By Breech Loader
Breech: This is a one-shot fanfic about child abuse. However, you many be disappointed to know that there is NO SEXUAL ABUSE WHATSOEVER. So, if you wanted to see PJ getting raped by his dad, go somewhere else. Alternatively if you don't want to read about graphic child abuse, what are you even doing here? Didn't you see the summary?
Goof Troop belongs to Disney, as do all the characters in this fic. I'm not making a cent, penny or peseta.
I respect my dad.
No, respect's not the right word. The right word is 'fear'. I am afraid of my dad, and... well, the feeling makes me feel ashamed.
Because a kid should love his dad, right? But I'm scared of mine. When did it start? I don't know, I think I've been afraid of him all my life. But I remember the first time he hit me like it was yesterday. And I'm not talking a quick slap or a punch or anything like that.
I was 7, Pistol was only a baby, and Mom was out of town. And I told dad I didn't like his latest grubby plot to swindle people with lousy cars. He took Pistol to bed. And then he started whaling on me. Kept going until there was blood on the carpet. Then he got me to scrub it out, and all the time he was standing over me, going on about 'respect' and shit.
It was the first time, but it wasn't the last.
This other time I told him I'd tell mom. He told me if I ever did, he'd teach her respect too. Then he started on me again. Kept going until I blacked out, and I don't know if he kept going after that. All I know is that when I woke up I was in hospital with a broken arm, and mom and dad looking all concerned. Dad told me I'd been cleaning the gutters as a chore and I fell. So I agreed. What else could I do?
But that wasn't the last time he beat me.
Some nights he'd get drunk. Come back with a beer can in one hand and a fight in the other. Then we'd go a few rounds, and I'd always come out the loser. I think by then, Mom knew, but she was scared too. She was too busy protecting Pistol to try and help me.
Dad got fined and put away a few times, for D&D or DUI but he always came back, and he was always in a filthy mood when he did. Guess who he always took it out on?
You know what was the worst part? Sometimes he'd get it into his head to be all 'fatherly', taking me to do father-son stuff like playing baseball and going fishing. And giving me lessons on how to be just as good a scumbag as he was. I mean, actually sitting down and teaching me how to scam people, not just punching me until he got sick of getting blood on his knuckles, or I blacked out, whichever came first.
If I didn't like it – or if he thought I didn't like it – he'd start yelling about how he goes to all this effort for me and I'm an ungrateful little shit, and start whaling on me. He'd always go on about respect though. Every hit I took, he'd tell me how I should respect him, how I had no self respect, that he owned me.
Don't think I never tried to defend myself. But when it's you against your dad and he's got like, 90 pounds and half a meter on you, you don't have much of a chance. It never ended well. It was easier to just roll with the punches.
By the time I met Max, I swear to god I was bleeding just about every other night.
And I thought it was normal.
First time he came around to my house and stood in my room and said how lucky I was, I thought, is this kid crazy, or is his dad worse than mine? But it didn't take me long to work it out. Goofy Goof didn't hit Max. Never. Even when he got mad or upset or Max did something wrong, he never hit him. I could see it in both their faces.
So, was Max's father abnormal? Didn't take me long to work out that hell yeah, he was. But it wasn't because he'd rather die than hurt Max. My father was the real freak. The way he treated me wasn't normal, and the way I hated him for it was.
After I met Max, things started getting better. Don't get me wrong, dad was still whaling on me. But he didn't have so many chances, because I was out more with Max, and Goofy is one helluva distraction. He couldn't do it with Max or Goofy there. And there's only so many times you can tell somebody you just fell over before they start getting suspicious.
Still, he'd take any excuse he had to start on me. I didn't answer back any more, but he'd think of something. My room was a mess, I got a D in Math, I squeezed the toothpaste from the wrong end. Any reason.
Some days... I thought I was gonna die.
I still couldn't tell Max though. I was scared. Scared of what my dad would do. Scared of what Max would think. He's my best friend. My only friend.
Mom never said anything. I guess she was ashamed too. That she'd married a greedy, violent, lying slob like my dad, maybe. But she never let him get at Pistol, at least.
Then it all changed.
I'd just turned 17, and dad was still going strong. One night, mom was out of town on business, and she'd taken Pistol with her. Dad was in a filthy temper over a baseball game. So he was hitting me again. I have no idea why, but that night, I just snapped. And I hauled off and punched him one. Right in his ugly face. I'll never forget the look on his face. It was like he had no idea why I'd hit him. Everything kind of froze up, and I was just staring at him and my fist.
