Real Men Don't Keep Diaries

Dear Doug,

You’ve helped me through a lot ol’ buddy. I don’t know what I’d do without a diary as humble and faithful as yourself. These past few years, you’ve been my only refuge. My confidant. My go-to-guy. I had to appear strong to everyone else. To mama. To the old man. To the pricks at school. People are surprised when I say I’m only 12. Hell, I even surpass my own expectations sometimes. For one thing, I’m surprised I even made it this long without offing myself…

Anyway, do you remember when the old man went to prison? Well, I know it was some time ago already, but incase you might be curious to know, the verdict finally came out…The old bastards been acquitted for all his charges. Now, between you and me, and pretty much anyone with half a brain,we all know he’s as guilty as fucking OJ himself. He’s been peddling drugs and running with murderers since the day I was born. Hell, we’ve been through this. Remember Christmas morning ‘99? The sleaze bag was left on our door step all strung out. Some Christmas morning. Some present. He could’ve at least tied a ribbon around his thick block head. When he finally came to he beat mama up so bad, all the carolling on the streets and all the lame angelic children’s choirs from every church in the world couldn’t shut out Mama’s screams.  How many excuses did we make up over the years for the black eyes, the scars on my wrists and my hoarse vocal cords from him strangling the life outta me ? Boy, did we ever get creative, huh, Doug? I mean first it was "a sledding accident”, followed by “I tripped over the tv remote” , followed by “Well Miss, I just plain beat the shit out of myself in my sleep.” Didn’t we make up some condition for it, too? Oh yeah, “REM Assault Syndrome”. It’s been two years now. Two years filled with peaceful nights, just mama and I. Game shows, cooking pasta, doing homework, fighting over the TV remote, you know, good wholesome family time.  Two years when we could sleep soundly. Two years when I could actually live sort of like a normal kid. We almost bought a dog for Chrissakes. Thank god we didn’t, though. Thank God we had enough sense not to. Was it sense, or just pure dread? The dread from deep within our hearts, Calling out each day, reminding us, this won’t last. We knew this day would arrive. The day he would return. 

I used to pray he would get shanked in prison. I used to dream he would bleed to death after getting fucked too hard in the shower.  I’d wake up and eat cereal and smile at mama sitting in her robe sipping her coffee and I’d imagine a life without him. But, we never got too comfortable with the idea, now did we? We knew he had legal protection. I mean how many times did they try and lock him up before? They never could. He always got out on some bullshit loophole. Some glorious fuck up by the prosecutor. Some judge who would rather line his coffers, than send the brutal old bastard where he belongs: the Goddamned electric chair. I’d watch him roast like the pig he is and I'd have a big goofy smile painted on my face. But hey, like I said, I’ve been preparing for this a while. I’ve been doing push-ups and sit ups and shadow boxing, but I still haven’t hit my damn growth spurt yet. As they say, my balls still haven’t dropped. But damnit I don’t think it can stop me from killing the bastard. The next time, and God knows, it’ll be soon, the next time he lays his filthy green hands on my mother I’ll crack his fucking skull with a hammer. I’ll gouge his eyes out with a spoon. I’ll plunge the fire poker through the gaping hole where his heart should’ve been. 

The weird thing is, even as I write this, I can’t help but remember other times as well. Times when, well, he maybe revealed a glimpse of humanity behind those demonic eyes of his. As if there really was a human somewhere deep down there, beneath all the layers of degenerate human waste he usually displayed. Don’t you remember, Doug, all those good times I told you about?  You know like when he took me to the movies, or the zoo, crap like that? The kind of lame father-son shit you’d see on a dumb tv show or something. How about when the  old bastard taught me to ride a bike. Sure, he berated me the whole damn time. Over and over, he called me “stupid” and “fucking pathetic.” “Brutal!” He kept saying every time I messed up and fell, or whatever. But Goddamnit, Doug, If only you could’ve seen how his mug lit up like a Christmas tree as soon as I started riding.  It was almost like he was like, proud, or something. 

Oh yeah, and there was the time we went fishing.  I was pretty damn small, but he a put a couple phone books on the seat and let me ride up front.  The whole car stunk from the cigars he smoked along the way. I revelled in the scent. His cigars, and  the cologne he used to wear, man those smells bring me back.  I remember stealing glances at him with his sunglasses and his slicked back hair, the cigar sticking out from its place between his teeth. His arms were all vainy and his bicep popped through his t shirt. He had a little tattoo just below his shoulder with my mom’s name, “Maria”.  We listened to Hendrix and The Doors and Zeppelin the whole way. It’s like he decided to ruin all classic rock for me. I can’t hear it without thinking of him. I can hardly fight the tears now. The jackass went all out that day. He bought me an ice cream cone on the way home. An ice cream cone, Doug! He wouldn’t spring for a double-scoop though, lousy cheapskate. I remember he caught a pretty damn huge fish. I didn’t catch nothing except for the ice cream, a whiff of cigars and a lifetime supply of painfully sweet memories I wish I could forget. Those are what scare me the most. It’s the good times. It’s the most sweet and pleasant memories which are the most dangerous. You get lost in those and the next thing you know,  you’ve let your guard down. You’ve gone soft...

Time to man up again. Someone’s gotta protect mom and it sure as hell won’t be him. I know I’m not ready for this but I have no other choice but to pretend like I am. I’m sorry, Doug. I don’t know how to say this, but real men don’t keep diaries. They bury their emotions and grievances and keep them locked away and allow them to manifest in other ways: Full blown rage, alcoholism, punching inanimate objects, punching living things,  casual sex, muscles, and the occasional tears when no one else is around. But, like I said: Real men don’t keep diaries. So I guess this is goodbye. Doug. 

April 11, 2020 01:18

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