A typical evening

A typical evening

     The solid thud of a Cadillac’s door slamming shut awakened Richard. He heard his dad yell to the driver as he sped off, “See you tomorrow, Skinny Flint, don’t be late. Tomorrow is payday and we don’t want to be docked any beer money.”
     As he lay on the bed trying to rouse himself from post-nap lethargy, Richard wondered how the evening would go before he left for the train station. He hoped there wouldn’t be any real squabbles among the cast of characters in the family. It was getting near the weekend, so his dad might be in a reasonably good mood, knowing that he was headed to the beer joint the next night. His Mom would make a good last supper, too. He was sure it would be one of his favorites—certainly not Spam. She’d be home soon to talk over the day’s events before she got changed from her work clothes and started her home duties. It was almost like she had two jobs, but she never complained. Tonight, she had to stay up late to take them to the train station. Dad wouldn’t do it. He’d rather watch TV than deal with his mother-in-law. They hated each other.
     “Richard, run up to Guy’s and get me a can of Key Snuff,” was his father’s greeting when Richard approached him in the kitchen as he set down his lunch pail. It wasn’t a request, but a demand. His father placed twenty-five cents in Richard’s palm—not even an extra ten cents for a bottle of Coke and two licorice on the two-cent deposit. Beer and snuff seemed to be about the only things that mattered to his old man. But a trip to the drugstore was OK, especially when Richard might run across some of his neighborhood buddies. Besides, he still had a dime in his pocket that was aching to be spent for a cold Coke. He was thirsty from his nap, sweating buckets in his hot bedroom with the afternoon sun peeking through the slats of the blinds.
     “What if they don’t have Key like last time?” asked Richard.
     “Ah, Judas Priest, get me Copenhagen then, and tell old man Guy to order up some Key. He knows that’s my brand. Don’t be hangin’ around the fire station either. I’m about out of snuff, and those lazy, sonsabitchin’ firemen don’t need to be entertaining some kid doin’ an errand for his father. You can play outside after you get back. I woulda had your useless brother do it, but as usual, he’s nowhere in sight. He probably thinks he’s too old to do this stuff for me now. He’d rather get in trouble than help me out. If ya take Clipper with ya, make sure ya keep him on the leash. I don’t want anything to happen to the dog. He’s the only loyal one in the family.”
     “Yeh, Dad,” Richard responded as he took the money and went out the screen door, not letting it slam. He didn’t want to aggravate his dad. He thought his dad probably liked animals more than people, especially the family dog. He liked the dog better than he liked his sons, but, then, Richard guessed he probably liked Clipper better than his old man, too.
     The dog certainly seemed happy to go on the errand. He already had found his leash and was holding it in his mouth, expecting to go.
     It seemed that nothing Richard or his brother did pleased his father. It wasn’t as if they didn’t get into trouble, especially Robert, but they never did really bad stuff. Robert just seemed to take the verbal abuse as a matter of fact.
     When Richard complained to him about it, Robert just said that’s the way most fathers in the neighborhood treated their kids.

coming soon

"Adventures in Medicine"