My Autobiography - VERY rough draft
CHAPTER ONE – Seeing a Man About a Dog.
Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, go to sleepy little baby. When you wake you shall have all the pretty little horses…
One of my earliest memories is of a hospital. I was around 2-3 years old, and was in hospital with Pneumonia and feverish conditions. I can recall the smells of the hospital, a combining of cleaning products, hospital cooked food, and the mere scent of sickness throughout the various wards. At this stage my parents were not aware of what was wrong with me, they’d just been told there were ‘complications’ and there were several medical things which were not right. My Father was in the Navy at the time, had been since he was 16, and was constantly away at sea. I remember my Mother being by my side in the room with me, holding my hand as I listened to the various sounds of hospital life. Crashing of bedpans, the squeak of the white nurse’s shoes as they were striding up and down corridors, the slamming of doors as patients were paid a visited and then left alone again. I heard the muffled cries of some patients (mainly other children in the ward), and after some time I drifted into a fevered sleep.
Doberman pincher's raced across the pure white walls, their jaws snapping, drool and spittle flying down from their hungry chops. They were snapping and barking at my bed, and I was screaming, my hands out in front of me, trying to hold them at bay. Two dogs had managed to climb up on to my bed and I remember feeling their weight on my legs, their claws digging me through the thin hospital bed sheets. Voices called in the back of my mind – SICK!! SICK!! SICK!! SIX SICK!!! SIX!!! BLACK!! THEY’RE ALL BLACK!! GONE!! NOW HE’S GONE!!!! HER HANDS, HER FUCKING TWISTED HANDS!!! GOD PLEASE HELP ME!
A young woman with twisted fingers and twisted toes sat in a wheelchair in the corner of my room, crying – the name Becky was told to me in passing. The voices continued, but I could no longer make out their meanings. The dogs began to howl and wail, they all sat on the haunches around my bed, blood dripped from their eyelids.
I remember waking up, sweating and crying. My mother held me; there was a Pakistani doctor in the room with me. I was told I was having bad dreams relating to the fevers, and I kept screaming and crying about dogs and voices and a little crippled, twisted young woman by my bedside who wept in her wheelchair. I waited for the doctor to leave, and I recall muttering to my Mother about black dogs and the poor twisted young woman. She gently soothed my head and told me that it was ‘just the dreams’ and that I was slowly getting better. I have no idea what drugs (if any) I was on while in the hospital at that time (possibly a small amount of morphine. I have since asked my mother, but she clams up and won’t say anything, other than ‘I don’t remember that far back, Scott. And you shouldn’t either’.
At the time, my Grandmother, Lorraine, was looking after my older brother, Jason. She lived in Auckland with her grownup kids. My brother was eight or nine at the time, and with soft brown wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. He looked like my Dad. We lived in Waiouru, in the North Island of New Zealand.
Waiouru is a small town in the center of the North Island of New Zealand. It is found on the North Island Volcanic Plateau at a height of 815 meters above sea level, 25 kilometers to the south-east of Mount Ruapehu.
North of Waiouru is the section of State Highway 1 called the Desert Road. This runs for 35 km through the Rangipo Desert to Turangi, at the southern end of Lake Taupo. Waiouru is a military town that has grown up with the New Zealand Army Training Group, which is responsible for the training of recruits and other soldiers. The Desert Road immediately north of Waiouru runs through the 868.18 km2 army training area, which lies mainly to the east of the road.
The main attraction of Waiouru is the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum, which features static displays of New Zealand's military heritage. The rest of the township consists of a small cluster of hotels, tearooms and service stations along the highway.
Seven kilometers to the west of Waiouru is the small settlement of Tangiwai, which is the site of New Zealand's worst railway disaster. On December 24, 1953 the overnight express between Wellington and Auckland passed over the Tangiwai Railway Bridge. The bridge, which had just minutes earlier been weakened by a lahar from Mount Ruapehu, collapsed, sending the train into the Whangaehu River, killing 151 people.
I don’t remember a lot about my time in Waiouru, I have blocked a lot out. But I do recall most of the time spent at hospitals, and a little of the horrific events at home when Dad came home off leave. The violence in our household was almost unbearable. I recall one incident vividly when my Brother and I were sharing a room still. I remember the yellow and brown speckled wallpaper in our small state house bedroom. We both lie awake chattering away together, I must have been about four years old at the time; he was around nine or ten. I don’t recall what we conversed about exactly (most likely toys, comics or the like), and I was tired at the time. Dad was ‘out – seeing a man about a dog’, as he always told us.
Years later, we discovered that ‘seeing a man about a dog’ was in fact ‘going to the pub’. The fact remained that he’d obviously bullshitted to us. That never surprised us, but why he used men and dogs in his excuse to persuade us, I’ll never know.
Dad had a habit of visiting our room after seeing the man about the dog. He’d come in, at some early odd hour of the night or early morning, yell ‘hello my boys!’ at the top of his lungs, and roughly ruffle our heads before stomping out, slamming our bedroom door behind him and leaving the irrefutable smell of alcohol lingering in the room after him.
On this particular night, though, we heard his V8 pull up the drive nosily, the car door slammed, and him knocking with his fist on the cold front door.
‘Carl, I’m not letting you in, you’ve been out on the piss all night again. You can sleep in the fuckin car!’ Mum bellowed at him.
‘Shh,’ Jason muttered, holding a finger to his quivering lips. I remember seeing him shaking in his bed and covering his ears with the palms of his hands. Very soon after, I found out why.
‘Sue, open the door for fucksake! If you don’t open the fuckin door I’m gonna chop the cunt down!’
‘Carl, I’m not opening the fucking door until you calm down and stop shouting. You’re pissed again, and I don’t want you in the house! Go and sleep in the car or something, but you’re not coming in tonight. I’ll call the police if you try to get in.’
