When he arrived at home, Tom wasn’t exactly expecting it, but was not surprised when he was ordered into the carriage house. Tonight he didn’t even make it inside the door as his father was waiting outside on the back porch with a cat o’ nine tails gripped in his hand. Tom didn’t know if he could talk his way out of this beating as of yet, since he didn’t know what it was for, but he knew there was plenty he’d done to warrant it.
“Boy, tonight you’ve got a choice, you can bend over and take it like the man you think you are, or I’ll take you down, show you who’s boss, and whip your ass like it’s never been whipped before. I’m so pissed off at you for what you’ve done, I’d just as soon kick your ass into the middle of next year. Think fast boy!” Ralph lashed the knotted leather straps across Tom’s back.
Tom grabbed a support pole, and braced himself for the beating of his life. And, that he received as his father called him every name in the book for getting Lydia Brownstone pregnant. Since he wasn’t asked any questions, he told his father no lies. He also didn’t ask any questions for fear of enraging his maniacal father any further. There was no mention of marriage. Tommy was greatly relieved about that. He grit his teeth, and flinched at each crack of the whip, wondering when the beating was going to stop. He didn’t count the lashes this time. Tom felt the pain, didn’t feel the pain, then felt the burn, then he went numb. He no longer could hold on to the pole, Tom slid down, and crumpled onto the floor. When that happened, the beating stopped.
“I offered you the use of this carriage house. Told you to bring Godiva over here, anytime Thomas. You could’ve fucked her every which way from Sunday for all I cared. You could’ve brought the ginzo Verona here too, but oh no, riff raff wasn’t good enough for you. You just had to knock up the only decent girl you’ve ever dated. I thought I had an appetite, how the hell many women do you need? Shut up, don’t even answer, I don’t wanna know. Thank the good Lord the Brownstone’s only wondered if we wanted your little bastard. You know me, I’d let your mother have anything she wanted. If she did, I would’ve said yes, then made you take care of it. Teach you a good lesson in responsibility for not controlling your dink. But, after raising three of our own, Mother has finally seen that kids aren’t worth the pain in the ass that they are. So, poor Lydia has to go away to have your baby alone, and you’re off the hook- this time. Didn’t anyone ever talk to you about safes? I wear two of the goddam things just to avoid knocking anyone else up, including your mother! Answer me!”
“Dad, I don’t know what a safe is.”
“Wearing a safe wouldn’t have made screwing the Brownstone girl right, but you wouldn’t have gotten the poor thing in trouble had you used one. Damage is done. No sense in wasting my breath now. Listen, word to the unwise... you got the picture of Godiva, jack off the boner. Use your imagination, dumb ass. It’s safer.”
His father left Tommy lying there on the carriage house floor, unattended, without so much as offering his youngest son a sip of water.
Tom slept about forty five minutes, then looked at his watch. He picked himself up, got in his car and drove to Animal’s house. He looked at his watch again, and felt much the same as it’s TV commercial, takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Animal soon drove up on his Harley.
“Hey Ricsen! What are you doing here this time of night? Thought you’d be home tucked in your feather bed with your nanny bringing you a cup of warm milk!” Animal gave Tom a pal’s smack on the back, and nearly flipped out when Tom dropped to the ground. “What the hell happened to you? I barely touched you, man!”
“You think I could stay here with you tonight? I gotta have a buddy to talk to, and I won’t find one of them at my place.”
“Sure, Mama always makes room for one more. Oh, guess what? Didn’t surprise me, but she announced at supper tonight that she’sa ‘gonna hava nother bambino!’ She and the old man are like rabbits. My baby sister Anna Maria is four, she’ll be five when the new bundle of joy arrives. That’s the longest she and Pop ever went without having a kid. She loves us all though, and the older ones help with the younger ones, so it all works out.”
Once downstairs in the rec room, Tom removed his shirt. His strong muscular chest had a few hairs that Animal made fun of. But, when Tommy turned around, all the kidding came to a halt.
“Ricsen, what the hell happened to you?”
“The old man. I got in late from seeing Renée, and he went ape shit. He was waiting on the back porch with the cat o’ nine tails.”
“Great balls of fire! Man, that’s gotta burn like the hubs of hell.”
“Yeah, great way of describing it.”
“Got just the thing, Tom. Mama keeps it on hand for all the skinned knees the little ones get around here.” Animal walked upstairs to the medicine cabinet, then came right back down. “Lie down on your belly.”
Tom half laughed. “There is no other way. You’re not going to use iodine are you?”
“Nah. This is a great product.” Animal started to pump the bottle and sing, “Psst goes the Bactine, psst goes the Bactine. Down go the mean old germs!”
“You sure can tell who has television and who doesn’t. How bad is it Animal?”
“Bad Tom. I’ve never seen anything like this. It ain’t none of my business, but there is nothing any of us kids could do to warrant a beating like this. My old man has walloped us boys out in the woodshed a time or two, but Jee-zus, Mary, and Joseph, looks like that son of a bitch was trying to kill you. I’d get the hell out of there if I was you, man. It looks like someone rolled out raw hamburger meat on your back. Good thing Mama isn’t up, she’d be telephoning the child welfare department on your behalf.”
“I really don’t need that at this time, but thanks just the same. That stuff works really good. Guarantee you one thing for sure... This is the last time he lays a hand on me. I always had respect for the man. That’s the way I was raised, but the way he talks about Renée, the way he treats us kids, the way he slaps my mother around, I’ve had it with his shit. I’ll live by his rules as long as I have to live under his roof, but he’ll never, and I do mean never strike me again.”
