Excerpt from the chapter “The shadow of the Patterson Brothers”

I slipped out the house, successfully eluding the detection my parents who were snoring heavily in concert with the Sandman. I closed and locked the door with the velvet touch of a cat burglar, I gleefully hopped down the stairs and turned the corner with a sense of purpose and self-assurance, my shirt was crisply ironed and fresh with the scent of lemon infused spray starch, my pants wielded a fresh crease so sharp that I recall thinking that I would be able to cut a ham sandwich in half without any semblance of effort. I had a pronounced bounce in my step at the prospect of what the night would hold for me, but the prospect of making my debut at the party being held at the Bismarck Hotel began to fade as soon I saw that familiar silhouette of my older brother Alfie against the backdrop of the dusk and the reflecting din of the license plates in the parking lot where everyone was gathering prior to the departure downtown.

Initially, he seemed perplexed at my presence, but he quickly shook off the shock to assume his role of raining on my parade.”Where are you going? Go in the house”, he barked! There was a rising crescendo of snickers from everyone assembled, followed by silence as the realization that this could get ugly faster than it could be humorous and the prospect of getting pummeled by my brother in front of the neighborhood was something that I was unwilling to add to my resume at the time. Undeterred and recalling the herculean effort that I put into ironing my attire, I tried to protest his command by pointing out of that many of my friends were going as well, but when he started towards me, I quickly pivoted on the heel of my foot and headed into the house with my face flushed with embarrassment.

 

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