(WARNING! I forget why, I just know there needs to be a warning on this chapter)
“Our family line goes back generations, Shark.” Dennis spoke calmly while dragging his finger across the table in between them. “I forget just how many, but there’s a lot.”
He didn’t know how else to properly begin describing the Racket family history to his son. Shark only sat in front of him, sulking and crossing his arms.
“What I’m trying to say is… Well, you’ve probably wondered what they’ve all had in common, right?”
Shark gave a displeased snort. “If I say ‘no I haven’t’, are you still going to tell me?”
“I’m going to have to anyway, now. I was hoping to avoid ever needing to reveal the nitty gritty of the past, but…”
It appeared the The Builder wasn’t letting up with their baseless accusations.
“You can’t have three people in a marriage! A marriage is between two people! What you had was just what’s-his-face adding another notch to his belt!”
“Oh, really now? According to Bridgeport City Hall, it was a perfectly valid marriage! And he loved her very much!” Annette wondered if she could get away with socking them across the face.
The Builder only scoffed. “Yeah, that’s what they all say. Face it, Netty. He didn’t love her. If he did, he wouldn’t have cheated on her.
“All she was to him was his next target, and his favorite piece of ass!” Here they paused to pull out a cigarette. “And look what happened with your so-called ‘marriage’.”
“Tell me, then,” Annette said with her hands on her hips, “what it turned into.”
Another pause for them to light up. “Isn’t it obvious? It went from a menage a trois into a full-blown harem! I mean, really…”
With a healthy dose of disgust, Annette looked on as The Builder’s head swung into an unnatural position.
“I can see it now, Netty! A wide assortment of coed concubines and whores, all fighting and clawing each other’s eyes out! And for what? The supreme honor of getting to sit on Mr. Roboto’s STD-riddled dick!”
“Stop saying those things! None of that’s true!” Annette snapped at them now. “And at least remember his last name! It was Takasugi!”
The Builder shrugged, blowing smoke out from the side of their mouth. “Eh, Takasugi, Hock-a-loogie, Grandma-booty, Shoot-Judge-Judy. Don’t matter, he’s dead. I bet you were real happy about that! Then you got his stupid Korean harlot all to yourself! Why, it’s almost as if you planned for his death!”
“That is definitely not true! He was my friend as much as she was!” Annette’s fury was becoming increasingly potent. “That’s more than what I can say for you!”
Apparently, this sentence proved to be the breaking point. Annette then felt herself grabbed by the neck, and hoisted up into the air. Beneath her, The Builder scowled angrily, and then slammed her into the nearest wall.
“I wouldn’t say that to the being that knows how to kill you, honey,” they growled out. Annette could smell the menthol coming out with every word.
“You watch your mouth. I’d hate for that pretty ring of yours to get smashed by my foot,” they threatened, before letting her go.
Annette held her throat as they stomped back into the nearby room. When she tried to open it to confront them again, it was locked tight.
Marc tried to find the best way to articulate his question to Harwood.
“So when exactly was it that you and Mama…Eh, you know…?” Thankfully, Harwood appeared to know what he was trying to say.
“Commenced the art of human-making?” The way he worded it was awkward enough. “It was the last day before I left town.” He tapped the end of his cane against his mouth. “For about a week, she and I spent time together after the expo.”
A little wistful smile came across Harwood’s face. “She and I went everywhere. You know, just like any other couple of that day. But to answer your question properly, it was the night before I had to leave.”
The way he went on about Marc’s mother sounded respectful enough. Marc couldn’t help but smile a little himself. “You wanted to make the most of that relationship, however brief it was?”
“That’s correct. That last night, well, I probably shouldn’t tell you the exact details. But I bet you know what resulted from it.”
Harwood waited for Marc’s reply. Marc instead lifted a finger up, and pointed to himself. Harwood just nodded.
“Yep. I guess nine months later, you were born. But…” His smile faded again. “There’s something I don’t understand.” He looked over for a hopeful answer.
“What’s that?” Marc said quietly.
Awkward question wording seemed to be mutual. Now it was Harwood who couldn’t figure out what to say.
“When your mother found out she was going to have you, why didn’t she seek me out? I would’ve helped her in whichever way I could.”
There were words jumbled up in Marc’s throat as this inquiry. He swallowed before telling him his side of it. “I guess she was afraid of the potential backlash. And she…”
Marc found himself getting choked up from the memories of his mother. “I don’t know. Whenever I asked her about it, she’d always say you died before I was born. Maybe she was…”
He stopped, beginning to wipe any tears that were forming in his eyes. His eyeliner began to smear about his face. Marc must have been shaking badly, judging from the hand that Harwood set onto his shoulder.
“I guess she was trying to protect me. It still would’ve been nice to know who you were before she was…”
He didn’t finish. The last memory of his mother was evidently a painful one. He buried his face into his hands, and fell back onto the sofa.
Reaching over further, Harwood placed both hands on Marc’s shoulders, letting him shed tears for his long lost mother.
“Granted, Shark, I only really know about my generation and the one before it,” Dennis went on, “but I can say for sure what I saw wasn’t pretty.”
He almost threw in a line about Bill’s antics, but decided not to. “I knew there was a chance of you dealing with one side of the horrors, and that I couldn’t prevent.
“What I did want to prevent, was you having to figure out the other half.”
Shark remained hardened by his father’s explanation. “A fat lot of good that did,” He spat out at his father. “What, you thought I was too stupid to handle the family’s skeletons?”
“Of course not, boy! I kept it a secret because I didn’t want your life to be destroyed by the truth.”