“Hey, uh, hate to bring this up since you have enough of your own problems, but you seen Lydia? She hasn’t been calling, and I haven’t seen her at Patsy’s Pizza. Even Pasquale has been asking about her. So, she hasn’t been showing up when I’m not there either. I doubt she’s hanging at the Burger Barn since that’s where the trio hangs out. I don’t think I’ve pissed the lady off.”
“All I know is she’s been sick. I talked to her last Sunday while you were out of town to see if she wanted to go to church, but she said she was too sick. Not to change the subject, but did you have a good time?”
“Oh hell yeah. Get a family reunion of dago’s together, and all there is, is good times. Food was outta this world, and the music never stops. You never heard nothing til you heard my uncles Giovanni and Salvatore on the violin, and the accordion. Got a good one for ya though!”
“Yeah, I could use a good one.”
“My cousin Vincenzo and I got on Grandma’s typewriter, and wrote another letter to Bella Donnie... Vinnie was like a master of words the way his thoughts flowed. He wrote in behalf of his dear friend Percy who is so in love with Donnie.” Animals eyes were fluttering making fun of the gag he was playing on Donnie Worthington. “Hey, got another one for ya. You and Renée been to Rattalee Lake Road lately?”
“Yeah, Wednesday. We couldn’t get in.”
“You bet your ass you couldn’t. And, I’ll tell you why. Debbie Worthington was out there with Jack and Marc Chevalier, and Jeremy Hayward. She was doing all three, sometimes two at a time while the guys took turns holding the movie camera. Seems they took a bunch of Polaroids, too. It wasn’t like with Lydia, Tom. She was there, and she was willing. Here take a look... I threatened to kick Jack’s ass for his share of the photos.”
Tom looked at the nude photos of Debbie in various sexual activities with the different boys. “Hmmm, her fur collar is really dark isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I’ve seen naked Italian woman that don’t look as much like a bear as she does!” They both laughed until they hurt. “Anyway, one of them dropped a picture, and the farmer that owns the land found it. He attempted to find out who it was by waiting by the maple tree until a car came in. Then turned them away, until it was Debbie with her screw for the night. He threatened to call the police if she didn’t tell him who she was. When he found out, he mailed the photo to her father’s office. The secretary quit. She got tired of getting shocked every time something came across her desk involving one of the Doc’s kids. Doc had a fit about Debbie, but then threw a bigger fit when he read a letter from ‘Vincenzo’.”
“So how did you learn all this stuff Animal?”
“Some through the grapevine. Some from Jack, when I got possession of the pictures. And, the insider information from Doc’s former secretary. I told you she quit, well, now she works for my Pop at the cement company. She left ‘reason for leaving’ blank on her application. So, Pop asked her why, and she spilled her guts. Nice, proper little old gal, and she was mortified by what she was reading, and a naked sexually explicit photo of Debbie. The way the envelopes were addressed, she didn’t know they weren’t business correspondence.”
Tom looked through the pictures several times as Animal talked. He studied each one. They didn’t arouse him, as Debbie was an alright looking girl, but his Renée was beyond beautiful. Gazing at the photo Animal referred to as looking like a bear, Tommy thought of the movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He remembered the pleasure of nuzzling Renée's blonde triangle, and felt a twitch. Thinking of Animal’s parents expecting again, he hoped he and Renée were active as many years. “Hey, uh, Ange, what are you gonna do with all these pictures?”
“Probably shit can them.”
“Let me have them.” Tom had a smirk.
“What do you want pictures of that pig for?”
“I’m gonna have some fun with my old man. He’s always saying nasty things about Renée. He and Mother both were thrilled when I went out with Debbie. Look at this picture, for sure I want it. Who is the guy?”
“Dunno, could be anyone.”
“That’s right, anyone except me. And, I want this one with her bending over the hood of the car, and that one with her mouth open, and her tongue lapping. This is a beauty with her fingers touching herself down there. The best part is, she’s obviously having the time of her life, and is quite obviously with different guys. I’ll keep you informed. You’ll love it. Hey, can you spray my back one more time? Cut the musical accompaniment this time though, okay.”
“Damn that still looks like raw meat. I’d like to kick that son of a bitches ass for doing this to you. What the hell kind of parents did he have?”
“His father was a horse breeder, too. I don’t remember too much about him. He came to live with us for a little while after my grandma died. Mother was very unhappy because he ordered her around as if she was one of his servants. If she said anything to Dad, he’d say, ‘What are you complaining about? You got staff to wait on you hand and foot, you take care of the old man, and shut up about it’. If she didn’t shut up, he’d slap her around. One time when I was very little, Grandpa was sitting in his big wooden wheelchair. Mother walked by. He caught her wrist with one hand, and with the other, he went up and under her skirt, grabbed her crotch, and was groping her. She was struggling to get away, as he kept rubbing her down there. I went outside, and told my dad. He came roaring in the house, and told her to get upstairs. He beat the shit out of her for letting him touch her like that. If he was anything then like he is now, and why wouldn’t he be, he probably had rough sex with her when he was done hitting her.”
“Rough sex? What a sick son of a bitch. It kinda sounds like it runs in the family.”
Tommy thought a bit, “Yeah, I just pray to God that I never get nasty like that toward Renée.”