I listened with eager intent. It was some sort of morbid fascination, I suppose, wanting to see what would happen next, fear being adrenaline for me, even at that early age.
‘All right, that’s it sue – I’m coming in from underneath the fuckin house!!’
I heard my Dad’s footsteps down the driveway and then the creaking and finally slamming of the garage door as he approached the side of the house, near our bedroom window. I saw the silhouetted shadow of him against the tree outside, and that frightened me probably more than anything else, for some strange reason.
I heard a bolt slide across, and a small door opening. He was going under the house!
‘Dad’s going under the house, Jason. Whys he going under the house?’ I asked, tears now welling up in my eyes.
‘I don’t know, do I? He’s going to try to get in from under there somehow. Mum should just let him in, he is our Dad.’
I don’t know why either one of us could not understand that Dad was aggressive and drunk, but it seemed that Mum was the bad person for not letting him in, not the other way around. Very soon I heard the loud skittering noise from under the house as Dad crawled on his belly (or hands and knees), along the dirt. I’d never been under the house before until now, but Jason often played with his toy matchbox cars and little toy soldiers under there after school. I remember that it was snowing at the time, and that it was unbearably cold outside. Mum had lit the chippie earlier on and the house was just cooling down to average.
‘Jase, Dad will freeze outside, there’s no heater for him under the house. Is he going to sleep there?’ I asked, stupidly.
‘Scott, don’t be an egg. He’ll be coming inside. He’s just got to find…’
The sound made my brother jump as it cut his words through like a knife, and I screamed out loud, covering my ears and sitting up in bed.
‘Shit! He’s coming in from under the house, Scott, he’s coming in from underneath!’
Swearing could often be heard constantly in my house, Dad swore, Mum swore, but we as kids were forbidden to swear, even when we were constantly sworn at. So hearing my brother swear for the first time took me aback for a second, and I lost interest in Dad for some seconds... until I heard the next thundering crack.
‘He’s got the axe, Scottie. He’s got the axe from the shed!’
I could hear the cracking floorboards being removed by the head of the axe. I heard my Mother scream, a loud thud against the floor, and then everything was quiet. There was no more shouting, and the ripping floorboards had stopped also. I heard a soft crunch of Dad’s boots down the hallway, and he opened the bathroom door. Light spilled out into the hall. Dad pissed into the toilet. I heard his urine hitting the water in the bowl, splashing the seat (mum hated that). He then blew his nose, most likely into the toilet bowl, I’d seen him do that before, and it was disgusting. I watched closely as the door handle to our bedroom door turned slowly and opened, revealing my father’s short, stocky form.
‘You boys stay in your fuckin beds, you hear me?’ he asked from the doorway.
‘Yes dad,’ we both said in unison.
The door was closed, I was left wondering what was going on, and I heard my brother sobbing himself to sleep. He obviously knew, and as I would find out from him years later, had witnessed my father abusing my Mother on many occasions. Sometimes the worst things happen to the worst people. My mother was ‘just Mum’ back then, she was our protector, the woman who cooked our meals, brought our clothing, and took us out. But she was never without her faults, even back then. To justify my father’s violence is like trying to justify the actions of Charles Manson, it couldn't be done – well, at least not easily.
The next morning when I awoke, I looked over to the left side of the room and noticed that my brother was already up, his bed had been made and he was no longer in the room. The old venetian blinds were pulled up and the yellow drapes around the windows were also drawn across, revealing the winter snow outside. It was a Monday, first day back at school after the holidays for my brother. I wondered about the night before, and if there was point in going out into the kitchen for breakfast. My father would have left for work already, so I gradually made my way out of the bed, slapping my bare feet on to the cold wooden floorboards and walking slowly out into the hallway. The normal kitchen sounds from mornings passed did not greet my ears (the sloshing of dishwater in the sink as Mum cleaned up the last night’s dinner dishes, the loud drone of the vacuum, the crinkling of rubbish bags while they were tied up and put out for their Monday morning collection). It was silent. I recalled the terrible thumping noises from the night before, the pleading and begging of my mother to ‘please stop’, and somewhere in my tiny brain it registered to me just what had happened. I noticed that Mum and Dad’s bedroom door was closed s I stood outside it, and I could hear her soft ragged breathing coming from within.
‘Mummy,’ I called softly, knocking on the door with soft fingers.
‘Scott … please don’t come in here, Mummy’s extremely sick and needs to rest, you’re okay to get your breakfast, right?’ came her soft reply.
I nodded. ‘Yes, I’m all right. Do you want a drink?’
Stupid question, but I asked mainly because of the sound of her rasping, death-like voice.
‘No. Like I said, Scott – don’t come in here. Mummy just needs to sleep.’
So, I left the conversation there, yet as I progressed down the hallway and past the back door (which had a white fish-net curtain across it, I noticed the coloring on the walls, smeared everywhere. A Sickly brownish red streaked the whole hallway and ended in the kitchen in a dried patch in the center of the tiled floor, close to the oven. My first thought was that somebody had died. There was so much blood (so much blood for such a tiny hole), and looking back on it now, it looked almost as if someone had given birth through the hallway and kitchen of my house. Stepping into the kitchen, I walked over the large stain of blood on the floor. There was something white in the center of it, it looked at first like a piece of bone of some sort, but on closer inspection, I realized that it was a tooth (or part of a tooth). Something stirred in the back of my mind, and I recalled the hospital moment dream again. The walls…the blood on the walls brought it all back to me. I pushed it to the back of my mind and continued to make a bowl of weetbix for me and sit at the blood spattered table to eat them in silence. Afterwards, I stepped on to one of the kitchen chairs and rinsed my bowl and spoon in the sink before retiring to the lounge to watch television. I remember ‘playschool’playing on the television, but it never interested me in the least, I watched it in a daze of what I’d seen that morning, the programme itself was of no interest to me at all. Rainbow screened after it, bringing forth the childlike joy of George the pink puppet, Bungle the huge bear-like creature, and Zippy, the orange puppet who (surprisingly) could never keep its mouth zipped. Even back then children’s television meant nothing to me. Sure, I had the odd programmes that I enjoyed watching, but those can later, in the preteen years.
