The first time I knew to be afraid of my father was the one summer night he swung for my skull when I was five years old, when I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in my parent’s bedroom. I woke up in the dark and felt around to find the door. What I found instead was their big bed, when I walked my shins into the wood rail on the side of it. My shins stung so hard the hurt made my eyes water. I rubbed on them fast, up and down, whispering ow ow ow there in the dark while I rubbed, so they’d stop stinging.
Then I reached up on the bed and fingered my way up one of my father’s legs. When my fingers had walked just about up to his knee, I felt air moving over my head, and I heard him scream. Screams sound louder in the dark; they make you afraid even if you weren’t afraid before.
Another time, when I was twelve and he was taking me and Mama and my best friend to the beach in his big old Ford, I wanted him to change to the Country station and I tapped him on the shoulder. He closed his eyes and hollered so loud, and though it was daylight, screams sound louder when you're in a little car. Mama had to grab the wheel so he wouldn't steer us right into the concrete bridge support. That was when my best friend knew to be afraid of my father.
Jamie here's the first boy I ever brought home, and I guess I should've warned him not to try and shake hands with my father, but I forgot and . . . anyway, doctor, if you could just pop his shoulder back in?
Opening: Robin S......Continuation: anon.