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“Frustration leads to anger.  Anger to violence. Don’t get frustrated.”

-Dave Kindred

Saturday morning in February.

It’s so cold in our apartment.

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I have two blankets covering me, a sweatshirt and a pair of white long johns. I’m wearing a pair of white tube socks.

Glancing over at my digital clock on the table it says 4:35.

Thank God I can still sleep some more. But how can I sleep? Mom is having another fight with her boyfriend.

They are out in the living room, screaming at each other.

My sister who is nine, slept over my cousin’s house last night so she’s safe.

My older brother who’s 17 is not home. I know this because we have bunk beds and he sleeps on the top.

I’m not only cold, I’m scared.

Mom’s boyfriend is mean. He’s vicious and strong too. His temper is out of control.

What makes it worse is when he’s drunk, like he is now, he’s twice as bad.

This is becoming the norm on Saturday mornings.

It’s hard to understand what they are yelling about. Their speech is slurred.

The shouting match goes on for what seems like an hour. But finally they are quiet. Too quiet if you ask me. I decide to get up from the bed, I’m not scared of him. I’ll pick up my Louisville slugger which sits close by and smack him across the fuckin’ head.

I look out of my room towards the living room. I see mom on the couch and her boyfriend on the living room floor.

Looks like they both passed out.

How can they go from screaming at each other to sleeping?

It’s still dark outside. In the past I have run out of the apartment to the schoolyard to get away from all the bullshit.

But I think I’m going to stick this one out.

I make my way closer to where they are sleeping.

Looking at my mom she has her mouth open a little bit and she still has her clothes on. The boyfriend is on his stomach, sprawled out on the carpet. I can smell booze and cigarettes. I’m sure they were in Timboo’s all night.

I don’t think he has hit her though, usually when he does she screams really loud.

One time he hit her so hard he gave her a black-eye. Our landlord downstairs called the police and Doyle came by and placed the cuffs on him and took him away. I stuck my head out the window and saw him ushered into the back seat of the patrol car. Before he got in he looked up at me and smiled.

I gave him the finger.

Figuring that would be the last we saw of him, to my surprise he was back two days later. Mom never pressed charges.

Standing over them in the living room I feel like Mills Lane, the boxing ref standing over two boxers who knocked each other out.

But there’s no one around pleading for them to get up. I’m not counting to ten either. I don’t want them to get up. I hope he never gets up. As for mom, she can sleep as long as she wants.

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