The snow had nearly ended and had almost stopped by lunchtime when I heard my Mum’s slippers scuffing gently down the cold hallway. My first vision of her after that fatal night was more horrific than any horror movie I had seen until that point in my life. Because it was real, because it was my own Mum, and because it was standing there right in front of me in living flesh in my own living room. Her eyes looked puffed out, they were like two gutted golf balls and her mouth scarred, swollen and torn at both ends. I watched in horror from the lounge chair as she collapsed in the hallway and covered her face with her hands.
‘My face…don’t look at mummy’s face,’ she cried as I got up and walked slowly over to her.
I stood beside her slumped body and looked down at her.
‘I want to see, Mummy,’ I said, holding a tiny hand out to her face.
Slowly, my mother removed her hands and the full horror and shock of what had occurred the night before began to sink into me as I stared at the grisly mess that was now my mother’s face. Her nose was clearly smashed and sat slightly to one side of her face. Her eyes (once referred to as swollen golf balls), now looked more like two round pieces of steak - she could barely open them and they went down her unnaturally sallow cheeks. Her forehead looked burnt, it was so red and inflamed looking, and her hands were bloody and scarred. Her knuckles were extremely bruised and bloody, pieces of wood and splinters stuck out from some of them.
‘Your father did this to me, Scott. The bloody bastard.’
‘Daddy? He came up from the ground last night. He came from underneath the house and did this to you,’ I proclaimed. It was a statement, not a question; I didn’t need to ask any fucking questions because I knew even at that age what my father was, and what he’d done.
My mother nodded and began to sob even harder, her whole body shaking as she clutched at her stomach.
‘Oh no. Scott, go get Mummy some towels, hurry up!’ she shrieked.
I stood there like a blind fucking idiot, waiting to see what all the towel-fuss was about, when suddenly my feet were warm and when I looked down I was standing in a large yellow puddle.
‘Scott move your fucking arse and get me some towels now!’
I ran past my mother and down the hallway to the bathroom, where I opened the cupboard and took out an armful of towels. There were an assortment of colors – pinks, blues, greens, oranges – everything. I must have taken about ten different towels to my mother that morning as she lie weeping in the hallway in a puddle of her own piss. When I finally managed to get to my mother, she’d also shit on the floor, because the smell was so unbearable I almost released my own stomach on to the floor that morning. I heaved, held my breath, held thumb and forefinger over the end of my nose and dumped the towels down there at my mother’s feet.
‘I’m so sorry, Son,’ she said, crying repeatedly, her tears plopping down on to the floor to mingle with the puddle of brown-yellow mess already there.
Somehow, my mother regained composure of herself. She found the strength to pull her up, change her clothing, gather a bucket filled with hot soapy water and disinfectant from the laundry, and continued to clean her own undesirable mess up from the cold hallway floor. I helped to aid (as much as any four-year-old could) with making a cup of coffee for my mother, and after that we both retired to the lounge room to watch daytime television.
‘Can I go over and see Angela, Mum?’ I asked after a boring episode of Days of Our Lives.
My mother shook her head.
‘No, you stay inside. I don’t want you getting sick again, I can’t afford the stress of it, and I have enough shit to deal with.’
I had made best friends with one of Dad’s work-mate’s daughters who lived across the road from me. Her name was Angela Fulton, and she was the apple of my four-year-old eye. I idolized her and she meant the world to me. I would constantly be over there, we’d play ‘kiss and chase’ games, and I’d always lose on purpose, just so I could get kissed by her. These were no sloppy little pecks either, these kisses from this young girl were full-on-the-lips kisses. Nothing meant any more to me at the time; I was in love at age four! I remember her hair, it always smelt like apple shampoo, and her skin was the texture of velvet and the color of ivory. Her eyes were a pale ocean blue shade and her hair was copper brown. She had the tiniest spattering of freckles covering the bridge of her tony nose. I remember the last time I saw her before we left for Perth, West Australia. It was Angela’s birthday, and her Mother took her and me to see Mary Poppins at the Waiourou Army Base cinema. A cramped and overcrowded cinema, her mum sat at the back and Angela and I were at the front, our tiny hands linked throughout the whole 2-hour film. Every couple of minutes she would kiss my cheek, or my neck, and I would return the favor with a smile. Two kids, harmless crush – that is what I see it all as now, yet at the time it brought sunshine and meaning into my dull and sickening life. At the end of the film, just before the rolling credits, Angela said that she would miss me so much when I went to Australia (her mother was born in Australia, as was Angela). I cried, and she cried with me, and we kissed through our tears one last time, a proper kiss on the lips, with her tongue somehow knowing to find the entry to my mouth. I knew she had practiced this in the mirror at home, as I’d seen her do it so many times when I had visited her. It was at that moment that I knew that I would never miss anything from Waiourou apart from Angela Fulton’s kisses and soft hands holding mine.
