The Brother Who Is To Confront His Brother
Today I will confront my brother. We’re Irish twins, he’s nine months older than me. Different fathers but same difference. We grew up together in a household where we didn’t talk about our fathers. My father was a scuba diver. They don’t know if he drowned intentionally or not. I was too young to come to any conclusion myself. My brother’s father is also dead. He OD’d, which I guess is sadder. My brother always told me my father went to Hell because that’s where suicides go. This meant, implicitly, that his father was spared from this fate. His father had merely made a mistake. Now I am older—still in my twenties, so not actually old, but older—and I know people who have died, overdoses, and some of them I know made a mistake and some of them I know, there was no mistake. Maybe his father made no mistake. Me, I quit drugs. Not all drugs, I’m California sober, which means I can smoke weed. I don’t drink. I used to drink and disappear and my brother would find me and take me home. (This was when I was fifteen or so.) I’d beg him to leave me wherever—the street, typically. Still, he would take me home. Sometimes he would have sedatives. If he had sedatives, I would definitely go home with him; if he didn’t, fifty-fifty. All the while my brother was getting straight A’s. He goes onto Stanford University. I’ve never been to Palo Alto myself. I’ve been to San Francisco maybe five times, Oakland three times, San Jose once, never Palo Alto. He did undergrad and then he went back to business school, or as people call it, “B School.” When people call business school “B School” I cannot contain my rage. It makes me want to cut myself. When my brother would I’d cut myself in front of him. Still, he continued to call it “B School.” Me, I’m in school right now, Cal State Northridge. It took me much longer than my brother to get here, but I’m here. It’s not Stanford, but it’s something. I’m studying communications, which is basically business, but I don’t get to call it “B School.” Actually, I have no idea what I’m studying and I’m doing fairly well. It took me awhile to get here, but I’m here. My mother is relieved. I still live with her. Sometimes I sneak people in at night to fuck and she doesn’t hear, or at least, she does a great job pretending not to hear. The people, they never stay over. Once a man had to stay over because he had nowhere else to go for a day or so. I hid him in my brother’s vacant room. When it was time for him to leave I snuck him out and told him I never wanted to see him again. My brother never stays in his room but my mother leaves it untouched like in a bad film. On the wall above the bed is a poster of the periodic table. My brother is exactly the kind of person who would hang up a poster of the periodic table in his room. Now he lives in a mansion in Santa Monica, California. In fact, I’m headed there now. I’m taking the train. They say no one takes the train in LA, but I do. I hold my breath through USC. The rest of the way I stare out the window but see nothing. The train passes many places but I’m not paying attention. My brother took money from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. I found out from the Wall Street Journal. Every day our bombs kill people in Yemen. I know I shouldn’t care about people in other countries, but I do. My brother now is just pumping money into bombs. I last talked to him a week ago, on the phone. At this point I knew he was taking the petrodollars for his dating app, but I didn’t say anything. This was in-person business. My brother invited me to dinner at his house. His girlfriend would he there. I had met her two times before, once at a party for my brother’s dating app’s IPO, once at Thanksgiving. Her name is Polly, I think. I wonder if she cares about my brother taking petrodollars, about his fueling the war economy. I should hope so! If they talk about “B School” tonight I will cut myself in front of her, probably with silverware. I’ve done it before. Her name is definitely Polly.
The Brother Who Teabagged His Brother’s Brain
I’ve been wanting this for so long but I didn’t expect it to happen today; now that it’s here, just wow. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a fantasy of mine. And in front of my girlfriend, no less!
I didn’t know it would be my own brother, which is just bonus. (He’s fine, anyway—he’s recovering in the guesthouse, under heavy sedation.) I took pictures. I made sure that you cannot tell they are my balls, I put on fake hair. I’m not saying I don’t have hair on my balls, but it doesn’t look like this hair. The room we took the pictures in is my special room. No way to tell where it is: white walls, white ceiling, cement floors. The door is sunk into the wall so it actually looks as if there’s no door at all, you have to know where to push on the wall to get in and out. Looks sort of like a hospital, but a really spartan one, or maybe what I’d imagine a Nazi hospital to look like, although unfortunately I’m unfamiliar with their aesthetic. There are books of photography I need to purchase.
