“Here you go.” Jesse digs around in the cooler at his feet, hands me
a cold can of beer. “Deidra, this is what you really want.” He’s smirk-
ing as he turns away to reel in his line. “Dee-Dee,” he says, “go ahead,
stop fucking around.” This stabs me, because he knows that my asshole
brother, my once beloved brother, is the only one who has ever called
me Dee-Dee. I want to say to him, “Okay, asshole, how about you and
your baby girl Kayla; why didn’t you notice she was running with a thug,
sleeping with him, getting pregnant? Filming it as he strangles an old
lady to death for drug money? Accessory to murder. Barely sixteen years
old, and her life is fucked.”
I bite my tongue. I look at Andy. I can’t read his face. I think I’ve
made him sad.
I pop open the top of the beer. Guzzle half of it. My God, it’s heaven.
Then I lean over Jesse and pour the other half into the river under his
“Oh, Dee, you trying to make a statement?” He’s slurring his words,
and he rockets up from his chair and wobbles as he turns to face us. His
face is beet red, his eyes bloodshot, a scraggle of beard on his face, shot
“You trying to make a statement, Jesse?” I challenge him without
having any idea if this is a good idea or not.
He takes an uncertain step backward, close to the edge of the old
“Easy there, Jesse, you’ll end up in the river,” says Andy.
“Good a place as any.”
“Don’t do this to Marlena. You know her daddy drowned.”
“Oh, it’s all about you and Marlena,” snarls Jesse. “This shit again.
You been talking to her?”
“She’s worried about you. She loves you. She wants you to come
“You fucking my wife?”
“You know better than that.”
“I don’t know a goddamn thing.”
“You know sitting here drinking is not the answer.”
“Oh, you and Dee, you got all the answers now?”
We sense some people behind us. I see the tightness in Andy’s face.
“Petryck,” says a voice. “What the fuck you doin’ here?”
“Helping a friend.”