~chapter eight~ ~children: the mother blood~ ~part three~ ~sweet dreams~

WordWulf By WordWulf, 15th May 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Domestic Violence & Abuse

~I did a lot of getting even in my dreams~bit the hand that fed me~slapped the face that kissed me~I met the other face there~the one wish/willing to die~loath to surrender~its eyes howled~its reek of breath offended me~the me it was & I just ran away~until next time~paladin bounty hunter rifleman avenger coward~badass with my gun~lone ranger~

~sweet dreams~

I followed the crowds to the lunchroom, hoping to find my brothers there. They would usually find me in such cases since their eyesight was much better than mine. There were no little kids in the cafeteria so I moved back to a seat in the corner and hoped no one would notice I didn’t have a lunch. My stomach growled a loud and prolonged complaint. I was sure everyone in the noisy lunchroom could hear it. One good thing about having poor eyesight is that you can’t tell if people are staring at you, except that you ‘feel’ them. I sat there through lunch period thinking about Mister Johnson and Uncle Jack. Why did certain people hate me the moment they laid eyes on me, I wondered. I had spent some time of late staring in the mirror in an attempt to see whatever it was they saw. All I saw was myself and, most of the time anyway, I didn’t see anything in the glass to hate myself over. What I was really doing was worrying about going back to class. Mister Johnson wasn’t through with me; I was certain of that. We were just between rounds. The afternoon lay ahead. I wished it was over.

The bell rang and all the children, bellies full, scurried back to their classrooms. When I returned to mine, there was a boy seated at my desk.

“I’m a new kid,” I said to him, “and you’re in my seat.”

“These must be yours then.” He handed me my notebook paper and pencil and looked at me like I must be out of my mind. “Don’ mess with me, kid,” he said, “Mister Johnson won’ put up with it.”

I glanced around the room, hoping to see an empty desk, any desk to retreat to. There were none and, just as I turned to speak further to the boy seated at my desk, Mister Johnson came into the room.

“What are you doing here?” he asked me.

I didn’t know what to say. The heat rushed into my face and I could feel every eye in the room watching me. I turned to face the teacher. Mister Johnson took me by the arm and led me to his desk. He turned me front and center to the room full of desks, a student in each one.

“Folks, I would like you to meet Mister Sterner. He doesn’t seem to like the way we do things here at Freeland. He doesn’t feel the need to come to assigned classes like the rest of you. He doesn’t even have to attend school each and every school day like you and I do. Maybe he has a special message for us. If so, I intend to give him a chance to explain it all to us. Go ahead, Mister Sterner. Since you seem so determined to take over and disrupt my classroom, I defer to you.”

I closed his eyes. I heard the leather sliding through cloth sound, the snake slipping from its sheath. My ears were ringing through my brain and Uncle Jack forced my face against the mirror. The crack of leather on skin and the first tiny trickle of blood running down my legs was stealing me away.

“Mister Sterner!” The teacher stood in front of me, demanding my attention. He gripped both my arms and shook me. “You will wipe that look off your face!”

The church people always tried to tell me it was wrong to hate and I sort of agreed with that. I wondered if they ever met the kind of people I met, people who would tear the cheek skin from your face. When you offered the other cheek like you were supposed to, they would rip it off as well, devour your live flesh and set fire to your spirit. What did Daddy want from Momma and what did the Uncle Jacks and Mister Johnsons want from me?

Mister Johnson marched me from the classroom, out into the empty hallway. He pushed me into the wall, pinned his body against it, his hand flat against my chest. He was big and strong, his face purple with rage. “You will treat me with the proper respect and, furthermore, show proper appreciation for this house of learning!”

I don’t know what my face did or does. I suppose I will never know what my face does. It pisses a certain kind of people off all by itself, that’s what it certainly does. Mister Johnson’s hand slid up until it held me around the throat. His filthy mouth sprayed saliva over my face as he screamed its whispered hisses. “You will show me respect, by God!”

My feet were hanging free from the scaffold of his grip. As the tender-lights of my consciousness began to fade, I found the survivor’s purchase, a foothold in the hanging wall of passion and hate pure for such as these with their spitting mouths and weapon fingers, their ties and authoritative button/hatchet faces. In the darkness that ensued, I prayed that my face did not deliver to Mister Johnson the weakness and retreat of his monster demands.

Lying prone on the floor in the hallway, I thought at first that the teacher was puking or spitting on me, peeing maybe. He was kneeling over my body, concerned and splashing water in my face. I stared at him from my little-death-eyes and Mister Johnson fell back. “I don’t know what you’re trying to pull here! You get yourself up off that floor. You’re going to the office, young man.”

