Excerpt from chapter 2

Jack lifted his head and grinned. The grin looked so out of place that his father paused his ranting for a second. “Well John, perhaps that would finally put us on equal footing. Sharing the disappointment of Senior, I always thought that after you there was no more to go around.” His father looked stunned, but Jack did not care as he continued: “Maybe you could violate the AMA’s ethics and medicate me, it’s not like it’s the first time.” Jack tilted his head as if to speak over his father shoulder and said in raised voice: “Is it, Mom? Or maybe ship me off to the Mediterranean, like Senior. Or just go all the way and give me one of those beautiful shirts with the long sleeves!”

His father moved so quickly Jack did not even see. The hand that connected with Jack’s face had an old golden ring on it. The cheek burned and Jack was sure it was turning red. He put his cheek in his own hand as he looked up at his father. The door to the living room opened behind his fathers back and Jack saw his mother hesitate in the doorway. “What’s going on?” She asked in a soft voice. When neither Jack nor his father answered her she moved into the hall and said: “Jacky, are you ok?” “He’s Fine, just…” His father hesitated for a moment. “Just go back in there and take your pills Millie.” Jack chuckled at this: “That’s right mom, this bastard wouldn’t want you to remember him hitting me.”

His mother looked confused and tried to move towards him but found her way blocked by one of John’s arms. “Just leave us Millie.” He said through gritted teeth. “Yeah mom,” Jack continued: “Or else he’ll start smacking you around too.” The next blow caught jack on the other side of his face and knocked him slightly off balance. Jack’s mother moved forward, his father pushed her back roughly and she stumbled. She grabbed the doorframe to break her fall. Jack shot at his father and grabbed the front of his shirt. “Try pushing her again.” He hissed into his fathers face.

Pushing his son of him, his father yelled: “Or what?” This was it, the last straw Jack had feared would one day come. He lunged forward and collided with his father’s chest. His father keeled over backwards and crashed to the floor. Before he could even try to get up Jack stamped on his hand. As his father screamed in pain as Jack yelled at him: “Try hitting me with that hand again!” As his father took hold of his ankle with his uninjured hand, Jack bent down and punched his father hard in the face.

Then he shook his ankle out of his father’s grip and strolled off into the living room. As he passed his mother he squeezed her shoulder as if to say ‘sorry’. “Where the hell are you going?” rumbled his father. Jack turned around to see a lot of blood streaming from under the hand that was clutching his nose. “Calling an ambulance.” Jack said without any emotion.

He picked up the phone, dialed 911 and clenched it between his shoulder and his ear. As a voice said: “911 operator, what’s your emergency?” Jack dug in his pocket for a cigarette. “My father slipped and fell in our hallway.” He put the cigarette between his lips and lit it. “Please send an ambulance.”


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