-hello all, here is the first chapter. revisions and editing abounds, as I am trying to ready my manuscript within the next few weeks. So have patience, it's coming along....slowly but surely. More to come, folks. -for the curious macabre minds that abound-, yes, the snack cake incident really happened...along with several other incidents mentioned herein. I hope you enjoy, feel free to comment and share. my promise to you... i will provide a strange mix of humor and debauchery. enjoy...ciao ~b-
"Murder is a horror, but an often necessary horror, never criminal, which it is essential to tolerate in a republican State.... Is it or is it not a crime? If it is not, why make laws for its punishment? And if it is, by what barbarous logic do you, to punish it, duplicate it by another crime?" -Marquis Des Sade
The tinny clang of the wind chime undulated on the waves of the crisp fall air tantalizing the senses. The sound eagerly beckoned me to greet the day, its melodious charm was like delicate wings of a hummingbird fluttering on my cool skin. Unfortunately, like recent days that had passed, my head was still heavy from the bottle of chardonnay I single-handedly consumed; combined with an unyielding intense pain pulsing in my head and thigh. Briefly, I glanced down the side of my body- partially covered by one paltry fleece throw - Then quickly reminded of yesterday evening, as I noticed the deep maroon welt ripened on my left thigh.- My brain covered with an all too familiar cotton gauze of alcohol induced bliss; a subtle yet insistent pain dominated the lower part of my neck and head. A pain accompanied by the somber regret of last night's brawl.
An early November chill unnaturally pervaded my living room, its source another dreary tale to tell. My four year old son, Anthony, laid cozily nestled in the fetal position on our pitifully undersized futon. Having monopolized the lion's share of our Buzz Lightyear fleece throw, my fingers and face remained exposed leaving me cold and uninspired to attempt even the simplest of tasks.
Peering down at what was once my pristine beige wall to wall carpet, now soiled with snack cakes -zebra cakes to be precise-. I chuckled in spite of myself, knowing dread was forthcoming due to my ill inspired tirade of last night’s revenge. In fact, I would be swiftly reminded the moment I made my way to brew a crappy pot of Folger's coffee. Impetuous retribution loomed with the lurking monster down the hall... my husband -Alex-.
Even if I did not intend to sip this horrible brew, he insisted I have coffee freshly brewed for when he finally made his glorious appearance. I just did it, it wasn't worth the heartache and the nasty emails that would infiltrate my blackberry. The smell of freshly brewed coffee would wake him and then torture would ensue. What was I to expect? What made this day different from any other? Not much, same old bullshit.
The unnatural chill in the air would lend itself to an all too familiar, “Alex temper tantrum”. After his toddler like antics, I preferred the company of my four year old son; with the soft noise of cartoons to soothe us into peaceful slumber. Of course, this decision did not come without consequence. What this meant for Anthony and I: sleeping with all windows fully opened to allow the cool New England air to disturb any chance we may have had for peaceful rest. Alex sat seething with anger in a folding chair, squarely placed in the center of the room, intently watching to ensure not one window was closed. This was our punishment and we had better endure it, without complaint.
That night I covered us both as we drifted off to sleep, as I lay praying not to be violently thrust out of sleep; my son had been through enough. The temperature was unpleasant but the covers combined with snuggling, made it bearable. My sole intention... to comfort Anthony to sleep, by all accounts I should have left; if I hadn't feared such an attempt would produce an unimaginable beating. Eventually that night Alex made his way to our bedroom, muttering his small minded insults, but then briefly to return in the morning hour. Doling out more shit.
Alex was the worst kind of monster, an abusive prick, a menacing nature that was indiscriminate in its choosing. An obsessive neat freak with a side of bi-polar, just for fun. He would blend perfectly into most settings and was the most delightful showman at nearly any occasion. The loving husband, stepfather and fellow churchgoer.
During requisite outings, an awkward moment of hand holding and his sickening cheek kisses would produce coos from surrounding onlookers because of the wonderful “love” we shared. Inside I would count the minutes until any given church sermon or family gathering was over -usually noting the time, wondering if it was too early for a glass of wine-. Nearly every outing was due to his adamant request; where I was displayed like a possession. Like a doll, a doll that was expected to only speak on occasion.
He would tell people “stories”, funny stories. Alex loved his “funny stories”, problem was these stories were usually only funny to him; and more often than not ridiculing for me. When he carried on with this comedy routine of sorts, he would receive uncomfortable silence rather than his anticipated uproarious laughter. This wouldn't stop his continuous side show. Laughing sometimes till all the blood rushed to his face, bumping elbows encouraging others to join...I would sit dumbfounded at what a huge prick I married. I remained unmoved and silent, bravery in numbers and sticking up for myself wasn't an option, ever.
