The rich and powerful collide with a local street gang.
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Rainer is a successful doctor and father of two. He’s a celebrated member of the community for his exceptional care and charity work. Brick is a local street thug that can’t keep his nose clean. When fate brings the two together through tragedy, the life of Rainer is changed dramatically.
Glenn is a seasoned cop and Rainer’s younger brother. Trusting the justice system, he keeps his desire for revenge in check as Brick is brought to trial. But when the jury hands Brick a lean sentence, Glenn sets out to avenge his family’s suffering. But what he forgets in his rage is that for every action, there is a reaction.
To God and the mysteries of this life.
Wonder about your future only briefly as you are here now. Live
your life and love others without limitations. Tomorrow may
If murder were legal, there would be dozens of bodies left in
“Damn it,” she whispered, and heaved a sigh. She stared at the
caravan of cars that inched forward and squeezed the steering
wheel. They went on as far as the eye could see, hardly moving.
She rested her elbow on the armrest and pushed taut fingers
through her hair.
Jennifer looked into the rearview mirror and both Emily and
Hannah stared back.
“Yes?” Jennifer said with the most patient voice she could
“You shouldn’t say words like that mommy,” Emily said.
“You’re right, I shouldn’t. I’m sorry.”
“Do you think we’re going to be late, is that why you’re
mad?” Emily said.
The clock on the car radio read 4:00.
“I hope not,” Jennifer said, but deep down inside she didn’t
think their tardiness was avoidable. She clamped her eyes shut
and tried to ignore a deep pain that pulsed and hid tactfully
behind her eyes.
“Are you not feeling well, mommy?” Hannah said.
“Mommy’s fine,” she said. “I am just worried that we are
going to be late and that will make me and your daddy late for the
“It’s okay,” Hannah said and looked out the side window.
“You shouldn’t worry so much. Daddy is the star and they can’t
do anything without him.”
Jennifer laughed. “I suppose you’re right.” She watched a car
that rode the shoulder all the way to the next exit.
“Mommy, you should follow him,” Emily said, and pointed at
the car that Jennifer watched. “He’s going fast!”
“I . . . ” Jennifer thought to protest the suggestion, but knew it
was the only way. The risk of getting a ticket was worth the time
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
she could save. She cut the wheel hard right and stepped on the
gas. The powerful car raced up the shoulder and approached
another long line of cars that led to a blinking traffic light. She
pressed the brake pedal hard and stopped the car just short of the
vehicle in front of her. The force of the abrupt halt pushed
everyone forward in their seats and snapped them back.
“I’m sorry,” Jennifer said. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“You don’t think daddy will leave without you, do you?”
Hannah said, her eyes wide with the question.
Jennifer laughed. “No, I don’t suppose he would.”
The vehicles ahead of her managed to merge their way into
traffic quicker than she anticipated.
“I know that because he loves you too much to do that,”
Hannah said. “He tells you that all the time.”
“You are very smart,” Jennifer smiled.
She had tried to organize the events of this day in advance and
believed she had given herself plenty of time to complete her
tasks and ready the children before her husband arrived home.
She had intended to have everyone ready for the evening’s event
prior to the babysitter’s arrival. That way there would be no stress
and the perfect tone would be set for the night.
“Something going perfectly, imagine that . . . ” she whispered
and chuckled at the thought.
“Mommy, what did you say?” Emily said.
“Nothing, honey. I’m just talking to myself.”
Her day had started off with a routine checkup at the dentist’s
office. From there she had gone directly to the woman’s health
clinic because she hadn’t been feeling well the last few weeks
and her appetite had grown substantially.
“I just knew it,” she said, and rubbed her belly.
She couldn’t wait to share the news with her husband, Rainer,
but had already decided that she would wait until tomorrow to do
that. This was his day and he deserved the attention without
anything taking away from it. He worked hard and gave so much
of himself to everyone.
Jennifer inched the car to the blinking light and she looked left
and then to the right. A steady flow of cars came from both
Jennifer looked in the rearview mirror. Emily had unbuckled
her harness and had climbed out of her booster seat. She was
standing between the driver and passenger seats.