Then he gave this huge bellow of rage, and started again, harder than ever. There was blood blurring my vision, but I could see he'd been hitting me so hard, his knuckles were bleeding. They hadn't done that for a while now. He twisted my arm so hard that I screamed. And then, I swear this is true, he snatched up a beer mug and smashed it by the handle and he was gonna glass me in the face.
I remember thinking, This is it, I'm gonna die. My own dad is gonna kill me.
Then somebody started banging on the back door and it all froze up again. Him with a broken beer mug in one hand and me in the other.
"PJ! Hey, PJ! Get your butt out here! I just had the best idea!" Dad looked at me. I wanted to scream, but I didn't dare with dad there, "I know you're in there, PJ!" A pause, "Fine, stay in!"
Max left. I thought for a moment that dad was gonna finish the job but he looked at me and the mug and it was like all the fun had gone out of it for him. He dropped the mug, hit me a few more times, and finished off with a roundhouse that knocked me to the floor. Then he kicked me so hard in the stomach that I threw up. Finally he spat on me, told me to clean up the mess I'd made, and stomped out the door to go to the bar.
I wasn't crying. I stopped crying about taking punches a long time ago. But I hurt. I hurt real bad – worse than I had for years. He'd thrown me onto the broken glass, and it was cutting through my clothes into me. I tried to get up, but I couldn't put any weight on my left arm. My dad had just tried to kill me. I couldn't think what to do. I don't know if I was thinking at all. But I managed to get to my feet, and I made it to Max's house right next door, and banged on the door with my good hand.
When Max and his dad saw me and the state I was in, dripping blood on their doorstep, I think they were scared. Really scared. Goofy called the hospital. Max asked me what the hell had happened. I managed to spout off some shit about a gang jumping me in the street. Then we drove to the hospital, Mister Goof telling me that I should stay awake, and me trying not to black out from the pain. He tried to call my dad but of course, dad wasn't in.
So anyway, we get to the hospital. Turns out that apart from all the other shit, I got my arm broken in three places, couple of fractured ribs, glass in my side, and I couldn't see my own face but I know it must have been one helluva mess, even after the nurse cleaned off all the blood. Mister Goof was gonna try calling my dad again but I managed to convince him I didn't want him to see me like this. Max decided to stay, so of course his dad did too. After a while, he went off to get some coffee.
I grabbed Max's wrist with my good hand, "It wasn't a gang," I told him. I must have had concussion or something to finally admit it.
He looked at me like I was crazy, "Then why'd you say it was?" he asked, "And who was it?"
"Just one guy," I said.
"Who?" he asked, "I mean, would you know him if you saw him again?"
"Yeah," I croaked out, "Big guy. Real mean, fat, ugly-looking bastard. A cat. Kinda like me." He looked at me, and it was like he was getting it but he didn't want to ask; he didn't want to be proven right, "It was happening when you came round."
"But... you were in when I came round," he said finally.
He looked sick, "You mean... when I came round he... he was..." he swallowed, "Your dad... was..."
I must have gotten sick of him trying to avoid saying it, because the next thing I said was, "Beating the shit outta me?" I winced, "Not... exactly. He was..." now I was the one who didn't want to say it, "He'd just... smashed a glass... I think he was gonna... I think you comin' around saved my life."
"But... but... he's your dad!" he said finally. Couldn't believe it. Didn't want to believe it. I think he'd have rather believed there was a dangerous gang beating up kids around the town than it being my dad. I can't really blame him. I'd rather it was a gang than it being my dad. At least then we wouldn't be living together.
"So?" I said. It must have been the painkillers, because I added, "Never stopped him before..."
Then Mister Goof came back. Amazing how a guy can get into such a mess just fetching coffee for two, water for one. Max opened his mouth. I gave him a look. , desperate, pleading. He closed his mouth. I didn't want my dad to come here.
"Oh, PJ, you have been in the wars, haven't you?" Mister Goof said, real nice and sympathetic like I was his kid as much as Max is, "You sure you don't want me to call your dad? If he gets back and you're not in, I bet he'll be real worried about you."
Yeah, worried that I've gone to the cops this time, I was thinking, "I'm sure, Mister Goof," I croaked out, "Thanks... for driving me to the hospital... Max is really lucky to have a dad like you."
