“I'm gonna tell momma!” Joshua blurted out as I walked into the room. He had always been such a goody-goody. He had one of my magazines in his hand and was trying to fish another one out from the cardboard box I kept under my bed. He slid it out and dumped the contents on the floor.
“You get outta my stuff you nosy little weasel. If you say anything to momma, I'll tell daddy you were snooping through his stuff, and he'll whip you worse than momma will whip me!” It was an empty threat, but I shook my fist at him. “Get outta my room before I kill you!”
He ran out screaming for momma. She was outside hanging clothes to dry. The little creep would've forgotten all about it by the time he found her. I hoped.
I pulled back the mildewed cardboard flaps and started replacing the contents of the worn box. Daddy had given me several of his dirty magazines when I turned 14, and I'd kept them well hidden for almost 2 years, until today when Joshua found them. I knew it was wrong for me to have them, and I wondered why my daddy didn't know that. I also knew that he would beat me good if he found out Joshua had seen them. Joshua was momma's pride and joy; Daddy said Joshua wasn't like me and him. He said Joshua would never have to do the things we did, and it was better for everyone if neither he nor momma knew about such things. I wished I didn't know about such things either.
Mostly the box was filled with old Playboy's, nothing kinky, just pictures of naked women that daddy thought I should be looking at. I never did. There was a pack of cigarettes and an empty flask in there and a matchbook from some hotel me and daddy had stayed at last year with two women from daddy's office. They were really nice; one of them slept in bed with me, but I ended up sleeping on the floor most of the night because she kept putting her arm over me. The other woman laid down with daddy all night. At the time I didn't really understand what was going on, mainly because I didn't want to understand it. But I knew that daddy wasn't supposed to be sleeping with anybody else but momma. I promised myself I'd never hurt her, and one day, daddy would be sorry he'd done these things.
“Stu Jr.!!!” Momma's voice carried in through the upstairs bedroom window. “You get out here right this second!”
I rolled my eyes and looked out the window. Joshua was standing behind her sticking his tongue out at me. The little jerk. He'd get his one day too. I threw the remaining contents back into the box and shoved it under my bed. I tried to think of a plausible story on my way downstairs. Mr. Goody-goody was handing momma clothes to hang and he grinned at me as I approached. I stood there silently watching the ground, waiting for momma to let me have it.
“Stu, I've told you a thousand times to keep your door locked so Joshua won't be in there in your things. He told me you threatened to kill him. Is that so?” She was even more beautiful when she was angry.
“Yes momma, but he was in my personal stuff, and then he wouldn't leave. I guess I shouldn't have said that, but I was real mad.” I tried to sound sorry for momma's sake.
“Well, you apologize to your brother, now you hear? He's been instructed that he is not to go snooping in other people's belongings, but that is no reason to say you're gonna kill somebody, now is it?”
“No momma, that's no reason to kill nobody. I'm sorry Josh.” Those last words came out slow and painful. “Momma, can I go over to Billy's for supper?” I didn't want to be home when daddy got there. It was Thursday, and he always liked to take me out “riding” on Thursday nights, which meant picking up women.
“Have you been asked Stu?” She looked at me sideways, her hazel eyes fringed with wheat lashes. I almost always agreed with whatever she said when she did that.
“Well, not exactly, but you know they're always saying I'm welcome anytime. Please momma, I won't stay late.” I looked back at her sideways, hoping it would have the same affect on her.
“Well, I suppose it's okay. But you best not be late. I'll cover for you with your father, you know how disappointed he'll be that you're missing your Thursday night ride.” She smiled broadly, almost like she understood my plight, but I knew she really didn't have a clue.
“Thanks mom.” She didn't know what she'd saved me from, and if I had anything to say about it, she never would. One day I wouldn't have to participate in daddy's sick games, and I got up every morning, hoping that day was going to be the one.
I was 20 years old when daddy finally got what was coming to him. Shot in the head by a jealous husband, I was glad his death had not come at my hand, although momma was heartbroken all the same. I always knew one day would come around, and it finally had.
©2012 Garden Summerland