The Drunk

A dramatic fiction story by YUV Contributor Randall Rydell Russell.

You would think after so many blows, after so many years, I’d be used to the never-ending pain…bullshit. No matter how hard or soft, it fucking hurt and left the same marks. The marks of a battered sixteen-year-old.
I gained a skill though, an acute sense of smell. Certain days when he hits me, I can tell what has a hold of him just by the smell of his breath. Hennessey Mondays, Wild Turkey Tuesdays, Widmer Wednesdays, Tequila Thursdays, Fosters Fridays and Seagram’s Saturdays.

Sundays…he slept. But it was never long enough.Those days, the three of us made sure we were either, A: Quiet in the house. Or B: Not in the house. We would unanimously chose B every time. Unfortunately, it’s Thursday, and Cuervo had been chugged down his probably flammable insides as he yelled at Michael in his sleep for turning the sink on.
Last I checked, you needed water to clean yourself. To the Drunk, turning the water on at 7am is a luxury we are not entitled to.

It is like a marathon every morning to get Michael and Moriah ready, get myself ready, dressed and out the door by 7:45 and avoid looking like Mike Tyson and Kimbo Slice’s target practice.

“Can’t we just run away?” Michael asks me every morning. Pointless is the lie I always tell Michael. For twelve-years-old, he has a lifetime’s worth of anger in him, and a face so sullen, you would think a lemon was in his mouth on a regular basis. Moriah at nine is the only one the Drunk never hurt. Her innocent eyes and youthful face
would be hard to bruise, and then live with. She reminded me so much of our mother. Her laugh, smile, same skin, eyes. She is definitely our mother’s daughter. But our mother’s eyes were full of pain. Until the day she took power away from the Drunk. Killing herself. Her body smiled at the morgue. A victorious smile.

Sometimes at night, after the pain from the Drunk’s beating died down and Michael is calm enough to go to sleep, I can see our Mother. She’s at peace. But what is peace? After double checking their backpacks and mine, we proceed out of the Holocaust we call home. We stepped over a mess in an area I know we cleaned and headed for salvation…the front door.

The door creaked open and the beast awoke. His clothes are dirty and stuck to his sweat covered body. Bottle in hand of course.

“The hell you think you’re doing? I’m sleep,” he said. No one said a word, just like Jaina taught us. The Drunk walks over to me and gets directly in my face. I put Michael and Moriah behind me. Better me than them I think. It was 7:27. Still time to think of a new lie. Mr. Dawkins in 1st period Pre-Cal knows what’s going on with me I think. But he doesn’t care. Pussy calls. You can tell by the look in his eyes and his eyes are on Tasha Little’s tits in the front row.

“Derek, you little shit. The fuck I tell your ass about that talking and creeping shit?” The Drunk asked me. I was lost for words, and beyond done with the repetitive confusion known as the Drunk.

The Drunk socked me in the gut. The wind blew out of me like Tom Brady passing me a football I wasn’t quick enough to catch. This resulted in the pain of a three men tackle in one drunken punch.

Michael, like always, let his anger get the best of him and screamed out the three words you don’t say to the Drunk…“Leave…him…alone!” And it was too late. The Drunk backhanded me to the ground. Moriah was already behind the couch. Jaina taught her well. Too bad Michael didn’t put two and two together.

The sound of Michael’s screams as the Drunk pounced on him could make my ears bleed. Moriah’s eyes are filled with tears as she crouches down covering her ears, wanting the pain to be over.

In school today, I couldn’t focus to save my life. Mrs. Page sent me to Mr. Williams, my guidance counselor, where I lied through my teeth yet again. I walked down the hall where I saw nerdy ass Jeff Pritchard getting punked by Jamal Evans and Miguel Zuniga. Jeff cried after they
finished him off. I couldn’t help telling him to suck it up and be a man. Then I returned to Lit.

Long story short, today was another day, just like any day, where I picked through the files of my brain, just to see if I had any other lies to tell people. As always, I picked Michael and Moriah up at their school, and the walk home was silent. But our minds are on the dilemma at hand. Going home. It’s selfish of me to even think this, but I resented almost everyone in my family.

