he’d duct tape me to chairs when he’d babysit me and I’d get out of hand it seemed a little more likely.
Of course, there’s a line between sibling jokes and first degree murder.
There never was a trial. He led the cops on a three mile chase before he drove his Pontiac off a bridge and killed himself by wrecking into a tree. That was proof enough that he’d done it. Well, that and the two filthy girls starving in his basement with his cum inside them and the four bodies that the cops had dug out of the backyard.
All of a sudden it made perfect sense as to why my brother had never married. Why he always came over to my house to watch football games and why he bought so many groceries.
He wasn’t my just the guy that I loved and looked up to. He was also Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy.
We didn’t get to go through his personal belongings after he passed away. We didn’t get to have a funeral. We didn’t get a headstone.
Even if we would have been allowed to have a funeral I’m sure the Westboro baptist church wouldn’t have been the only ones wanting to protest.
I hope get to see him again someday. Whether it’s in heaven or hell or some other afterlife that we people don’t know about yet. I just want to ask him what the fuck he was thinking. How he could do this to mom and why he didn’t say anything. Why didn’t he ask me for help? How could he hide something like this from me.
But I know my brother. He’d just grin and shrug.