Dad's The Man Ch. 12


Apart from that, the three of us had a very serious conversation earlier this evening. We were all on the couch, alternately watching TV and planning the final stages of Gina's move this weekend when Gina surprised us with some unexpected, off-topic thoughts.

"I've been thinking about something," she announced in a quiet, careful voice. "But,... I hate to bring it up, 'cause I'm not sure it's any of my business and I don't want to hurt any sore spots."

She glanced at me when she said that last bit and I couldn't help getting curious, assuring her with, "Smutty, if it's our business, it's yours. What's on your mind?"

"Yeah, let's hear it, witchy girl."

"Uhh, well,..." she hesitantly began. "Dad, do you remember what you said to slutty about how Sheila made a mess of people's lives and then just left?"


"Uh,... well, it seems like we've cleaned up the mess she made with us and we're so happy I can't believe it. I know we're going to be okay, but there's someone,... who isn't. And hasn't been."

" ... Yeah, there's only one person you could be talking about," he cautiously guessed, flicking his eyes first to me, then her.

"Dad, I'm sorry, I don't mean to diminish what she said about Kat in any way, and if this is none of my business, please tell me, but-"

"Witchy, nothing that goes on in this house is none of your business," he firmly said. "And as far as Peg goes,... The ball's in her court. And it has been for quite some time now."

" ... Yes," she answered, her brow furrowed, "but those were some pretty heartless things she said and, if she was drunk at the time, she may have sobered up the next morning, remembered, and has been too ashamed to even look you two in the eye, let alone apologize."

"Her problem," Daddy said.

"But,... I know what it's like to be alone. She'll be alone for Christmas this year, her birthday, yours, slutty's and every occasion where people are surrounded by their family and other people who care about them. She'll have nobody and,... Well, I don't think many people deserve that. Slutty, again, I don't mean to diminish how she hurt you, but I've been thinking about her and,... I can't help but feel guilty."

"Aw, witchy girl," Daddy sighed, hugging her a little closer as her words set into my mind, "You're a good girl for thinking like that, but you have to understand that she's to blame for her life, not anyone else, not even Sheila, really. Peg was a drinker before she met her, you know."

"But, Dad,..." she countered, "people say things they don't really mean all the time when they're drunk. She's your own sister and it's not like this is a big family, is it? Are you really okay with letting her,... you know,...? It's just so sad."

"There's nothing we can do about it," he said, shrugging.

She then looked at me, saying, "What do you think?"

I could only shake my head, shrugging like he did, still surprised at her sympathy for Peggy, even more surprised at the sympathy she was creating for her inside me.

"If she did say she was sorry and, if you knew she really meant it, would you forgive her?"

"I,... I don't know. I suppose I would."

"Would you make it a bit easier for her if you could? For her to apologize, I mean?"

"I don't like the idea of kitten asking for an apology from her," Daddy said firmly, in effect, answering for me.

"Neither do I, but,... This is gonna sound awful, but sometimes we have to be a little bigger than others, don't we? Don't we sometimes have to,...? Okay, I don't want to take this any further and make any hard feelings between us, but can we each just keep this in mind, at least?"

Daddy and I agreed that we would, after which he soberly added, "You keep in mind our little arrangement here and that her absence,... works for us. It carries the benefit of removing the only set of prying eyes that could get us into trouble."

No more was said on the topic, but I could tell they were thinking about it. So was I and I still am but, even if I were to be big enough to get over the things she said about how they should have killed me before I was born, how do I get along with a woman who sees Sheila every time she looks at me?



Jun. 30/09

Yay, the move is done! Gina is officially a part of our household and she's already bugging Daddy about renovating the house. This evening, I walked into the kitchen to find them with her hand down his pants and a big cheerful smile, (Daddy, too) asking him if we could paint the front room, get hardwood flooring and use some of her furniture. We women really are evil.

The first half of the basement is pretty much done, except for the painting which I'll be starting tomorrow, and we're all pretty happy with it. Aside from the furnace/laundry room, we now have a short hallway, a storage room, another large bedroom and a decent sized, as yet unfinished, bathroom. We've decided to use the bedroom space as an exercise room for now, until a permanent exercise room is built. I'm planning on building my own private workshop at the basement door with a nice, big, comfy, curtained off nook for sleeping. Won't that be cool?