Alex insisted we attend church regularly, but this weekly exercise was accompanied with a healthy dose of hypocrisy. While he would gloat about his weekly routine of churchanity and prayers, I sat mentally filtering through a litany of excuses to leave the house that afternoon -groceries? no. dry cleaning? Ehh. Visit with mom? He hated my mother. Maybe a friend?-. As the harmonious mass of worshipers harmonized hymns or became consumed by the spirit with tongues, it was then I would embrace my wonderful daydreams.
Daydreams tip-toed through my mind and delighted my already numbed sensibilities. Daydreams with a bus, a colossal bus, a bus filled to maximum capacity- bearing decrepit brakes crackling from their hinge, excessive speed, one rapidly advancing hulking mass... Enters one Alex, stepping from the curb, oblivious and flattened with great prejudice.
Only rubber saturated with remnants of organs and blood remained to attest to one pitiful meager existence; that and chunky streaks of blood smeared on the asphalt like thick frosting on a cake. The audience is one: me. Singing praises! Hallelujah! -worship had never met the acquaintance of an irony so oddly suiting, yet grand-. I often would pray my dreams came true.
As I laid there that morning, surveying the room. Thankfully, I discovered... he was still asleep. The sadly smeared snack cake that now soiled my carpet signaled the occurrence of my bi-monthly boiling point. Usually I tried to reserve my explosive temper, but when the emotional pressure cooker had been stewing for a month or two...a fit of blind rage would conquer me. The evening prior, Alex insisted there were crumbs on the carpet...his carpet; and they were from my son's mouth. Filthy, pesky little morsels of food that would systematically dismantle an otherwise perfect world for his highness, a kingdom where clean carpets and perfectly ordered cabinets ruled the day.
As he persisted on the matter, his ugly face curled with disdain. Screaming with toes tipped forward leaning into my body, saliva sprayed randomly toward my cheeks and hair as he pushed insistently against the bridge of my nose -drill sergeant like antics from one reinvented Napoleon- spouting on my lack of supervision and my “bastard kids” who had no respect for his house and his things.
Precedent anticipated an inescapable onslaught of swears and torment. Alex prattled on, spewing remarks such as, 'bitch' and 'how dare you let your child.' Continuously pressing his bloated face against the bridge of my nose, strings of saliva reeking of hops exploding from his mouth, with a hot rush of halitosis assaulting my face. Needless to say a reprieve from such antics was not foreseen in the near future.
Then it happened, my patience dangerously thin, without a second thought I grabbed snack cakes from the pantry and tore open their gentle cellophane wrappers. Instead of plummeting the gentle spongy goodness into my mouth, I tossed them onto the carpet and smooshed them with my feet. Feeling the ooze of sugary frosting envelope my toes was almost euphoric. Only knowing how ironic this sweet revenge would truly be, and how angry it would make the monster that loomed over my son and I.
Of course my sense of victory would be fleeting and came to a screeching halt. In fact it had, with a blast of his clenched fist to my mouth and my body abruptly slamming to the floor. The cool salty taste of blood filled my mouth. I laid there for a minute to determine damage control, softly rubbing and caressing the pile of my rug, rubbing it slowly between my fingers. Any sensation other than the one I had felt, at that very moment, was much preferred. I brought my hand to my mouth running my finger along the line of my lower lip, feeling the jagged skin serrated by my lower teeth. I softly chuckled- but only for a brief moment. It was my last ditch effort to intimate lack of concern for the invasive force that was my looming monster, an attempt to preserve a shred of self worth which remained.
As the sensation of pain coursed through my face and head, I could feel my mouth pooling with blood and funneling in a fine stream from along the corners of my mouth. I quickly ran my tongue throughout the insides of my mouth only to discover a meaty flap of skin peeling back; a large bumpy chunk of skin flapping against my now blood drenched tongue. The perfect accompaniment: one instantaneous welt on the side of my face. I laid still, mustering the will to stand, only to receive a blunt blow of his heel to my thigh. Coming attractions appearing on a thigh near you - a four inch multi-colored bruise-.
During this unwholesome encounter, my son stood crying and asked, 'Why my mouth was so bloody?'. It goes without saying, my core was searing with a fiery shame. I was only glad my eldest son, Nicholas, was sleeping soundly in his bed at the time. When I knew an argument was on the horizon, I would attempt to keep it out of the purview of my children. Alex did not share this mindset. It was his house, he would say as he wished whenever the mood would suit him.
