My brother and I were the only white boys inside a nightclub populated by 300 black men. His diatribe regarding the African-American community, particularly his liberal use of the N-word, made me panic.
"Dude, please be quiet," I implored. "You're going to get us killed."
"Let's get out of here," he said. "The music here sucks."
We hitched a cab to another bar. My brother tipped the bar band $200, although I'm pretty sure I never heard them play "Say it Ain't So."
He picked a fight with two Marines. I convinced him to go home. I refused to pick up prostitutes, but I purchased four hot dogs from a cart. As we walked to the hotel, we passed a group of loitering teenagers.
"What up, fags," one of them said.
I made the mistake inside the hotel lobby of asking him if he had heard the kid. He handed me his hot dogs and bolted. I returned to our room and morosely ate a hot dog in the dark.
He returned about 10 minutes later, bleeding from his nose and mouth.
"See if they ever call me a fag again," he growled.
I'd had enough. It was 4 a.m.
"Please," I screamed, pulling my shaggy hair and accidentally scratching my face. "You're driving me crazy."
I had no sooner said that when my brother struck me in the face with one of the hot dogs. He mashed his face into mine.
"You want some? You want some?"
"What's your problem?"
"I'm afraid of you."
We spilled out onto the balcony, 13 floors up above the pavement. I was sure I was going over.
There was a merciful pounding on the door. I ran through the room and opened it. It was two Honolulu police officers. They looked at my bloodied brother, now proclaiming that he was a soldier and didn't deserve this treatment. They looked at the now bleeding scratch on my face and quickly surmised that my brother was the victim of a savage attack by a dirty hippie who hated America.
"Why did you beat up your brother?"
"I didn't touch him."
"You expect us to believe that?"
"No, but it's the truth."
"Why do you have mustard on your face?"
"I don't know."
"Why do you want to destroy your brother's military career?"
"You want to go to jail?"
I had to think about that.
They made me sit while they talked it over. An eternity passed. I wondered (again) if they had spam in jail. My brother rested peacefully, like an angel.
"We're going to give you a break. But we don't want to come back here tonight."
They left. I ate my other hot dog.
My mom, stepfather and I returned to the mainland a few days later. We had a brief stopover in Denver. I've never been so happy to see overcast skies and feel a 20-degree breeze on my face.