My first afternoon of the fifth grade was spent sitting in the main office. The time spent there reminded me of Daddy’s beer glass, waiting for it to finally be empty, when he might set it down and have no more. My dearest hope was that at three o’clock these tenders would take their hooks from me and just let me go home. Mrs. Wentworth came out of her office. She laid a comforting hand on my forehead.

“So there you are. I’m sorry you’re having such a trying first day. I should have just sent someone with you to your classroom.” My face smiled at this nice lady and I hated myself for it. “Here’s your schedule, Tommy,” she said kindly. “You forgot it this morning when you left my office and I just found it laying on my desk.”

I felt the piece of paper in my hand but didn’t trust my mouth to speak. She went back to her office and tears filled my eyes as I held the paper close to see. I had never seen a class schedule before, had always spent the entire day with one teacher. Now I understood why the boy refused to give up the desk. It was his, all semester his of an afternoon. The three classes after lunch were spent in different classrooms with three different teachers.

It was with some relief that I realized I would only have to spend mornings in the company of Mister Johnson. The situation was so ridiculous I wanted to laugh but a sob escaped my lips instead.

I was finally summoned into the office of the principal, who gave me a long speech about improper behavior and proper classroom decorum. At Freeland, they followed a school-board-approved system for dealing with insubordinate students and he dearly hoped I would never experience its teeth. He would be filing a report on Mister Johnson’s behalf but, since I was a brand new student and obviously a bit confused and out of my element, he would hold the report in a file. So long as I behaved myself for the next two years, the file wouldn’t be used against me. The principal further added that he would love to speak to my parents but, since we were one of those families without a phone, they would have to contact the school for an appointment if they were to be made privy to the report he was about to make. He took a wooden drilled spanking board from the wall and whacked it against his pudgy hand a couple of times.

“We won’t be having any more trouble with you, will we?” he said.

I didn’t trust my voice to answer. I glanced around the office, stared at the principal’s hands and the board of punishment. I was afraid my traitorous face would earn me a beating this afternoon to go with the choking I received just after lunch.

The man focused intently on my face for a moment, whacked his hand with the board, and shook his head. His fat face reminded me of chicken guts lying in the dirt.

“Go on out and wait on the bench,” he ordered. “You are free to go home when the bell rings.”

The mercy of time favored me for once and the bell rang shortly after that. I hurried out of the building and down the steps. My first day in the stone monster will haunt me for the rest of my life. I wanted nothing more than to run home and tell Momma what had happened but stood instead at the mouth of the beast waiting for my brothers. They came bouncing along together and were in such high spirits I didn’t tell them a thing about my day.

Daddy was at work and Momma was getting ready for work when I got home. Daddy had driven Momma over to pick up the monthly allotment of commodities that day so there was pretty good stuff to eat. The refrigerator had bacon and eggs and pancake batter in it, which meant that Daddy really was trying to go on the wagon. We were never allowed to touch any of this food. It was strictly for the man of the house. When I was five years old, Daddy had caught me staring at his plate of eggs and bacon and dumped them on top of my head. I had learned the hard way not to even so much as look at something strictly for the adults in my life.

I ate a couple of peanut butter sandwiches then went to lay down. I didn’t feel well. I had made up my mind not to tell Momma about Mister Johnson. She had enough problems without me loading on more and there was nothing she could do about it anyway. The events of the day had just about worn me out. Momma came into the bedroom to check on me before she went to work. She held a hand to my forehead.

“You don’t seem to have a temperature. You’re probably just worked up about your first day of school. I’m going to work now. You go ahead and rest. Jackie can keep an eye on things until your Dad gets home. If he needs help or has any problems with the little ones, I’ll tell him to come and get you.”

Momma looked pretty when she went to work. She had on red lipstick and eye makeup. She always looked pretty when she was pregnant anyway. I rolled over and surprised myself by going straight to sleep. While napping, I had my first gun dream. I had never been around guns, had never even seen a real one. But the shotgun on ‘The Bounty Hunter’ and Lucas McCain’s rifle on ‘The Rifleman’ were mine in the dream. I started out by gut-shooting Uncle Jack and Mister Johnson with shotgun pellets so they would suffer long and hard. The church people always owned the final part of my bad dreams. I usually asked forgiveness for my evil thoughts and, inevitably, offered myself up body and soul as atonement for the sins of my thoughts which, like the man said, were the same as acts of the flesh.

