I started out wanting to make it a funny scene, and then it went a little maudlin because funny would have taken me more words and it’s already 10:59 PM. ;)

He could hear it as soon as he stepped through the door, and was halfway out of his coat when his wife Anna came around the corner, hands on her hips and clearly on the warpath. He averted his eyes and pretended he hadn’t seen her.

“If you don’t talk to him, I’m going to kill you both.”

He sighed, and turned to face her. Her face was angry. Again.

He bolstered himself and said, “His girlfriend just left him. What am I supposed to say? Suck it up? ”

She was not deterred. A long, cold finger poked at him, “Fix it, Doug.”

Her heels made stark clacking noises on the wood floor as she stalked away. Doug sighed and slowly trudged towards the basement. He put his hand on the knob, girded himself, and opened it.

The room smelled of beer, and despair. His brother Steve was sitting on the old flannel couch, staring at the stereo. It didn’t look like he’d moved at all since the night before. In one hand, Steve held a beer. In the other, he held the stereo remote. He didn’t look up as Doug settled next to him. He wordlessly held up a beer in Doug’s general direction.

Doug accepted it, and sighed. “Hey, man, I know you’re upset.”

Steve sniffed.

“Anna wants you to stop with the Foreigner. It’s driving her nuts.”

Steve hung his head back and gave a low moan. He started belting out the song at the top of his lungs. “I want to know what love is! I want you to shoooow me, you cold-hearted bitch-faced asshole bitch!”

He sobbed again, and lay still on the couch, the remote falling from his hand. He brought up the beer to his mouth and took a long swig, then lowered it. Doug could hear him crooning the song softly under his breath. He saw his brother’s wet cheeks, and thought of Anna upstairs. Anna and her clacking heels, her anger, her patent indifference.

Doug sat back in the couch, opened the beer and took a long swill. With his free hand, he grabbed the remote, and slowly cranked up the volume dial.