Brandon Robert Bataille was born the unplanned surprise to a stage lighting technician and a diner waitress, Bruce and Betty, two small-town dwellers living the good, old-fashioned simple life there in rural Henderson, Nevada. By the time he arrived into the family, all but one of his four other siblings had already flown the coop, which left him to spend most of his childhood closely bonded to his mother -- who often took him to work with her -- and a Walkman of cassette tapes he had dug out from his brother’s discarded stash in the garage.
As uneventful as most of that was, living with Vegas in their backyard didn’t come without some of the stereotypical pitfalls. Bruce had always struggled with a green gleam of envy in his eye for the high rollers that flowed freely through the city. On his meager wages he often tried to chase those dreams the easy way, resulting in gambling debts and even more money troubles than before, which usually then led to binged bouts of alcohol dependencies and many a shouting match in the living room.
The first chance he got, Brandon was out of there, begrudging his mom for wanting to stay and keep taking all the repeats of the bullshit, and swearing that once he was gone he’d never look back. His high school sweetheart was moving to Utah. He was gonna quit his after-school job of parking cars at The Mirage and follow her to the ends of the earth; he was gonna join her church, they were gonna get married, they were gonna have kids of their own, their kids would never see or hear him raise a fist or his voice. He swore it.
Roughly two decades and three kids later, it turned out that he may have cast a few judgements a little too soon. Making ends meet was freakin’ tough. Raising kids on a repairman’s salary was freakin’ tough. A wife he was convinced didn’t love him anymore was freakin’ tough. Everything was freakin’ fucking tough, with the exception that he wasn’t quite as tough as he thought he’d be by then.
And so he left. He got into his car, strapped his seatbelt on, started driving, kept driving till he ran out of literal gas. He filled his tank at an Arco in Sweetwater, Wyoming, and then kept driving some more. He was more than halfway across the continent before he pulled up at a motel and realized that he’d been driving for 18 hours and hadn’t looked back. He would find himself in Boston before he’d finally call home. His mom, to be exact, who told him not to be foolish, to turn his tracks around -- it wasn’t too late.
It was too late, though. He was certain of it, and he was nothing if not incredibly hard-headed once he’d made his mind up. Each time he’d pulled into a motel, a couple of months had passed in the blink of an eye. It’d been almost a year since he had last heard the laughter of his kids. What the heck sorta’ man does that? His mom didn’t know either. Bruce had been his own brand of douche, but at least he’d stuck it out.
Overtaken by the shock of what he’d done, Brandon couldn’t go back. How would he even begin to explain it -- just something in his veins? A screw that came loose in his head? No, he’d get a better job, send a cheque every couple of weeks. Everything will be alright. He just needed a little more time to get all of his rattling parts to settle down. He would find his way home eventually.