My Brother

Sunday, July 23 at 11:19pm. "Welcome to bee season of the Pacific Northwest." That's what God told me when I woke up this morning.

"You talked to God?"

I did. I most certainly did. That's the power of prayer, my friend.

Anyway, I had no idea what God was talking about, so I just ignored him. That's generally what I do. I can't be bothered to pay attention when God is usually drunk off his ass anyway. They celebrate the Eucharist way too much in heaven.

Thus, by late afternoon, I barely even remember having the conversation, let alone what he and I had talked about. And that's when I go outside. POW! I'm attacked by a cumulonimbus cloud of bees, forming its bee tornado in my face.

God thought this was funnier than I did. I actually didn't think it was funny at all. But God sure did. He did that token alcoholic man's laugh where the person just exhales super hard and makes that wheezing noise.

"I warned you!" he said as soon as he caught his breath. "Fuck you, God, fuck you!" I said back, only half joking.

The conversation went on, but I don't really remember what was said (God was drunk and slurring his words). The take-home message is that God spited me with an apiological curse. He made it so my homerun derby was way less pleasurable than it would have been if there were less bees.

"You mean fewer bees."

I was hoping you'd catch that, reader. And no, I mean less bees.

"Ishmael," (this reader has not yet warmed up to my name) "if you can count the bees, it's fewer. The alternative is catachrestic beyond pardon."

I know this, reader. I learned proper use of quantifiers when I was nine too. And I almost hate to say it, but your use of the word catachrestic was actually catachrestic. It's like the literary equivalent of that M.C. Escher drawing where the hand is drawing the hand that's drawing it.

"I don't know how you could possibly be so cocky after messing up on a nine year old's grammar."

I didn't mess up, reader. I said "less" on purpose because I was trying to make the point that the bees were so vast, they were actually uncountable. Like the very essence of bee attacked me. That's why I said it.

"Yeah, but even grains of sand are countable. Were there more bees where you were than grains of sand in the world?"

You know what, reader? I was just trying to make a point. There were probably ten bees total. You ruined my story.

"Sorry Ishmael."

Yeah well, it's over. You ruined it. I'm going to talk about the homerun derby now... which, I guess wasn't even a real homerun derby. Real ones involve things like baseballs and a baseball field and stuff. The version of homerun derby I was playing was just my brother and me taking turns hitting whiffle balls with a little kid's (Adam's) softball bat across arbitrary homerun lines on Fred's huge mole-infested lawn.

God, I wish I was still talking about bees.

The brother I was playing with is my only sibling. His name is Andy, but he changed it to Andrew when he was twenty-three. It takes a lot of mental energy for me to call him Andrew.

By chronology, he's my big brother. He's one year and eight months minus one day older than me. In biology, I'm the big brother. At one time, I outweighed him by 105lb (despite his being two inches taller than me). This does not mean I was grotesquely obese. I was a bodybuilder back then. And he was ultra-into Kurt Cobain (and Sonic Youth and Mudhoney and Jesus Lizard, etc). And the body frame that correlated with his interests was not like the body frame that correlated with mine.

Nonetheless, we have a good relationship. Whereas Fred has been my hero for four years, Andy(rew) has been my best friend for at least six. Before that, he was just my brother.

I invite him over to Fred and Jacqui's house all the time. This was his third visit. So far, I think we've played homerun derby every time. And I think Fred has tried to kill moles every time too. Today, he tried lighting fireworks and throwing them down the holes. I can't see how this would be effective. Granted, they were mole-specific fireworks, but even so, it just doesn't seem feasible that the moles would be impacted by them.

I realize all dogs are terrified of the Fourth of July, but this is different. A) Moles are not Golden Retrievers. B) Even if they were, I've never seen a Golden Retriever howl or panic about smoke sticks or sparklers. And this was something in-between; it was like an overexcited cigar.

If Fred was pumping aerial shells down the holes with commercial mortars, I might be a little more inclined toward optimism. As is, it just seems like a silly way to keep the pyro-patriot market alive way into the off-season. But the guy at the hardware store said they would work. He swore actually. On a bible. Twice. So... who am I to judge? I'm just the guy using those holes as mile markers for my homerun derby, still angry at God about the whole bee episode.