You'd think family would be the one sure thing in life, the gimme? Points you got just for being born? So much thick, meaty stuff bound you to these people, so many interlocking spirals of history, genetics, common cause, and struggle that it should be the most basic of all drives, that you would strive to protect and love one another, yet this bond that should be the big no-brainer was in fact the hardest thing. For proof all you had to do was take a quick poll of Bravo. On Holliday's last visit home before shipping out, his brother told him, I hope you f***in' die in Iraq. When Mango was fifteen his father cracked his skull with a monkey wrench, and Mrs. Mango's comment was, So maybe now you'll stop pissing your father off. Dime's grandfather and one of his uncles were suicides. Lake's mother was an OxyContin addict who'd done time, his father a dealer who ditto. When Crack was eleven years old his mother ran off with the assistant pastor of their church. Shroom, he barely had a family. A-bort's father had been the deadbeat poster dad for the state of Louisiana, and Sykes's father and brothers blew up their house cooking meth.
Yes, family was key, Billy decided. If you could figure out how to live with family then you'd gone a long way toward finding your peace, but for that, the finding, the figuring out, you needed a strategy. So where did you go for that?