“Emily!” Jennifer said, and quickly turned and faced her
daughter. “Get back in your seat!”
“But . . .”
“No buts, Emily. Do what I’m telling you to. Do it right now!”
Jennifer put the car in park and grabbed Emily by the arm and
forced her into her seat.
“I’ve told you never to do this!”
“You hurt my arm!”
“It’s better than you going flying through the windshield! I
told you getting out of your seat is dangerous and you can get
Emily’s face reddened and her eyes welled with tears. Her
bottom lip curled and her expression contorted into something
“You hurt me mom!”
“Why can’t you stay in your seat like your sister?”
“Why?” Jennifer said, her frustration turning to anger.
Emily looked at her twin sister and she was buckled in her
seat. She looked at her mother with a blank stare. She rubbed her
“Do you want a policeman to come and take you away from
Emily shook her head and began to pout. “Uncle Glenn
wouldn’t do that to me.”
“He would if he found out what you were doing.”
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
“Stop beeping your damn horn!” Jennifer yelled, staring out
the back window.
Emily folded her arms across her chest. “No, he wouldn’t!”
“Yes, he would.”
Emily kicked the back of her mother’s seat. “And I said he
Jennifer glared at her daughter. “Don’t you dare talk back to
your mother like that. I’ll take the television away from you for a
“I don’t care!”
Jennifer swiped an open hand across Emily’s cheek.
A boiling wail erupted from Emily. Hannah looked at her
sister and she started to cry. A chorus of shouts filled the vehicle
and brought Jennifer’s headache to a whole new level.
“I’m telling daddy you hit me!”
“And I’m not going to tell you again. Don’t you dare get out
of that seat!”
Jennifer buckled her in and sharply turned her attention to
Hannah. “And you have nothing to be crying about.”
Jennifer faced forward and stomped the gas pedal and the car
lurched into the middle of the intersection. In a moment of
clarity, Jennifer noticed a bluish colored car that skidded towards
her and she started to scream. It approached at a speed and angle
that seemed impossible to avoid.
Ruth drummed her fingers on the steering wheel of the 1978
Chevy Nova. She rocked back and forth to the distorted rhythm
of a punk rock band that blared from the speakers. A lit cigarette
hung loosely between her lips and its long ash end threatened to
“You thankless bastard,” she said and bit back at the surging
anger. She turned the radio up louder.
Fast food wrappers, empty beer cans and dirty clothes were
strewn about the floor, passenger, and back seat of the vehicle.
“Brick,” she said through clenched teeth. Bad thoughts
continued to come and they crinkled her brows. “The moment I
see you, you’re going to get the biggest smack of your life.”
Ruth tried to roll down the window, but the frigid conditions
outside held it closed. She applied pressure to the window crank
and the frozen seal let go with a pop. Despite the subzero
temperature outside, she lowered the window halfway.
“No, first I’m going to tell him what an asshole he is, and then
I’ll hit him.”
Although both ideas sounded great when she played them out
in her mind, she knew neither would happen so she submitted to
“You’re an insensitive bastard. Brick the dick.”
She knew she was going to melt when she saw him and jump
into his arms. The strength in his hug would be enough to make
her forget. Knowing he was out of prison and would be around
every day was enough to help her forget any bad he might have
“And what does it really matter anyway?”
She looked at her eyes in the rearview mirror and they were
bright red. “That was some good shit,” she said and laughed.
“I’ve got to remember to have Alvaro get me more of that.”
A shiver rocked her body.
The bite of the frigid air was fierce. A foggy haze started to
form on the window. She bunched her sleeve in her hand and
mopped the glass while she searched the dashboard for the heat
“Man, this cold is awful!”
Her teeth chattered and she rolled the window up. She placed
her numb fingers close to the heat vents and the cigarette dropped
its ashen end onto her leg. Unbeknownst to her, the ember began
to work its way through her jeans.
“Damn, that feels good,” she said, referring to the heat that
wafted out of the vents. She switched hands back and forth,
steering with one, and warming the other.
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
Something that stung her thigh demanded her immediate
attention. She swiped a hand across her leg and brushed away the
cigarette ash that burned her skin.
