Female 30's.  357 words. Deanna: "Trust the Force." From Remote.

By Paul Pasulka

My father was a nasty drunk – no. He was just nasty, drunk or sober. One year he went without drinking for Lent – like forty days and forty nights? He was just as nasty then, only it was worse, 'cause he was awake a whole lot more.  When we were little my mother tried to protect us, I guess. After a while, she was so beaten up and down herself. It was weird, though. My father never touched my brother Michael. The rest of us got it all the time, but Michael – he was four years older than me – he’d just give him this look – 'The look', we called it. We even used to practice it – but none of us dared to try it on him – my father, I mean. He wouldn't touch any of us if Michael was there. He'd start ranting, but Michael just kept staring at him – almost like he was pinning him to the wall. We called him 'Look Skywalker' – you know, "trust the force?”

But Michael wasn't like a saint or nothin'. I remember going to him once when I needed help with my homework, and he just looked at me. He didn't say anything. Just looked at me and went back to his reading. But as soon as my father would walk in the door we'd all start head toward Michael's room.

(Beat.)When he was about fourteen or fifteen Michael started going out more. Started drinking – a lot. Nobody stopped him, talked to him. Seemed like all those years of being, like, the sentinel - He couldn't keep it up. He died when he was eighteen, drunk, comin' out of a bar. The crazy thing is, he was hit by a drunk driver. Somehow, it wasn't surprising. Like all those years, he didn't get beat, but then... After that, seems like we all got - well, even more lost. My sister – she was sixteen, she just left one day. Never looked back. Even my father was pretty broken. He'd sit home in the dark, TV or no TV, drinkin' and mumbling to himself...