[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #54

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Wed Nov 3 17:19:21 PST 2004

The Daily Super Short-Short Story #54
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 36
Last time: TJ was disturbed to be told that Martin had gone rummaging 
around in his memories about his incarceration at a concentration camp.
     "The story itself is pretty simple," said TJ. And then he began to 
recite in a detached voice, like someone reading out a shopping list. 
"I was the youngest of five kids, and had a domineering father who was 
a self-righteous son-of-a-bitch. He was always trying to control what 
we did and thought, and putting us down when we showed any initiative 
rather than doing what he told us. He got worse after Greg and Tammy 
both hit legal age and left without ever bothering to come and visit or 
be part of `his family'. I think he had his heart set on being a real 
old-style patriarch who everyone would obey without hesitation, and when 
he realised that they weren't interested in supporting his little power 
games he pretty much went off the deep end.
     "In any case, that was about the time that the beatings started, 
although to be fair they weren't all that frequent at the start. More 
worrying was when he started exerting his authority with arbitrary and 
petty rules. I don't count things like the cutting back on television 
time or more chores or not being allowed to eat unless it was something 
that had been prepared by Mom. I mean like not approaching him from the 
left hand side, or not being allowed to enter certain parts of the living 
room that had been marked out with tape on the floor. Mom wasn't much 
help in all of this, since he had her pretty much under his total 
control. She just ignored everything and smiled a vapid smile and 
pretended that everything was fine. I don't whether she was afraid of 
him or whether she was worried about disapproval from the other women 
around town if our house wasn't seen to be a `happy home'. I never 
heard Mom and Dad arguing with each other, so I've always assumed it 
was the latter.
     "Then Alex left. He was younger than me and Josie, but he was 
always a big boy, so he just ran away and joined the navy by lying 
about his age. Dad went completely nuts when he realised that all the 
discipline he was dishing out wasn't doing any good, and things got 
worse. Josie's 16th was coming up in about 3 months time, so he made an 
arranged wedding for her with the son of one of his drinking buddies.
     "Josie was pretty upset about this, but he beat he enough in the 
end she stopped objecting. Out loud anyway. Me, I was thinking that Alex 
had had the right idea, so I began preparing an escape attempt of my own 
for me and Josie. In hindsight I think we should have stolen the family 
car, driven it to the nearest big city, and *then* gotten ourselves lost 
on the public transport, but Sheriff Parker was another friend of Dad's, 
and I figured that if Dad put out the word he'd be able to trace our car 
pretty quickly. Anyway, they caught us at the bus station, and the 
Sheriff was only too happy to give us back to Dad.
     "Josie's wedding went through, and after that Dad took it into head 
that I needed stricter discipline than I'd been getting at home. So he 
talked it over with Sheriff Parker. Now, I'd never been big on religion, 
and as Dad went more and more psycho I had a very good example of 
precisely the type of man I didn't want to be. So I just quit. The other 
kids made the attempt to look like they were still believers, but I was 
always too stubborn to put up with stuff like that, which might've been 
the reason I always got more beatings than anyone else.
     "But that gave Dad the excuse he needed, so with Parker's help for 
the paperwork he had me shipped off to the local concentration camp. 
I'll always remember the look on Mom's face. She was *proud* of the fact 
that I'd be made into proper little choir boy."
     All though this retelling TJ had been staring at the wall, as if 
watching something in the distance. This didn't change, but for the 
first time a hint of emotion had began to creep into his voice. He took 
a deep breath, and now there was an unmistakable note of bitterness in 
his tone. "The problem with monotheist religions, especially the Middle-
eastern slaver faiths, is that they always have to be right, which means 
everyone else has to be wrong. They can't *stand* seeing virtue in other 
people, and have to destroy it wherever they can. I..." TJ paused, then 
continued with the same flat tone of voice as before: "Eventually the 
camps were shut down, and I headed back home to see how Josie was doing. 
Her husband Jeff had been a football jock at high school, and he'd 
boasted that once Josie was his that if he ever caught me trying to see 
her he'd have me strung up from the railway bridge. It turned out that 
that wasn't even a risk. Josie had committed suicide two years beforehand, 
and they hadn't bothered to tell me."
     TJ glanced at the two students, for the first time making eye 
contact with them. "And that's it. After that, I worked my way across 
the country and ended up here in Net.ropolis."
Tomorrow: Hopefully, the fire bombing.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and 
used with belated permission.
All main characters created by Saxon Brenton are Ask First Before Use 
for the duration of this storyline, then they'll probably go to Usable 
Without Permission.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
The Eyrie Archives of Russ Allbery which collect the online superhero 
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup can be found at:

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