An Accidental Meeting
By sheerest accident, a producer with Obelisk Group met up with the two Burn brothers in the grocery store. The rest, is, well....
It was way too early in the morning. Shelf stockers clogged the isles, a bored checkout girl kept her paperback open on the counter, and the producer shuffled in, his pajama top un-tucked and loose over his jeans.
He made it to the bananas and stopped. There they were, still donned in their hospital gowns. Hair clipped to some severe regulation length. Staring at him like mice at the cat.
One of them (Isaac, it turns out) reached down, picked another grape, and plopped it into his mouth. The other (Horace) elbowed him hard, but Isaac swallowed anyway. Defiantly. Both of them had grape stains around their clean-shaven mouths. Both stood still, not even blinking.
What could he do? He grabbed four bunches of the seedless grapes and stuffed them in sacks. They watched without moving. Then, as the producer moved away, they followed.
Down each aisle. Then, to the bored checkout girl. Then to the parking lot. It was still dark outside.
They positioned themselves right by the door as the producer tried to pull away. Stared through the smeared glass of his Taurus, right past him, and right at the bags.
He sighed. Rolled down the window. Offered a ride and some grapes.
They got in.
Turns out they had no where to go. And if so, were unwilling to talk about it.
The producer drove to his own home, in silence, and they held his bags.
After they finished eating his grapes, the producer asked about them about the hospital gowns. No answer. Asked about politics, and got a rude stare in return. Asked about the weather, and they seemed to have nothing to say.
Exasperated, the producer asked if their mother knew where they were.
They trembled, then shouted at him, and got up and paced the four walls of the room, their heads down, mumbling.
The producer pried the truth out of them: The brothers had walked out of the Betty Billingsly Institute without being spotted, and had gotten a lift to the grocery store thirty miles away. This put them on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, at a store in the suburbs to the southwest of the city. Enter the producer.
He eyed the gowns. He asked about the... home.
This eased Horace (the elder), who sat back down and described, in loving detail, the orderlies, the cafeteria, the drugs, the doctors, and the picture of Mother they were allowed to tape to the wall of their cell.
An Honorable Deed
The producer picked up the phone. Smiled, began to dial -
As Horace continued, smiling, he described why the latest discipline they received lead to their hunger, and their subsequent quest for the grocery store.
The producer put the phone down. "Want something else to eat?" he asked, moving to the pantry.
He introduced the brothers to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, accompanied by Lays barbeque potato chips and washed down with Dr. Pepper.
By now the sun was up and the phone was ringing. Business, and the producer walked out of the room, put on the mobile headset, and started into it.
And after an undetermined amount of time, music eased it's way into the producer's consciousness. The electric piano, in the studio, and he remembered his guests with a start. He tore off the headset and rushed into the studio.
But nothing to be alarmed about. Both sat on the piano stool, touching the keys, weaving out a musical landscape.
Initially, the producer was concerned about his possessions. But the lust of discovery overtook his fear of loss, and he sat down and listened. And as he listened, he plotted a career course for the brothers. And for himself...