SKATE

Dad drives too fast when he’s upset, and Mom says one day he’s going to cause a terrible accident.  Maybe even kill someone.  Dad always says the same thing to her; Elizabeth, why don’t you cut off my goddamn balls, and sling them over the rea-view mirror and be done with it.

Boy!  Dad must be pissed right now.  Because his face is all purple and everything is really whizzing by.

I guess it’s really my fault that Dad is angry.  You see, yesterday, I turned eleven and I was expecting a special present.  But I didn’t get what I asked for–they gave me a stupid old camera instead.

Can you believe that?

All I wanted was a pair of roller skates.  I mean, it wasn’t like I didn’t drop enough hints.

Mom tried her best to smooth things over with a talk about how this had been a rough year for Dad, what with the economy being in the toilet and all.  So I tried to act thrilled about the camera, but I don’t think anybody was fooled.

Everything would have been fine, except they decided to dump me with the sitter.  I heard them whispering about going to some big party where Mom worked.  That was when I started to get mad.  If Dad had enough money to take Mom to a dumb old party, then he had money for my roller skates.

I was upstairs, working on a plan, when I heard the sitter come in.  her name id Mary Ann, and Eddie, who lives down the street, said she was a nympho.  But nobody pays much attention to Eddie, ‘cause he’s been brain-damaged ever since Monica Pfieffer and two of her friends mooned him at the last school picnic.

Things were so boring I lay on the bed and listened when Mom and Mary Ann talked about the new sofa in the living room.  Girls sure do get excited about the goofiest stuff.

Mom thinks Mary Ann is sweet, and Dad likes her, too.  But I think Dad likes her because she she wears mostly jogging shorts.  He watches her like our dog, Skipppy, watches my plate.

Only Skippy doesn’t drool as much.

Mom told Mary Ann to make herself comfortable while she ran out to the store and picked up a few things.  Mom had been gone about two minutes when Dad came out of his study and started sucking up to Mary Ann, asking her dumb stuff like how she liked college and if she had any boyfriends.  They were laughing and giggling, so I thought I’d better turn on the TV before I barfed.

I was coming downstairs for a Coke when I noticed how quiet it was in the living room.

So I peeked around the corner . . .

They were both sitting on the new sofa.  Only Dad had his hands under Mary Ann’s top, and he was breathing harder than the last time he tried to wrestle away Mom’s Master Card.

I was going to sneak back up the stairs, but then I got an idea.  It was pure genius.  After all, Dad had bought me a camera to take pictures . . .

Today, while Mom was gone to her Ladies Club, I showed one to Dad.  He took one look and his face went all pale and sweaty, like he was about to faint or throw up.  He kept asking why I would do such a terrible thing.  Over and over.  It was real monotonous.

Finally, I told him to relax, that if he came across with the new roller skates, Mom wouldn’t have to see the pictures.  He went kinda crazy when I said that.  Started making lots of threats.  I gotta admit I was scared, but, after awhile, he calmed down.  Except for a large vein in his forehead that kept jumping around.

Then he asked, real quiet like, if this was going to be a one-time deal or if there would be other demands.

I said I didn’t know.  We’d have to see how my next birthday went.  He sighed, just like he does when Mom gets the upper hand, and I knew he was gonna give in.  all the air oozed out of him and he sort of slumped over.

So we went out and picked up a real nifty pair of roller skates, and Dad said I could even wear them home.  But I don’t think we’re going to make it home.  Dad is driving too fast and he’s not keeping his eyes on the road.  Mostly, he keeps looking back through the rear window and smiling.  I guess he’s checking to make sure the rope is still tied.  He’s speeding up again . . . and I don’t think these skates can go much faster!

 

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