Well, I've been thinking about the things Gina said about Peggy and she brought it up with me today when we were picking up groceries, she tossing junk food into the cart, me tossing it back when she wasn't looking in favour of more healthy choices.

"Gina," I sighed, grabbing a sack of Basmati rice, "I just,... I know what you mean and I feel sorry for her, I really do, and I'm trying to be the bigger woman here, but it's pretty hard. It doesn't matter if she was drunk or not, what she said,... She made me cry."

"I know, baby, and like I said, I'm not trying to diminish that, but,... didn't you say some pretty mean things to her, too? That night you drove her home a while back that you told me about?"

"She was being a bitch, she deserved it."

"Maybe she felt the same way when she said what she did. You know, a lot of the times, when people say rotten things, it's purely reactionary. That's why both people usually apologize when they make up after a fight."

" ... Uh, are you telling me I need to apologize to her?"

"Do you think you owe her one?"

"After what she said? Hell, no!"

"If she apologized for that and said she only did it because of the way you treated her, would you then?"

"Gina, stop trying to muddy the waters. I was only being mean because I didn't like her attitude."

"I'm only trying to say that it takes two to make a thing go bad. Yes, she kind of started it, but look at her reasons. She's depressed and she has been for quite some time and people like that become cranky and mean. She probably hates herself," Gina speculated, tossing a bag of Oreos into the cart.

"Doesn't give her the right to pick on me."

"No, but,... doesn't it give her the right to a little understanding? Maybe a little caring?"

"Caring? Gina, we cared for her for years."

"Did anybody ever try to tackle her drinking? Did anybody ever try to make her feel better about herself and get her beyond her ex husband?"

"There was only Daddy at the time and he had his own problems."

"So, they both retreated to their corners and closed in on themselves. Anyway, wasn't your grandmother still alive then?"

"No," I said, grabbing the Oreos and tossing them on a shelf while her back was turned. "She died while Sheila was carrying me."

"Neither Dad, or Peggy helped each other through it, did they?"

"I don't know."

"I'm betting not. You Hales don't seem to do well when it comes to dealing with hurt."

"We deal."

"No, you bottle things away and that's not dealing."


"Oh, don't get mad at me, slutty, I'm just trying to make you see that there's something very wrong with the situation."

"Yeah, I know it's wrong, but,... Shit."

"Do you?" Gina asked, putting a bottle of Diet Pepsi in the cart.

"Well, yeah."

"I think that you're too close to the situation to see how wrong it is, and I don't just mean where you and Peggy are concerned, I mean the whole,... thing."

"How do you mean?" I asked curiously, removing the Pepsi to a shelf a second before she stopped, turning to look at me.

"Well,... I just get the feeling that there's something,... else."

"Like what?"

" ... I don't know. But, her reaction to you seems a bit strong and unreasonable, even given the circumstances. I just get the feeling that there's something we don't know."

"Like what?" I repeated.

"Like I said, I don't know. It just doesn't seem right, somehow. Your aunt isn't a stupid woman, I can tell, and she's not the type to confuse one of her few family members, her niece, whom she's known since you were a baby, with a woman from her past that she despises. And I don't care how much like her you are, she's,... Something just doesn't add up."

I shrugged my shoulders, wondering if there was anything to her suspicions and, if so, what it could be. Possibly the 'accidental' groping session with Daddy all those years ago? I told her about it and the subject, more or less, petered out after that, Gina probably silently speculating as I was.



Jul 10/09

Not much happened today, other than Gina's first gig since the big fight. She was a bit nervous, but it wasn't too bad because she wasn't going to the club. Also, she wasn't working with anyone from her shift, which she'd stipulated with Barry over the phone a week ago when she told him she wouldn't be doing her shift any longer.

She actually ended up working with Doreen, a girl she knew from a different shift and liked well enough, which made me happy because I knew she was nervous about how the other dancers she'd be working with, even on private gigs, would look at her and stuff. Her other worry was dancing itself. She confided that she didn't know if she'd feel comfortable with it now. I offered to drive her to the gig, wait and then take her home again, but she refused, thanking me anyway and saying that she'd be okay.