“You son of a bitch!”
The fiery sensation lingered like the prick from a needle. She
clenched her teeth and pounded her fist off of the dashboard.
She looked at the small burn hole in her jeans. “Great. Now
my buzz is gone and my only good pair of pants are ruined.”
At that moment, she caught a glimpse of something hurrying
in front of her car and she jerked the wheel left. White-knuckled
fingers held on tight as the vehicle went into a skid.
When Jennifer started to scream, she clamped her eyes shut
and braced herself for impact. She had allowed her emotions to
get the better of her and she lashed out at her own child and
didn’t look before she applied pressure to the gas pedal. She
catapulted herself, her children and unborn child into the waiting
arms of tragedy.
What kind of mother would do something like that?
Her concept of time left her and the screams of her frightened
children were drowned out by the haunting screech of an
approaching vehicle that skidded and turned at an awkward
Then as quickly as the sound of chaos erupted around her,
everything suddenly fell silent. It was awful, this silence, and it
begged attention. Jennifer hesitated, but found the courage to
open her eyes.
The engine knocked, puked a thick black plume of smoke, and
then stalled. The radio cut out and the heat died. Having looked
over her shoulder to peer out the rear window, Ruth saw the
white car that was responsible for nearly killing her.
Her adrenaline began to race and she had to know what the
driver of the other vehicle was doing.
Ruth pulled the lever but the door held closed. “If they were
on their phone, I’m going to break it over their head.”
She threw a shoulder into it and forced it open, but only
slightly. Hitting the door a second time, though stubborn, it gave
way and opened fully with a creak.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Ruth said. The thick
lingering cloud of burnt rubber and gray blue exhaust masked the
occupants of the white car.
Ruth strutted towards the car and a million different thoughts
of what she might do when she came nose to nose with the driver
raced through her mind. Man or woman, it didn’t matter. One
thing she decided was that slap she had been saving for Brick was
going to be used on the moron that operated that white car
Once she came within a few feet of the vehicle, she pointed
and laughed at the petite woman latched onto the steering wheel.
Her fear was obvious and she appeared as though she had spent
too many hours in a tanning bed. The dead animal she had snug
around her neck and the fancy car she drove was an insult to the
“Maybe you should have purchased some driving lessons
instead of worrying about all of the crap you surround yourself
with. No one cares how rich you are, you moron!”
Ruth slapped the window to gain the woman’s attention. “Hey,
I’m talking to you! What in the hell is wrong with you? Are you
blind or something?”
The tan-faced woman looked at her with a distant,
unconcerned look. Her children were crying and they both had
rotten faces covered with snot and tears.
Ruth pounded the window a second time and the tan-faced
woman mouthed the words I’m sorry. The insincere gesture only
intensified Ruth’s anger and she pounded on the hood of the car.
“You know what, you little bitch, why don’t you get out of the
car so I can give you what you deserve for almost killing me!”
Ruth pulled on the door handle and it was locked.
The tan-face woman turned to calm her children and seemed
hardly concerned by Ruth’s outbursts.
“You think you can ignore me?” Ruth said.
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
She backed up three steps and hopped twice before she
planted her foot on the front quarter panel of the car. In front of
the wheel, the metal bent inwards and the vehicle rocked from the
force of the blow.
Ruth laughed as she inspected the damage her kick had left
behind. She pointed at the dent and turned her attention to the
driver. “You see? That’s just what you deserve! Now get out of
the car and do something about it!”
The petite woman rolled down the window a crack and said
something that was inaudible to Ruth. It was drowned out by the
swooping wind and the howls that came from the children.
“What?” Ruth said and moved her ear to the window.
Jumbled shouts and chaos within the car continued to drown
out the woman’s voice but the way her mouth moved with the
accentuated creases in her skin reminded Ruth of an old leather
baseball mitt that needed to be oiled. It was annoying and her fist
would do it some good.
The kids continued to scream and carry on and Ruth laughed
knowing she was able to return the favor of ruining someone’s
“Hey,” Ruth said, her stern focus on the children. “Shut the
hell up, you spoiled little shits!”
The words scared the children into silence.
