Author’s Note: This story contains mature content.
If I haven’t already told you, the full name placed upon me at birth is Everett Alexander Roane King. I don’t know why I have two middle names, but I think it has something to do with being born into wealth and that air of self-importance that surrounds it. I guess it doesn’t really matter that I have two middle names because I rarely use them, and why would I, unless I was in front of a judge or something.
My mother believes my name is very regal, like I’m a prince or something, which I’m obviously not. Although quite common, “even among the rubbish” as my father says, the family is quite proud of our surname — King. For them it exudes an impression of strength, leadership, advanced education, wealth, and royalty. In essence, it makes them feel okay about standing on the backs of others and wiping their muddy feet because their very name dictates it.
When Frost and I got back to the house with the baby supplies for Maine, Christmas music was softly piping out from some invisible space in the walls, even though it was after New Year’s. My family was standing around the giant marble island in the kitchen and they were sipping on highballs and chatting to each other while poor Eliza was scrambling around to get a simple supper prepared and delivered to the massive dining room table.
My mother lives for the holidays and makes that flavor last for as long as she can. She loves scented candles and now she had about half a dozen lit and scattered about the house. The entire place smelled of apples and cinnamon and the Three Wise Men after a long walk in the desert looking for baby Jesus.
“Oh, good, good, good,” my mother happily exclaimed, and she briskly clapped her hands together when she saw us come in with all the bags from the store. “Now that poor child can be properly cleaned and clothed and fed. Take it all upstairs, but please don’t wake Maine… And Eliza dear, you shall tend to the baby after dinner and dishes. Hmm?”
“I can help her, mother,” Emily interjected.
“Oh, come now, Emily. I’ve decided it’s not your responsibility to help the help,” and she drunkenly laughed. “And besides, that’s what we pay her for… To do things we tell her to do.”
Eliza tried to smile as she scrambled about the kitchen. “Yes mam. It’s fine. I would love to.”
Evelyn smirked at her daughter. “See, all I have to do is snap my fingers. Money makes all your wishes come true… Edward darling, would you make me another drink?”
The table was covered with platters of sliced meats and rare cheeses and artisan breads and bowls of different salads, and all kinds of perfectly cut veggies, condiments, and sauces and what not — a lot of the things I didn’t even know what they were. The Kings could even make sandwiches fancy. I took a seat at one far end of the table, opposite my father. My mother was to my right. Frost and Emily next to each other at my left.
My father took a gulp of his latest highball and cleared his throat. “Frost,” he said. “Would you lead us in prayer… I’d have my son over there do it, but I’m sure he’d screw it up. And God does not take kindly to screw ups.” His drunken eyes drilled into me like I was oil in the ground.
“Edward,” my mother scolded. “Spare the poor boy for one night.” Then for some reason she laughed like she didn’t care either way.
“I’d be honored,” Frost said, and he folded his hands and closed his eyes like a real phony before he started tapping his telegram off to Heaven. “Dear Lord, thank you for bringing us all together this evening to enjoy this bounty of delicious deli meats and fine breads. Bread not unlike your very son and our beloved savior broke with his disciples at the Last Supper down in the snug of Brooklyn, New York. They celebrated your wonders then, just as we do this night.”
I opened my eyes and looked around at all these fools falling for his unholy crap. I just shook my head, reached for a sip of my imported bottle of beer, and yawned before he continued.
“We are forever indebted to your boundless love and mercy. May you protect us, guide us, and wait to welcome us at those heavenly gates where we will cleave to your holy bosom to absorb the full effect of your eternal grace. Amen.”
“Amen,” they said in unison. I chewed on a carrot and for some reason thought about when I was a kid and rode my bike to the arcade in town to play pinball. I was never very good at it, but I loved the lights and the sounds. I don’t know why I remembered that just then. Maybe because I longed to escape the table and those dead souls around it.
My father unfurled his big cloth napkin of virgin white and tucked a corner of it in his shirt collar. “Thank you, Frost,” he said. “That was a fine prayer. A bit unusual, but fine nonetheless,” and he leaned forward with a fork to get himself some mesquite smoked turkey breast.
My mother slapped at his hand. “Ask for the platter to be passed, dear,” she growled. He ignored her command and plunged for the meat.
“It was my pleasure, sir,” the prick Frost replied. “God is very important to me.”
A laugh sloppily slipped from my guts, and everyone beamed at me.
“Was something I said funny?” Frost wanted to know.
I reached for some bread, sliced Black Forest ham, and some rich people mustard. “Not really. I just never took you for the religious type.”
