~chapter six~ ~part two~ ~contemplating murder~ ~children of the fall~

WordWulfStarred Page By WordWulf, 4th May 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Domestic Violence & Abuse

ain’t got no place to go~I’m just a ten-year-old kid~wondering about stabbing myself in the bellybutton~like those Chinese ninja guys~I lie about god~I ain’t saved~poor folk don’t get saved~they get used~back stabbed~double crossed~I understand kids that kill their parents~kids that love their parents~the same kids~spend the rest of their lives~with people in white coats~if I stab Daddy & stab me~we don’t die~what’s Momma gonna do~cops & doctors are the enemy~they won’t even let us alone to die

~contemplating murder~

I went outside and, under the watchful eyes of the cement eagles, caught my first horny toad. There was a two foot square of tin on the ground next to an ant hill. I lifted it up with the intention of putting it over the ants’ home just to see how they would react to it. And that’s when I saw the lizard. One look at this creature’s dragon back and horned face gave me pause to forget all about the ants. The mighty toad raised up on all four legs, puffed up its throat and hissed at me.

I dropped the tin back over it and ran around to the parking lot where Daddy’s truck was located. Daddy never threw away coffee cans. I meant to get one and capture myself a dragon. There was a large can with a lid next to Daddy’s tool buckets. I grabbed it and hurried back to the piece of tin. The horny toad was still there and lifted itself up and hissed again when I lifted the tin. A bag under its throat puffed up, expanded and filled with air or venom, something awful and dangerous. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got goose bumps all over my skin. I felt fear in new places as I prepared to face off against that toad. I had heard somewhere that toads and snakes spit poison venom. If it hits you in the eyes, you’re likely blinded forever. I had enough trouble with my sight that I could easily imagine going through life and not being able to see at all. Hopefully I could keep the sheet of tin positioned between myself and the toad’s war bag spit.

I leaned on one of the cement eagles and considered what lay before me. I had to overcome my fear and not be foolishly blinded in the process. I didn’t have much time because it was beginning to get dark. Hopefully Daddy would be ready to go home. If not, he would make me come inside once it was dark. Expediency inspired a bit of imagination. I found myself a couple of sticks laying by the parking lot fence. I figured I could position the open-end of the coffee can in front of the corner of the tin where the toad was. I planned to lift the tin, keep myself behind the toad’s potentially deadly spitting mouth and prod it into the can with the sticks.

I used a rock as my target lizard and practiced with the sticks until I could use them as pincers and push the rock toward the can. This should work, I assured myself as I set the can up and prepared to lift the tin. Just as I got hold of the tin, Daddy’s voice called out.

“Tommy, what are you doing, son?”

The unexpected timing of his intrusion scared me so bad I got the stiff hairs and goose bumps all over again. Daddy let the door of the tavern close behind him and stepped toward me.

“You okay, Tommy? What’s going on, Son?”

“I’m fine, Daddy,” I said nervously, “It’s just that you scared me. I was tryin’ to catch this horny toad and ...”

“You mean this guy?” Daddy bent over and picked something up from the ground.

I moved closer and couldn’t believe my eyes. Daddy held the horny toad with a finger on each side of its belly. It wriggled a bit then resorted to closing its eyes and playing dead. I stepped back and lifted the tin. The toad was gone. It must have crawled out while I was busy practicing with the sticks. I picked up the coffee can and squinted at Daddy.

“Ain’t you scared of it?”

“Ya gotta sneak up on ‘em,” Daddy replied with mock seriousness. “Bring the can and we’ll take the toad home in it.” He chuckled a bit and cuffed me affectionately on the back of my head. These were tricky moments since Daddy’s favorite punishment was to smack kids on top of the head. If I flinched when Daddy was just tousling my hair or something, he was likely to get upset that I didn’t trust him and was apt to smack me one anyhow. Daddy laughed out loud. It was a good sound. “Mind you, I haven’t forgotten that big ol’ frog, Mitch. I’ll let you keep this toad but not in the house. Deal?”

Unbelievable, I thought; there are times whiskey turns folks into evil strangers. Every once in a while, it goes down deep inside them and they exhibit a kindness and caring that just plain doesn’t fit.

“Deal!” I replied enthusiastically.

I held out the can and Daddy set the toad in the bottom of it. He decided to remain at the bar and have a couple of more beers but I didn’t mind because Daddy allowed me to bring my new pet into the bar. The people in there were amazed that such a thing might exist just outside the front door and what a clever boy I was to have found it. They bought me candy bars, Lay’s potato chips and cokes. I felt like a Knight who has captured the dragon, harnessed its fire, and brought it home alive.

Daddy and I got home around ten o’clock. The house was dark and the door was locked. Daddy fumbled around but couldn’t find the key for the door. He knocked and, when no one answered, took a nail bar from one of his tool buckets and ripped a large piece of plywood off the front window hole. I handed him the tool buckets from outside on the porch after he stepped through the window and onto the living room couch.

“Where’s Tommy?” Momma asked. She didn’t see me on the porch. She was wearing her bath robe and was clutching herself with both hands like she was cold.

