I knew something was wrong with the baby as soon as Kali laid it in my arms. A solid sack of flour. The baby looked at me with flat, pale eyes. Not a wiggle. The puff of white hair on its little head stood out as sparse as dandelion fluff. I didn’t know what to say.
There is not a single thing to say about the old man that we haven’t said. My brother is still passing the whiskey, but we’ve all gone silent. My uncle Charlie, my dad’s older brother, leans his elbows on his knees. He’s so drunk he can barely sit. The other men are old as well except for my brother Ralph who is two years younger. Ralph is holding his liquor so far, but his eyes look a little glassy. I can drink them all under the table, so I bide my time.
“Hello! Qué? What!” The squat man shouted into the phone as if the volume would increase the chances of him being understood. The red light from the control panel in the pilot house lit his scowling Mayan face against the black night outside. Next to him, the pilot leaned back in his comfortable swivel chair watching the panel of instruments glowing carmine in the night and cleaning his fingernails with a knife.
If we were smart, we would have been in bed asleep since it was almost tomorrow. The three of us just sat by the firepit shivering, passing a pint of whiskey. Andy’s voice rose above the sound of the waves lapping up against the boats and the boats knocking up against the dock of the marina.
I’d been working at the Piggly-Wiggly about six weeks when Mr. Blocker threw the can. I was stocking TP when I first saw it sailing over the paper products aisle, slow motion like a movie. It was a 26 ounce can of Delmonte baby peas with the green label.