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I had just finished dinner last night when I heard the sound of my little brother’s sports car pulling up outside my apartment. “There’s a really cool party,” he announced as I opened the door. “Come on!”

It was not a really cool party, or even a very good party. He had driven me out of Edinburgh, to a farmhouse outside Penicuik. Fizzy trance music – the type which both hammers and trumpets – emptied out of the back of the farmhouse, and beat against the surrounding hills. Many of the partygoers had retreated from the music and congregated in the garden. Some were dancing, others looked bored. Most of these people – my brother’s friends – were much younger than myself, and it took a lot of effort not to address them with condescension. Like all young people, they were little anarchists – obnoxious little philistines -and I was, as always, faintly frightened that they would unexpectedly erupt into rudeness or vulgarity. They were, however, subdued this evening, and I was a little disappointed by how they bored me. They had nothing remarkable to say.

The music stopped. My brother had been talking to a girl in a little plastic skirt, and, wishing to be alone with her, he had lead her out under the great, silent hills which crouched in the blackness beyond the garden. When they returned they waved goodbye to the party and headed back to the car. I followed, suddenly aghast at the prospect of being left in Penicuik for the night. My brother frowned as I approached the car. I smiled foolishly at him. Soon we were driving through the night, the lights of the city rolling towards us.

She was a prostitute, obviously. My brother suddenly veered off the road and switched the car’s headlights off. It seemed that we were bumping and lurching over a field. We eventually stopped in the darkness. My brother pulled down his pants and climbed over into the back of the car. “You turn around and I break your nose,” he whispered at me. I stared determinedly out of the windscreen – into the great blackness – whilst the car filled with the sounds of my brother making love – his earnest little grunts and her weary, contrived groans. It was quick. My brother – the furious sex pig that he is – sounded more and more agitated, and then I heard his sharp, decelerating gasps. He dropped into the seat beside me. “Boy!” he exclaimed.

 
“Now you,” he said. It sounded like an order. I had been waiting for this. Ever since we were kids – when we both lived back in Tychy – my brother would embarrass me in front of prostitutes. He always made me go second – “while she’s still warm,” he would say, as if she was a toilet seat. To be frank with you, I ejaculate prematurely. My brother would – as he had always done – be listening keenly while I fumbled and apologised and she eventually took command and said, “oh it’s quite alright.” Unable to stand it any more, I got out of the car and slammed the door.

“Hey!” My brother called.

I was running through the darkness. The ground was unexpectedly soft and I found it difficult to get very far. Soon, presuming that I was some distance from the car, I crouched down in the mud. I heard my brother climbing out into the darkness. “Hey!” he shouted at the hills. “Aw, come on! I’m sorry.”

I crouched, listening.

“Aw, come on man. Don’t do this! Don’t be like this.”

There was the sound of cursing and then the headlights came back on; an unbroken beam of light suspended in the darkness.

“Don’t do this!” my brother was pleading. “Come on man!”

“Leave him,” the prostitute advised. “He’s being a prick. Let him spend the night in the hills.”

“He’s my brother. My big brother.”

“Well we can’t spend the night out here. This is daft. Drive back to the road. Maybe he’s back at the road.”

There was long pause and then the car bumped off across the field. Presently, there were further shouts from the road. I felt drained and I lay down in the mud and listened to the shouting. Sleep came, and went, and then came for good.

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