She flinched when Daddy threw a fake punch toward her head.

“Better be scared, you fuckin’ bitch!” He slapped her with his other hand. “I’m sick ‘n tired o’ comin’ home from work an’ bein’ locked out o’ my own damned house!”

Momma was crying but obviously relieved to see me when I stepped through the window hole. I was hoping Daddy had forgotten about me and would lighten up on Momma when I came through the window. Momma's hand reached out toward me.

“Go to bed, Sweety,” she said, “You’ve had a long hard day.”

“Go to bed, Sweety,” Daddy mimicked in a shrill squeaky voice. “Don’t you dare pamper my son, woman!” he barked at Momma.

His voice softened a bit and he reached out and touched my arm. I resisted the urge to jerk away from his touch. “Take one of my roofing axes and a handful of nails. Go outside and pound that plywood back in place.”

Momma turned and walked into the kitchen. Daddy stomped after her as I grabbed an axe and nails and went out to the front porch. I heard him yelling at her as I nailed the board into place. When I finished the task and came into the kitchen, Daddy was rifling through the cupboards.

“I been workin’ all day an’ I’m hungry,” he complained. There’s never any food in this fuckin’ house!”

“Tom, sit down and I’ll fix you something to eat,” Momma said in a conciliatory tone.

“What the hell is this?” Daddy asked, holding up the box of Cheerios I had bought that morning with Ringo’s money. I remembered my elation at being able to afford such things, my happiness at being part of something that would bring such simple joy to Momma and my brothers and sisters. Guilt replaced those emotions and I realized I should have bought Oatmeal, something that would go unnoticed in the household. “We can’t afford expensive shit like this!” Daddy continued, “No wonder we’re always broke!” He turned toward Momma and smacked her on top of the head with the box of cereal.

Momma stood in front of him with Cheerios in her hair and all around her on the floor. “Go to bed, Tommy,” she said softly.

“Bullshit!” Daddy bellowed. “That boy worked all day too and you are going to, by God, fix us something to eat! A man has a right to expect a meal when he’s been out working all day.” He glared at her. “Unless that’s too fucking much to ask! I can’t believe you aren’t even willing to feed your own son.”

Momma edged away from him. Her shaking fingers turned a knob on the cooking stove. “Sit down, Tommy,” she said through trembling lips, “I’ll make you guys something to eat.”

Daddy shoved her out of the way and turned the burner off. “That one doesn’t work, you dumb ass. What are you trying to do anyway, blow us all to kingdom come?” He turned another knob and, after a few seconds, a burner lit up. “Turn up the radio!” he ordered. “If you ever did any cooking around here, you’d know which burners work and which ones don’t!”

Momma got a can of Spam from the cupboard and opened it. She took a knife from the silverware drawer and began to cut slices of meat.

“I can’t stand the smell of that shit!” Daddy said as he watched her work. “You ‘n your handouts. We both know who earns the money in this family. Now you’re gonna serve your husband and son turkey guts.”

“It’s all we have!” Momma's voice broke through her resolve. “It’s been weeks since you gave me any grocery money!”

Daddy picked up the Cheerio box and threw it at her.

“You think I don’t know where that cereal came from?” he taunted, “You stole money from my billfold last night, you sneaking bitch! I let it go this morning because Ringo was here and some of us have to go out and work for a living. And I thought maybe, just maybe, the stupid bitch will go out and buy some real food. But no, you go out and waste good money on shit like this.” He strode past her and stomped on the Cheerio box.

Momma set a frying pan on the fire and put some slices of Spam in it. The smell of the meat cooking reminded me that I was hungry. Daddy gave the cereal box a kick then went into the bathroom without another word. He slammed the door hard behind himself.

“You eat a couple of slices of this then get yourself to bed,” Momma said softly. “Don’t you worry yourself. I can deal with him,” she added when she saw defiance enter my eyes.

“I hate him, Momma,” I blurted out in a whispered hiss, “Sometimes I just wish he would die so he could never hurt you again!”

Momma came to me and hugged my head to her breast.

“You don’t mean that, Tommy. He’s your father. When he’s like this, it’s just the booze talking. Everything will be better tomorrow, you’ll see.” I had been around long enough to know that the tomorrow she was speaking of would never come.

Before I could reply, we heard Daddy moving around in the bathroom. Momma handed me a plate with Spam on it and hurried me toward the bedroom. I heard her speaking in hushed tones and Daddy banging around the kitchen a bit. Sooner than I expected, the lights went out and I heard the door to their bedroom open and close.

“Squeak, squeak,” a voice piped in the dark.

“Who’s that?” I asked in a whisper.

That Spam smells good,” Jackie replied, “Phillip got me in trouble an’ I got sent to bed with no supper.”

“C’mere,” I said. There followed the sound of rustling, cloth on cloth then Jackie was standing beside me. I was munching on a piece of Spam and offered him the plate. Jackie snatched a couple of slices for himself and began gobbling them down. For a scarecrow, he sure could pack it away. The street light outside afforded us a bit of light through the window, enough so I could see that Jackie was fully clothed. “How come you’re dressed?” I asked.

