‘Why was he eating Red Velvet cake?’ by Maria Agostina

sc june 18

I woke up to my mother screaming her lungs out. What does a man have to do to take a nap around here?

In the room immediately next to mine my brother was swinging softly, still hanging from the shower curtain rod. Purple-blue lips, broken blood vessels inundating his wide-open eyes.

Such a pretty sight for Friday night, what I say.

8 hours after his death

“Ma’am, your son didn’t commit suicide, he was murdered. The marks on his neck were not from the shower curtain found around it (dramatic pause, building up the tension) those were fingers.”

Wow! Good job detective we all knew that already. Well apparently my mum didn’t because she almost fainted in my arms.

They offered her some water and when they though she was ready for more (right, because a mother just needs some water after her son has been murdered) they asked her:

“Ma’am, did you know your son was gay?”

My mother glanced in my direction before realizing they were not talking about me. Ha-ha, good one, Mum. All because of that little incident with the movie she caught me watching. It was an Oscar winner for Christ sake! And the director didn’t focus on the physical relation at all. It was freaking art. Jesus, mothers don’t understand shit. But anyways I had to give the detective some points on this one because he didn’t actually know my brother. Everyone else knew. Well apparently except from my mum.

After some more revelations in those lines they ask my mother to wait outside because they had some questions meant just for me. Honestly, I had one question of my own regarding last night but the police wouldn’t be interested in answering it.

Why was he eating Red Velvet cake?

After we found my brother lifelessly tangled in the shower curtain I came downstairs to fix myself some dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I was devastated. After all, my baby brother was the only being in this whole big darn planet that could love me. And I sure loved him back. A darn lot. So as I say I was sad but very much hungry too. So I went downstairs and what did I find? The stupid red velvet cake my brother had been munching on when I last saw him alive merely hours before when I got back from school.

Why was he eating Red Velvet cake?

You see, I knew he hated it. That’s the kind of stuff a brother knows. He used to get super upset whenever my mum would get us red velvet cake for dessert. He didn’t even know why he hated it so much but that’s the kind of thing little kids just know, right? How to annoy their parents and try to drive them crazy. So he would throw a tantrum and my mum would have to run to the store to get him some ice-cream instead. The funny thing was that my mother never seemed to learn so the scene would keep repeating itself. That was of course until we were both too old for tantrums and for red velvet cake for dessert, that is.

“What were you doing yesterday night around five pm?”

“I was with my girlfriend Sarah Harrelson – and then sensing the eyebrow that was about to rise in his face I felt compelled to quickly add – you can ask her if you want.”

“You can bet on it, boy.”

Well, that went mightily well. You would think those pigs would have a little more sense than to harass a young man still grieving his brother’s death. Even treating him as a suspect. Outrageous! The nerve of it! The audacity! But I showed them. Sarah would say we were together of course (because I told her I would go down on her if she did) and they would go on being unbelievably unhelpful, solving absolutely nothing and answering no relevant questions whatsoever. Though there is really only one here that matters.

That night we had a beautiful service for my brother. My mother insisted on it though the police wouldn’t let her have the body yet.

“Jimmy! Hey!”

Right, exactly the guy I was dying to finally meet. Not the best circumstances but who cares. My brother’s boyfriend.

Pure rage blinded me and I grabbed the kid by the neck (I have anger issues, ok?) Hot tears streaming down my face soaking the hem of my shirt and my fists slamming again and again against his skull. Why? I kept asking him until my throat was raw and only a crooked sound escaped my mouth. Why?

Why was he eating the darn cake?

He seemed confused at first and clearly shocked by the blows but he managed to answer in a whisper:

“I… I gave it to him.”

I almost had to put my ear against his busted lips oozing blood and teeth to get what he was saying.

“What? Why? He hates red velvet cake.”

He made an effort to keep talking and almost choke in his own blood so I rolled off of him and helped him to an almost sitting position brushing the grass and shit that was all over his shirt. He won’t be able to wear it again though on account of the… you know, blood spilled all over it.

“I didn’t know” – he was crying now, the tears washing the blood and dirt away and he looked so young, so sad and so helpless I almost rushed in to hug him and tell him it was all going to be ok. But that would have been a lie. Nothing was ever going to be ok again. I had lost my baby brother, the only being in this whole big darn planet I cared about. And it was this kid’s fault – “I didn’t know he hated it. I ignored so many things about him that now I will never know – he rubbed his eyes like a little boy and the words started stumbling out in his desolation – I had made red velvet cake for my cooking class and I only thought… I thought… that maybe he would like some. So after my class I brought him a piece. He looked so happy to see me, and we had some chocolate milk with the cake. And he said it was so good, he said I was an awesome cook. And I was so happy and… and… and then I just left. I kissed him goodbye and left. I didn’t do anything to him Jimmy I swear. I swear.”

“I know.”

I got up leaving him sobbing on the grass. I wiped his blood from my knuckles and headed home. I was battered. I really needed to lie down a second. All this time wondering about that stupid cake. Turned out it was no revelation at all. I am so sorry. I am sure you were expecting so much more than that. So was I.

Well… that’s it then. So long and goodbye. Mystery solved you little detectives.

Wait, what? What do you mean there is still a big question mark here? Oh, right you mean who did it. Who the heck killed my baby brother? This is freaking hysterical. All this time and I never told you. You should have said something. I am so freaking oblivious sometimes. I thought it was obvious. You have to forgive old Alzheimer affected me. Why did you think I was only worried about the cake? Because I already knew everything else. Duh! I needed that last piece of the puzzle. Now it all makes sense.

The day of his death

That morning I woke up to the sound of the annoying woodpecker hammering that tree right under my window. Hate the stupid bird. I had my breakfast and went to school.

Nothing relevant happened until last period.

I almost run back home soon as the last class was over. I had something very important to discuss with my baby brother. I found him comfortably lying on the living room couch watching a movie distractedly nibbling on a huge piece of some kind of cake. And not just any kind of cake: red velvet cake.

“So I have to learn from the guys that some random kid is dating my brother? What the heck Bobby? We used to tell each other everything? What changed?”

He kept staring at the piece of half eaten red velvet cake still on his plate.

“And now you eat red velvet? What is happening to you? Jesus! I feel I don’t know you anymore.”

“Oh please Jimmy, don’t be so freaking dramatic.”

I sounded like a telenovela, I know. But one does not simply tell someone else to stop being so freaking dramatic when said person is pouring his heart out in the hope of salvaging his fraternal loving relationship with his baby brother. What can I say? I got really, really mad.

“Oh boo freaking hoo, the baby is going to play dead now waiting for his momma to come save him. Ok, show’s over Bobby come on. Cut it out! It’s not funny anymore. Bobby? Bo…”

Oh, crap.

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