Richard Lacy searched the desolate home with a desperate need, greedy to find Ole' Granny's will. He was exhausted, exhausted from boredom and anticipation and the multiple attempts of remembrance; the broken air conditioner didn't help.
"Hey Rickie," Marcus Lacy began, "Where do you think the old woman hid that darned thing? I bet you it's upstairs." Marcus was in the separate room, the living space, shouting to Richard in the dining room. Richard paced back and forth with his head down, inspecting the hardwood floors. It wasn't an inspection, really, but an easy passageway from the boredom of reality to the world he switched into when he faded away.
Marcus started upstairs. The thumps from Marcus's heavy body of blubber and oversized feet carried into the dining room. "It must be up here. We've checked everywhere," he mumbled. Then, switching to a shout, he said: "Maybe we'll just have to split the watch's profit, Rickie!"
Richard snapped back to the real world, his grandma's house, and the pale coloring that was splashed on his face morphed into a blazing red colorant, fire-like. It wasn't anger, nor sadness; at that time, Richard felt too sweaty and hot to express any emotion other than his overheated lassitude. But something changed. The competitive self he was before the boys searched Ole' Granny's house returned. The need for the piece of paper became his only thought, flaunting about in the empty crevices of his mind.
I know where she put it, he thought. A grin stretched from one side of his face to the other. His eyes became two polished bowling balls, glistening and round. I know, oh my god, I know where it is!
He pushed open the door to the living space and traveled left into the bathroom. He had no doubts Ole' Granny hid it there. He could recall the moment, the one moment in the old lady's life when she told the two brothers where she was keeping her will. He remembered her saying she didn't want anybody looking over it while her heart was still pumping. That moment was twenty-three years before; the brothers were both eleven years old by then.
He flicked on the lights. He stepped in and was greeted by the sink and the toilet and shower to its right. Unknowingly, he trembled like he was having a spasm; his knees knocked together, his hand slightly gyrated. When he grabbed the two golden knobs below the sink and tugged, it seemed like every organ in his body dropped, his blood flow stopped, and he could not produce words.
There it was. There was the elderly white piece of paper, covered by a blanket of shadows, moist from the leaking faucet. It seemed like a trophy or a crown had been presented to him by the President or a Queen; it seemed like the highest honor there was.
When he could breathe again, he extended his arm into the bundle of rusting pipes and toiletries. Fear spilled out of his pores, fear of the miniscule chance that his brother, that damned Marcus Christian Lacy, might have won the fortunes the watch beheld.
No, he thought, I was Ole' Granny's favorite from the beginning. He pinched the paper and pulled it back. A new wave of confidence rushed through him; he felt empowered, strong, a Julius Caesar. He unraveled the paper as if it were an ancient scroll, and his bottom jaw dropped below sea level. Although the typed font was plain, Richard could only see gibberish on paper, letters and words he was too hesitant and afraid to accept. But he needed to accept it. And he knew it. Yes, he knew it. Choking down a load of saliva, he read:
Katherine Lacy's Will
Written on January 3, 1993
It continued with some mentions of the two lawyers that helped her create the will; free advertising for a couple of current retired elders. Then, biting his lower lip, his eyes strolled across the term, the single term, that flushed any confidence deciding to stick around for the show away.
I gift my prized watch to Marcus Lacy, it read.
It rang in his ears, a repetitious wail of annoyance and agonistic jealousy.
"Not up there," spoke Marcus, standing at the foot of the stairs. When no voices returned, he asked: "Hey Rickie, where'd you go?"
The voice hit Richard; he jumped, assuming in an instant Marcus was staring at him with the will in his hands, the will with his brother's name on it.
I gift my prized watch to Marcus Lacy.
Marcus called again, approaching the bathroom at a steady pace. "You got it or something?"
"Yeah," Richard choked out, and he was amazed, exasperated that he did so. A sudden feeling of hatred for himself cornered his soul, threatened it, and beat it. The watch, the two-hundred thousand bucks, could've been his. His plans to go into court with hopes of obtaining custody of his children were gone. A new car, perhaps; that idea was in the landfill. Everything seemed to have ditched him, left him behind to fend for himself.
Marcus stepped into the bathroom, then noticed the paper held firmly in his brother's hands. "Who won?"
They were both hushed. The bathroom clock ticked, extracting the final piece of complete silence out of the scene. It rarely occurred; it had a prepossessing factor of beauty, despite Richard's opinion.
Richard, opening his mouth to say the words he least expected to tell him, said: "You."
Marcus revealed his teeth as he grinned the widest, largest grin he had ever committed. A bucket of joy spilled out of his body and splashed onto the tiled floor of the bathroom. Richard kicked the vibrant fluids away.
"Twenty years, brother. It took so long for this bet to be settled, but it paid off... for me. But, I guess, good game, if you can call it a game." Marcus stuck out his hand, and, unexpectedly, Richard took it.
They decided to sleep at Ole' Granny's house that night; it would save a long trip, especially with drowsy people at the wheel.
Before Marcus went to bed, he snatched the watch out of its leather case and wrapped it around his wrist, flaunting it before Richard. He was satisfied. After twenty years of waiting and waiting for the watch to be hooked around his arm, it made sense.