Especially my Mom and Jaina. They got away, and a part of me felt like I had to be the hero, the man of the house. But no man takes the kind of shit I do. It keeps me up at night just fathoming how disgusted I am by it.

Since it is Thursday, tequila is visiting the Drunk, but he was on the phone when we got home. That gave us T-minus two minutes to get to our rooms for the night. School is out the next day, so that means we have to be left home with him. I am one of the few sixteen-year-olds who hates when school is out. They don’t know what life is like with him. So hopefully…Monday will come sooner than expected. .

Journal Entry
April 4, 2011

I couldn’t stop her. I couldn’t. I couldn’t grab her tongue and make her take it back, because she meant it and couldn’t hold back anymore. At lunch time, while I made them plain turkey sandwiches with just meat and bread, the Drunk grumbled to life and explained the hatred
he had towards us. That’s when Moriah said “I hate you too,”.

The Drunk backhanded her to the ground. The fucking bastard hit my baby sister. Michael went after him first and was hit multiple times for what he thought was protecting our little sister. I grabbed a wooden bat, located by the back door. I swung, and like a crazed ninja, he blocked it and grabbed it from me. He punched me in the face, while saying every profanity in the English language. Stuff even people in the military would cover their ears to. He hit me in the
gut with it and I felt like I would puke but couldn’t breathe, so I fell to my knees like the bitch I was at that moment. Next, he smashed it onto my back. The pain that shot up my body, suppressed the sound
of Moriah’s crying and Michael’s hate filled screams. He hit me one more time, taking me to the ground. Every horrible thought is running through my mind. He stops, and shame comes over his face it looked like. He drops the bat and takes off out of the backdoor. The sound of his 89 Chevy pick up truck, driving out of the gravel covered driveway, followed by tires squealing down the street brought relief to the three of us.

They ran over to me, and could not stop crying. I did the one thing I knew I had to, I told them to pack their bags. They went into the back, while I lied there on my stomach, contemplating. The deep thought turned to streams of tears. We took the bus then got on the light rail. It took us to the Florin area, where Jaina and her thug ass boyfriend Quentin stay. When Jaina graduated, she didn’t tell the Drunk she was moving, and never came back. She’s been through it too, maybe worse than us. But she was smart, but like me, she was selfish. She thought only of herself. Talking to her about anything after she moved usually consisted of a 5-6 minute conversation on the phone. Words of advice. She taught us what to do, how to survive, but she
wouldn’t stay along and continue the battle. Big sisters I guess have that mindset. Jaina did for sure.

When we got there, she was spoke strongly about us not staying forever. Quentin didn’t care because Quentin is a straight thug who is always blown smoking purps. As long as we didn’t make it a habit of wearing out our welcome, he didn’t care. So Jaina had to give in.

She examined us and couldn’t believe how far the Drunk had taken it this time. She was verbally pissed off that Moriah was hit, and I don’t blame her for that. Jaina goes on and on about me emancipating myself, and like always, I tell her they’d split Michael and Moriah up
unless she put her foot down. Jaina just smokes and pays my last comment no mind.

The time went by today, I had too much on my mind. I told Michael and Moriah to go in the back. That’s when I told Jaina we should kill the Drunk. Jaina was in disbelief, and automatically went off on me. Telling me the things that would happen if I were caught. My mind wasn’t there, I wanted the Drunk gone and out of our lives. Regardless of what happened. She immediately stormed off. Quentin took interest in what I was saying. The complete thug took over and he 21 questioned me about my plan. The plan I didn’t have. An hour later he broke it down to me, and he agreed to help if I did the dirty work, but Jaina had to play along.

Persuading Jaina was a pain in the ass. She chain-smoked her Newport’s, and belittled me like she did when we were younger. I yelled and explained why it has to happen. She again was against it. So I stuck her deep, and hit her below the belt when I told her “At least I didn’t leave my family behind”. She didn’t say a word, She was silent. She took a long drag of her cigarette and remained quiet as I laid out the plan me and Quentin talked about. She agreed to cover and seek custody of me, Michael and Moriah after I went through with it, and I was convinced, I would do it. I would.

