Breaking Bad

I have a younger sister and brother. Our sister is a year younger than I am, and our brother a year younger than she is. That’s right, our mom had us three in a row. We all live relatively close together, with my brother actually living four houses down from me. But even with that close proximity, I don’t get to see him too often because of our work schedules.

He currently works a graveyard shift in a job he landed after he retired from Hawaii Air National Guard. We’re pretty proud that he served in the HANG, as our dad was a military man, and that might have been part of my brother’s inspiration to serve our country. We have our normal sibling skirmishes, but for the most part, he’s a really good guy.

Everyone who knows him outside our family will tell you this: He is a generous and thoughtful man. He never broke the law and is as straight-laced as can be. The other week I offered to take him out to dinner along with our mom and my family. I drove down to his house to pick him up. As I drove to the restaurant, he received a call on his cell phone.

It’s hard not to listen in when he’s sitting right next to you. He was trying to suppress the conversation, but I heard every word. It went something like this, “Yeah, how many bags you want? That’s going to be 16 large, can you bring me the money tonight?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but pretended not to know.

He hung up and then asked if I could turn around and take him home before we go to the restaurant. He said he had to meet somebody at his house and then after that we could head back to the eatery.

Hey, I wasn’t born yesterday, and so I yelled at him, “You think I don’t know what’s going on? All this sneaking around and talk of bags and cash. Are you dealing drugs?”

He looked at me as though he was about to confess and then broke out laughing.

“You idiot, don’t you know me by now? I’m helping my friend’s business. They make smoked meat and sell it by the bag.”

Yeah, I thought, that seems more like it, and then I grasped the opportunity.

I said, “Hey man, cut me into part of the action. I’ll buy all your excess product as I love smoked meat. Just be sure you don’t rat me out to ‘the man.'”

The man, in this case, being my wife.