I thought about it for a time, wondered what ‘shit’ my mother had to deal with, apart from my father being an arsehole and beating her around the house every once in a while. Christ, I only wanted to go over to my girlfriend’s house and play ‘doctors and nurses’ with her. Even at that young age, Angela and I were touching each other. I didn’t know what my ‘diddle’ was for, apart from peeing out of. But it didn’t get hard when Angie held it and enclosed her hand around it, it just stayed the same, but my insides fluttered and became jelly-like. And Angie didn’t have boobs yet. Her ‘little crease’ which she had asked me to caress for her on many occasions looked to give her much pleasure. (She used to close her eyes and say ‘yeah’ a lot when I did it). But I didn’t understand or see the point in it at all back then. Anyhow, I loved our little swaggering around her house – dressing up and playing all kinds of strange and bizarre imaginative games. Nevertheless, I began to cry anyhow, I wanted to see Angela, seeing she would take my mind off the horrors of the previous night and this particular morning. Seeing her made me ‘forget’ temporarily the problems of my childhood, it hid my eyes for a time and blanked my mind, similar to the drugs and alcohol in many years to come. I was on an ‘Angela’ high; I’d almost overdosed and was peaking in the most important stage. I was loving every fucking minute of it, and I wanted (needed) more.
‘Oh bugger off then, Scott. Go and see Ange.
I remembered mum talking recently about Dad getting a new job. Apparently it was a ‘secret’ job, one that he was not to talk to anyone about. She called him a ‘secret squirrel’, and told us boys not to speak to anyone about what he did. She also explained that we’d be moving overseas to Australia shortly. This was our second house in Waiourou and we were already going to be moving! But, the promise of Australia bought with it dreams of a better life for me and my brother, one which hopefully was not full of cold, sickness, and violence.
‘It’ll be much warmer over there. You boy’s will be running around in your Shorty-shorts and t-shirts the whole time, no need for these bloody old cardigans and track pants,’ mum promised us.
My brother didn’t want to go, he told me so. Every night he bragged on about how he didn’t want to leave Waiourou and his friends and school. I didn’t give a fuck; I was thrilled, looking forward to it with a passion.
So, as Dad began his new secret job, Mum began packing up the house, rearranging furniture (most of it was to be left in storage in New Zealand, we were to be ‘given’ new stuff, from ‘the job’). I remember being home with her, standing in the cold darkened hallway in my socks and underwear, coughing. I watched as she slugged a large cardboard box filled with crockery and kitchen utensils through the house. The bruises on her face and hand marks on his arms were slowly starting to turn a sickening yellowish shade, it had been about 7 days since the incident.
I was (again) crook with flu, and carried with me everywhere my favorite teddy bear – I’d christened him ‘Meal McMaver’. I christened him that because while I was in the hospital previously, I had run into an elderly gentleman, Mr. McMaver, who’d come and visit me in my room when I was awake. He’d tell me stories about what he’d done during the war, how he’d lost her poor dear wife to the ‘dreaded C’, and how he now spent his time making toys for the children’s hospital ward.
‘Make me one.’ It wasn’t a question. I’d ordered this poor old bugger to take pity on a sick child and demanded that he make me a toy!
‘Of course I’ll make you one, Scottie. Do you want a bear or a clown?’ he’d asked, smiling.
I stared in amazement, my mouth gaping.
‘A bear please, and I’ll name him McMaver after you!’ I exclaimed.
And so, Mr. McMaver (I never did learn his first name), trotted off to his own hospital room to get busy with my bear. It was a couple of days before I received my bear, yet when I did I cried. When Mr. McMaver handed me the pure yellow bear with the sewn-in green eyes I just knew that he’d taken the outmost care and love while creating it. He must have been stitching for hours, filling it, and then attaching the beautiful green button-shaped eyes to its face. Mr. McMaver had hugged me tight and I’d breathed in his strong scent of tobacco, lanolin oil and hospital soap. Three days later my Mum told me that Mr. McMaver had ‘left the hospital for good’.
‘I’m glad he’s not sick any more then, Mum,’ I’d said.
‘Nah, he’s bloody dead, that’s why!’ she coldly told me.
I was only 4 (turning 5), but I knew what dead was, and I understood what it meant. My brother and I were often permitted to sit down at dinnertime in the lounge and watch most of what was on television during those hours. Most days it was Lassie or Dr. Who, but sometimes we’d stay up late on a weekend and watch a ‘bad’ movie - one with much needless violence and sex in it. Mum usually went to bed at 7 or 8 o’clock, so we were left up to our own devices, which usually did include watching adult programmes on television. Dad was usually out, seeing the man about a dog again, which I now almost understood had nothing to do with dogs.
We had a dog ourselves – Hogan. He was a pure white Labrador and Samoyed cross. He was a beautiful dog, but he had an undesirable habit of jumping out fence and attacking the neighbor’s chickens. We’d had complaints from both the neighbor’s and the Military Police, but in the end, Dad loaded poor old Hogan into the back of the V8, with his .22 rifle, and drove him down to the local dump. We never saw Hogan again, but Jason and I both knew what Dad had done to him. He’d taken him to the dump and blown his brains out. Previously to Hogan, we had two Doberman – Lance and Blitz who came from a German breeder named Hans who lived in Waiourou. Lance had been shot by the Military Police for being a menace. Dad had pissed up one night and shot Blitz out in the backyard (according to Jason, he’d watched the whole mad affair from his bedroom window).
So, the days passed, the packing continued. No sign of Dad, my brother continued his dreaded moping through the house before and after school, and his extended bantering at night drove me wild. I slept rather well, and dreamed of Angela Fulton and I in fields of corn and long grass, running and chasing her black and white cat (Smokey) while the wind whipped our hair about wildly. Her mother Linda, older sister Julia and little brother Ian were almost always appearing in the dreams too. As the days passed, I became sick again, flu, and I think emotionally sick from having to leave my only friend and the very first person I ever felt love for – Angela. I never told Angela about my dreams of her, nor my feelings, and she never mentioned a word to me. It would be years before I saw her again…
CHAPTER TWO: “Do you hear me?!”.