I joked with my girlfriend that my brother would be a poor candidate for this, because he has no brains, I said. She told me that that’s not how brains work and that it probably wouldn’t be demonstrably smaller than any given brain and I told her I was joking, that that wasn’t the point. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to open up someone’s head. I thought about going to medical school but decided to bury these thoughts. When you’re rich, you don’t need medical school to open someone’s head. I know that’s prosaic, but here we are. If I weren’t rich I wouldn’t be able to rub my balls along my brother’s exposed smooth-brain. Not literally smooth, but that’s a saying.
I didn’t become rich because I wanted to rub my balls on people’s brains, but I didn’t not become rich because I wanted to rub my balls on people’s brains. I’m not alone in this. There’s a community of us out there. Usually this all leads to tragedy. Amateur surgeons don’t have a great track record, except for organ traffickers, and they’re very goal-oriented so the standards are different. Besides, the average non-organ-trafficking amateur surgeon aims to do no harm, like doctors or the American Red Cross. The average non-organ-trafficking amateur surgeon has no interest landing in prison for life, or in the booby hatch. I’ve read textbooks, I’ve shadowed ER doctors (when you’re rich you can do anything you want—I know it’s prosaic, but it’s true). I’ve watched a lot of videos. Some you can find on Youtube. Some you have to search much harder for.
My brother invited himself to dinner, his first mistake. I drugged his Negroni. My brother is a student at a podunk state school and lives at home with Mother. We never got along. He’s very dramatic, but for all his drama, I don’t think there’s really anything there. He believes what people tell him to believe. The people change but the process always stays the same. I’ve watched him have sex. He has sex like anyone else does. He doesn’t know I’ve watched him, but I have, a good number of times, actually. He was something of an exhibitionist in high school, so can you blame me?
Mother asked me to give him a position in the company. I asked, What does he do? and of course she didn’t have an answer, just as he never does for himself. I told her to send him to one of those coding boot camps and then maybe we could talk.
I met Pauline at a conference. She worked for a rival app, systems engineer, but we poached her. This was strictly professional, and it wasn’t until we attended another conference together that I saw where her real interests were. I watched her torture a bird. We made love before, we beat the shit out of each other, and then in the early morning I watched her torture a bird to death, a bird that landed on the balcony of her hotel room. In fact, she had set a trap for it, a box over a piece of bread as bait. She tortured the bird in the bathroom; she pulled off its wings. We made love again, it was unreal. We would be married if either of us believed in it, the institution of marriage.
We would have to put make-up on to hide the marks we left on one another. One night she told me about her ultimate fantasy—rape stuff, pretty standard—and she begged to hear mine. So I told her. She was speechless. She was impressed. She wanted to know if I could really cut someone’s head open and close it back up. She told me she wanted me to rub my balls on her brain. We decided I would need practice before we got there. I would only do it one time. I didn’t want to disfigure her, my precious doll. She would need to wear a wig for months. To be honest, I fantasized about her with a shaved head. I did this for a few reasons, I think, both because it was an intrinsic feature to my ultimate fantasy and also, I think, because of the historical context.
Brain on balls: can I describe the sensation? It’s not warm or cold, but room temperature doesn’t do it justice, either. It feels a bit like a vagina, to be honest. I won’t be prosaic: the biggest part of a fantasy is that it’s your fantasy. I cannot describe water nor air just like I cannot describe the sensation.
We made love beside my slumbering brother’s hospital bed on the concrete floor of the white room. I didn’t mind the cold of the floor and if Pauline did, she didn’t let on. Sometimes I propped her against the bed, both of us standing up. When we were done I had Michael, my valet, wheel the hospital bed out of the white room, through the glass doors to the backyard, alongside the pool, and then into the guesthouse.
Z.H. GILL is a writer based in Hollywood, CA. His work has appeared in few publications. Don’t try to contact him.