"You're going to sleep with it on?" asked Richard.
"Of course. To keep it protected."
It was obvious why he kept it on his wrist. He didn't want big brother stealing the watch, which was grandma's-and now Marcus's-favorite possession.
Richard exited his brother's room. Marcus slept in the guest bedroom, and he slept in Ole' Granny's queen-sized bed. There was a part of him that knew he wasn't going to sleep that night, despite how comfortable the bed was. He pondered over the fact he slept on a dead woman's mattress. It was one of the several tattoos on his brain. Another tattoo, taking up a large portion of vacant space, was the sudden abhor for his brother. A lovable, yet loathsome man he was. Richard could see him as an average Joe, poor but generous, giving some quarters to a homeless man on the curb; but the other vision was of Marcus as a current-day Hitler. At that moment, he held a deep hate, constantly seeing his brother's smug face imprinted behind his eyelids. He doubted it would change.
Richard mumbled gibberish.
His eyes widened, and his pupils enlarged. In the corner of his eye was a disturbing sparkle, reflecting everything he envisioned for the future, for his future, and for Marcus's future.
"I gift my prized watch to Marcus Lacy," he whispered, a mockery, then repeated it.
Marcus shuffled in bed, the watch continuing to shine in the dull light.
Richard Lacy: The Worst of the Living. It was what he referred to himself as, a sort of nickname. He believed all aspects of the title were correct. "The worst life has officially been lived," he told his mother after he revealed his divorce with Molly Lamarre. Molly was the woman he loved, never expecting the excessive loving to come to a halt. She was the woman he loved. Was.
His paycheck stayed at the lowest of lows. Attending the major position of janitor at Dunwaters High School, he expected no more than the pay of a teenager working at an unpopular McDonalds on the side of a freeway. With the incoming checks, he could pay off his bills for the apartment and stay frugal at the cheap grocery store.
And he thought it would all leave. He thought every problem he faced would be washed away, the disgusting bacteria wiped off of the windshield displaying the possibilities to come. He thought it would all vanish when he got the watch.
It was a fire drill alarm, beeping and beeping and beeping at a constant rate, creating an extreme level of annoyance inside his mind. His head throbbed, pulsating. He wondered if his heart headed North up to his brain for a weekend.
"I gift my prized watch to Marcus Lacy," he mumbled, opening a kitchen drawer. He smiled hysterically, eyes squinted and pink. A migraine began to form, like an initiating hurricane about to obliterate a state full of worried Americans, searching for shelter when there is no shelter left. He said it again, punctuated with a chuckle.
Scattered inside the drawer was silverware, a vast selection of fancy and cheap products, reflecting Richard's deep eye bags casting a shadow on the skin below them. His eyes were attracted to the kitchen knives, sharpened to a point designed to cut vegetables and fruit. Richard didn't see it like that. It was a weapon; yes, it was a weapon in the eyes of a hurting civilian, searching for a way to stop the pain. And Ole' Granny's watch was the cure.
A burst of adrenaline ran through him as he gripped the wood handle of the knife. His muscles stiffened, his hairs bristled and erect. But, squeezing the the handle, he realized guilt piled up inside him, standing tall like a New York City tower. Guilt put a petite tear in his eye. Guilt clicked his switch from on to off. Guilt was what held him back, guilt was the factor keeping his brother alive, breathing the air that allowed him to experience joy, love, excitement, pain-
Then a flock of memories plowed through the horde of guilt. A counteraction forced the escaping tear to retreat. It was gone, the guilt, murdered by the tractor of reality. Realizations struck him: He needed the money. He needed to go back on the correct path. Guilt was not going to be a roadblock on his way to happiness.
Tightening his grip on the knife, examining the cleaned blade, he stepped out of the kitchen lights into the dark living space, leading to the guest room. He chose not to think.
His headache worsened after stepping into the guest room.
The body was motionless like it was already dead. "I gift my prized watch to Marcus Lacy," Richard whispered. It was inaudible, and he repeated the saying in his head over and over and over. It wouldn't end, an infinite voice humming a dissonant song.
Marcus shifted positions; his new position revealed the watch, and Richard titillated over the priceless item.
A breath puffed out of the slot between Richard's lips.
He rose the knife, the weapon, and accelerated on the way down, driving it into Marcus's layer of rough skin covering his chest. An elongated slit opened up; a waterfall of blood poured down his stomach. Marcus's eyes widened, and he let out a groan of agony.
The expectations of a new life gave Richard a certain rush, a thrill. He rose the knife again, then brought it down.
It connected with the watch. It seemed to happen in slow-motion, in a timeframe where a single movement took hours. The glass frame smashed; tiny pieces flung outwards and onto Marcus himself, who gagged just looking at the blood. And, with the leisurely time frame in action, Richard dropped the knife. It hit the ground and fell to its side, dripping with the cringe-inducing red liquid.
Richard's brother's vision turned into a blank screen; he choked on his own throw-up and bled. He bled to death.
It was an impossible feat in life.
There was complete silence.