by Jay Caselberg
Jay is a member of the Book View Cafe, an online collective of writers publishing many titles in electronic form. Check ’em out!
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The man with the dog collar came the other night, standing sweating at the door, thin black hair plastered across his head. Me Mam has dog collars, but he brought his own. He always does. It was too late to go out, not that me Mam would’ve minded, but the streets aren’t safe when it’s dark near our place. So I had to watch.
Me Da wasn’t home. He never is. Or when he is, they fight, the stink of the booze hanging heavy in our two-roomed house.
He stayed for maybe an hour, the man with the dog collar. I watched as he sweated and strained, me Mam’s spiked heel pressed hard against his back, the black leather around his neck cinched tight, stained blacker where the sweat runnelled down from the back of his greasy head. Me Mam caught me looking once or twice and waved my looks away. So I watched the wall instead, pretending to read the old newsprint behind the places where the wallpaper peeled. I asked her once why she did it, but she called me a brat and a stupid little bitch and told me to shut up.
“How else we going to live?” she said.