Pollen probably killed my father, a decade before the drink. More than the mess he left, the fist holes in the drywall and the scars on everything else, I remember his breathing, rattling like a spray paint can, hissing like a cobra.
(more) That was his spring, 47 times and then no more.
Maybe it was the smell of opening tree buds that drove him up to the attic with his father's rifle and a single bullet. I suppose that takes the blame off the gun's original owner. A childhood spent dodging backhands and curse words right out the kitchen door, trying to time his nightly re-entries into the home until after the Smothers Brothers ended plus two drinks' worth of minutes, then waiting for the light to switch off so he could slide the wooden window frame open, pray to God the joints where he sanded the old paint wouldn't squeak, and then lay on the floor (the bed springs were enough of an assault on the peace to draw the old man's cannon fire retort) and wait, wait until the predictable footsteps would drunk-stealthy creep down the hallway to the bathroom, then the piss, flush, and faucet, then back to the master bedroom. Then it was safe.
You'd assume people would learn to run from pain, not to wield it. But we do. We admire the knife that guts us, we want to swing the club that breaks us. We just want to balance out the damage done, push out as much as we take in.
It's a stupid goddamn system, but still we keep it running, humming somewhere in the background din until that moment, if only a flash and instantly regretted, that we decide we need it.(less)