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Brady is Everyone’s

Drew Buxton








The Hughes twins are movie producers and go in when they want but still always seem like they’re in a rush. Sometimes they don’t have time to mess with Brady, and every morning has anxiety like Sundays when he was little. He’d wake up early and lay still and pray nine would come without his mom barging in, saying it was time for church.

He hears Jenn’s heels at his door and pretends to be asleep. The door swings open. “I know you’re awake, scumbag,” she says. He stands out of bed and spreads his legs like he’s getting frisked, and she kicks him in the nuts. It still hurts but doesn’t make him nauseous anymore. “Can you see about that audition for me?” He wheezes but she’s already out of the room.

In exchange for letting Brady live in the West Hollywood condo rent-free, the twins get to do whatever they want to him. They’re big tall athletes. Jenn was a softball pitcher in high school, and Elliott was the quarterback and middle linebacker of his football team. The middle linebacker is the quarterback of the defense, he always says.

Elliott knocks Brady out most mornings while getting ready for work, and if Jenn walks by his body, propped up against the hallway wall or flat on the kitchen tile, she spits on it. “I deserved that,” he thinks when he first comes-to. He knows becoming a successful actor is all about sacrifice and networking, paying your dues. Their uncle was the famous director John Hughes, rest in peace.

Brady has the place to himself in the afternoon. He makes sure to only take a few bites from different leftovers. He smokes the resin left in the bongs and waters down the wine. He binges on Jenn’s Netflix account and watches porn on Elliott’s laptop and jacks off and naps on the couch.

The key turning wakes him up. He rolls off the couch and runs to his room and closes the door and remembers too late that the laptop is still open with the porn still up. He locks his door even though it’s against the rules. Elliott warned him about if he caught him using his computer for that again. He didn’t even say what he’d do.

Elliott tries the doorknob. “Open the door so I can beat the fuck out of you,” he says evenly. Brady doesn’t move or say anything. “You know you’re not allowed to lock your door.”

Brady shrieks when his window shatters. “I heard that,” Elliott says. A softball rolls across the carpet.

“I see you, you fuck!” Jenn screams from the parking lot five stories down. She fires off another softball that grazes Brady’s shoulder. He dives down and the next one sticks in the wall behind him. His door groans louder each time Elliott slams into it.

Brady and Jenn have a history. She sat next to him at the bar after he bombed at an open mic. She bought him beer and said she liked his jokes; they just weren’t the type you laughed out loud to. He’d closed his five minute set with a bit about how the Honda Prelude had the worst name. Prelude to what? A crash? A better car? It’s like if Toyota came out with The Appetizer or something.

She took him back to the condo and let him eat her pussy. She said he was cute in his own way, like she could see him as a hobbit in a Lord of the Rings movie. It worked for him. She said she was connected and would help him in the industry. Her last name was Hughes, and she made him guess who she was related to.

The door won’t hold much longer. Brady pushes his dresser up against it. The softballs have stopped, and he hears the twins counting down to three. They hit the door together and break the lock. Brady drags the desk and mattress over too. The wooden furniture cracks from the twins’ burly bodies. “You’re breaking our agreement,” Elliott says. They spray the fire extinguisher under the door.

He keeps his eyes closed and finds his hamper. He empties it onto the floor and starts tying all his t-shirts and jeans together. The spray burns his throat, and his nose drips with blood. He ties the rope of clothes to a dresser leg and lowers himself out of the broken window. He stands on the knots and doesn’t look down and puts one hand under the other. He passes two balconies then hears Jenn laugh from below. She’s holding a zippo flame to the rope. “Those are my pants!” Brady says. He has three pairs total.

“You can’t talk to me like that!” She yells and fires off softballs. They pound his back and crack a rib. He puts one hand over the other, trying to climb back up, but he doesn’t have the strength. He feels the fire at his feet.

“How’re you doing?” It’s Elliott. He’s spinning a football on one finger. “Feeling the burn?” Jenn laughs hard at this, bent over, slapping her knee. Elliott’s face goes serious and he cocks the football back. It bounces Brady’s head off the building side, and he drops the last two stories. The twins stand over him. He’s on his back with his leg numb and folded under him. “Do you really like my comedy?”  he asks Jenn. “I’ve been tweaking some stuff, and I’ve got this new bit about how vegans are hypocrites because tiny insect eggs are on everything.”

She raises her hand with a softball in it, measuring it. She lets it go and it lands square on his nuts. He giggles. The condo’s on fire.









Drew Buxton’s work has previously appeared in Hobart, Vice, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Mayday and Hypertext among other publications. He lives in South Texas.







2019


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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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2019
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