Saying Good-bye
By Neen and PJ

Mike Logan hadn't gone to his mother's funeral. In a session the other day, Liz had insisted that he say good-bye. So, here he was, on a windy cold Saturday morning, sitting on the bench his brother and sister had placed at their parent's grave.
Taking a drink from his whiskey flask, he closed his eyes and allowed whatever memories came to wash over him.

"I will not want to go to that ungrateful brat's school. I spent all day getting ready for you to take me out."
"Please, Ev. He's your son."
"My son. "I should have pride in that?"
"How many drinks has that been today, Evelyn?"
Gasping, she whirled around and the glass slipped from her fingers."Oh, no," she wailed, dropping to her knees and wiping at the spot with the hem of her skirt.  "My good rug."
"Dammit, Evelyn. We're talking about our son here. Forget the fucking rug!"
"Fucking rug?" she screamed. "I'll have you know, that this rug is one of the few possessions I have to be proud of from this lousy marriage."
Outside the den, eight-year-old Mike was listening from the top of the stairs. His stomach cramped as it always did when his parents fought. He felt like throwing up. His parents always had the worst fights about him. He couldn't understand why his older brother and sister, Robert and Theresa, were perfect in his mother's eyes. While he could never do anything right for her. Mike trembled as he waited for the inevitable ending.
"Come on, Ev. It's parent-teacher night. I want us to make a good impression for him."
"Good impression? Is that what you want Peter? A good impression? Well, then, why haven't you got off your ass and done something to make decent money so I can have vacations, furs, new dresses and a fucking better place to live? Why haven't you, you fucking loser? Why don't you consider my needs?"
"Your needs? It's always poor little Evelyn's needs. I can't believe how fucking selfish you are. Why the hell don't you ever consider Mikey's needs? He's your child for god sakes."
"Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. The only thing you give a fucking damn about."
"Don't you ever call Mikey a thing."
"Why not? In ten years, he's gonna be exactly like his father -- a god-forsaken nothing!" Mike heard the slap. "You son of a bitch!"
Mike watched his dad storm out of the house.
His mother came out of the den. She was caring his dad's old nightstick. "Michael, you lazy little shit, where are you?"

Feeling each blow, hearing his own screams, Mike gave a soft cry. Heart pounding, he gulped the whiskey, spilling some on his shirt. He knew his father's heart had broken over not being able to provide Evelyn with everything she dreamed of -- the reason he had taken on a second job. Evelyn had been appeased with the extra income being used for her gifts. Mike couldn't remember her taking him shopping with his brother and sister for school. Other kids would be holding their mother's hand and talking excitedly about what they wanted to try on. Mike had shopped on his own. His father had taken off a few hours from work to bring him downtown, but he hadn't gone with him into the shops. Peter had given him the money and waited for him at the diner. When the demands of the police work had increased, Peter had been forced to give up the second job. Without the extra income, Evelyn had become increasingly spiteful. As always, Mikey had suffered. He took another swallow of whiskey, as her punishment, when he had gotten detention, came back with a fury.

She said yes! Fourteen-year-old Mikey was going to the fall fling with Susan Heyes, the prettiest girl in class. He had shared the glorious news with his buddy Trey, when he was supposed to be reading about Abraham Lincoln and had gotten detention. The vibrant colored leaves and crisp air circled around him as he took his time walking home.
Forgetting about his detention, he burst into the house and flung his books on the chair, beside the table that held the phone. He was half way through Trey's number when the long thing fingers jerked the receiver from his hand and slammed it back on the cradle. He felt the familiar nauseating tightness in the pit of his stomach, as he faced his mother.
"You good for nothing bastard." She slapped his cheek and brought tears to his eyes.
He could tell she had been drinking all day. She wasn't wearing make-up and her hair looked like a tangled mop. He needed to get upstairs to the attic, where he could barricade the door until his dad came home.
He took a step and she came at him like a linebacker, plunging herself into his ribs and slamming him against the wall.
"What the hell did you do to get detention, you fucking shit?"
Mike's thoughts were in chaos. He couldn't speak.
She backhanded him across the mouth.
"Answer me, you son of a bastard."
Blood streaming down his chin, from the split lip, Mike mumbled. "Nothing, Ma. Honest. I was just talking."
"What about?"
There was no way in hell he would tell her about Suz. "None of your damn fucking business."
The nightstick seemed to come from nowhere. It crushed his arm and he bent over in pain. She struck him with each word, as she asked, "What were you talking about?"
Afraid of dying and despising himself, he blurted, "I was telling Trey about my date to the Fall Fling. Are you happy, now?"
She whacked him a few more times across his upper torso. "Get the hell up!"
Mike pulled himself up. Tears were streaming down his cheeks.
"A damn fucking no-good wimp just like your father."
She always said the same thing, but Mike's fury never numbed. If it hadn't been for his father, he would have killed her.
"Upstairs," she ordered.
She made him take the scissors out of the desk drawer in the hallway and using the club; she shoved him into his room. She whacked him across the back and he fell on the floor at the foot of his bed.
"You don't deserve a date, you son of a bastard, but your father won't hear of you not going. So," she walked over to the closet, "we're going to make sure you can't go."
She pulled out his only suit and tossed it to him. "I want it cut into tiny pieces."
"Ma, please. Don't." He sobbed.
She smashed the club across his shoulders. He crumpled onto the floor in a heap.
She laughed as he shredded the suit his dad had helped him buy at the beginning of the school year -- for dances and anything else important. There was no way in hell he would tell his dad what had happened to it, so he would have to miss out on the things that he could skip and for the rest, come up with some damned fucking lie and borrow one from Trey.

"Fuck, you." Mike hurled the flask at her tombstone and pressed his hands to his face as he remembered one of the worst times in his life.

Ignoring the mud caused by the rain that had been falling all day, eighteen-year-old Mike crossed himself and knelt beside his father's grave. "Sorry I couldn't be at the funeral, Pop. I was at the hospital. You know me, always busting up my ribs."
Dressed in a black suit, Trey had loaned him, Mike had been sitting on the foot of his bed when his mother had came in and knocked him to the floor with the nightstick. "You'll not be attending the funeral."
"You bitch." He panted, trying to catch his breath.
She hit him across the shoulders. "I am your mother."
"No. You're just the whore my father slept with."
When he heard the car leave, Mike managed to pull himself to a sitting position, his back resting against the side of his bed. It hurt like hell, but he was not going to go down again -- ever.
"Logan!" Trey burst into the room half an hour later. "Jesus," he swore softly, kneeling beside Mike. "How much did you drink?"
In spite of everything, Mike grinned. He groaned. "Don't make me laugh. It hurts."
Mike nodded. "It kind of hurts to breathe."
The hospital kept him a couple of days. Trey's dad took care of everything, including going home with him to get his things.
Evelyn met him at the bottom of the stairs. Shrieking at him like a madwoman, she clawed his face before Trey's dad pulled her off of him.
Mike went up to her and pushed his face so close to hers their noses almost touched. "You can't hurt me anymore."

"Hey, Mikey!"
Phil Cerreta was here to pick him up for lunch.
Mike scrubbed his face with his hands, to brush away the tears streaming
down his cheeks, and stood up to leave. "You can't hurt me anymore, Ma. I won't let you. I'm not going to stay a fuck-up for the rest of my life. You won't win -- ever. See you tomorrow, Pop. Got some stuff I need to run by you."


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