Toward eight fifteen in the evening Tito went to the kitchen, and flicking on the ceiling lamp with a brash, energetic upward slap of his right hand at the light switch, located on the wall, just outside the kitchen, he ignited a burner. Straightaway he began listening with attention to the irksome noise of a helicopter growing audibly nearer and nearer, which was different, deeper like from a military helicopter, and the longer he listened and recognized keenly the distinct and too familiar noise of aerial surveillance, the more the sound stabbed his ears mightily.

   Sonia had brought a purple coffee-stained mug and, putting it near the sink, turned around. Her eyes which shone with an unfavorable light promised a joyless conversation.

   “So, when are you planning of getting yourself a job?” she began coldly, her face stiff and stony.

   Her brother’s continuous unemployment status which was the sole reason why she insulted and attacked him, calling him lazy, a bum, a piece of shit with disgust, irritated her immensely, and the longer he was unemployed this feeling of frustration-turned-exasperation still worsened. In fact, her attacks over his unemployment became one of her pastimes, and she would have never, not even faintly, suspected that Roger Stark who oppressed her unceasingly with the mandatory task of around-the-clock aggressive surveillance, was the same man oppressing her brother financially to the extremity that he had no chance of attaining a job anywhere with Roger Stark’s ceaseless, underhanded assaults.  

   “Here we go again!” Tito thought despairingly.

   “You expect mom to support you all your life?” she pursued heatedly and hurriedly with an unpleasant angry expression. “What are you going to do when she’s gone?”

   “That’s my problem,” he answered calmly, and with no inclination to argue, he resisted the temptation to fight.

   “You are just a lazy bum. You have to pay your share of the bills.”

   “Why do you care so much?”

   Her eyes flashed maliciously.

   “I talked to the lawyer the other day,” she went on gravely. “He said if you don’t pay your share, we can call the cops and they can drag you out of here. You once said you didn’t mind being homeless.”

   On one hand she paraded to have the character of a good Christian, but on the other, in these moments she seemed to be embodying that same satanic force that possessed Roger Stark through and through.

   “I never said that,” Tito replied wearily. “You are always putting words in my mouth,” he added with an annoyed look.

   He was aware of the risks he ran speaking at length to Sonia; without intention she twisted his words, altered the drift of the conversation’s theme, and, misinterpreting his replies, she would accuse him of an evil intent and make him look suddenly like the villain.

   “Call the cops; I am not afraid,” he challenged her, testing her conviction.

   The hours spent in meditating enabled him to overcome those willful and unprofitable impulses of haste and the need to be right, and to rise to a state of imperturbable composure where his heart now bled sorrowfully for her and others like her, who get trapped in that vicious cycle of emotions, forever hurting, vengeful, restless, and miserable.

   “Not while mom is alive,” Sonia responded surprisingly more calmly with a note of resignation in her voice.

   Tito’s resolute self-possession had begun working like a tonic on her, rubbing off on her, counteracting and allaying the flames of anger and antagonism, comparable to the effect of rain drizzling, smothering, and squashing the advance of a wildfire.

   “Mom, get your son a dress!” she added scornfully, leaving haughtily.