And my dreams did own me that sweet night, all the night long. I didn’t even wake up when Jackie and the kids came to bed. Once I got to sleep, I was gone. Next thing I knew, Momma was pulling on my toes.

“Up and at ‘em, guys! It’s time to get ready for school.” I hadn’t taken my clothes off before I’d laid down the night before, so I just put on my shoes, washed my face, and was ready to go.

“Cream O’ Wheat,” Momma said, “and we got milk and sugar.”

I was about half again as friendly toward Cream O’ Wheat as I was toward oatmeal, but milk and sugar, even powdered milk, made it a lot more palatable. Momma poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down across the table from me.

“You sure are quiet today,” she remarked.

I took a bite of cereal and rubbed my eyes. “I can’t wake up,” I said. “And I hate that school.”

Momma got up and came around the table. “Turn around here,” she ordered. I turned toward her and she touched my throat gingerly with her fingers. “What happened to your throat?” she asked. “There are bruises on both sides of it.”

“Nothin’ Momma,” I said around the lump in my throat. I felt like a big baby. I wanted to grab her and cry. Instead I said, “It’s just some dumb teacher. Don’t worry about it.”

“I’ll dumb teacher her!” Momma said, “Who did this to you, Tommy? Give me her name.”

“It ain’t a her,” I said. “My morning teacher is a man.”

“And he did this to you?” she said incredulously. Before all was said and done, Momma got the whole story out of me. She was raising such a ruckus, she woke Daddy up. He came out of the bedroom in his jeans and socks, shirt and shoes in his hands.

“What the hell’s goin’ on?”

“Look at his throat,” Momma said to him. “Some shithead of a teacher strangled him ‘til he passed out, that’s what the hell’s goin’ on!”

Daddy tilted my chin back with his free hand and had a look for himself. “Why did she do that?”

“What the hell kind of question is that?” Momma said, exasperated. “I don’t send my kids to school to be choked and it wasn’t a she. Tommy has a real man for a teacher now, one who strangles children.”

Daddy handed Momma a coffee cup. She filled it up and he took a seat at the table. He gave me a once-over glance.

“They really got men teachers in that school?”

Momma joined us at the table. “We’re going over to talk to those people. We’ll see what kind of man he is when he has to deal with adults.”

“Don’t be startin’ trouble,” Daddy warned her. “It doesn’t do any good to fight with these people. The boys have to go there every day. They don’t need you over there makin’ waves.”

“Waves,” Momma said, completely exasperated now. “I’ll show ‘em waves, goddamit! Don’t you worry yourself, Tom Sterner. I don’t expect you to do anything. You just keep an eye on the girls for me. I’ll fix you some breakfast, then go over and take care of this thing myself.”

Daddy yawned and shook his head.

“I’m gonna put on my shoes and go t’ work. Never mind breakfast. I’ll stop at Rockybuilt and get myself a short stack. My advice to you is to stay the hell out of this before it becomes a big mess. These people can do whatever they want concerns us. You go over there an’ raise all kind o’ particular hell and things’ll probably get a lot worse for all the boys. Let sleeping dogs lie, Carroll.”

Momma glared at him. “I’m all for that until one of them wakes up and bites my kids!”

Daddy put on his hat and shoes, gathered up his tools, and out the door he went. I pitched in to help Momma now that we were all going to school. She sent Jackie and Phillip on ahead of us. She and the girls and I would go visit the monster after first bell when there weren’t kids milling around in the belly of the beast.

Inquiries: wordwulf@gmail.com
©2014 graphic artwork music & words
conceived by & property of
tom (WordWulf) sterner 2014©
~also available at Amazon ~
~chapter one~
~chapter two~
~chapter three~
~chapter four~
~chapter five~
~chapter six~
~chapter seven~
~chapter eight~
~my heaven~


1960, Alcoholism, Art, Colorado, Denver, Dreams, Family, Free, Guns, Memoirs, Mommas Rain, Money, Mothers, Parenting, Philosophy, Photography, Poverty, Religion, Sons, Survival, Tom Wordwulf Sterner, Vengeance, Violence, Wikinut, Writer

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author avatar WordWulf
I write novels, poetry, songs,nonsense & lies. Sometimes truth sneaks in when I ain't lookin'.

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author avatar Etc.
5th Aug 2014 (#)

I see I've come in in the middle. I have some catching up to do.

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author avatar WordWulf
5th Aug 2014 (#)


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