Josef noted that Katherine was taking some time with whoever was at the door, he put down the bowl of kibble he was making up and went to investigate, finding her staring slack-jawed at the smiling face of his older brother, Jonathan Mongola.
Jonathan looked up and saw Josef, the smile on his face grew at Josef’s pissed-off expression.
“JOEY! I see you’ve been keeping quiet about me again.”
“I thought I told you not to come here.”
“And I thought I told you that that wasn’t going to stop me. No matter, I’m here now so let’s introduce each other.”
Josef scowled at his brother. “Ok, Kat this is my brother Jonathan, John this is my girlfriend Katherine, introductions over, now kindly fuck off.”
Josef went to close the door but the stronger Jonathan stopped him in his tracks.
“Whoa there Joey, believe it or not I actually do have something you’re gonna want to hear, but I’m not gonna tell you until you let me in.”
“How will I know it’s worth hearing after a let you in?”
“It involved mum and dad.”
Josef paused for a moment; he looked at Katherine, her mind still processing what she was looking at. Eventually Josef relented and opened the door.
“Living room is down the end of the hall, find a chair, I’ll be through in a moment.”
Jonathan gave Josef a condescending pat on the shoulder and made his way inside, Josef turned apologetically to Katherine.
“I know you have a bunch of questions, and I’ll explain everything I can shortly. Could you feed Teal and the foals and I’ll make sure he doesn’t break anything.”
“I… uh… he… you…” Katherine was barely listening to Josef.
“KAT, snap out of it hun, I swear there’s a reason why I never said anything. Maybe not a good reason, but it’s my reason.”
Katherine nodded, she had a million questions but she knew Josef wasn’t going to answer any of them now, still dazed she went to the kitchen to sort Teal’s breakfast while Josef went to see Jonathan, already making himself comfortable on the couch. Jonathan sniffed the air, catching something unpleasant.
“Jeez, you guys got a dog or something? Place stinks of shit.”
“We got a couple Fluffies recently.”
“Really? I never expected you to be the pet type Joey.”
“They’re not pets, they’re… experiments.”
“Uh-huh, I get what you’re putting down. That sounds like my brother.”
Josef seethed at Jonathan’s shit-eating grin. “So now you’re inside, tell me what you came here to say so you can get out of here sooner.”
“Easy there, baby bro, I ain’t seen you in… what, three, four years? I’d like a little bit of catch-up before we get down to brass tacks.”
“John, there’s a very good reason why we’ve not seen each other n four years, it’s down to me trying to avoid you and you being on the run from the law.”
At that moment Katherine returned, having caught the tail end of the conversation. “Sorry, who’s on the run from the law?”
Josef decided at that point to throw Jonathan under the bus. “Katherine, I’d like to formally introduce you to my older brother, Jonathan Mongola; former chemical engineer turned domestic terrorist.”
“Hey now, terrorist implies a public attack, I’ve got an economic target.”
Already confused by today’s revelations, Katherine knew she was missing some vital context. “Can one of you please just tell me what the fuck you are talking about.”
Josef relented and took Katherine to the closest sofa so theycould be seated. “Kat, you remember a few years back, someone was bombing Hasbio stores across the country? That was Jonathan.”
Katherine threw her mind back, it was just when she and Josef had started school together and were just getting to know each other, someone or someones had been blowing up Hasbio stores across the country using homemade bombs, never killing any humans but killing several Fluffies and causing millions worth of property damage. The police never found who did it, the bomber was careful to cover their tracks and attack at random, then about a year after it started, it just stopped.
She turned to Jonathan, she hadn’t even heard of him five minutes ago and now she was sitting in a room with a mad bomber. “That was you?”
“Since Josef’s spoiled the surprise, yes, Hasbio had to pay for what they did to me, I was able to put together rudimentary explosives together using my chemistry know-how, then I just drove up and down the country for a year taking out what I could. I stopped once I felt the heat, made a couple silly mistakes and realised that I needed to back down. Besides, I think I got my message across.”
“What did Hasbio do to you?” Katherine knew Jonathan was either lying or crazy, but she wanted to dig further to find out which.
Josef on the other hand, was not interested. “Look, if you’re gonna throw out another sob story, I’m not gonna listen to it. Kat I’m heading out to the shops to pick up some things, I’ll be back in an hour.”
And without waiting for a reply, Josef stormed out the flat. Katherine was surprised by his outburst but Jonathan simply smiled.