Just weeks before my fifth birthday the three of us flew on a tiny Hercules army plane from Waiourou Army Base to Auckland. My brother (even way back then) was Army and war crazy, he loved anything to do with soldiers, planes, tanks and the like. Naturally, he loved the short but incredibly noisy flight in the Herc. He watched out the window beside him, his eyes lit up like a fucking Christmas tree. My mother had purchased a large family bag of ‘Minties’ before the flight and I had two of the bastard things stuffed into my mouth, chewing like a bat out of hell in order to unblock my ears. As the plane was only two people per seat, my father sat opposite mum and I, with my brother, he didn’t seem to mind the noise at all, even though I don’t think he’d ever been on a Hercules before. My mother had one of the sweets in her mouth also, chewing very slowly, her face showed no expression whatsoever, and I wondered if she was okay. She tried to point out the small white blotches of sheep and baby lambs as we sped across the landscape, but I just kept crying and furiously chewing.
Thankfully the flight only took about 15-20 minutes from Waiourou to Auckland, and I was soon ushered quickly by Mum and Dad down the huge long tarmac and into the Auckland Airport International Departures terminal. Once inside, my father went off to organize picking up of the tickets and whatnot, and my mother grabbed the scruff of my neck with one hand, digging her nails in. My brother got scuffed by her other hand.
‘You boys had better fucking behave yourselves on this big plane, you hear me?’ she hissed through gritted teeth.
I was so used to this sort of treatment from my mum that I barely recognized it as anything out of the ordinary, even at the age of almost five.
‘Yes,’ my brother said, shrugging her off his neck. I watched as my mother dug her excessively long fingernails into the nape of my brother’s neck.
‘Do not fucking draw away from me, Jason? I’ll fucking do time for you. You hear me?’
My brother nodded as best as he could with a handful of nails dug into the back of his neck and mum finally let go of us both. It occurred to me at the time that she didn’t seem to care too much who saw her ‘telling us off’, it seemed like she thought it was a normal part of disciplining her children. Why? I’m not sure. Did other Mother’s use the same vicious techniques in order to get their children to ‘do as they were told’? I wasn’t sure at the time, I was only five, and didn’t know much else apart from Angela Fulton, being sick, bad movies, and books.
My love of books came at an early age. I was bought up on the normal children’s books, the ‘Jack and Jill’ story books from preschool, general nursery rhymes and other such early childhood books and tales. At the age of four and five I noticed my imagination becoming increasingly overactive, I would invent stories of things I longed to do – going into space, having a birthday party, getting a new dog, going to a different country etc. But, with the stories I invented, they always had bad endings. The trip into space would be invaded by aliens or some sort or other, the birthday party would be ruined by my Mum and Dad killing each other, the new dog would live only for a few days before dying of sickness, and the trip to a new country would end in the airplane plummeting to its end.
‘Jesus, you’re a morbid little fucker, aren’t you?’ Mum would say, when I ran to her to tell her my latest invented tale. ‘Why can’t you write about something nice?’
I tried, really I did. I just couldn’t make sense of happy thoughts for the stories that I had created, and I began (at the age of six and seven) to draw little pictures to accompany the bigger and longer more advanced stories.
Unbeknown to my Mother, I was brainstorming a new idea for a story right there in the airport where the three of us sat on the cold red leather seats, waiting for Dad to come back from the ticketing office. I had envisioned in my mind the plane crashing with both my mother and father plummeting to their demise. My brother and I however escaped and were tossed out one of the large windows, our parachutes opening on the way down as we glided gently through the puffy white clouds in the sky. The wind bought us both down to a beautiful sandy island, where a table sat in the center, covered in the most delicious foods you could ever imagine. Roast pork, fresh roast potatoes, peas and corn, a wonderful strawberry cheesecake oozing with cream. My mouth began to water as my story came to an abrupt ending with a slap across the back of my neck.
‘Stop daydreaming, you little cunt!’ my mother hissed. My brother flinched as the back of her hand stung my neck, and I whimpered away to the side of the seat to sit alone.
‘Your father is coming, Scott, so you better fucking behave,’ she added through gritted teeth.
I watched as my father walked towards us, holding four tickets in his hand. As he approached, I somehow wished that it was just him, my brother and I going, without my Mother.
‘We’re off. The plane leaves here in about an hour. We’ve got time to go and have something to eat if anyone’s hungry,’ he said.
My father hardly ever smiled, and I don’t think he ever really felt the need to. But on that day he was smiling. He was glad to be starting a new ‘secret’ job, and to finally be getting out of the Navy and Waiourou.
We went upstairs to one of the large crowded coffee lounges contained in the food court of the airport waiting area. I watched my brother’s mouth drop to the ground as we stared around. The smells of freshly brewed coffee, fresh baked muffins and cakes, toasted sandwiches and other earthly delights filled our nostrils. We’d never seen anything like it. Just an ordinary airport coffee lounge, but to us it was heaven, and we both wanted all of it.
‘Mum, can I have a toasted sandwich and a muffin?’ Jason asked, smiling, rubbing his hands over his jeans.
‘Jason, can you just fucking wait until we sit down? We’re not fuckin made of money either, so no; you’re not having anything to eat now.’
My brother started to frown, and pretty soon the tears came, as we sat down at one of the checkered tables.
‘You fuckin’ buckle up, boy. Or I’ll leave you right here in the airport when we leave. Stop crying like a bloody bitch now, and shut your whining up,’ Dad said loudly.
He very rarely told us off, but when he did, we always took more notice of it than when Mum did it. He seemed to have more authority, even though Mum was psychically crueler.
‘Now, Sue – what do you want?’
‘Nothing Carl, I’m fine.’
My Mother scowled. She hated it when Dad told us off and we listened to him. It made her feel worthless, weak, and most of all – powerless.
