It had been a few weeks since Derek’s fight. His grades were somewhat respectable now, even though he still struggled in class and with his homework. At least Mom was happy with his grades. He still hated school. The only thing he enjoyed there was hanging with his friends: Olivia, Mac, Brandt and Kody.
In class, he sat with Brandt and Olivia, which made being in a class a bit better. At least he could pass notes to Brandt. Olivia would freak though if she knew they passed notes. She was such a teacher’s pet! Derek’s other friend and Brant’s twin, Kody was in the other fifth grade class at the school. It totally sucked.
When the school bell rang for the day, Derek went to the front of the school and met his sister, Bailee while they searched for their grandmother. Typically, Grandma Eliza picked them up from school, and would watch them until Mom showed up.
Today, though, Derek noticed Uncle Anthony standing outside the school. He wanted to groan. Uncle Tony wasn’t at all cool like he used to be. Dad was right, he really did have a stick up his butt. Uncle Anthony never let Derek have fun when he picked him up from school.
Of course, Bailee noticed Uncle Anthony too, and started to wave frantically and calling out his name while dragging Derek towards Uncle Tony and his truck.
Bailee screamed for their uncle and gave him a hug, jumping into his arms. The traitor. She was such a little goody-girl who liked everyone, even if they were mean like Uncle Tony.
Derek gave a sort-of smile to his uncle. He still remembered how Uncle Tony threatened to clear out his room if he got into another fight. Uncle Anthony was mean! A complete jerk!
“Come on, let’s get you two home,” Uncle Anthony said and took Bailee’s hand. He led the two kids his truck down the street.
While Bailee told Uncle Anthony everything she was learning in school, Derek tuned her out. He really didn’t like today now. He was hoping to hang out with Brandt and Kody, but he was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen.
When they arrived to the apartment, Derek definitely knew that he wouldn’t be seeing his friends. The moment they stepped inside, Uncle Anthony pointed to the dining table and ordered, “Sit and do your homework.”
“Why?” Derek asked even though his dorky sister went straight to the table and pulled out her books. She didn’t even need to be told. Bailee loved school. She was such a weirdo.
“Because I am telling you to, Derek. Don’t argue.”
“But I want to go play with Brandt and Kody.”
Yeah, like he was really going to listen to that. Nope. He glanced to the door. If Grandma was here she would had let Derek go to his friends. “Why’d you pick us up and not Grandma?”
“Because Grandma had a doctor’s appointment today, and with Aunt Ryha studying for a huge exam, Grandma asked me if I could pick you twerps up.”
“Why aren’t you at work?”
“It’s my day off. Now, no more questions. Sit down. Shut up. And do your homework. Don’t make me ask again, Derek.” Uncle Tony continued to head toward the table. Ugh!
Derek wasn’t going to do homework. He hated it. He was going to get his way, and he didn’t care if his uncle was jerk. “You’re not my dad; you can’t tell me what to do!”
“No, I’m not your Dad. Your Dad’s sitting in a locked cell in a prison not winning any Dad-of-the-Year awards. Just sit your butt down and get this done. How hard is it to listen? Come on, Derek.” He pulled out the chair for Derek. “It’s not that hard. Get your homework done, and then you can see your friends.”
Derek sat at the table, and mumbled, “Dad was right, you really do have a stick up your butt.”
Bailee gasped and covered her mouth.
“Excuse me?” Uh oh. Uncle Anthony wasn’t supposed to hear that. “Did I just hear you right, Derek?”
“I dunno. Did you?”
Uncle Anthony glared down at Derek. “Say what you will about me, I don’t care. But you will sit here and do your homework.”
He glared back at his uncle. He was not doing his homework. Why should he? He hated it and it didn’t make sense, and he wasn’t going to get a good grade on it anyway.
“Derek, come on, bud. Just do this for me.”
“No way! You’re a mean, mean uncle.”
“Uncle Tony, don’t listen to him. I think you’re great,” Bailee said. The traitor.
“Thank you, Bailee.”
Derek rolled his eyes at his sister. “You’re a brown-nosing dweeb.”
“Derek!” Anthony shouted. “That is enough. Stand up.”
Derek didn’t stand. No way.
Anthony hauled him out of his chair though. “Come with me. Now.”
Derek didn’t have choice since Anthony sort of dragged him by the arm to the hallway, and carried a chair in the other hand. What the heck was Uncle Anthony doing now? Was this one of his evil prison tricks? Was he treating him like he treated Dad?
Uncle Anthony put the chair in the middle of the hallway, and then placed Derek on the chair then went and grabbed Derek’s backpack.
He knelt down in front of Derek. “Listen to me good, Derek. You will sit here and do your homework, and you will not move from this chair at all until I say so.”
“How am I supposed to do anything without a table?”
“I don’t really care how you do it, but you will have that homework done by the time your mother gets home.”
Derek rolled his eyes. Yup, Uncle Tony was definitely a meanie-butt. Why wouldn’t Uncle Anthony let him play? “Whatever, Uncle Butt-Stick.”
“Don’t test me. I really am not in the mood.”