“Is that so, Everett?” He chuckled and looked around the table at everyone as if saying watch what I’m about to do. “I guess you don’t know me as well as you think you do. You shouldn’t even try to figure me out because you may injure your small and struggling mind. But I’ll let you know that I happen to be a very spiritual person, among other things. I have a multi-faceted personality.”
“Frost took a semester of theology,” Emily added. “He feels architecture and religion are very connected. Why, just think of all the wonderful cathedrals in the world. I mean, they’re perfect examples of man and God coming together in the form of art and engineering. Wouldn’t you say, Frost?”
He threw some black olives into his mouth, chewed, annoyingly smiled, and said, “That’s right, honey. But let’s not forget who’s the expert.” He laughed and then bit into his roast beef sandwich. Then he turned and winked at my father.
“Let the man be the man, Emily,” my father said, nodding in Frost’s direction. “You’d be well-minded to follow in step behind this one. I’m assured he will lead you to many, many fine destinations in this world.”
Emily dabbed at her mouth with her napkin. “That’s all and well, daddy, but I do have a mind of my own, you know.”
“Of course, you do, dear,” my father answered, and he pushed himself away from the table and went off to the kitchen to fix himself yet another highball.
“Mother,” Emily said from across the table. “Are you going to let him keep drinking like that? What he said was very hurtful to me.”
My mother just looked at her and grinned. “Oh, Emily. You’re always so dramatic. Let your poor father drink himself into a coma. He does it nearly every night. We all know you are your own person, and we love you for it… Could you pass me the chilled beets?”
Later that evening, I was upstairs in my old room lying on the bed and staring out the window. The usual pastoral view of hills and trees was veiled in darkness. A quarter moon hung on an invisible nail among the stars. Its faint light highlighted the unruly movement of winter clouds.
I couldn’t sleep so I got my clothes back on and crept out into the hall. The house was quiet except for the faint sound of late-night television coming from below me. I went down the stairs. I walked through the half-darkness of the house, the lingering scent of the now snuffed holiday candles lingered in the air. I peered into my father’s den, his study. He was asleep in his favorite chair and aglow in the electric light of the television. I studied him for a moment and realized he looked like some crooked lump of an angel sitting there like that. He was my father and I loved him, of course, but I also hated him, probably because I felt like he hated me. I think that no matter how long he lives, I will never meet his approval. I suppose I have already given up on trying to do that a long time ago.
I suddenly decided I was hungry and went off to the kitchen to find myself a snack. I pulled the double doors of the massive high-tech refrigerator open and peered inside. The bright light hurt my eyes as I scanned the gross abundance of food and drinks. Then I thought I heard a noise coming from somewhere behind me. It was almost like the sound of unwanted animals scurrying around in a place where they shouldn’t be. I quickly closed the refrigerator doors to camouflage myself in a better form of darkness. I heard the noise again. Animals had gotten into the house for sure, I thought.
I moved slowly and quietly toward the four-season porch at the back of the house. It was mostly windows on the outside part of it and a small sliver of moonlight was leaking in. I crept closer to the shuttered inside entrance to the porch — wide French doors with multiple squares of glass to utilize all the natural light during the day. I peered in and saw figures moving in that familiar half-light. I thought at first it was Frost and Emily basking and dancing in the details of their own perfect lives, but as I focused, I realized it was Frost and my mother, and they were having sex.
They were both naked from the waist down and Frost was behind her, and he was roughly pushing himself against her as she was bent over an expensive indoor/outdoor patio chair. He had one hand on her hip and his other hand was tangled in her aging blonde locks and he was pulling on her like he was guiding a temperamental horse with the reins.
I didn’t know what to do. I was frozen and just watched as Frost and my mother went at it. Then my thoughts drifted to my father. Did he know? Did he care? I thought about Emily, too. I was certain she had no idea as she peacefully slumbered somewhere above me now. Then I wondered if this was the first time, but just the way they were going at it, they seemed experienced with each other’s bodies. And when my mother got up and then forcefully rode him as he sat in the chair, I concluded that they knew every intimate crevice and contour of each other. They were in perfect animalistic rhythm. I knew it was animals. The sounds of my mother’s muffled moans worked their way through the doors. I gritted my teeth and clamped my eyes shut. And then I started to feel really sick, and so I turned away and went back up to my room without even getting anything to eat. It took me a long time to get to sleep, and my dreams were corrosive and unrelenting.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read the previous part of this story HERE.