Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You”
Fiction Saturday – “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Chapter One
He’d heard them the first day he’d delivered there. His older brother, Mike, heard them when this was his route. Both boys had seen the Deltinos with swollen lips and black eyes. Mike told him not to say anything, to pretend he didn’t notice. Pretend, just like the rest of Patascat Circle.
Next door to the Deltinos, yet another family was packing up to move out. They had been on the street only six months. It wouldn’t have been six minutes if they had known that they were moving in next door to the Mob. Not the Mob of Rolex watches and Armani suits, but the Mob of dirty fingernails and broken bones.
Inside the Deltino house, it was time for Beverly Deltino to do something about her situation. It had been time for years, but it just wasn’t done, not inside the Family. But now, if she didn’t, somebody was going to die, and she was damned if it was going to be her.
A peculiar sound is made when something hard, like a ceramic table lamp, hits something else hard, like a human skull. It is a very serious sound. The sound is usually preceded and followed by someone screaming. In the Deltino house there was usually more than one person doing the screaming.
“‘Here we go again. Make a baby…Kids? Are you crazy? Go to Hell, Dominic. I’m not going to ‘make a baby’ with you.”
“Beverly, you’re going to do what I tell you. I’m your husband.” He pointed a quivering finger at her.
“Dominic, how many times do you need to hear me say it? No, no, and no, you pathetic dumbass.” She had her hands defiantly on her hips.
“It’s way past time for us to start a family,” he yelled at her. “I want kids, some sons, Goddamn it!”
“Hell, no, not with you. Not now, not ever, you hairy little animal, and the next time you throw a lamp at me you better make sure it kills me. Because, if it doesn’t, I’m going to pick it up and crush your empty skull. Do you understand me, you brainless snake?”
“Don’t call me names. I’m your husband and I love you.”
She laughed out loud and flipped him the bird.
This battle had been going on inside the large ranch-style Deltino house for several–years—ever since Dominic decided that fathering some children might enhance his macho image with his peers. His wife was not consulted on this decision. Their disagreement on this topic escalated to arguments, and then to fights. Now it was thermonuclear war every time he brought it up.
He angled in closer to her. Dominic Deltino never moved in a straight line. His predator’s instincts made him seem to be always stalking, maneuvering, cornering his prey. He held his arms out as if to welcome her into a loving embrace.
Beverly grinned and moved toward him, wary, her fists balled. When Dominic winked at her the smile disappeared.
“Bull – shit, you love me,” she said, as her left hand exploded outward in a sharp left jab that ended at Dominic’s right eye. He responded with a left of his own that caught her on the ear and sent her to the floor.
“You love me?” she screamed at him. “Does a loving husband punch his wife?”
“But you hit me first,” he yelled, his hand over his eye.
“No, Dominic, you threw the first punch, years ago.”
She struggled to her feet and kicked him hard in the shin. He stumbled back. She crouched, preparing to charge at him, with the intention of doing as much damage as possible.
“Jesus, that hurts,” he said, rubbing his leg. “I’ve had it with you. You’re crazy. I’m going to put you in the nuthouse.”
“You’ve had it? And I’m crazy?” she answered him, incredulous.
She lunged at him and drove her shoulder into his stomach. They both went down to the floor in a heap, with her on top. She raised her clenched fist, ready to hit his other eye.
“Beverly, what’s wrong with us? We fight all the time.” She hesitated for just a second…a mistake.
He slapped her hard on the side of the head and knocked her off her perch astride his stomach. Dominic got to his knees, a sneering grin on his face.
She crawled away from him to get some time to take inventory of the bells ringing in her head.
“What do you say? Wanna stop this fighting and make a little love?”
“What? We’ve never made love, you ‘pazzo.’ I wanted to when we were first together, but you just wanted a piece of ass.”
Dominic stood up and winced as he tested the damage to his right eye. It was going to be swollen soon. He looked down at his wife of twelve years sitting on the floor in front of him.
“You know, you’ve ruined our marriage,” he said, pointing at her. “It’s all your fault, all of it.”
“This was never a marriage,” she hissed at him, rubbing her ear, checking for blood. “It’s never been anything but a serial rape.”
“Bev, I’ve always wanted us to make babies, to be one happy family.”
“Aren’t you listening, Dominic? I will never have your baby. Never. I’ll have an abortion first.” She got to her feet, still a bit unsteady.
“Stop that!” he said, his eyes wide. He was genuinely appalled. “It’s a sin to even talk like that.”
“Hell, I’d do it myself, with a coat hanger. The world doesn’t deserve another you slithering around,” she said with a dismissive wave.
She knew how to hurt him worse than any punch she could ever throw.
“I’ve done it before, Dominic, and I’d do it again. I’ve already killed two of your babies.” She could see that she had hit a nerve.
“What?” His eyes grew even wider.
She smiled, seeing him in some real pain.
“Yeah, Dominic, and they were both boys. I had your sons scraped out of me like so much bloody jelly.” She knew that would tear him apart. It wasn’t true, but he didn’t know that.
He put his hands over his ears trying to block out her words.
“Stop it! I can’t take this anymore. I don’t care what happens. I’m going to kill you for this, Beverly. I’m going to kill you, you murdering bitch.”
She saw the contorted look on his face. This was different. He was really insane. She thought that, maybe this time, she’d pushed the knife in a bit too deep.
“Screw it,” she said. She didn’t care anymore either. She had reached the end of her rope with him. She moved in for the kill shot.
“How does it feel, Dominic? Does it hurt real bad? Go ahead and grab your empty head. I hope you stroke out right here, so I can wait a week to call the paramedics.”
He charged at her. She tried to sidestep him, but he caught her with his arm and, spinning her around, they landed on the bed. He leapt on top of her, his eyes wild with pure venom. His hands closed around her throat. For the first time since their fights turned physical, she thought that he might actually kill her.
“Stop, stop, Dominic, please!” she managed to get out as his fingers tightened. She punched him as hard as she could. He was numb with hatred for his wife.
She reached out, flailing about in desperation. There was panic in her eyes. Her left hand hit the corner of the nightstand and her fingers grasped the small alarm clock embedded in a Lucite cube that he had given her for her last birthday.
With all of the strength she had left in her body she pounded the clock into his face. The pressure on her neck eased a bit. She hit him again and again. His blood ran off of the hard plastic clock and onto her hand. The fourth time she hit him, he lost consciousness and collapsed on top of her.
She pushed him off, onto the bed, slowly got up and staggered across the room. The clock was still in her hand. She looked at it and at Dominic’s bloody face ruining the pillowcase.
“Cheapass bastard, a six-dollar clock.” Her throat hurt when she spoke. “Maybe now you’ll finally learn to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
She tossed the clock back onto the bed and walked toward the master bathroom to check out the damage.
“Beverly!” he roared and sat bolt upright. “You murdered my sons!”
She stopped examining the knot above her ear and looked back at him. He was reaching for his ankle and the pistol that he always carried there.
“I’m going to put you in your grave!” he screamed.