A few hours ago, me and Quentin left. Jaina stayed with the kids. But Michael was begging to go, like he knew. Like he heard me conceiving my plan with Quentin. But I told him I had to go see about something, which he wrote off as bullshit. But I assured him it was fine. I tucked Moriah in before I left. I apologized for what happened to her. She told me it wasn’t my fault. But I still felt responsible. She gave me those eyes that could read through a human’s soul. My baby sister is special. I kissed her head, told her good night and exited the room.

Jaina told me and Quentin not to bring any drama back. I told her “I’m ending the drama”. I took a deep breath and walked outside with Quentin. No turning back now, I follow through and end this legacy of abuse. I couldn’t help but see my kid brother in the rearview. He was standing where Quentin’s car once was with that face saying “Take me with you,”. But we kept driving. We didn’t stop.

We parked a block away on a corner. The house is visible, and the Drunk had returned home. Quentin gave me leather gloves, plastic for my shoes, a ski mask, a parka and a 9MM. He told me to make it like a robbery or accident, and to only touch what was necessary. I hid the gun and exited the car. I held my bag of cover ups and proceed towards the house to end the cycle.

I will never, as long as I live, forget those ten minutes that will be with me forever. I’ll relive it over and over again. It’s haunting, almost terrifying. I put on all the essentials Quentin gave me on the side of the house. Then I proceed inside. It was dark. The light from the TV was the only thing helping me to see. My hands were sweaty and shaky. I pulled it together and pulled the glock out. I point it straight ahead of me, and that’s where it stays. I go to the living room and the Drunk isn’t there. I suddenly hear water. That brings me back to reality. I turn to the hallway where I see the light coming from under the bathroom door. I walked closer, and that’s when I clearly hear the water from the tub running. As I walk closer, my shoes soak into the wet carpet. All I can think is the Drunk left the water on and is passed out in his room. Fosters Friday. I turn and go to his room, he isn’t there. The water continued flowing from under the bathroom door. I kept the 9MM pointed forward. I put my hand on the door knob and open it. I immediately hit the wall in the hallway, freaking out.

The Drunk was in the bathtub. It was filled with half water, half blood. His wrist was slit, and the bloody razor was on the flooded floor. I just sat in the wet hallway, watching, confused, shocked, angry, petrified. None of these feelings are what I had in mind when I first intended to end his life. I looked at him, he looked helpless, frightened, alone, pitiful. I didn’t know if it was an accident that happened because his ass was drunk, or he said fuck it, and took his life. I don’t know why, but guilt came over me. I felt like my thoughts of killing him, were received by him and he did the job first. He wouldn’t give me the pleasure. All I could think of was leaving. I ran out of the house, got to Quentin’s car and we left.

I told Jaina that the Drunk had killed himself. That he took the coward’s way out. Quentin was visibly upset by it, wanting to dispose of a body. Jaina was indifferent like me, but she says it’ll be easier for her to get custody of the three of us. Then, a voice spoke. Michael said he called the Drunk when Quentin and I left. And he told him off, and didn’t hold anything back.

Then it hit me. Michael got his wish. He hurt the Drunk. He killed him..
Journal Entry
April 3, 2011

Ten years later, things have gotten a lot smoother for us. Jaina left Quentin and married a banker named Malcolm, and she is now a guidance counselor. She still has her thug tendencies, but with class. Michael joined the Marines and is on his second tour in Iran. He felt responsible for the Drunk’s suicide, so he put himself to good use, fighting for our country. He calls me once a week and we talk for an hour. Moriah is going to SFU as a fashion design major, creating clothes and on the brink of starting a clothing line. Not bad for a nineteen-year-old girl with a rough upbringing. As for me, I became a writer. Mostly fiction novels, poems and short stories. But this is the first time I wrote in this journal, since the night I found the Drunk. I couldn’t put a pen on paper about it, and discuss me until now. I felt guilty like no other seeing his lifeless body in the bathtub every time I closed my eyes. The pain he caused us, the pain I was going to cause him. All it took was someone saying one thing, and he self-destructed on his own.

But I learned from him. I got stronger because of him. Hell, we became better because of him. But I’ll never call him dad, or by his first name even if someone asks me. He’ll always be…

The Drunk.

The End.

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