Two brothers, one knife, a lifetime of unbearable regret.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. For this story of love, white hot rage, murder and unending, pitiable, heart-rending grief, a suite from Prokofiev’s profoundly moving ballet “Romeo and Juliet” (1935) is necessary. You will want the scene between Romeo and his best friend Mercutio, the scene in which Romeo’s ungovernable passion and rage overcome every sentiment of affection, friendship and humanity. The music is strong, pulsating, insistent…

Mercutio attempts to bring peace between squabbling Tybalt and Romeo, only to be stabbed by Romeo…. an outrage with an ocean of consequence. For Tybalt, Mercutio’s kinsman, soon to be killed by Romeo… for Romeo himself … for Juliet… for the families… and for history.

“Mercutio’s dead; That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds, Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.”

Whereupon Romeo responds:

“This day’s black fate on more days doth depend; This but begins the woe others must end.”

(Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet.”)

And so it was for the best of brothers, Andrew, living, and Richard, untimely dead.

Go to any search engine. If you can, find the selection featuring Rudolf Nureyev in his role as Romeo in the 1989 Bolshoi production. It is overpowering, just like the adolescent rage you are about to discover, appalled

Two brothers, two friends.

Any man with a brother knows this: that such brothers argue, even if they are the best of friends. They argue about who’s turn it is to take out the garbage. They argue about whose sweater it was and who was responsible for ruining it. They argue about the dog that needs walking… and who left the water on in the bath tub (that notable flood)… they argue about everything, about nothing, because they like each other and because (just now) they don’t.

They are brothers… and so they argue. And make up. Only to argue some more. Yes, it is what brothers — all brothers — do.

So the events of October 2, 2011 did not seem odd, unusual, or different in any way. Brothers exist. Brothers argue.

And so this normal occurrence might have stayed unexceptional until with the devil’s own inspiration Andrew, 18, picked up a large steak knife… wielding it with adolescent swagger… adolescent vigor… adolescent insolence… adolescent thoughtlessness… and absolutely no understanding that the deed he was about to do, felt compelled to do, could never be undone… and thus pierced his brother’s heart… and in that instant broke his own, radiating pain and, in that instant, forever changing the lives of parents, friends, relations… all caught off guard and unprepared for the terrible news and its terrible consequences.

There was blood everywhere. And Andrew snapped back, in an instant jumping from the boy of purpose and resolution mad with the determination to do the most terrible thing of his brief life… to the horrified individual who had in his blood-soaked arms his brother….

And now he saw what, just a moment before, he could not see and what he would now see every minute for the duration of his human existence. He saw the bloody face of his brother Richard… with a look of wonder, amazement, confusion, and fear for what had happened and where he was going. For he was leaving this world at the hands of his brother, en route for a place his brother sent him but to which this brother could not yet go.

Andrew, now hysterical and painfully aware, applied pressure to his brother’s wound… but the blood did not stop, could not stop. He was mad with horror… grief… and above all with the reality that he had done all this.

Richard had now a different destination… as Andrew, frantic, pressed down upon the wound, to stop the flow of the blood which would not be stopped.

By now concerned neighbors were aware something was wrong at the Morales house and called the police. What they found was Richard Morales, Jr., age 22, in his final moments on earth… and his brother Andrew… who will wish many times that he, condemned to life, had made the eternal journey, too.

“Yes, I did it,” he told police who surveyed the scene with practised eye, just minutes before a home, dedicated to peace and serenity, now a charnel house where young passions had clashed… and delivered death to the one, the deepest despair to the other. Why had this happened? You would have laughed at the trivial cause… but for the carnage and the conclusion. It happened because brothers will tease… brothers will taunt… brothers will rough house… brothers will not stop when asked… and when asked to do a thing will, out of devilment, do the exact reverse…

Richard clearly had been, remember, just a moment before, in a mood to aggravate, and no one better than a brother knows the myriad of ways to do so. It started because Richard sat upon Andrew’s fresh-made bed… and was roundly told by Andrew to get his unwashed body off that bed… and out of his room. The one had thrown down the gauntlet, as so many times before, the other was duty bound to pick it up… and immemorial war, commenced by Cain and Abel, flared up on nondescript Berrington Road in Leominster, Massachusetts.

It was Sunday,the brothers had nothing to do… and so they did what brothers have always done — engage, infuriate, enrage. Richard threw his dirty clothes on Andrew; then, the battle fast moving and escalating in prescribed fashion, Richard threw Andrew’s computer at him… and here the encounter morphed into what was about to be death.

In this moment everything that Andrew needed was not present… and so he was thrown back upon the elements within… and these elements, strong in the young, released a dark force he may not even have known he had… a force demanding respect, appreciation and his just regard.

“Good kids,” no signs of trouble, complete surprise.

A family grieves this day, a community wonders why they had seen nothing. But, in fact, there was nothing to see and no way of knowing, for everything that happened that fateful Sunday in New England had happened before… but for the tragic mischance that the knife was at hand… never before threatened… now ready to be used.

Genesis 4:8 “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground…

4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. ”

But a merciful God will give him the strength he will need for the long and lonely years to come… the fruit of a moment’s error and a beloved brother’s gibes and raucous mockery.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at and

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