‘Oh for Christ’s sake Sue, stop being so fuckin’ moody and have something to eat, I’m sick of this shit!’
Mum reached down between her legs to take up her black leather handbag which she had placed there. Swinging it over her shoulder, she got up and stormed off to the cafeteria.
‘Aw, fucking hell…’ he muttered, slamming his clenched fist down on the table.
My brother and I both shuddered, feeling the effect of Dad’s anger at full force. The effect wore off pretty quick when mum reappeared with a tray full of savories, sandwiches and a slice of cake each.
‘Oh Sue, what did you go and buy all of that shit for? The kids will turn into fat little fucking dumplings before you know it!’
My mother glared at him, and (for some reason), he shut up and began eating when she finally slammed a white plate down in front of him containing a mince savory and large slice of chocolate cake with mint icing.
‘So Dad, how long’s this plane ride gonna be?’ my brother asked between hot mouthfuls of savory.
‘Jason, eat with your fuckin mouth full one more time and I’ll sew the cunt shut, do you hear me?’ Mum glared.
The conversation ceased, and nobody else spoke at that cafeteria table until the chairs were pushed in and the empty plates were piled high onto the wooden tray.
‘Sue, don’t take it back to them, that’s what these wankers get paid to do,’ my Father argued.
Despite the fact, my mother took the tray over to the cafeteria and placed it on the counter. Even back then she was a fanatical about cleaning and tidiness in general. Our clothes were always washed daily, iron and pressed, our hair was always combed neatly and mine was parted down the middle, my brother’s wave wavier than mine, so it stuck up like a pigeon’s nest. There wasn’t much that could be done for that side of him.
‘Nana and the Kids will be waiting downstairs to see us off,’ she exclaimed as we approached the escalator which was to take us down to the main internationals departure terminal.
The so-called ‘kids’ were her grown-up children who all lived in the house with her and her husband still - Gordon, Kaye, and Mark and John (two identical twins). There were also two other ‘kids’ who were married and lived separately – Robert and Paul. Kaye was youngest, the ‘baby’ of the family, so to speak, even though she was in her late twenties or so at the time.
When we arrived at the departures terminal I saw them all, huddled together like a bunch of rotten, sour grapes. I cried – not because they were there, but because it reminded me that I was leaving, and that reminded me that I was leaving Angela, my only friend. Now, this may seem silly at this point, but I will explain later as to why I was not upset to see the ass-end of my grandmother and her husband and ‘kids’ (none of which were my Grandmother’s husband’s biological children).
So, there they were, all huddled together, Ma, her husband Barrie, adult son Gordon, adult daughter Kaye, adult son Robert and adult twin boys Mark and John. They looked like they were attending a funeral, and I almost sucked back my tears and sniffles and made out with a very imaginative laugh. I managed to hold back as I watched my mother’s face frown and the tears finally coming as we approached the unruly mob. My father stood next to Jason, Mum walked over to her family and hugged each one in turn. First her Mother, then all ‘kids’. Oh god, then it was our turn.
I walked over to my Nana and wrapped my arms around her frail waist, crying into her.
‘Hey, we’ll see you again soon, and we’ll come over for a visit, okay?’ she soothed me.
I nodded, and then accepted handshakes and hugs from everyone else, except for Barrie. I flinched away from him and returned to my Mother’s side. My brother carried out the ritual of goodbye in the same fashion as I just had, right down to the flinching away from Barrie, as though he was some kind of monster (he was).
My father just nodded to each in turn, and he reminded me of a Japanese man, bowing to everyone he encountered, but he hugged my Nana – my father always had the out most love and respect for my Grandmother, I guess because he was aware that she knew about his beating of my Mother, as well as his alcohol problem. My mother relayed everything back to her Mother, who in turn relayed everything through the rest of the family – nothing of ours was sacred in that family, although they held their own secrets behind tightly closed doors which seemed to be nailed shut, boarded up and then padlocked in order to prevent anyone ever exposing the truth. I would later discover many hidden secrets within this family which would shock and ultimately try to destroy me.
Even though we’d only just eaten less than 20 minutes beforehand, my Mother and the kids insisted that we could not ‘fly on an empty stomach’, so she had purchased sweets and bags of chips for my brother and I. She had also purchased magazines for my brother and me to read through on the plane. I got a crossword/puzzle book and my brother got a soldier comic book. Ever since he was born my brother loved anything related to the army or soldiers in general. Needless to say, my brother and I hoed on into the chips and sweets, finishing them all while my parents chattered to my Grandmother.
‘Thanks Nana,’ we both chided in together.
‘That’s okay you two. Now, you have a good plane ride, alright? Nana will see you again soon, okay?’
The tears rolled down her wrinkled cheeks, reassuring me that my grandmother did have some kind of feelings for my brother and me at that young age.
My father put his arm around Mum’s shoulder, it was a rarity to see which made me smile, but my brother’s frown still streaked his face, an upside down smile. I think that at the time this could have been down to the fact that he was departing from his Nana, but it also could have been the reassurance that we were actually leaving our country. My Mother and Father walked hand in hand for the first time that I ever remembered, while my brother and I looked back at Nana and the family. They waved at us, Nana forcing a smile through her tears, Gordon doing his usual ‘cowboy’ imitation salute, Mark and john wrinkling their fingers up and down like stars in the night sky. I don’t recall Kaye doing anything, except bawling her eyes out against Barrie’s chest, but to me this seemed the saddest sight of them all, just because Barrie was such a hated and talked about character in our family. My Mother hated him, my Dad hated him, and I’d heard the other ‘kids’ speaking about him in such terrible manners that made my young hair stand on end. My brother also hated his guts for some reason, but at the time I just considered the man a fucking creep … that was at the time, mind you.