“Don’t worry about him Katherine, he always gets like this when I’m around. I got a lot of bad memories surrounding me.”
“I knew he has a bad relationship with his father… your father I mean, and he’s not got great things to say about your mother. But honestly I never knew about you until you showed up today.”
“I’m not surprised, and it’s not the terrorism thing that pisses him off. I wasn’t the best brother growing up, I’m sure he’s told you about dad and his ultra-fascist views.”
Katherine nodded. “Joe’s mentioned it a few times.”
“Well I fell into that shit, I believed in all of dad’s white supremacist bullshit, and I tried to force it onto Josef. I was not gentle about it. From the ages of 15 to 18, I don’t think we said two words to each other, at that point Josef was already practising to become a doctor, while I moved away, met a wonderful girl called Martha and realised how full of shit dad was.”
“Is that why Josef doesn’t talk to you? Because you were the abusive older brother when you were teenagers?”
“No, actually the truth is far more upsetting. Martha and me had a kid, little boy we called Ralph, but the little guy couldn’t wrap his tongue around the A so he kept calling himself ‘Rolfy’, and that just sort of stuck. Anyway, Rolfy was about four when me and Martha split up, I don’t blame her, I was better than I was but a lot of dad’s fascist views were stuck in my head and it made it hard to pretend to be normal. Honestly she stuck with me longer than she should’ve and I thank her every day for giving me more chances than I deserved, but after we split up she went back home to her parents… in Cleveland.”
Katherine felt her heart drop. “Oh, oh no.”
“Yep, Martha and Rolfy were there when the city went boom. Neither of them knew how bad the Fluffy situation had gotten until it was already too late, by then they were already doomed. That’s why I went after Hasbio, I blamed them for killing my son, it never made me happier, but sharing the pain eased my own issues.”
“Wait, sorry I’m confused, what does this have to do with Josef.”
“Well you’ve probably noticed that sociopathy runs in our family, I’m not sure if it’s a genetic trait or if we’ve just learnt it from dad over the years, but both myself and my father struggle with understanding emotions, I’ve gotten good at faking it over the years, dad just doesn’t bother anymore. Josef tried to follow that, he tried to cut himself off from his feelings, but he can’t, even just there he got so pissed off at me that he stormed out the building rather than hear me speak about the truth. And the truth is that when Rolfy died, Josef was hurt, he’d met him a few times before my divorce and he loved the little guy, he fell right into the fun-uncle role. And not to sound cold, but Rolfy was a stepping stone towards mending our relationship, when he died Josef felt like that stone was taken from him, he threw himself back into his studies and a couple weeks later he met you and he never bothered to speak to me again.”
“That’s awful, I can’t believe Josef never even mentioned how much this was hurting him.”
“Because he doesn’t want to admit he’s hurt, he wants to pretend to be the same cold, unfeeling mass that is the Mongola males, he doesn’t want to think about Rolfy because if he does, then all the pain of losing him, losing me and everything he’s done to escape our father will crash back down on him. He’s not just hurting, he’s barely surviving.”
Elsewhere, Josef stormed down the streets, it was still too early for most places to be fully open yet but he didn’t care, he wanted to hurt something, relieve this pain in the back of his head.
He beelined for the Fluffy pet-store, he already needed a sorry-stick so he grabbed that alongside an immobilisation board and a pair of leg-cutters. He wasn’t taking any chances with Teal throwing a fit.
As he carried his new tools to the checkout, he noticed some Fluffy foals in the bargain bin staring at him, all crying out for him to be their new daddy before they went ‘forever sleepies’.
Josef noticed one of them near the front, a little dark red earthie with a yellow mane, punching the other Fluffies out of the way.
“DUMMEH HOOMIN TAKE SMAWTIE HOME, BE NYU DADDEH OW GIT SOWWY-HOOFIES.”
Josef looked at the red smarty, then at his new tools, then at back at the smarty. He supposed he could use a test-run on these things to see how they worked.
He looked up at the cashier and put on his best fake smile. “How much for the little red guy?”
Short chapter here, just wanted to give some back-story about Josef and his brother, we’ll be seeing a little more of Jonathan in this story, and the next one I’ve got planned.
For anyone that’s seen Cuddilybloodily’s Artwork, I got the Rolfy idea from that and figured this would be a good place to include it in the canon.