Tim would say, "Mom, I can't go to school with some fake imitation Jordans."
Her husband, Tom, would say that their son was a little wigger. He wasn't around much with his drinking and blowing all his money gambling on pool games. But when he was, Tom whipped Timmy's ass with a belt on the regular.
Martha didn't know how to relate to her son. One day when the kids from up the street were hanging out, Tim met her at the front door. Excited he said, "Mom, Drake dropped a brand new album today!" Concerned, Martha said, "Well, tell him to pick it up before someone steps on it."
Martha's life was a disaster. Her husband would leave, and Timmy would have any and everybody hanging out. No one would set foot in their yard when Tom was around. He was old and miserable. A Grinch who would steal Christmas and anything else he could get his hands on.
Tom made it clear to his family, once they got in the habit of sending cards with no money, he wouldn't even open them. He said, “ Mail me the two bucks you were gonna spend on that stupid Christmas card and I'll buy a beer with it.”
As sorry as they get, you would think he helped Martha hang Christmas lights outside. But hell no! She's lucky he didn't tear them down!
Tom hated the holidays. Last year he got mad and threw the Christmas tree out the front door. So she didn't waste her time putting one up and decorating inside the house this year.
It was nearing lunch time, and Tom still hadn't shown up. Tim already threw a fit about his Jordans. Then a bigger tantrum when he got a Chicago Bulls snapback. "I wanted a New Era fitted hat, mom."
Shaking her head, Martha wants to pull her hair out. "Tim, your dad is coming home today." Martha forbids him from saying any cuss words or spitting any of his offensive rhymes.
She said, "I put up with y'alls shit, but this year I just want the three of us to have a nice peaceful Christmas dinner." Tim promised he'd be on his best behavior.
On the table, she had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and dressing. By now Martha's thinking, 'This bastard won't even show up.' An image of Tom asleep on a park bench cuddling with a liquor bottle for warmth flashes behind her brown eyes.
Then she heard a car pull up in the driveway. Martha nor Timmy got up from the table. They sat and waited on the man of the house. Tom walked in with a 40 of Malt Liquor and a lit cigarette. He walked to the table and looked at everything.
Martha smiles and waits on Tom's response. Taking a drag off his cigarette, Tom says, "You think I'm gonna eat this goddamn shit?" before flipping the table and all the food over on his wife and son.
Martha, with a candied yam stuck in her brown hair, immediately burst into tears.
Timmy actually laughed about it mocking his father. Then he says, "Dad, you want to hear a new diss I wrote?"
Martha interrupts, "You know your father doesn't like stuff like that."
Tom said, "Hell, it's Christmas, let the little shit say his rhyme.”
Timmy throws on his snapback and says,
"You better never let it go
Shady was riding Dre's dick
and never missed his chance to blow."
Tom smacks him upside the head and Martha orders him to his room.
Already cleaning up the mess Tom made she thinks to herself, 'Hey maybe next year.' He wasted no time retreating to the couch where he'd sleep the rest of the day.
Martha spent all that time preparing this meal, and now she had to pick it up off the floor. Martha loved the Holidays even if she never received a gift. The last thing she got from Tom on Christmas was a black eye.
It's what she gets her momma, and her sister both told her. Tom was a loser and would never amount to anything. Oh well, it's the life she chose, she just hoped her son didn't end up like his father.
About Robert Ragan:
Robert Ragan from Lillington NC lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only, and Under The Bleachers. Alien Budha Press has published his short story collection “Mannequin Legs and Other Tales”