Billy! Everything was always about Billy! As I sit in my room, listening to Ma make airplane noises as she fed Billy, I begin to feel annoyed! I never got airplane noises. No spoon swirling about in front of my face. ‘Shut up and eat your damn dinner, Bobby!’ That’s what I got! I was born first yet Billy was named after Pa. Who’d wanna be named after that prick anyway!
“Bobby, get down here!” Hollered Ma’s raspy voice from the kitchen downstairs, “Dinner’s out, hurry it up!”
I get up and head downstairs. Wow! Is it my turn to eat already? She’d only been makin’ them damn airplane noises for half an hour! Is there even any left for me? Shit! I can’t bring this with me, if Pa finds it on me he’ll have my head and my plan will be ruined! I don’t need this yet. Soon enough Bobby, soon enough. I take the glistening blade I stole from Pa’s shed and I slide it between the mattress and the box spring.
“Bobby, come on it’s gettin’ cold!” She yelled again.
I run down the stairs and into the kitchen. I knew if she called me a third time, Pa would be up in no time, with his belt in hand. The air in the kitchen was stale. The radio is on low. It’s on the country station, 96.3 Country AM, as usual. The only damn station allowed on in this house and the only type of music allowed on as well. Country music. Pa says there’s nothing better. Once I tried to listen to another type of music. The type my friends at the school listen to and Pa came right up, pulled that cassette tape apart. Ribbon flying everywhere! What an asshole! Told me I couldn’t hang out with the boys anymore. Not like I ever really did anyway.
The sun is shining outside, and a ray is beaming through the window. Within the ray, dust floats up, as if it were dancing in the sunshine. There’s nothing to dance about in this house! I notice Pa being his usual, charming self.
“Now look what you’ve gone and made me do,” He continues, “you dumb cunt!”
Ma jumps up. She’s quick to clean up the mess and put Pa’s chicken back into the pan, to re-heat it. If she wasn’t Pa would probably hit her again. He does that a lot. He says it’s what you have to do sometimes. I agree. When someone pisses you off enough times over and over, I say they have it coming!
As I pull the chair out to sit down, it makes a loud screech on the floor. Shit!
“Don’t be scratchin’ up them floors, Boy!” Pa warned. “Your Mama has to scrub those, and you’re just makin’ more work for her!”
Says the donkey-piss drinker, who just made her cook dinner twice! The chicken is almost black! You know it’s cooked! The nerve of him telling me not to make extra work for Ma! Of course, all of this is said in my head. If any of it left my lips I wouldn’t have’em much longer!
“Sorry, Pa.” I lie.
I wasn’t sorry. He doesn’t even notice I’ve said anything. He should be happy I speak at all! Billy doesn’t say anything…ever! Never said a word since the day he was born! No one knows why. They don’t know what’s wrong with him. Everyone tries. I just think he doesn’t have anything interesting to say, is all.
I take a huge mouthful of mashed potatoes in between thoughts. My mind is racing! I know it’s going to happen I can feel it. Wait for it, just wait for it! Billy is staring blankly at his plate, waiting for Ma to finish feeding him. Ma gives Pa back his dinner.
“It should be ready now Willie.” Ma stammered.
“It should have been ready the first time! I come home from a long day working the fields. I want my damn dinner when I want it! On time! You hear me, woman!?!”
Ma doesn’t say anything, she just nodded and continued to feed Billy. At least the airplane noises stopped. Ma takes a bite of her dinner. Rarely do I ever see her sit down and eat a warm meal to herself.
“Who’s this young boy I see comin’ round’ these parts lately?” Asks Pa.
When Pa asks a question it usually means he already knows the answer, he just wants to see if you’re going to lie. Ma is slow to answer. I bet she knows whatever answer she gives, is going to be wrong.
“He’s new to the area, and was just going ’round seeing if people needed help with their crops and garbage, is all.”
“Is all?” Pa asked.
Again, not a question.
“We don’t be needin’ no help around here. Who does this boy think he is? Makin’ people feel like they can’t do things for themselves!”
“I am sure he just being ni-”
“Nice? What’s nice about makin’ people feel like they can’t do things for themselves. Why are you defendin’ this boy? You fuckin’ him, a’int ya?” Pa accuses.
Pa stands up and slams his hand down on the kitchen table.
“You better never let me catch him in this house, tryin’ to help out, or someone is going to be needin’ to help him out, you hear?” He threatens.
“Actually… h-he did come by t-today. He helped me take out all of that garbage, that was piling up at the side of the barn.” Ma stutters.
Ma could have just lied. Said nothing. Same thing right?!? Lying was so easy! Why doesn’t she just keep quiet? Probably because she knows, if Pa finds out and it isn’t her who told him, he’ll cut out her tongue and say it was because she wasn’t using it. He threatens to do it to Billy all the time.
This is all helping my plan go smoothly. My family is so predictable. Pa stands up, his face is turning redder and redder by the second. It looks like his head is going to explode!
“What the fuck do you mean, he came by today? Nobody comes by this house unless I say! What am I good for, if you gettin’ this youngin’ to do all my work!”
I am sure Ma had asked him a ton of times to clean up that shit beside the barn. Maybe if you would do your work when she asked, she wouldn’t have gotten someone else to do it for you! Pa grabs Ma by the back of the head. Here we go! He pulls her down to the floor. Billy’s already hiding under the table like he usually does. Normally I would be too, but not this time!
