I knew why Kerry was here. I may be a mean old drunk, but I can still read a calendar. Today is the anniversary of her Mom's death. Kerry came to keep me from going on a bender. I fooled her. What is a day early? Sarah was sick for so long. What is one day to another in a lingering death? Sarah was just as dead June 5 as she was on June 6. Her body had just not given up yet.
Kerry told me I need to get a shower. I looked at her. I did not say anything mean in response. I never say anything mean to my daughter. Or her son Josh, for that matter. At least I try not to. The rest of the world gets whatever acid thought I care to deliver. Fuck 'em.
Kerry still at least pretends to care what happens to me. No one else does. Not even Josh. I ruined that when he was twelve. In those days I did not drink much. I had an occasional beer. Kerry, her husband Mike, and Josh looked after me. They invited me to be part of their activities.
Sarah had been gone one year to the day. I was standing at the Little League game. Josh was a very good second baseman. A great lefty hitter. That fat jerk Dave Childs was sitting in his lawn chair behind the plate and I was standing nearby watching through the fence. "Hey John", he barked at me, "Here to see your team?" He laughed like a damn hyena at his wit. "Get it?"
I looked down at my left leg. Or what was left of it. I got it. A guy on crutches, missing his left foot and lower leg watching a team sponsored by Long John Silver's. Hah! I gave him a wan smile. I turned and swung my way to my truck, parked behind the outfield fence. I threw the wooden crutches in the back and drove up to the handicapped spaces behind the concession stand. I don't like to use those spots, I get around fine on my crutches.
I strapped on that damned fake foot. My anger intensified when I realized my shoes did not now match. "Motherfucker, now I look ridiculous". I limped back to Diamond Two. The fat fucker was still in his lawn chair, yelling at the ump, bad mouthing the coaches. I reached way back and swung a haymaker right at his left cheek.
I guess I sorta blacked out, because I don't remember the beating I gave that guy. I was told later the blood was all over the gravel. Child's screams brought a stop to games on three diamonds. The judge said using my artificial foot to beat that pathetic loser was like using a weapon. I had to, my hand was broken from hitting him so many times. I guess I just snapped. Later, Kerry asked me why I kept screaming "My name is not John" the whole time I was beating that poor man unconscious.
Josh saw it all, he was on deck. He was standing just across the fence from my rage. Kerry said I scared the shit out of the boy. Sorry kid. Real violence ain't like a video game. Jail isn't like the movies either.
A wave of nausea passed over me. I gagged again. I shuddered with the dry heaves. I looked around the room. Gray walls, dark carpet, blinds shut tightly. Kerry was the only bright spot and she was frowning. Here she was, ignoring her own grief to protect me from mine.
I hate boxed macaroni and cheese.
I wished I was dead.