Shame on You
Author:Tara Sivec

He got out on bail and then skipped his court date. Which is a no-no when you use a bail bondsman to help you get out of jail. You should never piss off a bail bondsman. It will always end badly.

In this case, Martin McFadden pissed off my father, who owns Buddy’s Bail Bonds, his pride and joy after he retired from the army. All the men in my family served in the army. My grandfather, my Uncle Wally, my two cousins Beaver and Ward (my Aunt Janet loved the TV show Leave It to Beaver—don’t ask), and both of my older brothers, Bobby and Ted. (Bobby, Ted, Kennedy. Go ahead and get it out of your system now. My Irish-American mother always wanted to be Jackie O, sue me.) My mother died when I was a baby and since I was the only girl, army was all I knew. I enlisted right out of high school just like everyone in my family. Unfortunately, I didn’t really do it to make my family happy; I did it to make a boy happy. THE boy. Alex Bradford, my high school sweetheart. I met him in twelfth grade when his father retired from the army and they moved to our small town. We were in gym class together and when I was assigned to his dodgeball team, he leaned down and whispered, “Don’t worry, I won’t let anyone hit you with any of the balls.” It melted my heart and pissed me off all at the same time.

According to the file, the Chihuahua Martin snatched is a two-year-old named Tinkerdoodle that I could punt like a football. He took her from her comfy, pink, bedazzled dog bed, and the owners haven’t stopped crying since then. No, he didn’t go back for the TV, the jewelry, or the artwork; he went back for a yappy, ankle-biting dog. What an idiot. This will be an easy paycheck for the week, I can feel it.


Sliding into the front seat of my silver Ford Explorer, I get the SUV started just as my cell phone rings. My dad starts complaining before I even say hello.

“Your uncle is pissing me off this morning. Pick me up a black-cherry slushie on your way in.”

While most people need coffee to function properly each day, Buddy O’Brien needs black-cherry slushies from Circle K, the best convenience store in the entire world. I know for a fact that he picks one up every morning on his way to work, so if he’s calling me for a second one, it must be bad.

“What did he do now?” I ask with a sigh as I back out of my driveway and head toward Granger, a suburb of South Bend, Indiana, where both of our offices are located.

“He messed up all of my fucking files. I don’t know where a GD thing is in this place. Fucking hell.”

Word to the wise, my father is a tough guy, but he is Irish Catholic. He will find a way to add the word fuck into every single sentence, but he will never, ever take the Lord’s name in vain. Hell hath no fury like my father if he hears you say Goddamn. When it rains, I can still feel the sting of his hand when he smacked me upside the back of my head the one time I said it when I was twelve and Scooby-Doo didn’t end the way I wanted it to.

GD Scooby-Doo.

“Why don’t you just tell him to stop touching your files,” I suggest as I turn onto Heritage Square Drive and make my way to Circle K.

“Is that Kennedy? Tell her you’re being unreasonable and that I can’t work under these conditions!”

I roll my eyes at Uncle Wally’s shout in the background and the fact that my father completely forgets that he’s on with me and yells back.

“Do you want to take this outside, Wallace? I will kick your ass into next week!”

“Don’t you use that tone with me, you old bastard. You couldn’t kick the south side of a barn!”

Finding a parking spot right in front of the store, I set the phone down in the front passenger seat without hanging up. I grab my father’s super-size black-cherry slushie and a hazelnut coffee with hazelnut cream for myself. Normally, I drink my coffee black. When you’re in the army, you have to get used to the bare essentials. But something tells me I’m going to need a hell of a lot more than just the basics to get through this morning.

Climbing back into my car, I can still hear my father and uncle shouting through the phone line. My father is two years older than Uncle Wally and I have never seen two people fight more, aside from my brothers. Whatever made them think they should work together is beyond me. When my father retired from the army, he opened Buddy’s Bail Bonds. Two years later, when Uncle Wally retired, he cashed in his pension, invested the money into the business, and became my father’s partner. Once a week, they argue about changing the name to Buddy Wally’s Bail Bonds. You would think that since they share the same last name, one of them might be bright enough to make that suggestion. O’Brien’s Bail Bonds has a nice ring to it. But that would mean the two of them would have to come to a compromise and that’s not happening anytime this century.

I find a spot on the street in front of Buddy’s and thank the traffic gods that I didn’t have to drive around for twenty minutes looking for a place to park. With my coffee and my dad’s slushie in my hands, I take a fortifying breath before opening the glass door to the office. I immediately have to duck as a stapler comes flying through the air and crashes into the wall.

“I’m not the dumbass who doesn’t know how to alphabetize!”

“Call me a dumbass one more time. Go ahead, do it!”


Setting the cups on the nearest desk, I rush in between my father and Uncle Wally as they charge toward each other in the middle of the room.

“All right, that’s enough! Back to your corners!” I shout at them, pointing in the general direction of their desks, which are on opposite sides of the room.

“He started it,” Uncle Wally complains under his breath as he turns and stomps back to his desk.