Casual Violence

I carry in my cells a long legacy of poor stress management, violent tendencies, and drug abuse. One evening, 44 years ago a family friend read aloud to my mother at the dinner table while her mom, my granny Leona, did dishes in the kitchen. That night, like almost every other, my grandfather Frank came home raging drunk. A stumbling, flustered, 200 pounds of Cherokee and German crashing through the kitchen. Everyone froze as he ripped his way across the house to the comfort of a sweaty, restless sleep. But just as the smell of booze and tension evaporated he calmly stepped out from the bedroom, disappeared into the kitchen, and returned to the table with the biggest knife he could find. Before the man could react Frank threw my mother off his lap, shoved him into the kitchen, poorly slit his throat, and threw him into the back of his truck. By poorly I mean Frank was too drunk to cut with any strength, or the knife was dull–either way, lucky fellow. He came back the next day and threatened to turn him into the police. Frank told him if he so much as heard a siren pass through the neighborhood he’d kill him. The police never came, and nobody’s heard from him since.

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