That morning, after my short lived chuckle fest being reminded of one dearly departed snack cake, I made my way to the kitchen across our linoleum floor to which my feet stuck with every step. Alex tossed a full container of lemonade that rested on the counter while spouting some choice obscenities. Undoubtedly, a sticky mess he expected me to clean... too bad I would be sure to disappoint on this expectation. On a side note, the floor remained sticky for the remainder of the week; a silent battle of the wills proved me to be the victor. He couldn't help himself, he had to clean it, it was in his DNA.
My mind running through the horror of last night, I rifled through a drawer looking for a coffee filter. Then with coffee brewing, I made my way to the bathroom, a place that would ordinarily lend itself a safe refuge. I sat and considered options until a deep round impression had developed on my ass. I didn’t care. The pain in my face and head was persistent, which ironically kept me focused.
Once I left the bathroom, armed with a myriad of thoughts racing through my clouded mind, I rounded the corner to our kitchen... there he stood. A steaming red unshaven face in one partially opened terry cloth robe -exposing his undersized boxer shorts, the man believed he still had a 32-inch waist...he was mistaken-. Instantly berating me, expecting a discussion followed by one heartfelt tearful apology. Again, I would disappoint, since I would have sooner kissed a boar's filthy ass. He then entered his standard plea that I should no longer 'make him react this way', and 'please don't make him so angry any more'. All the while I thought, “Please, please just shut the fuck up. Dear Lord, strike him down with one swift heart attack, it doesn't have to be painful.”
During the first year of our marriage I had forgiven more often than not and was absurdly convinced by onslaughts of promises to change. Of course, the change never happened and the violent mood swings and physical attacks only escalated with time. As time went on the beatings worsened, apologies became a rare commodity, and sincerity considerably waned. He knew an apology was moot and would only fall on my then numbed sensibilities. I was to blame, with no other excuse or promise to offer....I was the sole cause.
I was completely devoid of any reverence for our marriage. Much like a dead water buffalo floating along a river, seeping toxic juices into an otherwise healthy stream of water; he was polluting our lives. I kept myself busy with my children and work. After all, I knew it was only a matter of time before our marriage finally died...the sooner the better. Now I knew I was just procrastinating. This had to stop.
Standing in the kitchen that morning, I affected intentful concern as he harangued with his tired rant. As expected he artfully spun, what I referred to as, his "bathrobe soapbox routine". I poured myself a cup of coffee, figuring I would be there for while. He was so pathetic. Coincidentally, not much would motivate this man to change into street clothes prior to noon. He had nowhere to be, after all that's what he had a wife for. I hated every essence of his being, even the way his forehead wrinkled into what seemed like a fine point as he snarled. I wanted to jab it with a pencil till I penetrated his tiny skull.
After he was finished his lecture of sorts, I looked at him with a cool gaze and remained stoic and unmoved in response to the unmitigated slew of bullshit. Saying nothing, I then turned to leave the room. As I continued to walk from the room, not to my surprise, I was thrust forward... coffee cup and all. I then laid with my head adjacent to a wall, now covered in caffeine spray marks, and my knees slightly shaven by the carpet.
I quickly stood with my back faced toward him and made my way to the bedroom to collect my uniform for the day. He continued to follow me, muttering insults. Typically my silence would incense him to the point of unmitigated madness. However, on occasion my silence would cause him retreat to his office. Luckily, today, my silence had done just that. Thank God.
When Alex took sanctuary in his office, he would spend a majority of his time emailing his friends, family or various political columns; as he was perpetually unemployed. Historically, he would be employed for about a month or two and then fired for insubordination or the like. His days were typically filled with making phone calls to jam up my voicemail on Alex’s thoughts of the day, and somehow -by some stroke of a miracle- I managed to block out his incensing voice. He would prattle on, and I could only hear sounds of muffled mumbles; hatred for this man had consumed me.
Usually on a “normal” morning I had time to focus on the day ahead and I looked forward to the quiet solitude of my morning commute. Prior to ten am, I could count on Alex resting peacefully- not a care in the world. Ordinarily, the morning I cherished quiet solitude. On a "normal" day, this would go off without a hitch, but occasionally my routine would be sharply jolted by a shove or a slap. On this morning, I was lucky enough to avoid another forceful blast to the face, but unlucky enough to require ten pounds of foundation applied to my left cheekbone; I had become rather skilled in covering the war wounds.
One can only forgive the unforgivable so often. I was ready. It had been almost four years. I was nearing the cathartic finale, I felt it penetrate the inner depths of my soul. It was almost over, finally over... I stood eagerly at the precipice of a future filled with hope and happiness. A future filled with one dead Alex. A future filled with one happy me. A future filled with one less prick.
Now I only faced one task.