"So, how was it?" I asked her as she settled on the couch between me and Daddy that evening after she'd returned.

"It was hard. ... I don't think,... If things don't change, I don't think I'll be dancing for much longer. I don't know, maybe I'm being premature."

"We'll support any decision you make," he said, putting his leg, bent at the knee, up on the couch so he could turn a bit to face her, "but it probably wouldn't surprise you if I said I'd be happy if you did quit dancing."

"No," she said with a slight smile, taking his hand and feeling the knuckles of his big fingers, like she often does when she's thoughtful during conversation with him. "But there's not much else I can do, especially without a high school diploma. "I'd have to take upgrading to get that, probably before I can even take a real estate course, which is something I really am interested in, and I need to be employed in the meantime, somehow."

"Okay," he said, taking her hand in his now, making it all but disappear, "first of all, I don't see why you'd need your high school diploma for a real estate course. I've met people who could sell ice to an Eskimo with just enough education to sign their names. I'll tell you something else, too: Employers only ask to see high school diplomas from people about kitten's age so they can tell if they're still in school, or whatever. At your age and with the way you handle yourself, most of them will assume you graduated and never even ask."

"Yeah, but what about my resume?"

"Make something up. You're not even from this town, just pick a high school from Nova Scotia, or somewhere and put in the right dates. It's not as if they're gonna bother to check. Employers didn't have time for that back in my day, they sure as hell don't now."

"Well,... that makes sense."

"It's what everybody who dropped out of school did back in the day. Most of the older generation, I think, figured high school dropouts and illiterate people were so rare as to not be worth making sure they weren't hiring one. Besides, most people with common sense will know a good potential employee when they see one during an interview, they're not gonna give a shit either way."

She nodded.

"And don't worry about not working, anyway. I may not make as much as you, but I can easily support the three of us without a problem and still get things done around here."

"Well,... that makes me feel better, but,... can we just wait a bit and see?"

"Yeah,... I don't want to pressure you. Well, I do, but I'll try not to."

"Thanks, Dad. I think."

"Gimmie a kiss, witchy."

She did, both of them leaning over to do it, their lingering, affectionate smiles exchanged before she looked at me, saying, "You've made quite an impression at Jaybirds. According to Doreen, they refer to you as 'psycho girl' and, apparently, they don't even mention my name on the day shift for fear of it bringing you down on them."

"Oh?" I said, smiling but a little disturbed about that.

"Yeah, Tanya and Tisha were actually almost due to go on when you got there and, just after you left, they were introduced and,... well nobody came out. Buzz, the DJ, didn't know what the hell and neither did anybody else until the girls in the dressing room got the nerve to go for help. That's when all the running and confusion started, the girls crying and traumatized and all that. Quite the commotion, I guess."

"Chip off the old block," Daddy said, grinning at me. "I wouldn't have thought you'd ever top that stunt with the half dried paint down Barb's toilet, though."

I shrugged modestly, but said, "Actually, that whole thing,... for me,... Well, I don't regret doing it for one second, but it kinda bothers me in a way."

"How's that?" he asked, cocking his head as he looked at me.

"Well,... It's just a little disturbing when I remember. Those girls from the dressing room that you say were traumatized,... That doesn't surprise me and I don't blame them for calling me 'psycho girl', either."

"You were upset," my father counseled, "And you know, kitten, fighting aint pretty."

"Mmmm," I offered noncommittally, fidgeting my nails as I do when I'm upset.

" ... C'mere, Kitten."

I got up and went down the couch to him and he pulled me up on his lap, Gina arranging my legs over hers as she looked on with some concern.

His hand rubbing my back, he asked, "What's on your mind?"

" ... Well, just what I said. I mean, I have to wonder that I'd be capable of what I did. It's just not me. And,... I forget about it for a while until I remember again sometimes,... It's such a shock and it's like I have these first hand memories that,... I almost have to remind myself that it was me who did it, but those memories,..."

"Aw, kitten,..." he said tenderly, kissing my neck. "Like I said, fighting isn't pretty, but they deserved what you gave them and you did exactly what I would have done in your place. And, sweetie, you should know that,... temporarily uncharacteristic behaviour is kinda expected and natural when you're fighting two people at once."

