It was 7pm when Daddy threw a punch right into Crocheton’s face and when Crocheton clattered against the wall, his feet collapsing, his butt crashing down the paving. Sometimes this expression in his eyes reminds me of the one my mother has when she looks like a child. Sometimes life seems just too tough, but this time it was 7pm.
When Daddy came back from the Yavish Community, this evening, he passed the door and Mum was very concerned when she showed him the piece of paper that made him change his look instantaneously. Suddenly he screamed my brother’s name who was in our room. He laid down his coat. Leaning against the coffee table I saw the piece of paper Mum gave him and which he just threw on the console next to me, it was a phone bill.
Crocheton arrived, all sheepish, because we know that when Dad screams this way, it’s gonna end bad. Mum said “Gilbert”, in a breath. But Daddy didn’t listen. He grabbed Crocheton by the ear as if he wanted to stick his earlobe to the ceiling and brought him to the middle of the living-room and Crocheton was saying “Ouuuuuuuch”. I know what this feels like when they do that to you. You hear like a little crack right behind your ear, inside your head, and then you have the feeling that your ear might tear up at any time.
My father’s head came near my brother’s. As in the movies, when the little child meets with the ogre and the ogre’s head appears in a close-up on the TV screen.
-Crocheton, what is 08 69 69 69 69 ??!!
My mother whispered again “Gilbert…”
In those circumstances, I think mother hesitates between two things that both seem obvious:
-You’ve done something silly, you must pay.
-He’s my son, don’t hurt him.
She doesn’t know how to choose so she whispers: “Gilbert…”
- CROCHETON, WHAT IS 08 69 69 69 69???? yelled my father again. And Crocheton answered: “dunno”. When my brother cries it’s like they’re hitting my head against a concrete wall. And my father threw my brother against the sofa, he fell between my legs and his ear was red, so red…At first, I thought it was blood. Daddy was so mad you might have expected to see smoke coming out of his nose, like an ox. Daddy grabbed the phone, and while dialling he was reading the bill out loud:
-May 6th, 3minutes12: 5euros15; May 7th, 4minutes08: 6euros24; May 9th, 3minutes55: 5euros57…
He stopped when the bip in phone's loudspeaker stopped and when a suave stewardesse's voice resounded in the living-room: “Hello darling, you wanna hear real bitches telling you their fantasies then dial the hash sign note…”
Dad threw the earphone to Crocheton yelling insults: “You little crapbag, stupid fucker, you full-of-cum” and a lot more and then caught Crocheton by the neck and tackled his face on the phone, scrubbed his nose against the phone dial as you do with a dog’s snout in his pooh so it understands it mustn’t do it again. Listen to your brother sobbing, my friend, and then come to me.
In a single move – still grabbing him by the neck – my father set Crocheton upright and pulled him up to his feet. He grabbed him by both shoulders to have him right in front of his face and then everything that happened will be engraved in my memory until the end of my life, as a slow-move scene:
Dad’s big hands on Crocheton’s shoulders.
My brother turning around against his will.
Dad staring at him as if he was about to kill him.
My father’s hand raising so high at the end of his arm it seemed it was going to touch the ceiling.
This hand went down so fast that when it struck into Crocheton's cheek the noise covered my mother’s voice who suddenly screamed: “GILBERT!”
How can one watch his brother being beaten up without turning a hair?
My fingers were squeezing the sofa.
Crocheton’s body crashed down as a big bag under the table, between the chair-feet. He was moving no more. I think it scared Daddy. His hand hurt. Mum went under the table to help my brother back up. My father yelled that he shouldn’t make these bullshits with the phone ever again or it would end real bad next time. Mum, Crocheton and I, we went to our room and Mum dabbed Crocheton’s face with a wet facecloth. Dad’s wedding ring had opened the arch of his eyebrows. Mum went to the bathroom to wet the facecloth again. I was thinking of how Crocheton pissed me off yesterday by calling me a “tongue-virgin”. We could hear the bathroom tap dripping. We couldn’t hear the water dripping from Mummy’s eyes.
Crocheton sobbed: “Brady, stop playing with the phone, pleaz…”
I couldn't find anything better than : “Thanks, Croch’ ”