I originally was going to end the book with a chapter about mental health. However, this damn book is writing itself - or so it seems. When I sat down at the cafe to write - this vomited out. I guess I am ending the book on a note concerning child abuse. It is very raw - I spewed this out in just under an hour. Yeah - they'll be more.
an excerpt from Dark is the Night
“GET UP! IT’S TIME TO GET UP FER SKEWL! GET UP! AWWW, GAWDDAMIT! YOU WENT AND DONE PISSED THE BED AGAIN! GAWDAMMIT!”
Eric opened his eyes - groggy and slowly from a night filled with lucid nightmares. He dreamt of being chased through a dark mansion by the Cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. The Cyclops would smash through each door he attempted to close and lock, striking at him with a leather whip.
Half awake, Eric laid on his stomach wearing nothing but his white briefs. From his knees to his upper chest was cold from the large wet spot that he had made during the course of the night.
He looked guiltily and with fear at the short, plump woman that stood in the doorway to his bedroom. “I’m sorry momma. I’m sorry.”
“GAWDDAMIT! GET INTO THE BATHROOM AND CLEAN YERSELF! HURRY BEFORE YER DADDY FINDS OUT AND BEATS YER LITTLE ASS! GAWDAMMIT, I SWEAR!”
As he rapidly jumped up and passed his mother, she smacked him on the back of the head.
“YOU LITTLE SHIT! YOU STINK LIKE PISS! I’LL HAFTA WASH YER SHEETS AGAIN! WHY?! WHY DO YOU DO THIS EVERY NIGHT? YOU RETARDED OR SOMETHING?”
Eric hurriedly dashed to the bathroom, glancing down the short hall to his parents door. He heard him - his father was awake, getting dressed. Eric shut the bathroom door behind him, pulled the wet shorts off and began running the water. He quickly washed his torso in the warm water with a red rag, the soap covering his small frame. His mother opened the door and placed some clean shorts on the sink’s rim.
“HURRY UP! BREAKFAST IS ALMOST READY! JUST DON’T STAND THERE! HURRY UP! GAWDAMMIT, YOU CAN BE SO DAMN STUPID SOMETIMES, YOU HEAR?”
She turned and waddled out. Eric shut the water off, stepped out of the tub, and began drying himself with a towel hanging from a nearby rack.
“WHERE’S THE BOY?!” It was his father. He stood outside the door, obviously bumping into his mother coming out into the hall.
“AWW, HE’S TAKING A BATH. HE PISSED HIMSELF AGAIN!” The mother said condescendingly.
The bathroom door swung open as Eric was putting his right leg through the opening of his briefs. He froze.
“YOU PISSIN YERSELF AGAIN? YOU LITTLE SISSY, PISSIN YERSELF? I SHOULD PUSH YOUR DAMN FACE IN IT LIKE A DAMN DOG MAYBE THAT WILL STOP YOU FROM PISSIN YERSELF EVERYNIGHT!”
Eric simply stood there not saying a word, staring at the matted bath rug on the warped, tiled floor. His father slammed the door behind him.
“WHY DONCHA LEAVE HIM ALONE? YOU’RE GONNA MAKE HIM LATE FOR SCHOOL!”
“THAT’S HIS DAMN PROBLEM! YOU BABY THE LITTLE SHIT TOO MUCH! YOU LET THESE DAMN KIDS DO WHATEVER THEY DAMN WANT! HE PISSES THAT BED AGAIN, I’LL BEAT HIS LITTLE ASS!”
“AWW WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP! YER ALWAYS YELLING ABOUT THESE KIDS! WHY DON’T YOU JUST LEAVE IF YOU DON’T LIKE EM!”
“DON’T TELL ME TO SHUT UP! YOU SHUT UP! I’LL BEAT YER ASS, TOO! YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ME, DUMMY! I MAKE THE MONEY IN THIS HOUSE! YOU’LL DO WHAT I TELL YOU! ALL OF YOU!”
“LET GO OF MY ARM, YOU BASTAWD! LET GO! GET YER STUPID ASS TO THE TABLE AND EAT YER BREAKFAST AND LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!”
“STUPID WOMAN! HURRY UP WITH THAT LITTLE SHIT OR I’LL BE LATE FOR WORK!”
“WHY DON’T YOU SHUT YER MOUTH! ALWAYS YELLIN! JUST SHUT UP AND GO SIT DOWN! GO GET SOME COFFEE - THAT’S READY!”
“YOU BEST SHUT YER GAWDAMN MOUTH, WOMAN!”
Eric stood there as the bathroom door swung open and his mother stood there, face flustered and sweating, holding his clothes for the day. She knelt down and roughly grabbed his legs, shoving them into each pant leg, yanking a shirt over his head and pulling it down, with jerking shoves, slipped on his socks.
“CAN YA TIE YER OWN SHOES AT LEAST OR AM I GONNA HAFTA DO THEM TOO? I GOTTA GET BREAKFAST!”
Eric bent over to pick up the two small red and blue sneakers, “I can tie my own shoes, momma.”