He slumped forward, as if the rememoration was pulling him down. “I’ve seen what that knowledge could do, boy. It destroyed your grandparents, it destroyed your uncles, it destroyed me!” Dennis banged his fist onto the table for emphasis.
Then he covered his face, hiding any tears that were slipping out from his eyes. “I’ve known first-hand what could happen. Do you think I wanted all that to happen to you?!”
Shark tightened his lips, trying to keep himself from being affected by his father’s crying. After a few moments, Dennis composed himself as best he could, and sat back.
“I suppose sometime tomorrow, a visit to Uncle Dudley is in order. He can…He can give his insight on all this.”
By the time Sinbad got back to the house, Marc was already asleep, hooked up to his breathing machine.
The house looked sad and cold, what with the lights in the main room turned off. The only source of it came from under the door to the other bedroom, and even that was a faint one.
Knocking on the bedroom door didn’t elicit any response. When Sinbad quietly let himself in, he found Harwood asleep in a chair situated next to his large window.
Harwood’s sleeping position was a rather profane one. His cane sat vertically across his splayed legs, being held by the ends. A small amount of drool was trickling down the side of his mouth.
“Uh…Hey, old man?” As soon as Sinbad made himself known, Harwood jolted awake and repositioned his cane to point at him. The way he was cocking it made Sinbad realize what the cane really was.
Harwood quickly realized the man in his room wasn’t a threat, and calmed down. “Ah…Huanying hui jia, Sinbad. Thought you were a burglar, or something.”
Sinbad was still on edge over having a cane gun pointed at him. “So you always go Gran Torino on anybody that walks in while you’re here?”
The answer here was a somewhat casual one:
“No, just when I’m sleeping. Eh, don’t fret about it. No way you could’ve known.”
Sinbad’s eyes drifted back out to the other room, toward the couch Marc was sleeping on. He decided to initiate a less gun-related conversation.
“Yeah, so… When’d he get to sleep?”
Upon standing back up, Harwood wandered over to the doorway to see what Sinbad was. He gave this answer quicker than the last one.
“About a few minutes before you got back. Try not to bother him, he…” Harwood then scratched at the obscured part of his face. “He’s had a bit of a heavy night.”
“Oh, yeah? Why?”
Sinbad then heard a noise from Harwood that seemed apprehensive. “It’s probably something I should let him explain himself, when he wakes up.”
He then took a peek at the bag Sinbad was holding. “So what would happen to be in there?”
“Eh? Ah shit, let me check…” Reaching in, Sinbad pulled out the napa cabbage he bought, and handed it to him. “I guess some kind of rental agreement for letting me stay here.”
Although she was unable to get through the door, Annette could hearing metallic banging coming from the other side of it. Several more attempts at yanking it open proved futile.
“What are these doors made out of, titanium?” She cried in an irate tone of voice. The Builder was apparently too busy to grace her with a response.
Pulling herself away from the door, Annette gave it a kick before walking off. She was still seething quite prominently over their baseless accusations towards her long dead friends.
A search of a few rooms didn’t turn up Sunny and Moony. Annette figured they were hiding from her because of earlier. Horse-Face hadn’t returned from the cellar either, not that she cared.
This left one last assistant to find. And find him Annette did.
Ox-Head was curled up in his bed, on top of a scratchy-looking blanket. He didn’t react to her approaching footsteps in any visible way.
Quietly, Annette took a seat next to his bed. She made certain to face him. Although he still looked grotesque while asleep, somehow she wasn’t respulsed by this.
“I guess you could use some company when you wake up,” Annette whispered lightly to his sleeping form. Ox-Head just snorted once in his slumber.
The Builder looked over their specimen in the final stages of their experiment. Thus far, he seemed receptive to all the testing.
“All right, looks like you’re good to go! Although…”
In a move that proved not to be of actual substance, The Builder took hold of the corpse’s hand, and shoved it into his gaping mouth. To their astonishment, it fit oddly well.
“Nice! I bet you were popular with that mouth capacity. Either way, best I say what needs to be said.”
They leaned in, their mouth hovering dangerously close to his ear. They took a deep breath before shouting in a shrill tone:
“Wake up you lousy drunk!” Pulling back slightly, The Builder watched with a perverse glee as the body’s free fingers began twitching.
This glee became annoyance when the corpse’s arm swung up, smacking them hard across the face and dislodging their sunglasses.
“Ow, dammit! Oh motherfucker, I need those to see!” The Builder was then on the floor, aimlessly patting the floor for that which always covered their empty eye sockets.
By the time Shark and Dennis returned home that night, Sagebear was patiently waiting for them with her food bowl in her mouth.
“Awww, puppy. I bet you’re hungry,” Shark said as he bent down to take her bowl from her. The whole time, Dennis snuck back to their room unheard. “Well, I don’t really have time to make you dinner like I should tonight, but…”
He stood up with her bowl, and began rummaging around for her dog food and treats. “How’s about I make it up to you tomorrow night, huh?”
Sagebear was clearly ecstatic at this prospect, given the way her tail wagged so vigorously.
After filling her bowl up, Shark kept an eye on her as she happily gobbled down her meal. The moment her bowl was empty again, Sagebear bounded towards the bedroom.
Shark followed her, going through the drawer that he designated for her. As he pondered his choices for her sleepwear that night, he looked over at the now sleeping Dennis.
He was still angry over the secrets that had been kept from him all these years, but now Shark also wanted to know the motives.
This was kept in mind as he slipped a pair of long johns onto Sagebear.