Dad’s in the backyard of our two-bedroom dilapidated house, putting together a swing set for my fifth birthday—a slide with two swings, not a meager feat to put together for a guy like my dad.
We live in Las Vegas. I was born in Clark County. But that’s not important right now. What is important is that my dad is super pissed off about having to put this swing set together. Some assembly required. More like 100% assembly required.
And it’s cold in December. That’s right. Believe it or not. It gets cold in Vegas in December. In fact, the day I was born, it freaking snowed and my mother insisted my dad drive around the city to look at the falling snowflakes before going to the hospital to give birth to me.
But that’s not important right now. What is important is that I’m in the living room, watching TV, watching Godzilla fight King Kong in the ocean. I’m a big Godzilla fan, so I’m rooting for Godzilla to kick King Kong’s ass.
My toddler brother is next to me on the carpet, wearing only a diaper and he smells like piss. My mom is in the kitchen cooking something even stinkier, keeping an eye on me to make sure I don’t go in the backyard.
But that’s not important right now. What is important is that I’m watching the fight of the titans and cheering for my dinosaur/dragon friend. They both descend into the water. And then my dad enters the house, says my name and pulls back the curtain of the sliding glass door to reveal the swing set he painstakingly put together for hours in the cold. I’m gaping at the TV screen, and freaking King Kong emerges from the water. Godzilla has been killed. I look at my dad and start crying. He thinks I don’t like the swing set.