Et Tu

By Andy Betz

The rain beat down hard on the convertible soft top.  Generally, this meant I had two, maybe three hours before it began to leak.  What I had to say did not warrant this much time.  However, should she want to fight, at least I knew when it was going to be over.

“Mama, I’m pregnant.”

Anyone within 10 feet of the car heard her hand slap across my face.   You would think the mother of a 16 year old daughter should expect surprises without being so violent.

“How dare you do this to me.  How dare you give up on everything I gave you.  Young lady, you had a future.  You were the one who was supposed to make it.  Now, look at yourself.  Who is the father?  Do you even know?”

“Mama!”  I was still crying from the slap, but tears are tears, and I was going to milk each one for all they were worth. 

Now I was sniffling also.

“Mama, what am I going to do?  I don’t know, for sure, who the father is.”

“What do you mean you don’t know who the father is?  How many men have you been with?”

I kept my head down, looking at my shoes, trying to feel as remorseful as possible.  Wait, strike that.  I was trying to look as remorseful as possible.  If I play my cards right, this might all work for me.

“I have it narrowed down to four.”

“You slut!  Four!  I didn’t raise you to be a skank.”

“But, it wasn’t my fault.  I was drinking and then there was the weed.”

She gave me another slap for the bit about the weed.  Maybe I went a bit too far with that. 

“Listen up Missy.  Let me get this straight.  You went somewhere, a party?”  I nodded but kept looking at my shoes.  “Ok, and the men there gave you alcohol, was it beer?”  I hesitated for a moment before I softly relied, whiskey.  “Then, they gave you pot to smoke, right?”  Here I made sure to wipe my eyes before I said yes.

“Tell me what happened next.”

As well rehearsed as I was, this was the most difficult part.  I told my sadistic mother a tale of her slutty daughter being taken advantage of by the effects of drink and drugs and smooth talking men.  She didn’t seem surprised.

At first.

Then I included more of the waterworks and how two of the men were married but told me about their wives and how old they are.  I made sure to emphasize my pronunciation of the word old

She was 16 when she had me.  In our trailer park, 32 was the same age as most of the other women.

I said it that way to make it hurt.

Now, my mother’s eyes started to well up.

I took that as my green light to keep going.

“When we started dancing, their hands were all over me.  I tried to fend them off, but I couldn’t.  The first one put his hand over my mouth and his other around my waist.  The second one started at my skirt.  Before they blindfolded me, I saw the last two take off their jeans.

“Are you telling me you were raped?”

This was the time to act hysterical like those actresses on the witness stand during all of those judge shows.  The ones who work for the sympathy.

I heard them tell me to lay back and enjoy it.  They had me naked and on the carpet.  The first one whispered in my ear that I might even want more.  “Mama, I should have screamed or scratched or bit them, but . . .”

“What are you saying?”

“Mama, they were right.  I did like it!  I liked it a lot.  They made me do things, things I didn’t know how to do, but now I do.  Things I soon wanted to do.  They told me I was good at it.  I was too much for a single man so they paired up on me.  By this time Mama, I wanted them, I craved them.  One liked to hit me.  One used his belt around my neck to choke me.  The third found a new avenue for his pleasure.  I asked for more and they gave it all.  By morning, I felt lonely when each withdrew, when each dressed and started to leave.  They threw four $10 bills at me and called me names.  They then told me to return next Friday night for another session.  It took me a few minutes to get dressed and take the money.”

“Go ahead, tell me I am a slut, a sleazy trailer slut.  Tell me you are ashamed of me.  Kick me out to the streets.  I deserve it!  I deserve it all.”

Then I added the cherry on the top. 

Mama, I wanted to kill myself, but I couldn’t.  I thought I was pregnant.  Last night I found out for sure.”

“Did you keep going back to the men?”

“Yes, each Friday night for two months.  They paid me occasionally,  They passed me around.  I don’t know which one is the father, but it doesn’t really matter.  They won’t admit to anything.  They might even have a video of me begging.  Either way, all I want to do is just go away, someplace safe, someplace where I can have my baby.  I can’t stay here.  There is too much pain.  Too many bad memories.  I have to go away now.”

There, I laid it all out for her.  I always wanted out of her trailer park Hell waiting for an unemployment check.  I wanted a life in someplace exciting.  I have an aunt by Mama’s first marriage in Los Angeles.  And I know my mother has money saved.  Lots of money.  She wants a new trailer, I want a life.

If I play my cards right, in this poor excuse for a decent car, she will make all of my dreams come true.  If she doesn’t, I am going to ruin a few reputations.  Those surviving my wrath will wish they had never known me.  My mother was first on my list.

The rain fell as hard now as it did when we first began.  Sheets upon sheets of cold rain danced without rhythm upon the windshield.  I looked at the dash clock.  We had been here for less than hour, but the roof was beginning to leak.  If this was all that was going to go wrong, I could live with it. Mama sat motionless, equally speechless.  A first for both.  I strained to hear what she had to say.  She must be thinking of where I could go.  For her, a religious woman, an abortion was out of the question.  Hell, she didn’t even want me on birth control but I got that from a friend so Mama never knew.  I have about a month before I should be showing.  By that time, I can say I lost the baby, miscarriage or stillborn, I will use either.  If I don’t leave, I will run away and take a “fall” down a flight of stairs before I return.  I could lay the guilt on thick and I did.

Mama’s silence was prolonged but not forever.

I saw the man yank the car door open, hard.  He pulled Mama out, entered, and then pulled her back in.  Both were soaking wet.

And he had a gun.                                       

“Ladies, I have an itch I think you can scratch”.  He looked at Mama.  He traced her face with the pistol barrel.  “Listen so I only have to say this once.  If either of you leave, I will kill the other, and then find the one that left.  Do we understand each other?”

Mama was now crying.  I was now crying.  The man told Mama to undress.  He told me to watch.  I may even learn a few tricks.

That’s when Mama lost it.

“Look here.  I don’t know who you are, but know this.  I am not on birth control.  Rape me and get more than you bargained for.  What you want is this skank daughter of mine.”  My eyes went wide open.  “She just told me she is pregnant from gangbanging four men at a time.  She told me she likes it rough.  You can’t get her pregnant and she might teach you a few tricks of her own.”

The roof could not leak enough to wash the filth of what he did to me that night.  Mama sat there the whole time, watching and knowing I was lying the whole time. 

The rain masked my screams.

As rain frequently does.

Andy Betz has tutored and taught in excess of 40 years. He lives in 1974, and has been married for 29 years. His works are found everywhere a search engine operates. Andy has written many great things that have been posted to The Yard: Crime Blog. He has written “Et tu”, “The Less You Have, The More It Hurts To Lose It“, “How My New Life Began“, “I Knew Her as Tigist“, and  “Water“, which was written by Jaysa Brown, in collaboration with Andy.

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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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