KNOCK KNOCK

Who’s there? Billy, who now steps over the threshold, the stepfather saying We want no trouble, to which the stepson replies But you’re my dad, and you’re supposed to give a shit, now half-stumbling into the pine-dresser, this homemade crayoned birthday card saying WE LOVE YOU NANNA falling flat onto its smiley face, the stepfather now placing an oil-stained hand firmly on the stepson’s shoulder, saying I mean it Billy, we want no trouble… And now into the kitchen walks the mother, the tax of her son’s condition to be read on her face as she props herself on the back of the chair, saying You haven’t come to shout have you? Because if you have, you can leave now, to which the son replies Typical, how when I need you all you do is tell me off, and now the stepfather half-raises his voice, saying Sit, pulling a chair out from under the kitchen table, now flicking that switch on the kettle saying Jesus Billy you’re a bloody mess, the mother saying Why do you do this? Can’t you see what you’re doing to yourself, to Grace, to Scarlett, to Joe?... And now Billy puts his face to the table, his hands over his head, mumbling something about Lost, to which no one says anything for half a turn of the thin hand that jerks its tick around the kitchen clock as the kettle rumbles to boiling point, the mother moving like a slow ghost across the room to pull three cups from a cupboard, the chink of a spoon against the porcelain of a cup, and Here Billy, drink this, and now the mother and stepfather watch as the red-eyed Billy sips once, twice at the black hot coffee, the mother now seeing her father’s drunken eyes through the mist, that jag of a weighted rope, that knowingness that she is the bridge between that bastard and this, as down goes the coffee cup, shedding black tears onto the pine, the son fixing the mother with a bloodshot stare, You never wanted me, you should’ve fuckin dumped me like you wanted to, to which the mother covers her face with her hands, drawing her breath through her fingers, Oh Billy, please don’t, and now the stepfather slaps the table, saying I won’t let you do this to your mother, can’t you see what you’re doing? Can’t you hear yourself? The mother now weeping the spider-silk words, You’re my son, don’t you understand?... And now the husband gently cajoling his wife to sit, the cause of her pain once again face down on the table, hands over his head, mumbling You lost me, mumbling My father, and now the mother looks to the ceiling, her arm across her chest, and Is that what all this is about? Now listen to me, that man was bad, he was just like my dad, don’t you see? I made a mistake... and now the son looks up at the mother, eyes redder than a devil’s, THERE! SEE! I’M A LIVING, BREATHING, FUCKING MISTAKE! And now the mother puts an arm across her chest, leaning into the table, tears welling her eyes, her husband wrapping an arm around her shoulders, her now saying No, no, that’s not what I meant, that’s not what I meant at all, and now the husband raising his voice to the stepson, saying I WON’T HAVE YOU SPEAKING TO YOUR MOTHER LIKE THIS! And now the stepson saying WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO TELL ME? as the mother stands, her chair falling to the floor, THIS MAN! HAS GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING! YOU SELFISH! BLOODY! BASTARD! And now the son stands, shouting YES MOTHER, I KNOW I’M A BASTARD! as the mother moves slow-arched to the stairs doorway, No, she says, I can’t do this anymore, her arms holding herself within herself, now reaching out to open the door, I’m going, she says, and now the stepfather grabbing the stepson by the collar, C’MON, YOU’RE LEAVING! leading the stepson to the backdoor, pushing him back out into the blue night, telling him never to think about doing this again, EVER!... Billy now turning, red eyes glinting in the half-light of a hunter’s moon, Love, he grins, Fuck off.