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The following contains profanity.
In his home, Jim felt as though he was the King and the house we lived in was His castle. His demands reigned over everyone who inhabited the home, especially mom.
Jim’s respect for my mom was difficult for me to see. He constantly used cruel words to describe her and then would harass her because he felt his requirements were not being met.
In the evening he sat alone in His parlor listening to the television. It was around five o’clock and the news was starting. He could smell the familiar scents of mom’s cooking and was beginning to feel hungry from where he lay in his recliner chair. He kept his feet up on the footrest, ankles crossed.
“Carole, you fat bitch, where’s my ice cream?” he hollered.
Mom was several feet away, frying up some hamburger meat for dinner. The television was on and she could hear it from the living room where Jim was. There were kids yelling to hear one another over the din, animals scratch-scratching on the linoleum kitchen floor. The phone was ringing.
Jim went quiet and waited for my mother to come into the living room. He did not like for her to raise her voice from another room. Over time, after some frighteningly physical lessons, she learned that she should address him in person.
“There you are. Where the fuck were you?” he asked, “Do I have to get the phone surgically removed from your ass? Ice cream! Where. Is. My. Ice-Cream?”
“I didn’t know you wanted ice cream!” she said.
“Everysinglenight I have coffee ice cream and a glass of ice water. Is that too hard for you to remember? I don’t ask for much! You people leech off of me day-in, day-out and all I ask for is a little ice cream and a little water. What do I get?”
“Okay, okay. I’ll get your ice cream. Do you want a frappe?”
A frappe is a thick milk shake. Jim liked his with a double scoop of coffee ice cream, a little bit of milk and a healthy pour of Eclipse coffee syrup.
“Did I say I wanted a frappe? Carole, I fuckin’ swear.”
“Okay, I’ll just get ice cream!”
“No, go ahead, make it a frappe. For Chrissake. You turn everything into a project.” She exasperated him. There were questions, always questions. It pissed him off.
Mom went back to the kitchen where burger bumps were sizzling to a crisp in the frying pan. She gave the meat a stir before engaging in her mission of a coffee frappe. She was then on her way to serve it to Jim.
“Water! You forgot the water,” he said.
“I’ll be right back,” she said.
“Wait,” he ordered. He took a sip from the glass. Cold, extra-flavored coffee shake kissed his lips and then he licked them. After brief consideration, Jim shook his head.
“Not enough syrup. Take it back.”
Mom sighed, “Jimmy, I’ve got supper going on the stove!”
“If you gave me ice cream, like I told you to in the first place, you wouldn’t have to fix it. I ain’t drinkin’ this.” He held out the glass.
“Fine. I’ll fix it.” Mom took it back.
By the time mom returned to the kitchen, one of the kids had switched off the stove burner. There would still be a sizzle or pop or spitting in the pan of ground beef crumbles.
Mom added Eclipse coffee syrup by the glug to the blender, dumped the contents of the glass into the vessel and whirred it up to His majesty’s taste. This time, she remembered to bring the water on the same trip.
Upon her arrival, Jim peered at the glass in mom’s hand.
“It’s about time. I’ve been sittin’ here for flippin’ fifteen minutes waiting,” he said, “Got my water?”
“Yes, Jimmy. It’s right here. Here, take it.”
Jim took the frappe for a sip. She knew that if Jim liked the taste of a frappe, he closed his eyes, adorably smiled and started to waggle his feet back and forth. The footrest of the recliner was loose from his doing this so much. By his nonverbal cues of contentment, mom felt at ease. She set the water down on the coffee table began her retreat.
“You done good, kid,” he said.
Mom smiled without looking back.
smart, eloquent, friendly: the voice of your next project.