by an unknown
Starkle, starkle, little twink,
Who the hell are you I think.
I’m not under what you call
The alcofluence of incohol.
I’m just a little slort of sleep,
I’m not drunk like thinkle peep.
I don’t know who is me yet,
But the drunker I stand here the longer I get.
So just give me one more fink to drill my cup,
‘Cause I got all day sober to Sunday up.
Hello! A warm welcome to my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Today I will share a short excerpt from my novel The Basement: Robbie’s Rite Of Passage. I hope you enjoy it!
“Within this entertaining and frightening tale is a good lesson to be learned.”~ Goodreads
Promptly at eight o’clock, Robert staggered toward Robbie, who still sat by the window as if he put himself in a time-out. Weighed down by his thoughts, Robbie stared at the night sky as his dinner sat cold on the dining room table.
Robert grabbed the window frame for support and clung there. He looked at his son sternly for a long time before taking him by the arm and moving him away from the window toward the front door.
“It’s time you left and became a man! Prove to your friends, neighbors, and me that you’re not a pathetic loser.” Robert shook his head in an exaggerated manner.
“But, Dad, I’m only eleven! Don’t I have plenty of time to become a man?” His father tilted his head to the side and looked as if he had eaten something rotten. Seeing no change in his demeanor, Robbie continued, “There are rats down there. Lots of them, and they’re humungous!” Robert waved his hand dismissively and ignored Robbie’s pleas. “Dad, remember the Black Death? We just studied that in school and people got black spots and all swelled up and died! The rats caused this! Dad please!” He face was red and his nose runny.
His pleas offended his father. “Ack!” Robert pounded on the wall. “I’ve been down to the basement a hundred times. The most I’ve seen were a few mice!”
Robbie’s mom stepped forward and help him. “Please don’t make him—” Her words were strangled by a single gesture. Robert glared at her with his finger over his lips. She puffed and lowered her eyes.
He had made up his mind. No matter how much his boy or his wife begged him to reconsider; Robbie would be venturing to the basement come nightfall.
He gawked at his son and his wife through blood-shot eyes. Both of them were sobbing. He stumbled forward and bumped his leg on the sofa. He gawped at the piece of furniture, slack-jawed, for a long time. Then he looked at Robbie.
“There are tribes that send their boys out to the jungle on their own to become men. These boys have to sleep in the wild.” Robert slurred. “There’s some tribe in papa, papua”—Robert sucked through his teeth—“whatever, in Australia somewhere where boys go through six stages of initiation tests, and they begin as early as age six!”
Robbie’s mom stared at him with imploring eyes covering her mouth in disbelief.
“I believe boys need to fear their face to mature into men and the sooner they do the better.” Robert leaned over to talk in Robbie’s ear but did not bother to lower his voice. The boy winced. He could smell the beer on his breath and twisted his face. “These tribesmen rip the boys from their homes and their momma’s arms. They send ’em on dangerous adventures, often resulting in injuries, pain, and even death!” Robbie jolted and gulped.
Robbie’s mom inhaled sharply. “Robert that’s enough.”
Robert punctuated this last statement by jumping to his feet, almost toppling over, and grabbing Robbie by the arm once more. He continued to harangue. “I’m sending ya down to a dirty basement with a few mice running around. You’re getting off easy.”
Robbie looked at his mother. She stood motionless with her hand over her mouth.
Robert explained to Robbie his task was to go to the basement and kill as many rodents as he came across. He handed his son a heavy, wooden bat to use as a weapon. He told him he would be doing the entire neighborhood a great service by getting rid of the pesky critters. He also told him if he did this right, he would be a hero.
“You’re gonna have to be brave, feel the fear, and do it anyway. That’s the courage of meaning!” Robert garbled to his son.
Robbie’s dad indicated it was going to be quite dark in the basement and handed him a big, yellow flashlight. Robbie gulped. He also told him there were fresh batteries in it, so it should last the whole night if needed. Robbie stared at his father with vision blurred with tears.
The reality of the situation suddenly hit the boy; he became pale and fidgety. He began to fiddle with his clothes. He retched, but only stomach acid came up because his stomach was empty.
His mother saw his reaction and let out a mournful cry. “Please! He’s only eleven years old! He’s a boy afraid of the dark! How do you expect him to go to that creepy basement by himself? Have you lost your mind?” It was like talking to a wall.
“Lose my mind? I haven’t lost my mind. It’s right here for safe keeping.” Robert poked his head with his pointer finger. Then he turned the finger at his wife.
“You’re the reason he’s growing up weak—the reason he acts more like a girl than a boy.” He rolled his red eyes at her. “Because of you, he’s neva gonna be a real man! You mollycoddle him. It’s time the boy became a man, so cut the cord! He’s gonna do this even if it kills him!”
Robbie’s mom gasped and wept into both hands.
Robert then grabbed his son by the back of his T-shirt, opened the front door, and shoved him out so violently poor Robbie crashed to the floor on his injured knees. He winced as pain shot through his entire body. It took everything in him not to scream. He got up slowly and faced his dad, all color gone from his face.
Robert threw the bat and the flashlight at him. Robbie flinched, and both his arms flew instinctively to guard his face. “Kill as many mice as possible, and then ya can come home! I don’t care if it takes ya all night!”
Suddenly, his face softened and his voice gentled by a degree or two. “You’ll return a different person, my son. A man and a hero you will be.” With conviction, he closed the door in the boy’s face.
Robbie stood facing the door for a moment brow scrunched, wondering why he had to have Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a dad. If only he could be in his comfy, warm bed. If only this was a nightmare and he could wake up from it. Except it wasn’t, and he couldn’t. Robbie did an about-face and began his dreary journey to the basement, thinking, this must be what a guy on death row feels like as he takes that long, last hike toward the electric chair.
~ Excerpt from THE BASEMENT by Vashti Quiroz-Vega