We’re sifting through expired relish at your dad’s lake house he bought by defending a serial killer who preyed upon cruise ship honeymooners. The saltwater slasher is estimated to have struck 8 to 14 ships, including Disney's Enchantress of the Seas. With football season two months out, your dad force feeds us whey protein. You boys gotta earn those muscles. Gotta bulk up, he says.
The avocados in the fruit bowl look like the skin of a rat snake I saw once on vacation in South Carolina. Your stepmom is drying her manicure's shellac for a girl’s brunch next weekend, so I’m watching you cut onions for the hot dogs. Your dad's grilling outside with his shirt totally unbuttoned. As a warning to us, he displays his being flat everywhere except the strained pink hair-nest of his belly. With it being October, the neighboring houses are empty, but the lake has stayed warm. That lake is filthy, your stepmom says. I’m telling you, it’s making me sicker every day.
Through the glass slider I swear I see your dad dip his beer into his naval. When he hollers, hey, Carl my man, how many dogs? I call back, three. In the courtroom, the killer claimed to be possessed by an ancient Norse evil.
We eat to Kings of Leon Pandora forced through the porch speakers. Heaps of ham pasta salad slick with mayonnaise. You’re machinery. Leave fucking nothing behind, your dad says. Strawberry rhubarb biscuits soggy beneath Redi-Whip bergs. You’re a Lacurci now and Lacurci’s don’t take prisoners. We win. Your stepmom tells him to button his shirt at the table and then he leaves to unthaw steaks from last Christmas. Winners aren’t born, they’re built out of salt and sweat.
Later, we peel off our shirts by the shoreline. There is no light beyond the moon and the jacuzzi installed as an ambient noise machine and the distant glow of American Sniper glazing your parent’s blacked-out bodies on the wraparound couch. Our stomachs look like they’ve endured vicious divorces. We slip into the water, our feet finding their place on slimy leaves. We ferry pasta salad above our heads. There is no galaxy because it’s raining a little. The lake sucks us in like a vacuum as we raise our arms skyward, offering, with Solo cups in all four hands, the atonement to Him. When you turn and run for the shore, I run back. It’s called the dark cellar effect. A feeling like something is chasing you.
In the morning your dad scrambles eggs with chives yanked from cracks in the driveway. He is thinking about going to the store for almond milk so he can make more smoothies.