“There you go,” Ruth said and looked at Jennifer. “Now you.
Is there something wrong with you? Are you trying to kill
“They’re just kids,” tan-face said, and her curt response turned
Ruth’s lips upwards into a satisfied grin.
“Why don’t you get out of your car and do something about
“I said I was sorry. What happened was an honest mistake.
Now please just leave us alone.”
Ruth’s shoulders slumped and she shook her head. “Just when
I thought things were going to get interesting, you go and say
something as weak as that. It was an accident, my ass!” Ruth
said, and drove her finger into the window. “You were probably
on your damn cell phone booking your next tanning session and
you nearly killed me in the process.”
A large man wrapped in an apron stained with blood stepped
off the curb and stole Ruth’s attention. She swung around to face
him and reached her hand inside her coat. She paused, her eyes
wide, filled with warning. “You should mind your own business,
fat man, and walk away.”
The meat man raised his hands in surrender and took a few
steps away. “Take it easy. I don’t want any trouble. I’m just
making sure everyone’s okay and this doesn’t get out of control.”
“Everyone is fine and this ain’t none of your damn business,”
Tan-face knocked on her window and showed Ruth her cell
phone. “You should leave now because I’m calling the police.”
“And if I wanted, you’d be dead before they even got here,”
Ruth said with fire in her eyes. “Rich assholes like you think they
own the damn world.”
She pulled her hand out of her pocket and made it into a gun.
She aimed it at tan-face and pushed her thumb down.
“Bang, you’re dead. It would be that simple.”
She started to walk away.
“No,” Ruth said, paused, and then turned around and kicked a
second dent into the quarter panel.
Satisfied that they were even now, she walked back to her car
with a confident swagger. She reached inside her car for a lighter
and looked back at the white car. Lighting the cigarette, she took
a deep drag and stared at tan-face for a few moments. She
showed her the middle finger and laughed merrily when the
woman looked away.
Sitting inside her car, she twisted the key in the ignition and
the machine whined. The tired old engine sputtered to life and
belched a thick cloud of grey smoke that added to the already
murky air. Ruth threw the car into drive and stomped the gas
pedal and sang along to a song filled with hate and aggression.
Eddie trembled at the sound of tires that skidded and he braced
himself for the violent sound of impact. After a few tense
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
moments, he sighed in relief. Thankful that he wouldn’t be
pulling bloody people out of their twisted collapsed cars and
having to offer them what little assistance he could until the
paramedics came, he sighed again.
His two year service to his country in Iraq taught him basic
skills to keep the wounded alive and aware long enough until the
field doctor came. The violence of war and the memories woke
him on many nights throughout the years and never seemed to
dull. Each and every person that had been hurt on that corner
over the years reminded him of days he would rather forget. Painfilled
faces and pleading eyes haunted him every night and this
location only added to his closet full of ghosts.
Eddie looked Heavenward. “Thank you Lord I wasn’t slicing
meat,” he said.
Eddie wiped his hands on his apron and mindlessly grabbed a
foam plate off the countertop. He approached the large storefront
window and glanced outside. A thick haze clouded the air and to
his relief he didn’t see any mangled vehicles or bodies strewn
On his way out the door, he reminded himself he was going
through this at least twice a week. Why would a nonfunctioning
traffic light remain broken for so long —especially one that was
right off of a major parkway? How many people would have to
get injured or even die before they finally did something about it?
He watched dumbfounded as a plump young woman ran
around wildly. She shouted obscenities, made threats and kicked
massive dents into the side of a white car. Whatever was going
on looked as though it was getting out of hand, and he knew he
needed to intervene before someone got hurt. He stepped into the
street, and despite his massive size, he felt a little uneasy about
the young woman’s crazy behavior.
Jennifer stared at Ruth as she walked away. Disbelief that
someone so young could be so intensely mean and unforgiving
held her jaw agape. The twins continued to whimper in their fear,
and she looked at them in hopes of being able to calm them.
“It’s okay now. The bad woman is going away.”
A knock on the side window startled Jennifer and she
responded with a screech. She tried to scoot to the passenger seat
but the belt she wore kept her in place. The children started to
scream again and their shouts were ear piercing.