Eric sat on the closed toilet lid and slipped into his shoes as his mother waddled out.
At the door of the bathroom, a thin scowling face peered around the corner. Large green eyes under a mass of fluffy brown hair that cascaded down over shoulders stared at him with contempt, “Are you done yet? I gotta pee.”
It was his middle sister Tammy. Just one year in High School and she already had the reputation of being a slut. Eric overheard her once in the backyard bragging to her friends at the black boys in the neighborhood who she frequently banged.
Eric finished tieing his shoes and walked out, “All yours.”
He made his way into the dining room. His father already was sitting there with his oldest sister, Cindy. The two sisters were from a previous marriage and looked exactly like their mother. Small eyes, pug nose, and an unattractive thick body of German decent. His sister Cindy had always been the fattest.
“DIDJA BRUSH YER TEETH YET?” His father looked right at him.
Eric crossed behind him and took his usual place in the chair against the wall. “No.”
“WHY THE HELL NOT?”
“I haven’t eaten, yet.”
Eric thought there was never a point in brushing your teeth right before you ate breakfast. He thought it just defeated the purpose.
“DO YOU WIPE YER ASS AFTER YOU TAKE A SHIT? YA JUST GONNA SHIT AGAIN, RIGHT? SO, WHY BOTHER?”
Eric shot his father a look of contempt but was met with an open palm across the cheek.
“DONCHA LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT! GET YER ASS BACK IN THAT BATHROOM AND BRUSH YER TEETH!”
With the stinging still strong on his face, Eric meekly slid off his chair and returned sullenly to the bathroom. He grabbed his toothbrush, added paste and languidly began stroking it across his teeth.
“WHATYA HIT HIM FOR? HE’S GOTTA EAT BEFORE HE GOES TO SCHOOL! LEAVE EM THE HELL ALONE! YER GONNA MAKE HIM BE LATE!”
“SHUT UP! GIMMEE MY BREAKFAST BEFORE I’M LATE FER WORK!”
“WHY’D YA HIT EM FOR? HE COULDA BRUSHED AFTER! HE’S GONNA BE LATE!”
Eric heard his mother slamming dishes down onto the table.
“Eric GET IN HERE BEFORE YOUR BREAKFAST GETS COLD!”
As Eric swished water in his mouth and spat into the sink, he heard his father slide his chair out from beneath the table. Eric wiped his mouth across the table and darted out of the bathroom. His father blocked his way to the dining room.
“DID YA BRUSH EM? DID YA BRUSH EM GOOD?”
“Yes.” Eric said looking at the floor, trying to pass him to hurry and get back to the dinner table.
“LET ME SEE EM!”
His father grabbed him roughly by his slender arm. Eric opened his mouth and grit his teeth at him.
“GET YER GODDAMN ASS BACK IN THERE AND BRUSH EM AGAIN! THEY’RE FITHY!” He ended the sentence with a whack across the boy’s head.
Eric turned back the bathroom, whined, “But, I did brush them, daddy.”
The father lifted his foot and planted it roughly into the boy’s lower back that sent Eric sprawling onto the hallway floor.
“DON’T LIE TO ME! GET IN THERE AND BRUSH THEM TEETH! I’M GONNA STAND HERE AND MAKE SURE YOU BRUSH THEM, TOO! AND I DON‘T WANNA HALF ASSED JOB!”
“WHY DONCHA LEAVE HIM ALONE! HE’S GONNA BE LATE FOR SKEWL!!”
“SHADDAP AND GET BACK TO THE KITCHEN! HE’S NOT EATING ANYTHING UNTIL HE BRUSHES HIS TEETH!”
“YOU ASSHOLE! LEAVE EM ALONE! GO EAT YOUR FOOD BEFORE IT GETS COLD!”
Again, Eric grabbed the toothbrush and between sobs applied the paste and started brushing his teeth.
“DO IT HARDER! BRUSH EM GOOD!”
“COME EAT YOUR BREAKFAST BEFORE IT GETS COLD! LEAVE THAT BOY ALONE!”
Eric kept brushing until his gums started to bleed.
“NOW RINSE AND GET YER ASS OVER THERE AND EAT YER BREAKFAST!”
Still sobbing, Eric sat quietly at the table as his mother plopped a plate of greasy eggs and limp toast down in front of him. His father devoured his meal. Between gulps, his father began belching - foul wafts of halitosis and egg drifted across the table. Between words, he would drop open his mouth and let a guttural croaking burp without covering his mouth.
“WHEN YOU ALL GET HOME FROM SCHOOL, (belch) I WANT YOU TO RAKE THE LEAVES IN THE (belch) FRONT YARD. I WANT IT DONE BEFORE I GET HOME, GOT IT? DON’T STOP (belch) TO PLAY WITH YER FRIENDS OR WATCH CARTOONS OR I’LL WHIP YOUR ASS!” (belch)
Cindy looked up from her food, “I got band practice. I’ll be late.”