I don’t go under there because I am scared like Billy is. I just don’t want to get a smack upside my head, just for looking. This time I have a plan. Instead of running under the table and hiding, I run upstairs back to my room. I dash to my bed and I slip my hand between the mattress and the box spring. I can hear Ma screaming, louder than normal. I slip Pa’s hunting knife, into my pocket and head back downstairs.
“What are you lookin’ at you little retard!?!” Pa shouts at Billy, smacking him in the back of his head.
See. That’s what I am talking about! Of course, when I get back to the kitchen, Billy is still under the table, not even crying, just rocking quicker now. Little wimp! Pa’s so angry he didn’t even realize I had left the room. Ma isn’t looking so great. Pa isn’t going to look much better in a minute! He doesn’t notice me climbing up on the table behind him. He’s too busy kicking Ma in the head. One good stab is all I need. Ma isn’t screaming anymore. She isn’t moving anymore either.
I don’t think about it for another second. I have been thinking about this my whole life. No more thinking. Time for doing! Today is the day! Sometimes life is like a game of checkers. Make a wrong move and you can get jumped. I jump on Pa from the kitchen table. Billy’s eyes widen! I think that’s the closest thing to ‘speaking’ the little fucker has ever come to. You got the room with a view Billy! The nice one, staring out onto the pond with the ducks and the tree and the garden. My old room before you came along. You have issues so you needed the room with a view. All while I was bumped into the basement and the only little window there was, was facing the broken wood on the side of the garage! Well, how do you like the view now, you little bitch? I thought. As I showered the kitchen with a red rain. Billy included.
Pa looks at me, as he turns around to fall. This is priceless! It’s like he’s calling me every name he has ever called me. I’ll keep that look forever in my mind! He drops to the floor next to Ma, who still isn’t moving. You would think I would feel something for her. Anything. But I don’t. I wonder if the bitch ever felt anything for me while he was beating me to a bloody pulp? If she did feel anything, it wasn’t as much as the fear she felt toward him. Sorry, Ma. You had to die in order to save us. This is for not sacrificing sooner I guess. Maybe if you had helped us, instead of shining his fucking shoes every night, or making airplane noises for Billy, I wouldn’t have had to.
It’s awfully satisfying to see them dead on the floor. Now, time to win an acting award. I run to the phone and quickly dial 9-1-1. Ma and Pa had the cops called on them so many times, this wouldn’t look out of the ordinary. People were probably just waiting for this to happen. They’re probably shocked it hasn’t happened by now. I have heard people whispering under their breath at the grocery store. ‘Oh, those poor children’. If only other 10-year-olds were as smart as I. I guess when your parents are dumb as rocks, you can either go one way or the other depending on how much you have to teach yourself. I went one way and well, Billy went the other.
“It’s Bobby Blake at the Farmhouse on Highway 48. Help, please help!” I cry, just as I had rehearsed it. “My Ma and Pa are fighting again. It’s really bad this time.”
Not like it wasn’t every other time.
“They’re bleeding everywhere!”
I know they’re on their way now. Those damn pigs! They come even when you call by mistake. They fit into my plan perfectly. So damn predictable. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, predictability did! I squeeze out the tears, that I can on the phone, but plan to save most of them for the police station. I know it’s going to be a long night, but it will be plenty worth it. Billy’s lucky. People already knew he didn’t say shit. They a’int going to be askin’ him nothin’.
I peek under the table. Billy is still there, rickin’ away. Ma still hasn’t moved and Pa is still twitchin’ on the floor. Billy is just starin’ at Ma. Maybe this was hard for him because she actually did stuff for him. It isn’t hard for me, that’s for sure!
They’re here. It’s hard to contain my excitement, but I must. Sure enough, the front door burst open. This house is so old and falling apart, the door almost came off the hinges. I hear what sounds like a herd of elephants running down the hallway. Shady Acres’ finest, ladies and gents. Finest and fattest.
“Police! Police!” Shouted one officer, with a huge brown moustache.
They come running in, guns were drawn. All of their faces drop when they see all of the blood. None have noticed that we’re under the table yet, because of the long draping yellow tablecloth, with the flowers on it that Ma loved so much. It’s now red and covered in blood, and what I think is a little piece of the jugular.
I have myself perched next to Billy, arms tightly around him. ‘Crying’. He continued to rock and looked at me with a confused look as I don’t think I have ever hugged him, ever. I had to make this look good and do what any normal 10-year-old would do.
Officers were now running left, right and centre.
“Where are the children?” Asks a tall, grey-haired man, who seems to be the one in charge.
“Officer James, you check upstairs. I am going to check down here. I know this couple has two boys aged 10 and 4. These people are fighting all the time. This was just a matter of time.”
If there was a big fuckin’ light bulb, in his wrinkled old head, it would be lighting up, right about…now! I look over to Billy, who is still looking at me, confused. I put a hand on each of his shoulders and I look him straight in his cold dead eyes and lean in.
“You haven’t said a single word your whole stinkin’ life you little retard, so don’t you start yappin’ now!” I whisper my threat.
“Hey Detective Eastdale, no need, they’re over here under the table.” Yells Officer James. Detective Eastdale put his gun away and came over to us quickly. He squats down in front of us.
“We’re going to take you kids down to the police station. You’re safe now. Everything is going to be OK. It’s all over!”
Little does he know, it had only just begun.
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