Dad is slumped over on me now; half of his weight is on my right side, my right arm under his. I walk him to his side of the bed hoping Mother won’t wake up and see how drunk he is, see the blood I didn’t get the chance to wipe off his face. He lies down and is out cold. He’s good for the night.
I go into my room and see Delma asleep on her bed. I lie down on mine and stare up at the ceiling. A dim light comes through my window. The half-moon pays me a visit, casts shadows of a kid named Cono who never could beat Hicks Boy.
Well, I guess Dad has met his own Hicks Boy.
I can’t believe I’m not jumping up and down, celebrating. I feel kinda sorry for him, my dad beaten by a cue stick. The same man who, to my knowledge, never lost a fight except for in the boxing ring with Shorty Houghton when I was three years old.
I also feel pretty good that I was there for him, did something for him that maybe he’ll remember. But it doesn’t really matter if he remembers. I will. For the first time, I felt useful to him.
I hear Mother scream. I snap back into the present, out of my daydream. Maybe she’s woken up, has seen blood on her sheets reflected in moonlight, seen the blood on Dad’s face.
I start to get up but the quiet has taken over. I think I might just go back to sleep but the silence only lasts for a moment.
Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper by C. Dennis-Willingham