The father turned to Tammy who sat next to her mother, “YOU? YOU GOT ANY STUPID DUMB ASS EXCUSES?”
“Nope.” She said snidely. “I’ll do it as soon as I get home. But, I can’t spend all day, I have to meet someone at six.”
“HANGIN AROUND WITH THEM (belch) NIGGER BOYS NOT AN EXCUSE!”
“SHUT UP! LEAVE HER ALONE! SHE NEEDS TO HAVE FRIENDS.”
“I DON’T WANT YOU HANGING AROUND WITH (belch) NO GODDAMN NIGGERS!”
Tammy looked at him defiantly, “You’re not my father - you have no right to tell me what I can or can not do.”
The mother poured Eric another glass of milk, “YOU GO ON AHEAD, Tammy. DON’T BOTHER WHEN YOU COME HOME TODAY. Eric IS CAPABLE OF RAKING ON HIS OWN.”
“I WORK! I’M THE ONE PUTTING FOOD IN YOUR GODDAMN (belch) MOUTH, YOUNG LADY! AS LONG AS YOU LIVE HERE, YOU DO AS I SAY!” (belch)
No one said nothing. It was quiet for the moment except for the occasional burp. Eric slid off his chair and went into his room. He glanced at the stripped bed with the large yellowed stain in the middle of the flower printed mattress. The entire room smelled of stale urine. He grabbed his little backpack and threw it across his shoulder.
“OH, THAT’S RIGHT! IT’S REPORT CARD DAY TODAY, AIN’T IT? I WANT TO SEE THAT AS SOON AS I COME HOME! THERE BETTER NOT BE ANY BAD GRADES OR YER BUTTS GONNA GET IT!”
“AWW, LEAVE EM ALONE! Eric, HURRY UP YER GONNA BE LATE.”
“YER TOO EASY ON THE LITTLE SISSY! I WANT THEM LEAVES RAKED, GOT IT! AND DON’T DO NO HALF ASSED JOB! I WANT IT ALL DONE BY TIME I GET HOME!”
Eric walked through the living room and glanced at the four still sitting at the table. His mother pointed a fork casually at his father.
“DON’T BE SUCH AN ASSHOLE TO HIM! YOU’RE ALWAYS SHOOTING OFF YER MOUTH! WHY DONCHA SHUT UP FER ONCE? NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR THAT SHIT THIS EARLY IN THE MORNING!”
“DON’T TELL ME TO SHUT UP, GAWDAMMIT! YOU SHUT YER FUKKIN UGLY MOUTH! ALWAYS RUNNING IT! DRIVING ME CRAZY!”
“I WISH I COULD DRIVE YOU CRAZY - THEN THEY’D COME AND TAKE YER WORTHLESS ASS AWAY FROM ME! AND DON‘T SAY THAT DAMN WORD IN FRONTA THE KIDS!”
“AH, SHUT UP, GAWDAMMIT! YOU COULDN’T LAST ONE GAWDAM DAY WITH OUT ME!”
His mother snidely chuckled, shoving her pinkie up her pug nose and fished abundantly for the offending matter. She yanked out a glob, looked at it and wiped the greenish gray snot onto her gown.
His father leaned in close to her, puckering up, “SHUT UP AND GIMME A KISS, YOU OLD HAG! YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME!”
She leaned over and pecked her chapped, thin lips against his greasy thick ones, “YEAH, YEAH! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS.”
A disgusting, lascivious look came across his face as his eyes scanned across the three children, “ALL YA’LL GET YER ASSES TO SCHOOL! GET THE HELL OUT! I GOTTA TALK TO YOUR MA!”
Both started to chortle and grunt like herniated, amused hogs.
Eric walked out the door into the pre-dawn darkness. It was still cold. Cutting across the front yard, he made his way onto the road and walked the half mile to his grade school.
Halfway there, he stopped. On the far corner were two older black boys that attended his school. They stood there watching as Eric approached. The taller one smiled.
“Hey, boy! Where’s ya sista?”
“That sista of yawls. My brotha told me he done tapped that shit last Saturday.”
They both started cackling.
“Shut up! He did not!”
“Hell he didn’t! My brotha said he was all up in dat shit! Had her screaming an moanin so loud the neighbors threatened to call da police!”
Eric started walking faster past them. “Yer crazy! She didn’t do nothing!”
Eric felt a sharp pain in his upper back. Then another on his back thigh. A small rock whizzed past his head and bounced loudly down the asphalt of the street. He looked back and saw the two boys picking up gravel and hurtling chunks at him. He began running.
‘Yo sista’s a ho! Yo sista’s a ho!” Echoed down the lane as the sun began peeking above the misty dawn.
Huffing and a few blocks later, Eric slowed down and continued his walk towards school. A lanky red headed boy walked up next to him. It was his friend Albert.
“Hey, Albert!” Eric chirped.
“Hey, buddy! How’s things?”
They walked quietly for a moment. They crossed the busy intersection a block from school. Albert darted into a convenience store and bought a soda. Popping the can, he took a swig and then handed it to Eric.