by David Armand Every weekend my father sat on the sofa all day watching movies like Lethal Weapon, Platoon, Lonesome Dove, Tombstone, and all five Rockys back-to-back. His favorite one was The Abyss with Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and sometimes he'd watch it— rewind the tape he'd rented from the John's Curb Market, which was down the road in Folsom and where he also bought cigarettes, beer, and once or twice a Slush Puppy for my brother and me— and then he'd watch it again. You could hear the old VCR humming and clicking all the way from our room at the other end of the trailer as my father rewound the tape and watched that movie about underwater oil rig workers who encounter an alien species while trying to help disarm a nuclear warhead on a submarine, all while a vicious hurricane spins above the surface of the ocean. He'd drink can after can of Bud and smoke Marlboro reds, flecking the old coffee table— which was made out of a hatch door from a boat he'd once owned— with gray ashes. Times when the batteries in the remote controller stopped working, he'd yell for my brother or me to come into the den to change the channel for him or turn up the sound, fast forward the previews for the upcoming features he didn't care about. “Oh, boys,” he'd yell. “Get your asses in here.” We always thought we were in trouble at first, but then we'd get to the den and he'd just tell us what to do. It was embarrassing for everyone. Other times when we had to walk past him to get in the kitchen for something to eat, we always ducked beneath the TV screen so we wouldn't get in his way, but even still he'd pop up from his spot on the sofa, unpredictably and without warning sometimes, and he'd yell, “What the fuck are you looking at, son? You want to fight? Huh? You think you can whip my ass?” "No,” we'd say back, softly, like stepping over a rat trap, or holding a loaded shotgun, keeping it pointed at the sky so if it accidentally went off, it wouldn't kill anyone. We never bothered mentioning that we hadn't looked at him at all, had purposely kept our eyes on our feet. We'd just keep moving, hoping he wouldn't follow, that he'd just sit back down and leave us alone and watch his damn movies like we didn't even exist.
Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing