I have been having a hard time lately keeping my cousins alive. There may in the end be something about me that is essentially antithetical to cousins, but though I have from time to time wished a pestilence upon them, please believe me when I say that is a far cry from hoping to see them sicken and die. In fact last time I believed Rufus to be dead, I was very much relieved to find out that he was alive as it gave me the opportunity of killing him myself. Generally my approach to cousins has always been to treat them with the kindness one shows to beloved dogs; that is, to give them a very long lead so they have the impression of freedom, even if you enforce more grooming and less food than they would choose for themselves.
You remember of course my cousin Francis Shitsville. He has become a drunkard of late and is known as Frankie the Sot down at the law courts, where the worst thing you can say about a lawyer is that he feels things very deeply. The colour has run out of his eyes and he can barely manage to hold a cigarette while he trembles over his morning coffee, which is a far cry from the Francis I knew in his lusty youth. In fact he has developed the look of one of those poor souls not long for this world.
In his delirium after Archie died, Frankie began to imagine things. For one, he has come to believe that he is secretly Archie’s son. This is not as absurd as it may sound as I’m sure my father has at least half a dozen illegitimate children scattered around the greater Vegas area (the only question is why was he named ‘Frank’ after my father’s great enemy Frank Sinatra, Snr). In fact there are times when I can see a distinct family resemblance between them: the ducky double chin, the solid little belly, the splayed feet, the impression of his thighs in body makeup that he leaves behind on the sofa when he finally dresses after midnight on Naked Sunday, and the long black hairs and brylcreem with which Frankie clogs the shower drain. If indeed Frankie is my half-brother and not my fifth-cousin then he has a legitimate claim to inheriting my father’s money (however little that may be). In any case as he is a lawyer (though not a very good one) I’m sure he could find some way to swing it. It would certainly help him in his acting career if Matthew Newton is anything to go by.