|Nov. 10th, 2004 03:33 pm the youngest murderer in the state of california|
THIS IS FICTION!!!! I am taking a creative writing class.. this spilled out. let me know if you like it, please... I need input. thanks so much...
Closing these eyes, it doesn't wash away the sight burned into my mind. I am eight, in a house a quarter of a block from the pacific ocean. Hydrangeas bordered the two-hundred foot driveway paved with loose gravel.
It is late on a weekend night, if i recall correctly. No one was there to hustle me to bed, and it was past nine in the evening. Entirely past my bedtime.
What alerted me to the commotion was the yelling. My adoptive father's red hot angry voice sharply cutting the din of my mounting worry. With me being in my upstairs room with the door closed and Wilson-Phillips blaring, it must have been really loud in the bathroom, where the fight broke out.
My cousin Steven, four years older than my sagely age of eight, was my hero. He always knew how to use the impressive Lego set we had to build fantastic ports for space ships and freighters bound for Bangkok alike. He was the best at dodgeball I had ever known. He was just the coolest, the best older brother that I could find. He loved to skateboard and he would bring home skating magazines for me to read to him, he wasn't such a good reader. Which was fine by me, Ray, because I was born to read. Simply was addicted to reading and at that point I was reading high-school literature. Steven didn't bother with reading a lot of his homework, he never understood the questions. We'd work on them together.
Steven was a great kid born to a woman who had no care for him. Well, she cared that he was alive when the welfare folks came 'round. She knew she'd get a sizable bonus added to the unearned dole she received monthly if she had him. He was one of four born to her. That was his best use, it seemed. To buy her more cocaine and the party life she had grown rather suited to.
This woman happened to be my father's oldest sister, who was a good ten years younger than his 43 years. So he took him from his neglecting mother and absorbed him into our family. Well, that's not exactly true. My mother and I loved him. I get the feeling, now, that my father never loved him. Always an outsider in our family, in my father's eyes, Steven always caught the brunt of my father's rage and daily abuse. This night was not a lot different than other nights, nights spent running from his tormenting anger.
It seemed to my eyes that he enjoyed finding fault with Steven, as if this could wipe his gloomy childhood from ever existing. Wouldn't that be nice? I would love to just wipe out loads of things from my memory. Him, my father, being the biggest thing I wish I could simply delete. I see now that this incident I am slow in recanting, was really the beginning of the longest, coldest cold war that I have ever known. Deep within my heart, my father died to me that night.
Steven had allegedly not washed his hands after taking a shit, which, unsanitary as it was, did seem to be a common practice for him. This was one of the biggest peeves my father had: uncleanliness. If you hadn't washed the dishes to his 'distinguished' tastes, boy you'd be in for a beating. Verbal or physical, the devastation wrecked upon the guilty party would rain from the clouds. The world would stop turning. The sun would turn it's heated light away from us. Or so my father thought, as long as he opposed the matter at hand.
That minor offense pulled me from my latest lego reverie. Well, not the shit exactly. But the beating Steven got when the shit was discovered and the sound of his choked screams of please, no! Pulled from my bedroom, I descended the stairs at breakneck speed, three at a time. Taking the left at the bottom of the stairs, I screeched to a halt in front of Steven's room. The scene is one I will never forget.
Steven was sprawled across his flannel comforter, his cheeks flaming hot with tears coating them, thick as oil. His hands were clutching the comforter, either to pull himself from the grip of my father, or to brace himself for the next assault, I am not certain. On his left knee just behind him, towering above like Shiva, the goddess of destruction, was my father. Clutched in his right hand was a Saucony shoe, poised to strike. It was not be the first of that night, as the same S shape that emblazoned the shoe now emblazoned my Steven's ass. I screamed at my fuck of a father to "get offa him, damn you!" I growled, holding my right fist tight to my side, afraid of the anger tautening my muscles.
"you fucking shit, pick on someone your own size" I spat.
"get outta here, you little bitch get out!" He threw the other Saucony shoe just left of my head.
I ducked,falling to the ground. I regained my feet, picking up Steven's well-used skateboard. It was a battered board, with only a tail, no nose. An old fashioned wooden board, made with thin layers of wood sandwiching glue, under intense pressure. It felt heavy and satisfying in my hands. Turning to square off with my father, I held it by the wheels, the tail resting lightly on the tip of my shoe.
"I asked you nicely to leave him alone, father. I don't want you to hurt Steven anymore..." I faltered, losing eye contact momentarily. I had looked to Steven to see if he was okay. Thats when he tried to hit me.
He saw his opportunity, and he lunged at me with all his fat hairy weight. Being so fat and slow, I saw him coming all right. Flipping the board to rest its bottom on my chest, I pushed out with all my might. I was just a mite, but I was mighty enough. The tempered wood made contact with his balding skull with a muffled thud. He lost his forward momentum and crumpled like a deflated balloon. I never saw him so crushed. Savoring the moment, I rushed to Steven. He thanked me, over and over. It was no big deal, I said. You would have done the same for me, I said to my Steven. He hugged me close, quieting his sobs until he had stopped crying.
"that sure was brave wasn't it?" I gushed, proud of my standing up to him, someone over five times my age. For the first time.
My Steven's eyes left me, resting on my father's. I had not looked at him since I hit him. I didn't think I hit him that hard though. At least not hard enough to cause the kind of blood that had flowed from his head wound.
Steven was the first to speak. "He isn't breathing. Is his chest moving?" He held his breath to steady himself and watch for my father's labored respiration. I saw no movement, his hateful breath frozen inside his chest. We watched for what seemed a fortnight. Or it seemed that long, when my mother entered. She had been out in the backyard, fertilizing a tree that bore blood-red seeds. What's the name of that tree? You know the one...
Sorry. When she saw him, she looked to us, and then to him. The him laying on the floor. Mom felt for a pulse and found none. Despairing, she drew her glasses from her eyes to catch some faint glimmer of breath upon the glass. Nothing emanated. Nothing about him moved.
She looked from Steven to me, and back again. My mother drew a pained breath, looking intently at me. "What happened here?" she quieried.
"Who did this" She sighed. Not waiting for an answer, she continued: "What does it matter? You two did something I should have had the strength to do years ago: kill the bastard."
Realizing the choice that hung in the air, she asked it: "Who will be held responsible for this?" It seemed rhetorical and I didn't answer.
Mom nodded, understanding her responsibility. Calling her sister, she loaded a bag of my things. "Hurry now Steven and pack a bag" She instructed him. He dutifully did as he was told.
"Where are we going, mom?" I asked, worried.
"You guys are going to Auntie Carroll's. And I am going... Away." Her resolute stance and tone of voice gave no chance for rebuttal. I hugged her once and then again.
When Auntie Carroll finally showed up and loaded us into her Volvo, I got my last look at my mother. She was handcuffed hand and foot and was being folded into a police car.
And that is how I avoided being the youngest murderer in the state of california.
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