Tuesday, April 04, 2006


The deadline passed. Sal passed the bottle to James. “Drink to next year.” James swallowed the bitter brew. “There won’t be a next year, according to the diagnosis.” Sal glared between his younger brother’s eyes. “If you want to win that contest, prepare the portfolio and choose to live to see the result.” James, holding the foaming mug with both hands, turned his gaze from his brother’s. “We don’t have that kind of choice.” He heard the defeat in his brother’s voice; Sal sighed. It couldn’t be proven, but Sal deeply believed people survive by will. “What if the doctor had said ‘two years,’ not ‘two months’?” Sal’s brother dropped his head as if he’d fallen asleep. Then his whole body flopped to the floor. To Sal, James’ last motions seemed to take two years. Sal howled while his brother took a last breath in his arms. Beer spilled everywhere.

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