He looked serious for a moment, "And Pete is real lucky to have a son like you." For a moment I thought I could tell him but I knew I couldn't. He wouldn't just sit there and let it happen. He'd tell somebody. And I was just too scared of what would happen if he did tell somebody.
I let go of Max's wrist then. The nurse was coming back. She started poking me, asking if it hurt when she did this. It always did. My dad is good at making it hurt. Oh yeah, and she was asking all the questions they ask when you're ready to black out with pain, like, how old are you, where do you live, who did this, checking you haven't gotten brain damage from all the blows to the head. I answered as best as I could.
Max looked ill, and Mister Goof must have seen it, "Maxie? You feeling okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, I guess," Max looked... kinda sick. He must have been going over what I told him in his head, "I was just thinking... it's hard to believe that there's somebody in Spoonerville who would beat up a kid... as bad as that."
"So, Mister Goof, are you this boy's... legal guardian?"
"Oh no ma'am," he told her, "I'm a friend of his father's. My boy Maxie is his best friend! We live right next door!"
The nurse turns to me, "So we'll call your parents and-"
"NO!" I managed to get a hold of myself, "No point. My... my mom is out of town and my dad... is out."
"Do you know where he is?"
Yeah, at the bar, doing some more drinking so that when he gets back he can go a few more rounds with me, "No."
"Oh, I know where he'll be!" Mister Goof speaks up, trying to be all helpful, "There's a bar downtown he goes to of an evening. Maybe you should try there-"
"NO!" I screamed. I must have lost it – that, or the painkillers were going to my head - because they all looked at me like I'd gone insane, "I don't... wanna... see... my... DAD!"
I think Mister Goof looked the most shocked. I remember dad saying to him once, "Something's wrong when a kid doesn't want to spend time with his pop." Mister Goof didn't say that, but I knew he was thinking it. Max knew why, of course. But at least the nurse dropped it after that.
So there I was, lying on a hospital bed with my left arm broken in three places and my best friend and his dad looking after me, and me trying to convince Mister Goof that not calling my dad was the right thing to do and it got more complicated. You wouldn't think it could but it did.
The cops came.
The hospital had called them. Well, you gotta, don't you? A kid gets beaten up in the street at night to within an inch of his life, and you've gotta call the cops. Great. Now I've got to lie to cops. Dad always made sure cops didn't come into it, so I haven't got much experience. When you put it that way, I'm not much good at lying to anybody.
They started with the questions. Questioned me, questioned Mister Goof, questioned Max. I was pretty sure they were suspicious, especially since I couldn't think up a good reason for being downtown alone at night. Eventually all I could think of to say was that I was tired and I wanted to get some sleep, which was true enough. Mister Goof stood up for me there at least. I asked Max if he'd come back tomorrow. He said okay, and then they all left me to rest.
But I didn't go to sleep, not straight away. For one thing, I hurt too bad. And for another, I kept thinking about the broken glass they'd taken out of me. I had twelve stitches in my side. It didn't do too much damage because of all the... well, all the fat, but the nurse still said she was disgusted at the savagery of the beating.
I went through it in my head. Went through a lot of things in my head. Not all the beatings; that'd take more than one night. I remembered some of the times dad took his belt to me. Four feet of hard leather against your back isn't easy to forget. One time he swapped around and used the buckle end. I've still got the scars.
I remembered the time he put my hand in the waffle iron and pressed down. There were a couple of times when he locked me in the basement, once for three days. One time he gave me a couple of hits with a wrench. There was the time when he broke three of my fingers. Once he put my head down the toilet and flushed. I nearly drowned. You know what sucks about having black fur? He could hit me just about anywhere or any way he wanted and nobody ever saw the bruises. Well, most places. Why else do you think I was always wearing that jacket and sweater?
He did all that and more, for any reason or no reason. I decided something that night. I don't know to explain it right. I'd always wanted it to stop. And for the first time in my life, I decided I was going to make it stop.
Next afternoon Max shows up, like he said he would. His dad had dropped him off, and told him to call when he was ready to come back. And my dad was... pretty mad that nobody had come and told him where I was. Dad's pretty good at covering up how bad he really is, so that means he's really planning something nasty. And apparently mom's back in town, with Pistol, which just about tops it all off.
So we talk. I tell him all the things I've told you, and a bunch of other things besides. It takes a while. Most of the time, Max doesn't say much; he just looks like he wants to be sick. I guess before today he didn't really believe that something like this really could happen. And to somebody he knew, too. Since before we'd even met. Eventually I finish up at last night, when I hit my dad and he was gonna kill me for it.
