â€œHe taught me how to read peopleâ€™s eyes, ya know what I mean?â€ I lifted one a my tools, a heavy-ass poker, and moved toward the roarin fire. Flames curlin outta the fireplace. Damn, shit was hot.
â€œNah, you donâ€™t know nuthin, do ya, kid?â€ Kid cowered where I tossed him on the floor, shaking his skinny little white-boy ass off. He was scared. Real scared.
â€œLemme tell ya, kid. My Pop, he a man, kid. A real MAN, ya know?â€ The tip of the poker got red-hot but I didnâ€™t take it outta the fire yet. Kid whimpered.
â€œPop, he work real hard, ya know? He did whatever he hada to keep the groceries comin in. He a MAN.â€ Kid eyed up the fire and trieda scoot back a little. Welts was comin up on his little ass, his butt-ugly face. Good.
â€œPop was real nice mosta the time. Heâ€™da laugh at anythin, mosta the time. Momma n himâ€™d be laughin upa God-damn storm mosta the time.â€ That gave me a laugh, rememberin dat. Poker was headin near orange already. Nice.
â€œBut every once ina while, kid, Popâ€™d get angry. Somethinâ€™d piss him off and heâ€™d go off drinkin, stay away hours, days, once even weeks. Shit. Momma was half-dead time he took two weeks a come home. Shit.â€ Tipa the poker was blue. Kid cryin then, sad little screechy sound kinda gotta me. Didnâ€™t stop me, though.
â€œSo, times when Popâ€™d get angry, he got MEAN. Real mean. You ainâ€™t never seen nuthin like it, kid.â€ Kidâ€™s face was bleedin where I wooped him.
â€œPopâ€™d come bargin in, all drunk n shit, dirty, smellin like a barrel. Thing is, kid, Pop always dressed nice, clean, n he was always laughin, never mad. Till the drink got’m.â€ Memory kinda got me. Poker was hot n heavy.
â€œHeâ€™d come bargin in and first thing, heâ€™d get Momma. Sheâ€™d be screamin upa storm, putting upa fight like she did, and there was nuthin nobody could do, ya know?â€ Kid squirmed and whimpered. Underneathâ€™m, a river a piss. Damn.
â€œNot nobody could stop him, kid,â€ I took a step closer toâ€™m, makin a few slashes ina air wid the hot poker. Like Pop useda do.
â€œBig bro useta tryâ€™n protect me and all, ya know. Ya gotta big bro, kid?â€ Kid too far goneta talk. â€œHeâ€™d tell me go hide n all, but it ainâ€™t never help. Pop always find me.â€ Swish, swish, closer to the kid.
â€œThis one time, he gotta poker from the fire, like this one I got here,â€ I waved it right up in his pasty little face. Kid cryin real bad.
â€œPop, he angry, he drunk, and he come lookin for me. He find me under the bed all crammed up in the corner. He drag me out, toss me around. Like you, kid,â€ I shot him a smile but kid donâ€™t get it.
â€œHe standin dere, holding the blue-hot poker, and he smilin. But his eyes ainâ€™t smilin, ya know what I mean, kid? His eyes just dark and angry and fulla the Devil. Shit.â€ Kid tries to scootch sideways along the wall but it ainâ€™t work. He too scared.
â€œWhyâ€™m I tellin ya this, kid? Ya donâ€™t givea shit.â€ I gaveâ€™m a poke on’is ugly face and he yelped real loud. Another. Another. I went someplace else. I was stabbin him n runnin the poker down his skinny chest and his bony back. The lines showed up real nice on his white skin. I played around withâ€™m, havin fun, laughin like Pop usedta, and I starteda wonder what my eyes were sayin.
What are my eyes, sayin, kid? I didnâ€™t ask it, though.Â Just kept havin my way with him, makin him sing his sad wails, makin him piss again, makin him cry, over and over, everythin the same.
â€œDonâ€™tya worry, kid,â€ I boomed in Popâ€™s voice. I laughed Popâ€™s laugh. â€œI ainâ€™t gonna kill ya, kid.â€ Nah. Pop never killed me, didâ€™e? Nah. Once a kid all marked up real nice, red lines criss-crossin and repeatin like mine, I all done wida torment. I cleaned off the poker like Pop useda, n put it away so kid donâ€™t see it.
I cleanedâ€™m up real nice, like Pop useda. I even sangâ€™m those old spirituals, like Pop did. Everythin the same. I put the fire out n tookâ€™m back where I foundâ€™m.