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My Brother’s Keeper pt. 1

It was a brisk afternoon as I walked through the busy streets of New Arkton. My mind was moving still piecing together information from the many stories I was working on. But wasn’t that always the case? There was always another mystery to solve, another cover-up to uncover. However, today I had more on my mind than just work.

I’m not big on talking about feelings, emotions, and other sappy stuff like that. My life is based on cold, hard facts. But even guys like me have a heart. This afternoon my mind was consumed with both family and personal life. Both of these issues were big deals to me, even though I rarely, if ever, took personal time. Maybe that’s the problem.

Yesterday I had a big argument with my girlfriend. At least I hoped she was still my girlfriend. After that argument, I wasn’t too sure. We’ve been dating for a while, but it just seems like we’re on two different pages in life.

She was in the news biz too. But she looked at things differently than I did. My goal always has, and always will be to bust open the secret files of government officials, military operations, giant corporations, or anybody who is up to no good. She simply didn’t feel that way.

“Ahhhhhh,” I let out a groan of frustration.

The streets were filled with plenty of people walking about. A lady looked at me strangely as she passed by. I just shrugged my shoulders and kept walking. Women could be so confusing at times.

Step by step, second by second, I made my way through the crowded streets. It was easy to get lost in the shuffle of Capital City. Some days I could just walk and walk, letting the sounds of the city drown out my frustrations.

As I drew closer to my destination, my mind shifted to the other situation at hand. That family issue I mentioned before. Well, to be truthful, I don’t have too much family to speak of. My parents have been gone for some time now, and my siblings and I aren’t the best of chums. Though we do try to stay in touch. My sister Savannah lives on the other side of country. We send letters ever so often, and birthdays are celebrated with a call.

To the contrary, my brother Dexter, lives right here in Capital City. Sometimes he’s around New Arkton, sometimes he’s in Collinsville. You never quite know where he’ll end up. Dex is what some people would call a drifter always moving around from place to place. We both spent some time in the military, but it affected us differently. And he’s had a rougher time about it than me.

But no matter where he may be, we meet for lunch every month, at the same diner. It’s been a longstanding tradition of ours for years now. We even sit in the same booth every single time, never fail. It was always good to see him, and know that he was alright, even if he didn’t look all that great.

As I approached the diner entrance, I could see him standing to the side waiting for me. He never tried to go in before I arrived. He was always too nervous. I walked up to him and gave him a warm brotherly embrace.

“Dex! My main man! How’s it goin’ brotha’?” I asked with a smile.

“Oh it’s all good, little bro! How’ve you been?” He replied.

His smile was a little crooked, and his eyes seemed glassed over. Something about him was different. I took a step back and gave him a good look from top to bottom. He looked better than I’d seen him in a while. His clothes, shoes, hair, everything looked clean.

“What? You didn’t get all dressed up on my account, did you?” I joked and punched his shoulder.

“Aww man, naw,” he laughed, though he looked a little embarrassed.

“Come on,” I said, “Let’s grab our table. I’m starving!”

He just nodded and followed me inside.

When we were seated, I had to keep from staring at him. Sure, he looked cleaned up, but something just seemed different, odd, strange even. Not that the fella had been this pillar of normalcy over the years. But I was used to his scruffy face, and far off looks. This new version of Dexter had me wondering what was going on?

We ordered our food, and talked about things like we usually did. Then he let me in on his big news.

“I’m a little nervous talking about it,” he said between bites. “I just don’t wanna jinx it, you know? But here it is, I got new job!”

That was big news, and of course I was happy for the man.

“That’s great Dex! What kind of job?” I asked.

He paused for a moment, and looked off into the distance as though he was in deep thought.
“You know, I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing. Something about clean energy sources. Right now I’m in their ‘Transitionary Intake and Training Program’.”

Dexter stayed frozen in place for a few seconds. I stayed still myself, trying to figure out what was going on with him. Then suddenly, his trance broke and he went right back to eating.

Chewing slowly, I took a deep breath. “So, what’s the name of the company?”

“You know what,” he said with a smile “I can’t even remember!” He just laughed, shrugged, and kept eating his burger.”

I just tried to nod encouragingly. With Dex you never knew what to expect. I hoped that something good could come out of this.

After lunch, I usually tried to give him a few dollars to help out. But today he refused.
“It’s ok little bro, I don’t need it. I’m alright.”

“Are you sure? Man you know, like I always said, I’m here for you. You can come stay with me anytime. I hope things work out good with the job and all. But you can crash at my pad whenever you need to.”

“And what do I always say? I don’t want to give you my problems Curtis. Don’t worry about me,” he replied with a pat on my back.

As he walked away, my big brother shouted, “I’ll see you next month, same time, same place.”

“You know it!” I shouted back. I looked forward to next month and hoped Dex would have more good news.

To be continued . . .

What do you think?

Written by Mannie_E

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Crimson Hawk’s Log: 006