Jackie answered immediately, speaking around a mouthful of food. “I’m all about gettin’ out o’ here,” he said matter-of-factly.

“No way, Jackie, you can’t,” I argued.

“Just watch me,” he threatened, “An’ why shouldn’t I?”

“Because I need you here,” I stated simply. “Daddy’s gettin’ worse an’ I’m afraid he’s gonna hurt Momma bad or somethin’. I need you to help me take care of these guys,” I added, gesturing to the pile of sleepers on the mattress.

“You got Momma,” Jackie accused.

I reached out and put two of my fingers against Jackie’s lips.

“Shh!” I said, “What’s that sound?”

“I already toldja,” Jackie said sarcastically. “Squeak, squeak, they’re doin’ it again. We ain’t got nothin’ t’ worry ‘bout ‘til they get off.”

I told him to hush then took his hand, led him through the house and out the back door. I fumbled around in the dark but soon reached the back of Daddy’s truck. There by the tailgate was the coffee can. I took off the lid and leaned the can toward the street light.

“Look what I got.”

Jackie started to reach his hand in.

“Don’t!” I warned, “It’s a Gila monster or something, one o’ those poison spittin’ dragon lizards. Shh.” When Jackie was still, I shook the can a bit. The toad puffed itself up and hissed a threat into the air. It sounded vicious and powerful in the silent dark of the night, its voice echoing in the can.

“Whoa!” Jackie said, “Where’d ya get it?”

I told him the whole story and could feel the sullenness come over him as I relayed the drama of my day, the pursuit of the dragon.

“You got Daddy too,” Jackie pouted at me, “You got it made boy, you jus’ got ‘er made.”

“It’s hard work,” I argued, “and it sure ain’t no fun bein’ stuck in the bar with Daddy an’ Ringo. Sometimes I think we’re never gonna leave. They just keep drinkin’ then people start buyin’ ‘em more every time they get set to go. It ain’t all that much fun.”

“It’s better ‘n here,” Jackie said. “Anywhere is. I don’t get nothin’ but trouble here. If Phillip starts whinin’, it’s allays my fault. If I don’t rock Linda good enough an’ she starts cryin’, Momma slaps me like I pinched ‘er or somethin’. One o’ these days I jus’ might. Then I get sent t’ bed and have t’ smell the bread cookin’ an’ the cheese meltin’. I don’t even get a cheese samwich aroun’ here. If I stay, it’s jus’ for you, Tommy an’ soon’s Uncle Jack finds hisself another woman, I’m gonna go stay with ‘im forever an’ you ain’ gon’ see me no more. That’s all there is to ‘t.”

When Jackie mentioned the cheese sandwiches, I was reminded of my stash of goodies in the back of Daddy’s truck.

“Help me hide this guy,” I said. I put the lid back on the can. “Once we find a place for him, I’ll show you a surprise you ain’t gonna believe.”

We hid the coffee can by the back step, behind an old cinder block and covered it up with tumble weeds. With that important business taken care of, we returned to Daddy’s truck. I dug around in the shingle scraps until I found my prize.

“You’re stupid,” Jackie said when I located it. “Daddy’s so sneaky, he prob’ly saw it an’ is jus’ waitin’ for you t’ go after ‘t. That’s when he’ll jump out an’ getcha!”

“No way,” I replied but cast a fearful glance toward the house. I handed Jackie a Hershey bar and took one for myself.

“I wanna R C Cola,” Jackie said.

“I’m saving that for tomorrow,” I told him.

“Like I said, you got it made.” Jackie accused, “I allays share my stuff with you. I don’ do none that ‘I’m savin’ it for tomorrow stuff when I’m packin’.”

“Let’s eat our Hershey bars and go inside before we get in trouble,” I said, “We’ll drink the pop tomorrow if I don’t have to go to work with Daddy. I’ll share, I promise.”

“Sure,” Jackie said, disbelief evident in his voice.

When we were finished with the Hersheys, I talked Jackie into going in without me by convincing him it would be more quiet that way and we stood less chance of getting caught. As soon as he was out of sight, I got my bag of goodies out of the truck and took it inside. I hid it under the pile of coats by the front door. Once that was accomplished, I returned to the kitchen and opened the silverware drawer. There were three butcher knives in there. I took the largest one and hid it under the big brown heating stove. I was ten years old and had made up my mind that next time Daddy beat Momma I was going to try to kill him. I was scared because if I didn’t stab him good, Daddy would probably just get madder than ever and beat her to death right in front of me. The night was quiet now. I swallowed past the lump in my throat when I went into the bedroom, determined not to disturb my siblings with the sobs that threatened to follow my resolve.

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~


1958, 1959, Alcoholism, Art, Colorado, Contemplation, Denver, Family, Free, Memoirs, Missouri, Mommas Rain, Money, Mothers, Murder, Parenting, Philosophy, Photography, Poverty, Religion, Saint Louis, Sons, Survival, Tom Wordwulf Sterner, 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 cnwriter..carolina
4th May 2014 (#)

am so glad to find another demented writer like myself here..wow what a great piece....

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