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The Talon House

Bodega Bay


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Bodega Bay

Chapter Twelve

by Nick

I was so excited. My dad had the hood up on his truck and he was underneath, draining the oil into a pan. He had actually asked me to help him, and I could hardly contain myself.

"Do me a favor son," he said as I stood by watching from the grass with my hands in my pockets. "Twist the oil cap off for me and set it on the napkin by the radiator."

I took my hands out of my pocket and approached the front end of his truck nervously at first. Soon I felt a wave of confidence take me over as I used my left foot to step up onto the bumper and lift myself up enough to be able to see the top of the engine that sat under the raised hood of the truck. As soon as I spotted the oil cap, I turned it loose and removed it, setting in on a napkin that was sitting by the radiator.

My dad came out from under the truck and used a grease rag to wipe his hands clean before he wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me down from the bumper.

"Thanks little buddy," he said with a smile as I beamed up at him, admiring the manly way he was holding his flashlight and using it to peer down at his engine. His hands were stained with oil, and I knew that he had to wash his hands in the laundry room sink with some Comet. I felt a little envious about that, too. Something inside of me longed to be underneath his truck too, getting my hands greasy and using the flashlight to see what I was working on.

"Kevin, will you go get dad another beer?" he asked as he set the rag down on his toolbox.

"Sure dad," I said excitedly as I turned on my heels and ran into the house to get my dad what he wanted. When I came back outside, he sat down on the porch and took the beer from me, cracking it open and taking a long swig, followed by a loud belch. I took a seat next to him and took the beer from him, sipping from the can myself. I knew I wasn't going to be able to take as large a drink as he had, but I still wanted to take a drink. I was thirsty, and I had always sipped from my dad's beer when we were outside together. When I handed him the can back, I manufactured the biggest belch I could muster, but it was nothing compared to the booming noise that had emanated from his stomach.

"Damn, boy!" he exclaimed with a proud smile. "That was a good one."

"Want to hear me do another one?" I offered as he put the can to his lips and tilted his head, feeling like I might be able to do a better job if I had a second chance.

"Sure thing, kiddo," he said after a large gulp, handing me the can and repositioning his body to face me. I held the can with both hands and took a long drink, finishing the contents of the can as my dad gawked at me, then I smiled widely as I felt the pressure in my belly start to build. With one last effort, I took in a gulp of air, then I let fly with the loudest belch I had ever heard come from my own body. I took in a deep breath, then I exhaled, feeling relieved as I patted my belly as my dad waved his hand in front of his face, fanning away the aroma that lingered from my burp.

"Okay, smelly breath,' he said teasingly as he stood up. "I'm going in for another beer. Maybe I should look for some breath mints for you while I'm in there."

"Very funny dad," I said sarcastically as I watched him move across the porch to the screen door. Once he was inside, I watched as he slowly faded from my view through the mesh as he walked further back into the house. I got up and walked back toward his truck, crouching down to see what the oil that had been draining was doing. It looked to me that it was finished draining, so I got on my back and slid myself underneath the truck, taking in the awesome site of the bottom of the truck. I could see so much that I had always heard about but never saw before.

The bottom of his radiator was visible from where I was laying, and as my eyes traveled from the hoses coming from the ends of the radiator, I could see belts and pulleys, as well as the oil pan with the missing plug where the oil had been draining. Further down, I could see the transmission and the rear axle. The back of each wheel had hoses running from them, and somehow I knew they had something to do with the brakes.

Out of nowhere, I felt the warmth of my dad's body next to me and it almost startled me.

"What's up buddy?" he said softly as he picked the plug up and started to thread it back into the oil pan.

"I wanted to help you work on the truck, dad," I said shyly as I watched him pick up a ratchet and adjust the direction with his fingertips almost expertly and without even looking at what he was doing. I marveled that he was able to do this in one swift motion as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do, and in my head, I imagined a day when I would be as proficient with a ratchet in front of my own son. When he held it out to me, I was caught off guard at first. Once I realized what he wanted me to do, though, I quickly regrouped and took the tool from my dad and let him guide my hand up to the plug and support it as I tried to fit the socket over the cap.

When I actually started to turn the cap closed with the ratchet, my heart started to race. I couldn't believe I was actually working on my dad's truck, and we were doing it together.

"Good job, Kevin," he said proudly as I gave the ratchet one final crank, tightening it as hard as I could. When I pulled it away, I was a little nervous that I hadn't tightened it all the way, so I was relieved when he took the ratchet from me and gave it a once over before we slid out from under the truck.

We stood up and he used his open hand to knock the dust off my back, then he cracked open his beer and handed it to me with a proud smile. I took it from him and took the biggest drink I could, then I handed it back to him and watched in awe as he downed the remaining contents in one swig and crushed the can while it was still up to his lips. When he was done, he tossed the can on the ground and held his hands out for me to walk into them. I held my arms up as I did, and he lifted me up onto his truck so I could sit by the radiator and watch while he poured 5 quarts of oil in the motor, then he meticulously wiped the cap down and screwed it on.

I sat still and watched as he systematically cleared the area of his motor of all tools and rags, putting everything in his toolbox and snapping it shut. He grabbed me under my arms again to lift me off his truck with a smile, holding me up in the air for a moment and smiling warmly at me before he brought me to him for a hug. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and closed my eyes, enjoying the closeness of the moment we were sharing. Instead of putting me down right away, he brushed the hair out of my face and kissed the end of my nose while I rested my left arm on his shoulder.

