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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

GIANT SPIDER ON THE WALL

It wasn't so much the loud bang, the pieces of sheet rock that landed on my head or even the gun aimed just above my head that frightened me as much as the smell. I guess it was a mixture of gun powder and the particles from the well. However, I remember thinking it smelled of a cannon having been fired above my head. In retrospect, I do not understand why no one did anything about his behavior. But, we tossed it off to his being eccentric and the whiskey.

My mother would come running into the room. Me shaking the white powder and bits out of my bowl haircut. Dad sitting across from me, whiskey glass in his left hand and 45 mag in his right still aimed just a bit above my head. My mother in her blue shorts and patchwork button up shirt with her thin arms flat against her sides.

"What in the fucking hell are you doing to the walls?!?!? And put that goddamn gun down! Are you fucking crazy?!?!?"

Never one to sit quietly and a smartass at seven, I answered her last question, "Yeah. He's fuckin' crazy!"

"Shut up! Don't talk like that!"

Dad just sat there looking confused. The gun was now resting on his knee, but I remember thinking that this was even worse because now it was aimed right at me. I remember wondering what it might feel like if he shot and the bullet splattered into my chest. How bad would it hurt? Would it hurt more than other things that had started to happen? But, I would start to get dizzy when I thought about such things. So, I began to hum.

"What in the hell were you doing? Do you realize how close that was to your son!!?? He's a little boy!"

At this point mom began to run her long fingers through my hair and shaking the plaster crap out of it.

"Go to your room"

"No" ...I just sit there humming staring across at the barrel of the pistol that was pointed at me.

"Give me the fucking gun!"

Dad sort of zoned back in and shook his head to indicate that he would not relinquish the gun to her or anyone. He finished off his whiskey and glared at me. I wasn't scared. I glared back at him. I remember thinking how much trouble he would get into if he did shoot me.

"What were you doing?"

Mom was not going to let him off.

He sighed and just let the glass drop to the floor. It didn't break. It just rolled across toward us and under the couch.

"I was trying to protect our son! I saw another one of those giant spiders crawling down the wall toward him. I didn't want that motherfucking spider to bite him. So, I just shot the fucker. He's lying behind the couch on the floor dead. I fucking saved our son, bitch!"

Giant spiders. This was a new thing. He had been seeing giant spiders a lot and even normal spiders terrified him. This always struck me as odd as my dad was a big guy. Well over six feet tall, always in a cowboy hat, boots and way too heavy. Actually, I guess he was what one might call "fat" but he somehow carried it in a way that didn't seem so pathetic. It seemed more menacing and women flirted with him all the time. My mom was hot. My dad's friends watched her a lot. And, I think she liked that attention and hated it all at once.

Giant spiders. And, now they were coming after me.

I could hear my Grandmother knocking at the door that separated her little house from ours. I wanted to go, open the door and let her take me into her house. But, I knew that would be a mistake.

"We're fine!"

But, grandmother was going to listen to my mom. She never did. She just kept knocking. They never gave her a key.

"So, you saw more of these giant spiders. How much have you had to drink?

"Not enough. Shut the fuck up with the humming! You sound like a fucking girl!"

Dad's attempt at humiliation only made me want to stop with the humming and start singing full on. But, I knew that would be dumb. So I stopped humming.

"I am so sick of your fucking shit! I will not have you shooting guns in the house and you will not shoot them that close to him!"

Dad stood up. His gun fell back into his recliner. He was heading for her. She could move quick. Despite her small frame, she was able to pick me up in one swoop. My head was pressed into her breasts. She smelled like that French perfume she kept on their dresser.

As he sort of fell toward where we were she managed to move us to the side of the recliner where he had been. But, I don't think he was going to hit her because he simply pulled the couch from the wall. It scraped on the floor and moved out several feet from the wall.

"I want the two of you to look at this dead mother fucker!"

Grandmother's knocking was getting really loud and I could hear my uncle calling my dad's name. His retarded voice sounding even more child like than usual.

I remember everything sort of freezing for a minute. Dad stood there staring down at the space between the wall and the couch. I guess he couldn't find the dead giant spider. He let out a stream of curse words and punched a hold through the wall.

"Fuck you! We're leaving"

And, with that mom carried me out the front door. She didn't have to tell me what to do. I crawled into her blue Volkswagen Bug and plunged myself into the passenger seat. She jumped in and slammed the door. I could hear him calling her name. I don't think she bothered to look behind us. She just pushed the pedal down and we backed out of the yard at a high speed and were soon speeding down the street. A couple of neighbors were outside watching. I felt embarrassed. She never seemed to notice the stares. Actually, she seldom noticed the neighbors.

She was crying. That always made me feel bad. So I plugged her tape in. Elton John was singing about electric boobs and moe hair'd suits. I started singing at the top of my lungs. She started laughing. We drove and drove. At one point she slammed on the brakes, shut the 8 track tape player off and looked at me. The make-up around her eyes was all funny looking. She looked like a sparkling raccoon. I loved that tan stuff with glitter she rubbed into her skin, but her hair was all messy. Like she had forgotten to use her hairspray or something.

"Baby, has Daddy been touching you in ways that are wrong? Has Daddy tried to hurt you? Mommy needs you to tell her."

I stared ahead. Was that a horn honking at us? I wondered if she would take me to a movie or drop me off at the movies for a while.

"Baby?"

"No."

She was crying again, but we were moving.