So, it was off for the four of us, back up the escalators and to the departures terminal. I remember quite vividly the bellyache which started around about this time, and my brother also complained of his 'guts going round and round'. Nobody thought to tell us to go to the toilet beforehand, nobody even suggested that we should perhaps run to the nearest restroom, shove our fingers down each other's throats and puke up the remains of the sweets and chips. When we arrived upstairs again, my stomach was in demand of a good shit and perhaps a strong heave or two to cleanse the shit from within. Nana always did believe on stuffing kids full of food, be it shit food or not.
'Stop fuckin' hounding about your guts' kids. For fucksake, we'll be on the bloody plane in 20 minutes. Wait till you get on there to spew your wringers out, will ya?' my mother snapped, smacking my brother on the back of the head firmly. Something about that slap made me forget all about my aching belly and concentrate more on the forthcoming plane ride. I'd never been on a plan before, well – not that I recalled, and everything seemed so fascinating to me. The whole idea of being airborne appealed to me even then...at least for a few fleeting moments.
Soon, I began to hear the verse of an Old Saxon song that I'd heard played quite often on the wee radio which sat on our kitchen side bench:
“We've got a 747 coming down in the night
There's no power, there's no runway lights
Radio operator try to get a message through
Tell the flight deck New York has no lights
There's no power what do we do?
747 coming down in the night
try to get a message through.”
For some unknown reason I recalled the verse exactly, and I knew that it was the first verse to the popular 747 (strangers in the night) track by English rock/metal band Saxon.
'Jase,' I whispered, tugging his shirt. '747!'
'Shut up, egg,' he whispered back. 'My guts hurts too much to worry about the plan'.
But...what if it goes down like in the song? I wanted to ask, but knew that it was wrong, that the song was just catchy and playing on my mind because we just so happened to be getting on a plane in some minutes.
Soon they announced our flight from Auckland to Perth, and I started jumping up and down excitedly. My mother reached over and grabbed my hair (which was, at the time, blond and down to my shoulders). She pulled tightly, enough to make me let out a squeal of pain.
'Sue, for fucksake leave him,' my dad said, pulling her away, which actually hurt more than when her hands had been tangled in my hair.
We made our way across the departure floors and headed towards the international terminal, through the doors, and walked with a few dozen other passengers through the glass terminal corridor and out into the plane. A woman with a fake smile took out tickets from us, tore them, and then handed them back to us. My mother grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and pulled me towards her.
'Scott, you stay back with me, or you'll fuckin' get lost, do you 'ere me?' she snarled quietly.
My brother and father were already down towards the back of the plane, in their selected seats and buckled.
Within seconds my Mother had found our seats, directly in front of my father and Jason. Mum buckled me in, seated and buckled herself, then opened her black leather handbag to produce a large bag of Pascal's Minties. She unwrapped one of the hard square sweets and handed it to me.
'When this plane takes off, you fuckin' chew, do you hear me? Like this -' she continued to make loud and vigorous chewing motions with her eyes bulging.
'Okay, I replied, feeling the Mintie get extremely moist between my thumb and forefinger.
The engines began to roar into life as the plan slowly made a turning on the tarmac and traveled slowly down towards empty space. 'Look out the bloody window!' I heard my brother shout in front of me.
Suddenly, my mother lent forward and cracked him good and proper on the back of the head, causing him to start muttering under her breath and rubbing his head intently.
'Don't fuckin' swear on the plane, ya little cunt!' she hissed.
I leaned back in my seat and smiled. My first plane ride...
'Chew that fuckin thing now Scottie, cos if your ears block up, you're not fucking winging to me, do you hear me?'
I nodded. 'Yes, I do. I popped the Mintie into my mouth and began to chew vigorously, just like she'd done, mouth wide open, going for it like it was a matter of life and death. My brother was chewing also, I could hear him, even over the noise of the plane.
'Yeah, this is the life,' he said, putting his feet up on the back of the seat in front of him.
'Jason, if you don't get your fuckin' feet of that chair I am going to cut them off, do you hear me?'
There it was again – 'Do you hear me?' . She would always ask that after having screamed obscenities and orders at us. I never knew what the point of that was, weather it was just to make her sound meaner or if it was actually because she thought we were selectively deaf.
'Now,' she continued, 'when we get the the Chateau Commodore, if you two little fuckers play up there'll be hell to pay. Do you hear me?'
I almost laughed and choked on my Mintie. Hell, I didn't even know what a Chateau Commodore was!
The plane was absolutely packed, we all liked like sardines crammed into a tin. I looked around and saw people from all walks of life. Poor looking people, rich looking people, blacks, whites – even a few Indians.
In less than a few minutes the plane was in the air and flying smoothly. The flight would be about 5 hours apparently, so I took the time to ask my Mother for my books, and began to read. I loved reading so much that I think it was my next drug of choice alongside Angela Fulton.
'Bloody hell, Scott. Always got your fuckin' head in a book, haven't you?'
I looked at my Mother and smiled. 'So?' I replied.
Well, that received my first slap across the face on a plane.
'Don't fuckin' speak to me like that, Scott. I'm your Mother.'
'Yes Mum,' came my feeble and meek reply.
I don't remember a lot after that, I fell asleep into my book and was awoken by my brother tugging on my shirt.
'Hey, Mum wants you to go to the toilet,' he said, grinning like a baboon.
I shook my head wildly, still half asleep, I didn't need to go.
'Scott, I'm going to unbuckle this seatbelt and you're going to get up and go with your brother to the toilet...aren't you?'.
'Yes, I am.'
Mum leaned over and unbuckled the seatbelt from around my waist, pushing me forward so that I almost hit my brother's seat in front of me.
'You need to piss. Go.'
I stepped over my Mother's seat and walked with my brother past all of the other passengers until we cam finally to the end of the plane, and a large rectangle white door.
