One of his dark bushy eyebrows quivered all the time, like a disturbed spring, and I was fascinated. But when he began bellowing from one foot away, his whisky-laden breath smothered all my senses.
“Did you see him with her?”
He was not a tall man, yet he stood a head taller than me. Pressing his advantage, he leaned over me to look all the more intimidating. I stepped back. I couldn’t let him touch me.
He moved a step to narrow the gap between us. “I asked, did you see him with her in my bedroom?”
“Are you crazy? He’s only a kid. He doesn’t know anything,” mother screamed. She came up to him but he swatted her away like a fly. He wouldn’t look at her. His eyes, red-rimmed and unblinking, were only for me.
“Tell me. Did you see him with her in the bedroom last night?” As he spoke, a shower of spittle flew from his mouth and hit my face. I didn’t dare wipe it. I stepped back; he advanced. Whatever he did, he better not touch me.
Mother came in again. “Stop it, Jake. Sam had come over only to borrow the drill. He took it and left.”
Still without looking at her, he sneered, “Come to borrow the drill or lend you his six-inch drill? You answer me, I am asking you.”
I kept moving back until I couldn’t. I had hit the wall. The interrogation would end soon.
“Answer me. Are you dumb?”
His blotched skin and bleary eyes at that close range made him hideous. He panted heavily as if he had just climbed ten flights of stairs. But behind that hideousness, I suddenly glimpsed a pitiful, frightened face that yearned to hear one reassuring word from me.
For the third time, mother came rushing. “Let him go. He’s too scared to speak. Believe me, nothing happened.”
“Get away from me slut!” he yelled, flinging out his arm and catching her in the stomach. She staggered.
His face was cruel again. So when he lay his trembling, swollen fingers on my shoulder, I shuddered, and told him, “Yes I saw them in the bedroom last night.”
His face crumpled like tissue. He wouldn’t have believed me had I told him the truth, anyway.