She pulled the little car into a parking lot infront of the strip mall where we watched fireworks sometimes. The movie theater was close I just wasn't sure. I thought about jumping out of the car and trying to find it. I wanted to just runaway from her. But she turned the tape back on and turned the volume up high. She was punching the buttons and found the song about Benny and the Jetts that we both loved. The lights in the parking lot had come on. It was dark. I wondered how late it was.

"C'mon! Let's dance!"

Mom got out of the car. I tried to get the passenger door to open, but it wouldn't budge. So, I crawled over the stick shift and got out of the car. I hated my shorts. They were plaid. Grandmother had made them for me so I felt like I had to wear them. I liked the way the pavement felt on my feet. She took my hands and we started dancing to Elton John's music. She was singing along like me. She picked me up and twirled me around.

We were both singing and laughing.

A van of older boys drove by and called out things to us that I knew were aimed at my mom. She both hated and loved that sort of attention. They parked their van a little ways away from us and were watching us. I felt a little scared, but she had no fear. She was lost in the music.

And, I think, for a few minutes -- my mom was happy.

15 Comments:

Blogger ing said...

That's you biggest talent (aside from writing, I think) -- making people happy. I hope that you, too, were happy for a moment, dearest Matty. If I could go back in time, I'd find you and I'd take you somewhere safe. Mom, too, if that's okay.

But you made it! You're here, and you're perfect! All yourself, you did it!

12:51 AM  
Blogger Lubin said...

You should get that published.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Karyn said...

I wish I knew that was fiction- but I totally don't. Hugs to you - and kudos for being brave enough to write down your stuff. Mine never makes it to the screen. xoxoxox

5:49 AM  
Blogger matty said...

ing -- awwww, thanks! I couldn't decide if I should post this or not. But, yeah! I'm here! Far from perfect, but working it to the best of my abilities!

Lubin -- LOL! Thanks! I wish! But, I guess one could say that it is published!

Karyn - I'm going to call it "faction" ...that picture is by my mother. she just sent it to me. it made me think of her when she was young. and I wrote this a long time ago. I was just never satisfied with the tone. And, to write the full on truth would come off as more fiction than if one changes it up a bit. But whenever I see the word "spider" I think of his hallucinations. Same with John Wayne, but that's a different little story with which I am equally unhappy of tone.

6:36 AM  
Blogger snarl71 said...

August Burroughs has nothing on you, Matt.

I'm all too familiar with the your background (obivously). It was so fascinating to actually meet your father (granted, practically on his deathbed) and watch him ooze charm that made the reality of his behavior that much more unbelievable.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - your'e an amazingly strong and resilient person.

7:56 AM  
Blogger ginab said...

Yeah, writing is a big talent here and happiness and memory. Big spiders and whiskey go hand-in-hand.

A 45 is a lot of bang. Would blast a wall out. This is a lenghty personal narrative and I wish I had time to say more. I can't afford the ticket yet to meet ya'll for a movie. I wish that I could. I'd feed the world. I'd spare children guns.

But right now I need coffee, "bad in my veins" coffee. I am SOOOOOO tired.

-g+bb

8:24 AM  
Blogger Dessie said...

Does anyone know why... you play with an orange rind...

[kiss]

9:24 AM  
Blogger Me said...

Please tell me that you and mom kept dancing til you tuckered yourselves out and then kept drivng and that dad withered away in his own misery while you two drove off into the sunset. Tell me that or I might cry.

11:44 AM  
Blogger ing said...

Nobody is perfect, but the best of your abilities are perfect enough for me. I love humans, and humans have flaws. I love the flaws. You have particularly endearing flaws, flaws that don't annoy me, and we seem to share a lot of the same flaws. That's all.

12:15 PM  
Blogger ginab said...

The gift was your mom's. She wanted to dance with you and she became lost in the dance, not in the music; lost in dancing with you Matty.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Miss Marisol said...

Holy fuck...I feel like I just read an excerpt from an Augusten Burroughs novel. Fucked up and sad and beautiful and funny.

This is right up there with the snail story.

I heart you to the millionth power.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Matt, my friend, you should think seriously about developing your own style of short story. Knowing, however, that your writing is based on personal experience, I sincerely wanted to cry. You see, my childhood experience was of another world altogether, so far removed from your own experience. My impulse is to storm in, slay all the monsters, hold and protect, and offer love and understanding. Matt, you are so very talented and have so much to say. What can I do to enourage you to pursue your writing?

2:28 PM  
Blogger ginab said...

I'm with Tom and Ing and Marisol et'al.

Keep'on writing, Matty.

-g+bb

7:22 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Awwww, you guys are making me feel so good. This is old. I didn't have anything to blog about because my whole world is consumed with the glam world of reception. so, i just posted up an old story. i've been trying to write stories based on my experiences, but I gave up on it becasue I've not been happy with the tone.

...some things are true. ...some things are not.

...also, I don't think it is possible to remember things as clearly as one records them -- especially from childhood.

My childhood was pretty shitty, but it formed who I am and I am rather happy with me -- for the most part. I wish my nose had been addressed properly when it was broken, I do wish someone had been there to stop the abuse and I wish I had better teeth -- but I'm OK.

I honestly can't imagine anyone paying to read my writing. LOL! Seriously. So, I write for me. ...I think you guys all write a hell of a lot better than me! ...than I??? LOL!

9:04 PM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

very brilliantly told. You and your mom remind me of me and my mom...

5:44 AM  

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