Come On Then, You Bastard!

Posted: February 8, 2013 in Life, Mom
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I was sitting at my desk, doing homework. Perhaps more accurately, I was sitting at my desk staring at my homework. Dad had plopped me down there and insisted I do homework instead of reading like I wanted to – I had shown a disinterest in going to “hunt squirrels” with him, to learn “nature”(in other words, watch him play with the innards of dead animals). Thus, I was picked up and plopped down in front of my desk, where he insisted I do science or math. I asked questions about the homework, which he wouldn’t answer.

Dad: Figure it out, dummy.

He left the room. I set aside the science and math books and did the English and history instead. There wasn’t much to do, since I had basically worked so far ahead I finished it all. I went back to the science and stared blankly at it. The more I stared, the angrier I became. Who the hell was he to call me dumb? I recalled how he was there every time I stumbled, or fumbled a catch the few times we played ball.

Dad: …Goddamn klutz. How can you possibly be so uncoordinated?

My mind flashed to every unfair punishment he ever doled out, every false beating I ever received at the end of a belt buckle or hanger. Black oil bubbled inside me. I thought of the time just after Grandpa died – maybe a couple weeks out – that he sold all my toys at the flea market. Most of them were toys Grandpa had given me, which he knew full well –  he even sold he toy chest Grandpa had made me. I thought of the time that, for no reason at all, he began hurling empty and half full beer bottles at Mom and myself from his couch. They shattered on the wall behind us, caps spinning out on the floor. He stopped because he ran out of bottles, not because of our terrified screams, never yelling or even speaking throughout the entire event. I thought of hanging on to the bed post while he pried me off and beat me so bad that purple, angry welts appeared instantly. I thought of Rocky.

I snapped the pencil in half. I looked down, and noticed it was Dad’s own pencil, one of a monogrammed set – his name was emblazoned across the red pencil in gold. That made me more angry, but snapping it made me feel better. I went through the entire set.




I was angry still, but gleeful. Destroying his property was giving me a perverse sense of pleasure. Without thinking much about it, my passive aggressive side came out. I walked out to where he was drinking beer and watching a John Wayne movie.

Me: Dad, I can’t do my homework.

Dad looked over slowly, annoyed.

Dad: Why not?

Me: I don’t have any pencils.

He looked confused, but roused himself and ambled over to the desk. There sat his monogrammed pencils, like neat little corpses, snapped in half. In two steps, he was at the closet and back, a hangar in his hand. He raised it above his head, and I saw black and felt very cold.

I put out my hands and I shoved him as hard as I could. He rocked back a little on his heels. I doubt it was my strength – I was 8 – and think rather that it had more to do with surprise. I felt nothing. Just cold and black. I balled my fists and beat him every where I could – mostly going for his stomach and chest.

Me: Come on then, you bastard! You like that? How does it feel? HOW DOES IT FUCKING FEEL!

I screamed every foul word I knew – called him every name in the book. I don’t remember the particulars of what I said, because it was as blurry in the moment as it is now.

His hand that was holding the hangar dropped and he was looking at me stupefied. I saw an opening and snatched the hanger. I hit him with it, high on the arm.


He stumbled back, still in shock.

I chased him out of the room, I know that much. I screamed after him. I don’t think he retreated in a full on run, but he stumbled and shuffled his way out in a daze. I stayed behind, clutching the hangar like a cross. I let it go when I noticed my hand hurt, and that the angles had left deep impressions. I paced for a while, like a caged animal, before breaking down and crying.

He never hit me again – in fact, didn’t even acknowledge me for the rest of his time living there. He was gone in a couple of weeks – moved out after a fight he and Mom had over the phone while I was doing my play.

Mom told me the news – that Dad left, and they were getting a divorce. I was relieved.

Me: Good. I think that’s good.

Mom cried a lot, and promised me that no one would ever hurt me – no matter what. I’m not sure if she was talking about Dad or the Mafia.



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