Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys

 I hate Dallas, I said.

Dallas sucks, my little brother, Rick, chimed in. The previous night he lost a boatload of money on the game and was still bitter. 

I’m talking about the city, moron.

Well I’m talking about the city, the football team, that monstrosity of a stadium, Tony fucking Romo, the shitty tv show – 80s version and present incarnation included – and I especially hate that fuckface owner Jerry Jones. 

You done? I asked

All they had to do was hand the ball off and run out the damn clock! 

Or, and this is just me thinking out loud here, you could not bet on the shittiest team in the division with the most overrated quarterback in the history of the league.

I always wondered how a kid from Philly could grow up to become a diehard Cowboys fan.

I blame his mother, I thought as I stood there looking at him, shaking my head at his dumbass. I love the kid, but he really is a special kind of stupid.

My brother was born of an extra-marital affair while my own mother was dealing with a pesky little bout of cancer. Mom was fighting for her life; dad was out getting his dick wet.

I was seven when she got sick. Like any seven year old boy, my momma was my world. I was too young to understand the word cancer, I just knew she was sick. After they told me she was sick, dad found me in the kitchen opening up a can of Campbell’s Chicken Soup.

Whatcha doin’, champ?

Making momma some soup so she can get better. 

She died six months later. By then dad was already in love with Cynthia. Seven months later Rick was born.

If you hate the city so much, why the hell are you moving there? 

You know why, Rick.

Are you even sure that fucking kid is yours? He has none of your ugly! 

Okay, the kid was funny. I may hate how he came into this world, but I absolutely love the kid. It’s not his fault our dad was a whore.

My ugly came with puberty, before that I was cuter than he was.

Whatever you have to tell yourself, man, but I’ve seen pictures of you as a baby, and you were still uglier than a baboon’s ass!

He’s not wrong. I was an ugly kid. And the kid is cursed with my lopsided ears and crooked mouth, but he’s got his mother’s eyes and cheekbones. I suspect, when the time comes, he’ll do just fine with the ladies. 

Dad got sick three years ago. Rick was away at school so I got stuck with the old man. Really, Julie got stuck with the old man. We moved him in with us, hired a part-time nurse and I did my best to avoid home. In hindsight it was a dick move; I left it to my wife to work, raise our son, take care of my dying father, and run our home.

Dad died ten months later. I was relieved. But by then the damage was done. Our routine had become etched in the headstone of our marriage.

It ended suddenly and without much fanfare. She came to me one night and said, I got a promotion and the company wants me in Dallas next week. I didn’t try to stop her.

Let’s go, Rick, I can’t miss my flight.

Alright, let’s go. Lemme just refill my coffee, he said.

It was a quiet drive aside from the asshole drivers once we got into the airport. I could tell Rick just wanted to dump me off and get home, back to bed to sleep off his hangover. I was more than okay with that.

Need help with your bags?

Nah, just pop the trunk. 

Well big brother, I would tell you I’m gonna miss you, but I hate to lie.

I laughed, I love you, too, fuckface. 

I sat there waiting to board my flight surrounded by idiots in knock-off Cowboys gear. This is my life now, I thought. Idiotic fans of an overvalued team in a plastic fucking town full of small minded morons. 

Fuck this, I said to myself. I got up, and ran over to the gift shop.

Can I help you find something, sir?

Yeah, I said. I need an Eagles jersey for my kid. 

We only have tee shirts, but we have them in all kids sizes as she pointed to the Eagles display.

I grabbed two shirts, a hat and keychain football.

Where you headed? She asked as she rang it up.

Moving to Dallas to be with my son.

Looks like you’re raising him right!

Well I sure as hell am gonna try. 

Don’t let him be a Cowboys fan, she said. We laughed.

I sat on that plane clutching onto a little piece of home, a piece of me, to give to my son.

Copyright 2022 Rudy Martinez
©2024 Rudy Martinez