He had tumors behind his eyes the size of dumplings. With all the booze he’d drunk over the years, the rest of his brain would be sloshing around like chicken stock. Which made his skull a cauldron, I guess.
He certainly housed enough metal in his head from the ER trips, like after he ramped his Harley over the neighbor’s station wagon on a dare from—me, actually. But I was eight, in my defense, and I didn’t expect him to destroy the woman’s prize-winning lawn, never mind a budding (if shaky) link with the community.
On his first day back home, he kicked my dog in the teeth and said, “Shut up Frank, you shite!”
Frank is my name.
His was Grandpa Farron, although he went by the Beast of Cork before Ireland chucked him out for assaulting one mayor too many. From 1955 on, he was America’s problem.
“Dr. Howes to the basement,” said a dreamy voice over the PA.
“All over soon now,” said Grandpa.
Outside, Tampa steamed in the plum dusk. Thunderheads over Hillsborough Bay.
“Nonsense. You’ve got all of us around, you’ll be fine.” Aunt Rhonda squeezed tears around her dimples. She always said things that weren’t true.
Uncle Greg said, “You want to know the basketball score, dad?” Florida-Marquette in the Sweet Sixteen.
“I don’t think that would be appropriate.”
Greg quailed under Mom’s glare. “Or maybe we should say an Our Father.” No one took him up on it, not even Mom, but for form’s sake he mumbled the words.
“We love you, Pops.”
This from Uncle Greeney, whom I’ve been taught to shun since I could walk.