Anthony helped Bailee out with her homework. Once she was done, he went and sat down to watch the news. He had been keeping his eye out on his nephew the last hour or so, and that stubborn boy did not move. He met every stare Anthony gave him. Anthony didn’t know what Derek’s problem was now. That boy caused so much headaches for Sam, he didn’t understand it.
Of course, Anthony knew if Eli was around Derek wouldn’t have dared to speak the way he did to Sam or to anyone. Maybe that was the problem. Derek needed Eli.
Anthony still could not believe Derek called him Uncle Butt-Stick. What a little shit. He also couldn’t believe his brother would actually tell Derek that he had a stick up his butt. It’d be funny, maybe, if they didn’t have the type of behavior problems with Derek that everyone was currently dealing with. His behavior was getting out of hand.
Still, Anthony would totally get his brother back, just for the fun of it.
Another hour passed, and just before six, the front door opened and Sam came in carrying little Dakota. The moment the little red-headed angel spotted him, she was running on her little legs to him. “Unca Tony!”
He met her half-way, picked her up, swung her around, and gave her a kiss. “How’s my favorite three-year-old?”
“I go to pwe-schoo!”
He knew this. The hospital where Sam worked was across the street from a Head Start pre-school. Dakota would go there half the morning, and then Sam would pick her up and take her to the day-care at the hospital. She did that with Bailee and Derek too when they were Dakota’s age. Still, he’d play along with little niece. “Wow. And do you like it?”
Her head bobbled up and down, and Anthony had to laugh. “You’re too cute.”
“I know,” she claimed.
Anthony laughed and put her on the floor. “Go play, baby-cakes.” He finally took his eyes off of the cuteness that was his niece, and spotted Sam staring over at Derek.
“Hey, Sam,” Anthony said.
“What’d he do now?”
“We had a little disagreement about homework, and he said some things that I was not too happy about. So, I put him in his place, so to speak. He’s supposed to have his homework done by the time you got here, but from what I’ve noticed he hasn’t even taken out a book.”
Derek was watching them, and his eyes were doing the same thing Eli’s did when he got mad, same with the lip curl.
“Derek, where’s your homework?” Sam asked.
Derek shrugged and pointed to the bag.
“Are you done with it?”
Derek huffed. “No. I don’t have a table to do it on. Uncle Butt-Stick wouldn’t—”
“Derek Jeffrey! Apologize, right now.”
Anthony calmed the tension. “It’s okay, Sam. I’ve heard a lot worse.”
“It is not okay. Derek, apologize to your uncle, and then go to your room. We are going to have another long discussion about your attitude and your homework.”
Derek stood and glowered at the two of them. “Sorry, Uncle Anthony.” Wow, he sounded like his dad too. Almost. The storming and slamming the door was more like Eli. That boy…Anthony felt bad for Sam having to deal with him alone.
“I’m sorry, Anthony. I really am. He’s been acting out more and more.”
“I just don’t know what to do. Or why the sudden change. He was sweet, you know? I wish I knew what was going on with my boy.”
Anthony shrugged. “He misses his Dad. Eli and I did the same shit to our Mom, and I can tell you part of it is because we didn’t have our fathers around.”
Sam sighed. “Thank God we only have a few more months of this.”
“As long as Eli doesn’t fuck it up.” Even Anthony was excited for his brother finally being granted parole. Twice he’d been denied due to the issues he’s had in prison. Anthony just hoped Eli could keep his nose clean for a bit longer.
“He fucks up again in there, I’ll have his balls,” Sam threatened.
Anthony snorted. “I’ll be happy to give him that message.”
The next morning, just as dawn was approaching, Anthony was at work pulling a double-shift and covering for a co-worker that was sick with the flu. Anthony didn’t mind the extra hours. He loved his job. Sure, it’d been hell the last few years having to deal with his brother’s antics. He kept it professional, or tried to. It was the agreement he made with the Warden the moment Anthony found out Eli was going to be placed at San Myshuno State Prison.
He still could not understand how Eli went from the brother he joked around with and played poker with to the dumb-ass punk he was in prison. He figured when Eli arrived four years ago, that there might be some animosity between them, and there was. Anthony never expected his brother would end up in a prison gang, which only intensified Eli’s hatred of COs, particularly Anthony.
Anthony started his rounds just as the prisoners were waking up for the day. He checked the security footage, and headed out to patrol the catwalks. He escorted Tim Nance and the other kitchen crew to the kitchens so they could prepare food for the day.
At six, the C.O.s woke the rest of the inmates up and did a head count. The inmates were released to the chow hall after the numbers came in.
Anthony took watch along the wall. His eyes caught onto Eli’s. Why would his brother tell Derek he had a stick up his butt? What the hell was wrong with his brother? And why the hell was Anthony getting so worked up over it? Maybe it was because Anthony always thought he had a solid relationship with his nephew, at least he thought he did until last night. The more he thought about it, the more hurt Anthony felt by being called Uncle Butt-Stick.
Anthony did not have a stick up his butt!
He’d make Eli pay. He just needed to find the right type of punishment for the asshole. Soon, though, Eli would pay.