“Dad, I have to pee!” Shark looked over at his father driving as he tried holding it in. Sagebear had gone back to napping on the other side of the backseat.
Dennis furrowed his eyebrows at this declaration. “Again? Boy, how much juice did you drink before we left the hotel?
Slowing the car down to a stop, Dennis kept the car on as Shark ran out behind the nearest tree. Ever the loyal guard dog, Sagebear followed behind him.
“What is with that kid?” Blaise couldn’t help but ask. “It’s like he has a bladder the size of a golf ball or something.”
Dennis could only shrug, and wait for Shark to get done.
Looking ashamed at how many times he’d gone already, Shark began undoing his pants to proceed with his business.
“If it weren’t for me, they’d be having fun in Bridgeport by now,” he groused as he pulled his pants down.
Next to him, Sagebear looked intently at what he was trying to do. Having her stare like that was making him uncomfortable.
“Can you look away, Sagebear?” He quietly asked her. “I don’t really like having an audience when I go to the bathroom.”
Thankfully, Sagebear did so. She took a different seat on the other side of the tree, waiting for Shark to conclude his business.
Much to Annette’s relief, she heard the front doors to the diner opening. She then cringed when she heard just how frantic Marc and Harwood sounded. Opening the freezer door a crack, she tried to peer through to see them.
“Sinbad! Oh, what happened?” The horror and worry in Harwood’s voice was clear and evident, as he and Marc bent down to see what exactly was wrong.
“Isn’t it obvious, old man? I got shot!” Sinbad’s words were seemingly ignored as something that sounded like cloth ripping could be heard.
Then came the sound of grunting, and footsteps. Marc could be heard making a frightened noise.
“Oh, this doesn’t look good,” Harwood spoke again, “We have to stop the bleeding somehow. Marc, hold his arm like this. I’ll go see if there are any pressure bandages or something we can use.”
Annette could then hear more footsteps, along with a cabinet door opening and being rifled through.
Sighing, Sinbad tried not to yell out as Marc began gripping his arm a certain way.
“Can’t believe you guys got called back here,” he said forlornly before his half-brother took on an expression of bewilderment.
“Are you serious, bro? If we didn’t get called back, you’d be a dead man, I think!” He then became crestfallen.
Trying to keep from crying, Marc sniffled as he looked for the right words. “I didn’t want that to happen. Come on, I’ve only had a little bro for about a year now.”
He wiped his face on his sleeve before continuing. “I don’t want to lose another family member I care about. I mean, yeah, you weren’t getting beaten to death by my stepdad, but still!”
Marc sat back, careful not to cause any more serious damage to Sinbad’s arm. “I’m your big brother. I’m supposed to be there whenever you’re in trouble.
“Isn’t that how it goes? ‘Big brothers are born first, to protect the little ones that come after them’?”
Sinbad didn’t like seeing his half-brother so distressed. He sighed once again, trying to find the right words.
“Tell you what, bro. The next time I get in trouble, I’ll make sure you’re the first one I call for. Sound good?”
This seemed good enough for Marc, given the way he smiled and nodded. Taking his free arm, he carefully wrapped it around Sinbad’s shoulder.
Quickly, however, their impromptu hug was interrupted by Harwood returning to the scene.
“Won’t be long before someone calls the authorities and have them come here,” Harwood said as he pulled out a pressure bandage from a first-aid kit. “Let’s hurry and get this dealt with. How’s it look?”
Annette wished she got a better look at Sinbad’s gunshot wound before she went to go hide. She figured she could make do with an auditory diagnosis.
“It’s fine,” Sinbad said. “None of my bones are broke or anything. Just wrap it up.”
While Harwood did so, Sinbad couldn’t help but feel both him and Marc were looking concerned over how this happened in the first place.
“I really don’t want to be ‘that guy’, bro,” Marc said, “but why’d somebody shoot you?”
“Do tell, Sinbad,” Harwood added on, “and it’s best you tell us the entire truth.”
Sinbad made a groaning noise. “It’s a long story, but I’ll try and make it short.”
Listening in more intently now, Annette took a seat on a nearby crate of frozen ingredients. She heard Sinbad clear his throat, and he began.
“You know by now that my mom OD’ed when I was about eight, right?” Sinbad paused to gauge their reaction. Whey then nodded, he continued. “Well, from that point to until I left Bridgeport, that’s kind of kept to myself, but…”
He waited for Harwood to finish tying the bandage in place. “After she bit the dust, I left my old house, and ended up living on the street. I tried getting into foster care, but I guess nobody wanted a prostitute’s child.
“I think it was just before my ninth birthday, was when I met Elvira.” He gestured to the now bandaged gunshot wound on his arm. “She was the one that shot me. Anyway, she found me living on the streets, and I guess she saw potential in me.”
“Potential?” Harwood interrupted as he picked up his cane gun, which had been thrown onto the floor. “Dare I ask?”
Sinbad shrugged with the shoulder on his good arm. “She kind of runs the criminal syndicate in this city. Black market, executions, all that shit. I guess she wanted me for her newest foray in crime.” Here he shuddered. “Something about…dog fighting.”
Harwood and Marc both gasped. The word ‘dog fighting’ disturbed them, as did knowing Sinbad had been involved in it.
“So…What about it did she decide you needed to be part of it?”
Sinbad chuckled dryly. “Yeah. Her and her cronies were hoping to make some good money out of it. Problem was, they didn’t have a dog to make use of, so-”
“Hold up.” Now it was Marc’s turn to interrupt. “If they didn’t have a dog, then how’d you help out with dog fighting?”
That very question felt like a knife in Sinbad’s chest. His bit his lip before asking them a question of his own:
“Who do you think their dog was?”
As soon as it dawned on them, Marc and Harwood made sounds like they were being strangled. They didn’t notice, but a shocked gasp was also uttered from inside the walk-in freezer.
“So? Was he there?” The Builder was laying on Elvira’s desk when she returned to the warehouse.
Elvira gave a knowing smirk. “You know it. I’m sure he’ll be here again sometime tomorrow.”
The Builder’s smile faded. “Tomorrow? But that’s tomorrow! I wanna see this doggy of yours, and how great he is!”
Their whining was brushed off. “You’ve already gotten your ammunition. Why are you still here, yourself?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” They asked as they raised an arm up. “I’m waiting for my wife to get back! Can’t exactly go home without her, you know.”
Elvira gave a sour look to the strange being currently playing with her desktop belongings. Given that situation, she hoped Annette would return soon.