'Toilet,' my brother exclaimed, pointing to the door. 'You want to go first or should I?'
I nodded, stepping in front of him and turning the metal handle on the door. Inside, the noise of the plane was almost non-existent. A noise-proof shithouse, how cool was that?
Taking my shorts pants down, I lifted up the seat of the toilet and held my cock over the bowl. I pushed and I pushed, and finally a thin trickle of piss slowly crept out and hit the (seemingly endless) bowl with a splash. The relief of that particular piss was something I would not feel again for years to come. I realized that I had actually needed to go! I was interrupted towards the end of my stream by a loud knock at the door.
'Fuck, hurry up Scottie, I'm busting!'
'Hang on, I am still going!' I called, letting loose another splashing torrent.
Finally I was finished, I flushed the noisy toilet system and unlocked the door, stepping out to greet my brother who was holding his legs crossed before him.
'Nearly pissed my pants, man!' he said, shuffling past me and slamming the door behind him.
After returning to my seat, I noticed that my father had fallen asleep in his chair, and my mother was now thumbing through a woman's magazine which she'd picked up at the airport beforehand.
'Hurry up, for Christ's sake, what the fuck did you do, drown in there?' she asked as I sat down in the uncomfortable seat. My mother belted me in again and I stared out the window into the nothingness of white blur and blue streaks as we hummed along some 7,000 feet above sea level.
I took a small book out from the compartment in front of the seat and began to read happily.
'Jesus boy, that reading shit is going to get you in deep shit one day, you do too much of it! Why can't you draw a picture or write a letter or something to your Nana?'
I looked at my mother, bemused.
'We just saw Nana about an hour ago, and writing letters is the same as reading, it's all words. And plus, I like to read, one day I am going to write books,' I smiled.
'Don't be such a fuckin smart arse,' she mumbled, returning to her magazine.
Even at the tender age of four I had a passion and a love for the written word, something which would stay with me on through my whole life, but I did not know back then that it would actually save my life, on several different occasions...
'Do you fuckin hear me, boy?'
My mother had broken me from my silence, from my vivid imagination of playing a character in a book.
'I said Don't you be a fuckin smart arse now, do you hear me?'
She raised an eyebrow at me, gritted her teeth in a snarl-like grimace.
'Yes I hear. You said it three times now.'
Behind my book, I smiled to myself, I knew I had succeeded in pissing my mother off.
CHAPTER THREE: “The Chateau Commodore”.
The moment that the plane touched down, I was aware of a much bigger feeling of euphoria than I had ever experienced up until that point in my life.
The possibilities were endless, yet unknown, that was what intrigued my young mind and brought about the feeling. Looking across at my brother, I noticed the huge wide grin on his face, he seemed no longer to worry about his old school, nor his friends, as he unbuckled his seatbelt and stood by my father.
'You fuckin wait Scott, don't you go running off on your own, do you hear me?' my mother hissed as I unbuckled my seatbelt anxiously.
Freeing myself, I stood up and moved to the back of the plane towards my brother. I noticed my mother struggling with her seatbelt and hissing at me under her breath not to move, but I took no notice. My brother was beaming, it was the first time in my life that I'd ever seen him look that happy about anything, and with all the commotion of people getting off the plane, and the strangeness of possibilities, I also forgot everything else, including Angela Fulton.
'You boys behave, yeah? Don't go pissing your mother off,' Dad spoke calmly. We both nodded in unison.
Mum had finally managed to get her seatbelt undone and had seemingly appeared by magic right by my side, her hand grabbing the back of my shirt, long nails digging into the nape of my neck.
'Ow, mum!' I cried loudly.
She gritted her teeth, 'Fucking stay put Scott, or you'll wind up lost!'.
With all the hustle and bustle on the plane, my brother and father were out long before us. My mother actually waited until everyone else had left the plane before she dragged me off by the scruff of the neck like some wet pup.
When we entered into the main terminal, my brother and Dad were sitting over by the main gate doors, waiting for us to come. My father looked pretty pissed, and my brother was still on his high. Anybody would think that he'd never seen a fucking airport before!
Truth was – he hadn't, and neither had I up until that day.
My mother (still dragging me by the collar) sauntered over to where my brother and father stood and stood looking at my father.
'You could have fuckin' waited, Carl! This little cunt's being a right bastard child!'
I am surprised that I have not been emotionally damaged by some of the things I was called at such an early age. I am not sure if my Mother said them intentionally to hurt me, or if she was just merely foul-mouthed and couldn't help it.
'Sue calm down, for Christ sake, the boys are excited, they've never been to a foreign place before, this is all new to them. Get a fuckin' grip.'
Sometimes my father would say things to my Mother which weren't particularly nice, but she needed to have them said to her in order to 'put her in her place', so to speak.
The airport was absolutely massive, the biggest and greatest one that I have ever been in (still, to this day, it compares vastly to the old Woodbourne one down here with only one terminal and one gate to depart from!).
It wasn't long before a tall skinny man in his late 50's wearing a blue suite and tie came to greet my father. Mum had since let go of my scruff and my brother stood next to Dad still. He idolized him back then.
'Sue, this is Robbie Muir, he works with me. Kids, Robbie.'
'Hi Robbie,' my brother and I chimed in together.
Robbie bent down on one knee to look at me.
'Shit, you're a tiny fellow aren't you?' He said, smiling as he ruffled my thick blonde-brown hair.
'I'm only four, almost five though in a few weeks,' I said, smiling.
Robbie had kind eyes, they were blue and sparkled quite nicely, I thought back then.
'I'm going to take you to the motel where you'll be staying, called the Cheateu Commodore! How would you like that!?'
My brother was beaming, and I couldn't help but smile too.
Last edited by mortiis30; 10-29-2006 at 02:30 PM..