Brother Dave and Sister-in-law Teresa drove up to SB to check in with Brother Dan and see how he was going, what with the stroke and all. Later in the day they drove out to our place on the edge of town and we found ourselves swapping tales from the Joan and WB story book: aberrant acts of random violence.
I have already recounted in these pages, WB’s death threats towards Joan, involving a truck and a two pound hammer; I have also mentioned Joan’s attempt to stab WB with a kitchen knife. Actually, the word “attempt” is wrong; she completed her action. She stabbed WB but managed only to stick him in the arm. She failed to realize her full intent.
But we started at one point swapping tales that we didn’t all know. I hadn’t known for example that Joan had struck WB on the back of the head with a skillet, but, failing to render him unconscious, managed only to stun him. I was perhaps digesting this story and sitting there in a daze I followed the rough outlines of the pieces of a story that once in focus caused me to laugh as hard as I have in weeks.
Towards the end, if one remembers, Joan was prone to falling down; this was particularly troublesome since once down she could not lift her flaccid body from the floor. She was felled, one might say, and WB by that point was so withered up and weakened that he could not begin to get her back on her feet. So as they had done on previous occasions and would do later, they put in a call to the fire department to come pick her up off the floor.
When the fire persons came to the rescue, however, they found the doors to the house locked. WB had forgotten to unhinge the bolt, and so to rouse the inhabitants to action the fire persons went around the side of the house to see of the sliding plate glass door that allowed a view of the living room was open. As they tried the door, itself locked, they saw WB in his withered and worn down state kicking at the prone and flabby Joan. Apparently she was making some attempt to get away from the kicks because he had planted one foot on her chest to hold her down while he went at it with the other.
I could just see it there in my mind’s eye. WB in his weakened state expending the little he had of energy kicking his prone wife of over 60 years while sputtering profanities—goddam cunt, fucking bitch, and so on. For he could be profane, while she just lay there, well protected by her flab in all the stunning passivity by which she had exercised power and ruled the roost for so many years.
I just laughed. A hard laugh. And, to take the joke a step further, I got up and mimicking WB’s bent and feeble posture began to kick little feeble kicks at an imaginary Joan while muttering in a squeaky voice, take that you fat cow and so on. Whereupon the others in the room, requested that I “stop it,” so I did, but got a deep chuckle every time I thought back on it.
Of course I did not sleep for shit.