It had been just another day when the knock came.
“Sinbad, can you get the door? I’m in the bathroom.” Sinbad was sitting on the couch, watching R-rated movies.
“Can you do it anyway? It might be important!” Sinbad sighed and set the bowl of popcorn he had down onto the table. Finding nothing he could cover himself with, he shrugged and decided he could deal with it.
“Good day to you, Mister Rotter!” Dennis wished he’d come here under more pleasant circumstances. “Hope you don’t mind I come here for a visit.” Of course, seeing Sinbad’s lack of attire put him at ease. “Dare I hazard a question regarding your current au naturel state?”
“Oh hey, boss.” Sinbad looked down at his heavily tattooed body. “Last night your son threw my pants out the window. He doesn’t remember doing that, though.”
“I see.” Dennis looked over at the stumbling woman at his side. “Do excuse the missus. She has taken to drowning her sorrows earlier than usual. Her place of work has decided she is, shall we say, unfit to continue as a Burial Specialist…”
“And by ‘unfit’, you mean ‘making Dr. Rockzo look like Mister Rogers’?”
Dennis stared at the nude redhead silently, before giving a flat, yet blunt, ”…Yes.“
“Come on in, boss,” Sinbad said as he stepped aside and let the couple in. “Shark’s home, he’s just taking a shit.”
The two older adults stumbled inside, with Dennis trying to lead his wife to the couch.
“Easy there, Silver. No need to be a Stumblin’ Sylvie.” The blonde woman pushed her husband aside and collapsed onto the couch.
“So, uh…What, you want me to get treats or tea or some other fancy-pants tea party bullshit?” Dennis shook his head.
“Well, in actuality, I was hoping to discuss something with the boy. Something of a familial matter, and-”
Dennis was once again cut short by a yelp from the bathroom, followed by an interjection of, “Daddy!”
That alone would have been innocuous, had both men not answered simultaneously. The two looked at each other with an awkward glance.
“Mister Rotter…” The older man said, while occasionally glancing over at his inebriated wife. “Dare I hazard another question of…What in blue blazes do you and the boy do?”
“Uh…” Sinbad looked off to the side as he crossed his arms, trying to remember what warranted this scenario. “Shark and I had a bet for something last night. I won. For the next day, he had to call me that.”
“Is that so?” Dennis didn’t seem entirely convinced.
“If it’s any consolation, boss, I don’t pretend to be you when he calls me it.” The older man nodded, an eyebrow raised.
“Well, go check and see what’s ailing him.”
Shark didn’t know how it happened. He recalled trying to grab a hold of the toilet paper roll, and wound up on the floor with his pants around his ankles.
If that weren’t bad enough, he now had his naked boyfriend standing over him laughing.
“Yeah, ha ha. Takes one to know one. Now help me up so I can wipe my ass.” With a little effort, Sinbad hoisted Shark back up onto the toilet.
“Oh, by the way, your parents are here.” Shark’s eyes widened when he heard this.
“Why?” Sinbad waited until Shark concluded his business, then continued.
“Beats me. But your ma’s shit-faced. I’d ask him. I ain’t wanting to talk to him right now.”
By the time the two were back out into the main room, Dennis was struggling to keep Silver sitting upright.
“Oh, there you are, boy! I do apologize for dropping in unexpectedly. But there are a few things I’d like to talk to you about…”
–An hour or two later…-
“So run that by me again, Sinbad?” The two were standing on the deck, watching as Shark’s parents drove home. Shark’s face was set in an expression of shock and confusion.
“Uh…” The redhead began counting on his fingers the topics Shark’s father had brought up. “According to him, your mother’s gonna be going to a…what’s it called…a clinic? Your mom’s drinking and other use has gotten pretty bad. Like, really bad.”
Sinbad nodded. “Then your dad’s gonna quit his current job, and he asked if I do the same. He said he’s gonna help me look for a new job, and…”
Shark looked over at his boyfriend with a fresh wave of fear. “He actually asked you that?!”
“Yeah. So? May as well. I’d rather not fall back into old habits. A new job could help.” The redhead looked down at his hands, recalling a promise to quit smoking. “And after she gets out, then he’s gonna…he’ll give her the papers then.”
Knowing what papers would be served, Shark leaned his forehead onto the railing and sighed heavily. “I can’t believe he wants a divorce…”
“Can’t believe? Dude, have you seen your ma? She makes the rest of your family look normal, and your family ain’t fucking normal. I’m surprised your parents stayed together this long.”
“But isn’t this going to have a negative impact on her? What if she tries not to sign the papers when she gets out?”
“Who knows. Knowing her, she will.” Sinbad pushed himself off the deck railing. “Look, man. Let’s just not worry about all that shit now. Wanna order a pizza tonight?”
Shark shrugged, looking out over the houses on the street. “I’d like that.”
The two then wandered back inside, with Sinbad hoping a cheesy delight would take his boyfriend’s mind off a shattering family dynamic.