"Daddy,..." I said, shaking my head, still looking down in my lap, "you don't understand,... I smashed Tanya's face in with a hair dryer. I just kept smashing her with it, over and over and I wasn't even thinking anything,... I stomped right on Tisha's face, and,... It was really bad. I'm lucky I didn't kill them, and when I suddenly remember some of the things I did to them, I just can't believe,... it was me."

"Okay," he sighed, rubbing my back, "I know how you feel. Again, fighting isn't pretty, but you were there to do a job. You said you don't regret it and you oughta know they would have kicked the shit out of you like they did Gina, if you'd let them."

I nodded, remembering again the look of abject fear on Tanya's face as I beat her mercilessly with the hairdryer, quite possibly her own.

"Kitten,... Back some years ago- you were about six months old at the time and this was before I worked at the plant –I was digging ditches and all that other shit labour around Elmbrook Drive for a construction company I just got hired on at. Well, there was this big guy that worked there. His name was Dave Enslinger, but everyone called him 'pizza face', cause of his acne. Well, we took a dislike to each other right away. You know, just one of those things, right?"

I nodded again, listening.

"So, like I say, this is about six months after you were born, six months after Sheila left and, you might say, I wasn't a very happy fuckin' camper in those days. This guy, as I soon found out, was a bouncer on the weekends, had quite a reputation as a brawler, one of those that like to punch people out and shit, a pummeler, you know? One day, he's picking and picking at me and we get into an argument. I warned him to watch out his mommy didn't crawl out from under his porch and bite him when he got home. He wasn't impressed and, the next thing I knew, I was fighting for my life, or so it seemed at the time. I mean, this guy, like I say, he was a brick shithouse, he wasn't pulling any punches and I was losing. I nailed him right in the forehead, and sweetie, I hit him fuckin' hard, with everything I had, and down he went. Straight down.

"Now he's laid out in the bottom of the trench we were working in, face down in two or three inches of muddy water and he isn't moving. I sort of snapped out of it and dragged him out of the water before he drowned and he still wasn't coming around. So, pretty soon, I'm yelling at the guy in the backhoe, who saw the whole thing because he was sitting there waiting for us to clear around a drainage pipe, telling him to call 911.

"Ten minutes later, the ambulance shows up, and he's still out cold. They cart him away and, the next thing I know, I'm talking to the cops. I give them my side of the story, they leave and I get sent home for the day. Later that evening, I get a call from the cop that interviewed me and she's telling me that pizza face is in critical condition and that, if he dies, they'd be pressing manslaughter charges."

"Oh, my god." I said, looking at him now and quite fascinated by this story, as was Gina.

"Yeah, that's more or less what I thought. Luckily for me, the poor asshole didn't die and the backhoe operator told them that he threw the first punch, so I got off. My point is that shit like this happens sometimes and, once again, fighting isn't pretty. But,... if I hadn't done what I did, it might have been me at the bottom of that trench. He was taking quite a chunk out of me and god only knows what would have happened if I went down to this guy. I don't regret what I did, just that it had to come to that and I really don't let it bother me. In fact, this is the first time I've thought about it since I can remember."

"Were you scared?"

"Oh, yeah. That was the hardest fight of my life to this day and, by rights, he should have won, like those two bitches should have but, like me, you did what you had to do and, at the end of the day, we're doing good if we can at least say that for ourselves. Anyway, people who start fights can't complain about the outcome, no matter what it is."

"Yeah, but,... I started my fight," I said.

"No, they started your fight when they fucked around with our Gina. You finished it, and by their rules, too. Let me ask; do you think I should have pulled that punch?"

"Well, no. He might have killed you, or messed you up for life and you're my Daddy."

"Exactly. And if it took a hairdryer for you to win, than it took a hair dryer, cause you're my kitten and better those bitches that started it, than you. You did good."

I smiled a little, feeling better now that he'd explained it to me and I gave him a hug.

Report Story

byAmeaner© 6 comments/ 38025 views/ 18 favorites

Share the love

Report a Bug

4 Pages:1234

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar: