I swallow the wet cat food, which tastes like chicken. Steve lets go of my chin and digs through more kitchen drawers. "You think I enjoy doing this, Pop?"
I shrug. "Could you at least scratch my ankle? It’s driving me crazy."
He tosses dishtowels and measuring cups onto the kitchen floor. His eyes are too close, his hair disheveled, his thin arms reminding me why I always called him "Twiggy."
"Or you could untie me."
"Not until I get it." His little right hand rhythmically balls into a fist that looks no bigger than a spit-out wad of gum. The drugs have aged him fifteen, twenty years. "Please, Dad, just tell me where it is." He looks about to cry. His shoe comes at my face before I can close my eyes.
When I wake up, he is upstairs, banging things around, yelling. A few minutes later, he unties me and leaves. After an hour, I limp to the backyard, just to the right of the spot I used to keep the chin-up bar.
I can barely breathe. Blood fills my mouth. The right side of my head feels dented.
I glance at the area where the chin-up bar hung, remembering how his tiny fists clung to the bar, never able to get his chin high enough. How he cried and shook.
I start to dig. It’s only a matter of time.
David Erlewine often dances in the dark on the mean streets of Gambrills, Maryland. His misogynistic blog posts can be found at http://whizbyfiction.blogspot.com/.