Mako wakes to the sound of the phone near his side of the bed. When he picks up he hears the whimpers of Abroon, his eldest son, speaking in an intoxicated combination of English and Somali. Before Mako even opens his eyes his feet are already in his sandals.
“Where are you?” he asks his son, though he already knows it will be the name of a NYPD station where one of the nice guards waits by the door after dialing Abroon’s home number from his thick file. Abroon names his location and begins to cry again. When Mako took his first steps in America and imagined the life his first son would have, it did not involve a gambling ring in fifth grade or a drug ring in seventh, the late night after late night when Abroon returns to his bedroom soaked in substances forbidden by his father’s religion.
“There’s more, Aabbo,” Abroon says as Mako reaches the garage. As soon as Mako hears the word father he knows something is wrong. “Saad is here too.” Mako hangs up and runs to his youngest son’s bedroom, but Saad is gone and the sheets contain nothing but a few open textbooks and the start of a chemistry lab worksheet. Then he gets in the BMW, revs the engine, and takes off down the street toward the city.
As he drives down the abandoned streets at 4:00 AM, Mako vows that this is the last time he will let his wastrel of a son back into his house. He has worked for over thirty years to give his sons better lives than the one he has had, practiced law despite hating it since the first day he stepped inside of a suit, forgone any luxury so that Saab and Abroon could go to soccer camps and violin lessons and later college; yet instead of using any of it for good, his firstborn wastes his money and time on sins. And now he has dragged Saad down with him into the den, which is the least forgivable sin of all. Like a diseased limb, Abroon must be cut off before he infects them all; even now, as Mako drives, he can feel the fever of memory invading his spine and brain, and Abroon is the human agent in which the disease has traveled. Mako’s hands shake against the steering wheel as he rehearses his final speech, as he plans what he will tell his wife when she wakes to find their son’s room empty, and the tap tap tap reminds him of the clap of little hands as he walked through Somalia’s hundred degree heat. The clap that imitated the rain he promised them on the other side of the ocean, dropped from the white fingers of the Water Queen onto her loyal subjects.
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Literary Fiction, Noir, Pulp Fiction, Short Stories