It’s October. My favorite time of year to rustle through the leaves as I walk.
Dad turns on the news before school as usual. He watches Katie Couric discuss the day on a grainy screen. The rabbit ears fail Dad today because I see him adjust them several times. A quarter-turn clockwise. An inch to the left. How does it help to fiddle with them constantly?
We had cable last year, but Dad didn’t pay the bill for a few months so they shut us off. “It’s better this way, Jenny. We don’t need to be watching so much television anyways. Your Father never really liked T.V. I miss the days of radio—the Lone Ranger and The Shadow!”
Then why are you always the one watching it and who cares about the stupid Lone Ranger! We’re the only family this century that has rabbit ears!
As I choke down my scrambled egg and orange juice, ugh too much pulp, why does Dad buy this kind, I realize that it’s going to be a worse than usual day.
Another child kidnapping case! There was already one over the summer and then one from a couple years ago that Dad still obsesses over. Now I’ll never have any freedom!
Right on cue, Dad flips out, “Goddamn motherfuckers! Another baby kidnapped. Do you see this bullshit, Jenny?”
I nod in his direction.
“You see now why Daddy can’t let you just go out and ride your bike alone. It’s a different world than it was twenty years ago. Plus your Father is a single parent. A single Father…no less! I have to be even more careful. If anything happens to you, they’ll blame me.”
He continues, “I’d like to catch every one of these sons a bitches, and torture them slowly for hurting these innocent babies. They taught us how to torture people in the military, you know. Burn their skin slowly with hot oil, rip off every finger nail, gouge out their eyes…”
He goes on for a while. My stomach turns. I hope he doesn’t see me throw the last bit of egg in the garbage.