"Close the hood for me kiddo," he said, so I reached up with my right hand and grabbed the top of the hood, slamming it down with all my might. I didn't close it hard enough, so he used one hand and pushed it down the rest of the way, and we listened as it clicked. He took me to the cab, where we got in and he sat me in his lap and dangled the keys in front of me. I took them from him and slipped the right key into the ignition. I gave it a turn and in an instant, the sound of his engine purring filled my ears. He gave it some gas and it revved up, then he closed the door and we pulled out of the driveway, taking it around the block.

"Give me a hand with this son," my dad said as I watched him carefully moving the drip pan to the garage where my grandpa had a barrel to store his used oil. My dad handed me a funnel that I held still while he poured the oil through it without losing a drop. As he worked, I watched his hands, which looked so steady and so big to me. He had grease stains on the back of his hands, and when I compared them to my own, I realized that he looked like a working man.

He set the pan down and walked back out to the driveway, and I knew that I had a chance to act. I dropped the funnel and in one motion, I dipped my hands into the oil that had settled at the bottom of the drip pan and rubbed as much oil into my skin as I could, trying to get as much on them as I could.

"Kevin, what the f**k are you doing?" my dad exclaimed angrily as he walked back into the garage and realized what I was up to. "Holy s**t! What the hell?"

With that, he grabbed both of my arms roughly as I looked up at him, startled. His face read sheer anger as he ran me toward the laundry room and when I wasn't expecting it, I felt his hand smack my bottom with tremendous force three times.

There were times before when I had incited his anger and paid with a spanking. It always hurt, too. Usually, though I had to do something pretty bad. I was whipped once when I was eight for using the cigarette lighter in his old car to burn a hole in the carpet. I wasn't sure why I had done it. I just felt like doing it, so I did.

I remember being whipped that same year for telling my stepmom no when she said to do something. He had actually given me another chance to listen to her, but I didn't take it. The punishment was swift and severe, too.

So, as he yelled at me while I cried hysterically and tried to stand still while he scrubbed my hands with Comet, I had to wonder to myself why I had ruined the perfect morning I had been having with my dad. I tried to run back over it in my mind so I could give my dad the explanation he was demanding from me, but there was none to be found. I meekly tried to tell him through my tears that I didn't know why I did it, but I could barely get it out. Finally, he turned the sink off and dried my hands for me, then he knelt down so that he was at eye level with me and spoke, his voice still booming as he held on to my shoulders roughly.

"Son, I don't know what the hell got into you," he said in an angry tone, "But you know better than to do that kind of crap. What were you thinking?"

"I don't know," I cried, feeling upset about the spanking and ashamed of what I had done.

"Go to your room, Kevin," he said in a calmer voice. "We'll talk about this when you're ready to tell me why. Until then, you need to stay in your room."

With that, I turned and walked to my room, crying loudly the whole way. My dad was right behind me, and as we walked through the house, my grandparents asked what was wrong. Of course, much to my chagrin, he told them what I did and that he had spanked me. I noticed that my grandma gave him a disapproving look, so I tried to go to her for sympathy, but my dad was having none of it. When I started to walk her way, he used his hands to guide me by the shoulders back toward my room.

"Take your shoes off and get in your bed," he said when we got to my room, and without untying them, I kicked them off and buried face in my pillow so I could cry and feel sorry for myself. I felt my bed dip and in the same motion, I felt him pulling my socks off, then he got up and I could hear him picking my shoes up and setting them by my closet. I briefly looked his way and watched as he stuffed my socks inside of my shoes, then he turned back to face me, so I turned my head and put my face back into my pillow.

"Kevin, look at me," he said forcefully, but I refused. I purposely turned my head so that I was facing away from him, and with a loud sigh, I felt him grab my shoulders and before I knew what was happening, he was turning my whole body to face him. When he turned me his way, I simply turned my head again so that I couldn't see his face. I knew he was losing his patience with my attitude, but for whatever reason, I was determined not to give him an inch.

"Kevin, you have one more chance to listen," he said impatiently. In response, I rolled back over and grabbed a pillow, holding it forcefully over my face so that he couldn't see me. I felt him get up and walk back to my closet, but I didn't hear him walk back to my bed. I knew he had, though, because the sting of my belt across my butt alerted me to his presence.

"I told you to look at me," he snapped. I sat straight up in my bed and howled out in pain as the belt came down again, this time across the back of my legs. "Do you need another one?"

"No daddy," I whaled as I flopped back down on the bed and cried.

"Are you going to listen?" he demanded as he stood over me. I nodded through my tears and sat up, looking at him as he took a seat on the edge of my bed and held his arm out to me. I moved to him and he wrapped it around my shoulder, pulling me into him for a hug as I rested my head on him and sobbed.

"I'm sorry I had to whip you buddy," my dad said firmly. "But you know what? You were being terrible, son. Now are you ready to talk about why?"

"I was mad at you," I sobbed. "You spanked me in the laundry room."

"Son, you made a mess with the oil in the garage," he said in a frustrated tone. "You still owe me an explanation for that."

"I don't know why," I sniffled, and I heard him sigh.

"I want you to take a nap, Kevin," he said quietly. "You got really cranky really fast, and I don't know why. Maybe I let you drink too much beer. Just take you jeans off and lay down, son."

"I don't want to," I said combatively. "I'm not tired and I'm not cranky."

"I want you to listen, son," he said in a voice that said his decision was final. "You're in the middle of a tantrum right now. Trust me. You're cranky. I want you to get some rest."

With that, he let go of me and guided me down to my pillow and as I lay still and watched, he pulled my jeans off and folded them up, then he leaned down to kiss me but I turned my head so he would miss. He got up and walked out of my room, closing the door behind him. As soon as he was gone, I surprised myself by extending my middle finger and holding it out his way, knowing that I was safe because he couldn't see what I was up to.

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