Worried that the girl had returned to follow through with her
threats, she looked at an overweight man that wore a bloody
apron and was motioning for her to roll down her window. In
light of recent events, she didn’t consider it. She threw the car
into drive and began to roll out of the intersection.
The overweight man jogged next to her car and struggled to
keep up. He pressed a foam plate with sloppy handwriting on it to
the window and knocked again. “Come on lady,” he said. “I can’t
keep this up much longer. I just want to give you the license plate
number to that girl’s car.”
Jennifer looked at the writing and slowed her car to a stop. She
rolled her window down a crack and accepted the information
with a smile filled with shame. “I’m sorry,” she said, and checked
her rearview mirror. “But I didn’t know if you were with her.”
“If I was, then this would have been a great way for me to gain
your trust. No doubt about it, I’d have you where I wanted you.
But I’m not.” He pointed at his store. “I own the butcher shop,”
he said, and struggled to catch his breath. “Besides, I don’t
normally walk around town like this.” He tugged on his apron
and smiled. “People might think I’m a little crazy.”
Jennifer returned the smile and placed the foam plate into the
glove box. “Thank you for your trouble.”
“Don’t mention it,” he said. “My name is Eddie DePina. If
you need a witness statement or something, I have no problem
doing that for you. You know where to find me.”
“Thank you, that is very kind of you,” Jennifer said, and
realized the children had quieted and her hands had stopped
shaking. She smiled knowing there were still some kind people
left in the world. And luckily for her, this one just happened to be
close by when she needed him most.
“If you would like to come into my shop, I can call the police
for you if that makes you feel any safer?” Eddie looked down the
street both ways. “I’m sure she couldn’t have gotten too far.”
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
“Thank you, but I’m going to have to decline.”
“You have a pretty big dent in your car and you seem pretty
shook up by what just happened. Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. I have somewhere to go and I’m already late.
Did you know who she was?”
Eddie shook his head. “She’s a local street thug. I have seen
her here and there and I think she runs with a gang or something.
Obviously they have nothing better to do than try and scare
“I don’t trust that prick,” Ruth said, and turned down the first
side street she found and doubled back. She made sure she was
far enough away so that she wouldn’t be seen. Pulling the car to
the curb, she stalled the engine. Her gaze settled on the fat man.
She was positive that he wasn’t going to heed her warning and
mind his own business. And once he crossed that line from stupid
to disrespectful, she would send him a message he would never
As if on cue, she observed the fat man scrutinize the roads on
which she had departed and soon after, he approached the white
car that nearly rammed her. She wasn’t expecting anything less
out of him because she remembered him and how he couldn’t
keep his nose out of other people’s business.
The memory was from a time when Brick and Beto got along.
From a time she wished would never have ended.
She laughed at the memory and enjoyed it with a smile.
Before the group had a name they were all hanging out at the
local high school. They were gathered on the dark side of the
bleachers that surrounded the football field. The group drank
beer, smoked a little weed and exchanged stories about what
mischief they caused. But on this particular night when the beer
began to run low, even though they couldn’t come up with five
dollars combined, her, Brick and Beto volunteered to go on a
beer run and they promised everyone they would return with
more alcohol before their buzz started to wear off.
Almost an entire hour had passed before they were able to
reunite with the group. Their foreheads were sweaty and they
panted from climbing fences, hiding in dark places, and sprinting
from cover to cover. When Brick finally caught his breath, he had
explained why they were gone for so long and why they had
returned empty handed.
“So I’m in the back of Cono’s deli stuffing beers into my
coat,” Brick had said. “I’m loading the sleeves, stuffing the inside
pockets, just putting crap anywhere I could fit it. When I couldn’t
fit anymore, I zipped my jacket up to my neck while Beto and
Ruth tried to distract that crazy old man that own the place.”
“His name is Cono,” Macho said.
Macho was Brick’s older brother, the founder and leader of
“That’s right, crazy Cono,” Brick said. “Man that guy is out
there.” He rolled his eyes.
“Anyway, they had me laughing when they were shaming
crazy Cono, telling him he was trying to sell them expired milk
on purpose and that they had a baby at home. That distraction
was enough, but for some reason they didn’t think so.”
