‘He hit my mum, so I killed him,’ is what I tell the officers. I don’t take my eyes off the wooden tabletop, where I’ve been studying t...


   ‘He hit my mum, so I killed him,’ is what I tell the officers. I don’t take my eyes off the wooden tabletop, where I’ve been studying the shape of the grain for the past half hour. 

   ‘Oh, come on, son. You expect us to believe that?’ one of them growls, removing his glasses to rub his wrinkly, loose eyelids with his liver-spotted, veiny hand. ‘Tell us what really happened, or we can’t help you.’

   What really happened is this: he hit my mum, so I killed him. That limp dick Michael and his goddamn ugly dog that he used to drag round to our house every time he felt like visiting, I stuck a knife into both of their throats. The dog’s first, and then his. And I don’t regret it. I’d do the same again to any mother fucker who tried laying a hand on my mum after today. I’d do it to a million more people. 

   ‘He hit my mum, so I killed him,’ I repeat. 

   The two policemen sigh in unison. 

   That cocksucker Michael, he used to stroll into our flat three times a week or more to poke my mum in the other room, while I had to sit and watch his stinking filthy dog for him, all drooling and panting and boss-eyed there in the living room, expecting treats from me when it was all I could do not to run a bath to drown it in. I’d hear the headboard banging against the thin wall between the living room and bedroom for about five minutes, then I’d hear his awful grunt, and four minutes later Michael would come swaggering back into the lounge zipping up his flies. ‘Put the football on, boy,’ he’d say to me every week, and I’d never put the football on, even if I wanted to watch it too.

   Until, that is, my mother came back into the room a minute or two after. Pulling on her dressing gown and looking more fragile every time, she’d say, ‘Put the football on, love; Michael’s a guest.’ Only then would I put it on. Because my mother is a saint. 

   But this night, he’d grown too big for his boots. He’d won a bet with his friend Phil from the timber yard that Tottenham would win the league nearly a year ago for two grand, and that day had been the first time he’d seen Phil since the Saturday, when they’d topped the division by four clear points. Two grand richer and thinking his dick was so long that it dragged along the floor behind him, Michael had practically knocked the floor of our flat down on entry. Even his dog was feeding off his excitement, sniffing around the chair legs and wagging its tail like a helicopter ready to take off. ‘Pet the dog, squirt,’ he’d grunted to seventeen year old me, ‘while I go and pet the pussy.’

   I looked up from the text message I was writing and glared at the fat prick. ‘Fuck you, Mickey.’

   ‘Call me that again,’ he snarled, ‘and I’ll kill her, then you.’ He grinned, and wandered into my mum’s room, where she was already waiting for him, undoing his flies noisily on the way.

   Later, as we watched some football highlights show on TV showing clips from sixties football matches as if they happened last week, he prodded my mum in the breast harshly. ‘Get me a beer,’ he burped. She got up without half a second of hesitation, a painful reminder for me of how she used to behave back when my father used to beat her senseless for leaving the washing up too long. I winced at the memory, and shot the bulging fuck a look that would have turned him to stone if he wasn’t already jelly.

   ‘Mum, sit down,’ I snapped. ‘Mickey, you’re gonna say please before my mother does anything for you, or you’re gonna get up off of your lardy arse and do it your fucking self.’

   ‘It’s okay, love,’ my mum murmured, weakly.

   ‘No, it’s not. Can you hear me, flabby? Didn’t they teach manners in Cunt School?’

   Presumably because I’m really starting to fill out now, my shoulders are pushing outwards and my arms hardening from all the rugby, fatboy knew he couldn’t start on me. So he went for her.

   ‘Are you gonna let this scrawny little shit speak to me like that?’ He roared, already bright red from the blood rushing to his face.

   ‘Now, boys, come on, I mean –’

   ‘Scrawny little what?’ I stood from my chair.

   He got up to meet me, but still focused his attention on my mum. ‘After all I’ve done for you, you’re just gonna stand there and watch your little bastard disrespect me?’

   ‘Please, Michael, he’s just a boy, he doesn’t know what he’s –’

   ‘Oh, I know perfectly what I’m saying. You’re a fat loser, Mickey, and my mum could do a hundred times better than you or anyone you’ve ever even met. You need to get the fuck out of our flat, before I put a hole in you.’

   ‘And now he’s allowed to threaten me? The product of some cheap slag and the mechanic what killed himself gets to tell me what to do, and you’re not gonna do anything about it?’

   It had been boiling up for months. Years, even. We’d never liked each other, and this was just all the pressure that had been kept below the surface revealing itself with violent force, over something as small as a beer. I wasn’t going to back down, because I knew I could beat the shit out of him if I wanted; and he wasn’t going to face me, because he knew it too.

   ‘Michael, come on, calm down,’ my mum begged.

   I should calm down? You’re telling me to calm down?!’ He bellowed back, raising a hand already.

   ‘Get out, Mickey,’ I growled, through gritted teeth.

   ‘Michael, please,’ my mum sobbed, her tears pouring out as if a dam had burst in her eyelids.

   ‘Oh, shut the fuck up,’ he grunted, landing the backhand on the word ‘fuck’.

   It was just a light tap, really. The kind of whack you might see on a soap. She barely even bruised afterward, but at the time the slapping sound rang like a thunderclap through the whole building.

   And that’s when I snapped. I fell silent with the room, and the anger seemed to release itself all at that one moment in a simple sigh, like what I was to do from now on was actually a sensible and dispassionate series of actions, when in fact they were the climax of all the rage I’d ever stored inside me. Like an automaton, I walked out of the room to the kitchen, the sound of my mother’s sobs as a backdrop, and retrieved the sharpest bread knife I could find. It all felt so serene, so calm and slow, that I could have been bobbing along on a sleepy sea and I would not have been any less troubled. 

   Noticing that the damn dog had followed me, I left it dead on the kitchen floor without even stopping to think about what I was doing. Before the body had even hit the floor, I stalked out of the room back to our living room, the smell of that dog hitting me in the face as soon as I stepped near the spot where it had been laying all night.

   Michael was standing there holding his hand, out of breath from the strain of swiping it through the air, and looking down at the floor in regret. As I re-entered the room, he looked up at me with a smug expression, as if he had taught me a lesson I would never forget. Of course, he had; but it wasn’t the one that he thought he had taught. He wore that expression right up until the moment that I was one step away from him, and drawing the knife out of my sleeve; that’s when it turned into a gurn of intense fear, which pleased me much more. With the precision and speed of a furious scorpion’s tail, my arm thrust the blade into his throat a total of seven times, before my mother had even opened her eyes to notice. Then I left the flat and handed myself in.

   I don’t mind that they don’t believe me. I guess I seem so nervous and quiet most of the time that it looks like I’d never commit murder. But I don’t see who else they can accuse, so they’ll have to believe me some time or other. I’ll just sit here ‘til they do.

   ‘So,’ one of the coppers sighs, turning his paper coffee cup in his hand, ‘tell us one more time. What exactly happened?’

   I roll my eyes. ‘He hit my mum, so I killed him.’

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