Brick spat and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
“We were trying to get him away from the front door,” Ruth
“By bringing him to the section I was loading up in?”
“We wanted to make sure you had a clear path to the door,”
“Anyways, when they walked him down the aisle, I simply
walked past them with hardly a problem.”
“You see?” Ruth said.
“The bottles in my jacket made all sorts of clanking sounds
and I was nervous as hell, but crazy Cono didn’t even look at me.
When I got to the door, the fat butcher dude from next door
comes into the store, waving a fifty-dollar bill over his head and
shouting how he needed change.”
Ruth waddled and waved her hands over her head like a
monkey. She imitated the fat guy and the group of kids laughed
at her antics.
YOU KILLED MY BROTHER
“No way,” Macho said. “That guy is a big dude. When you
saw him did you about crap yourself or what?”
Brick paused and puffed his chest. “Me?” He exhaled. “Yeah,
The group roared in laughter.
“But hold on, the story gets even better,” Brick said. “So the
fat guy walked right into me like I wasn’t even there. I bounced
off of him and a beer rolled out of my jacket and smashed on the
floor between us. I’m standing there now, thinking like, ‘Oh shit,
what the hell should I do?’ and I go to run. The guy reaches for
me and I swear to God his arm was like five feet long and his
hand was as big as a catcher’s mitt, because he caught me by my
jacket and yanked me backwards like I was a rag doll. I fell to the
floor and beer bottles flew everywhere, smashing all around me
like bombs being dropped out of an airplane. I went to get up and
he stomped down on my chest, forcing the air out of my lungs. I
was pinned to the ground and gasping for air. I swear, I thought I
was going to die.”
Macho shook his head. “There wasn’t any fat man and there
wasn’t any attempt at nabbing us some beers. You all are a bunch
“No man, I’m serious,” Brick said, and looked at Beto for
confirmation. “Right, man?”
All eyes shifted to Beto and he opened his arms and shrugged.
“It’s exactly like he says man. Crazy stuff.”
Satisfied with Beto’s response, Brick continued with the story.
“So the meat guy begins shouting to Crazy Cono, ‘Hey, I caught
this little prick up here trying to steal from you!’ That’s when
Beto came running around the corner with his shoulders down.
He hit the big man so hard that he flew into the doorway. Then
Ruth came out of nowhere and kicked him right in his face. He
groaned like a girl and he felt his mouth to see how many teeth he
was missing. Ruth helped me to my feet and we bolted out the
door. We’ve been trying to make it here ever since. The cops are
out all over the place trying to find us. But hey, here we are!”
Brick reached into his inside pocket.
“And although the reward is small, we came away with a little
He pulled two beers out and held them up like they were
trophies. The group celebrated with boisterous cheers.
“Hold on, hold on,” Brick said, quieting everyone. “That’s not
all.” He pulled out the fifty-dollar bill the fat man dropped in the
scuffle. “Now we’ve got plenty of money for next weekend!”
Ruth stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Brick. “I
think we should go back in a few days and kick the crap out of
the fat son of a bitch just so he knows to mind his own business
Macho stepped forward and pushed her shoulder. “First off,
you need to watch your mouth. All you do is curse and it makes
you sound like a jerkoff. And secondly, you need to stop trying to
kick everyone’s ass. I say we stay away from there until things
That had been five years ago, and in Ruth’s mind, it could’ve
been yesterday or today. It really didn’t matter. They were
disrespected and that was unforgivable. The belief they made a
mistake that day by not settling the score with him had bothered
her and finally those feelings were being validated.
As she observed the meat man, she couldn’t help but notice
how much fatter he looked. He waddled when he walked and she
was surprised he didn’t drop dead of a heart attack when he ran
next to that white car.
She watched him hand something to the woman and she had
no doubt that it was the license plate number to the car she drove.
“Good luck with that one, asshole,” she said, and started the
car. She made a U-turn and felt a surge of regret that she didn’t
protest Macho’s decision not to go after him and teach him a
lesson right then and there. But if there was anything she had
learned since then, it was that it was never too late to settle old