"So..." Okay, now he's gonna ask the question. The big one, "Why didn't you tell anybody?"
I look away, "Max, did your dad ever hit you? Like, ever?"
"I didn't tell anybody because... well, I was scared," I sit up, slowly and carefully because my ribs are still killing me. Well, that's nothing new, "It's hard to explain. I wasn't just scared of my dad. I was scared 'cus I didn't know what would happen afterwards."
We talk some more, "You... really want to go back there?" he asks me.
"I've thought about it," I tell him, "I really have. And I keep thinking, what's gonna happen if I don't go back? And that scares me more. I know what I've gotta do, Max," I explain, "I gotta do this."
It's not easy, but I convince Max I mean it, and Mister Goof comes and drives us back home. I'd hug either one of them, but one of my arms is in a cast. Max is watching as I go in the door. He's not the only one. I figure the best part of the block is out there watching.
I wish I was out there watching.
Dad's sitting in his chair, and he's got that look on his face, where he's building up to something. I can see mom at the top of the stairs, holding Pistol tightly in case she tries to stop dad. She saw him beating me bloody once and ran at him, and he swatted her clear across the garage like a bug. I'm shaking. Dad looks at the cast. He gives me a nasty look.
"Cops come around this mornin', son," he says calmly, "Askin' me all sortsa questions about me, you, your mom, your sister... Seems they were awful concerned that you didn't want to see me after that nasty gang beat you up. Somethin's wrong when a son don't want to spend time with his pop."
"Guess so," I reply.
"You know the rules, PJ," he growls, eyes narrowing, "You call me 'sir'. You show me some goddamn respect."
"I don't see nothing in this room to respect," I tell him. God, I think I'm gonna throw up with terror.
His eyes narrow and he stands up, "YOU TREACHEROUS LITTLE MAGGOT!" he bellows, a fist pulled back, "I'LL TEACH YOU THE MEANING OF RESPECT!"
I punch him so hard with my good fist that I knock him onto his back, "No, dad! How 'bout I teach you?" I shout. He's looking up at me, amazed. I'm still shaking, but now it's with the effort of not hitting him again, "I'm not taking your shit any more, you got that? You try to land a punch on me, I'll hit you first! You get one in, I'll give you it straight back!"
"But son, I'm your old dad," he grins, "I wouldn't-"
"Now when I turn 18 I'm leaving for college, you got that?" I interrupt him, "But I'm not running away! I'll be coming back, to visit mom and Pistol and... and if you've been hurting them, I'll know, you got that? 'Cus I know what to look for! And if you even try swapping me for them, I'll punch you so fucking hard you'll be shitting your own teeth!"
"Well PJ, I..." he stands up, "You know I would never..." he stops and looks up at mom and Pistol at the top of the stairs. It's a lie, and we both know it. I think mom knows it too. Hell by now I think Pistol knows it. Both of them are looking real scared. Because if this goes wrong, he'll start on them too. But that's not gonna happen. I won't let it happen. Not to them too.
I look back at dad, "You know what, dad?" I ask him, "You bullshit about respect, but what you really want is fear! But you know what? I'm not afraid of you anymore!"
"You mouthin' off a lot of words, boy," he snarls, drawing his fist back again, "Let's see how many words you got after I-"
I hit him again. This punch is hard enough to spin him around, and he lands face down and facing away from me, "You want to try that again, dad?" I ask him, "You want me to do this for ten years, the way you did to me? If that's what you want... then bring it on! We'll do it, man to man! But maybe you want to go a few rounds with mom? Or start on Pistol?" I snatch my switchblade out of my jacket pocket, and flick it open, "Try it on them, and I swear to god I'll kill you."
He pushes himself up, looking at me. At the knife. And it's a new look. It's not anger. Sure as hell it's not respect. It's fear. He's trying to hide it, but it's too late now; I've seen it. It's all I can do to not stab him for ten years of pain, or even just hit him again, and he can see that. But I am not my dad. I am not my dad.
"Okay then," I step back, and I close the switchblade again and put it back in my jacket pocket, "I'm taking the VW, and I'm going with Max to hang at the mall," I tell him coldly, "I'll be back in a couple of hours."
"You can't just run out on me, son," dad's grinning nervously, "There's cans to crush and you'll get a quarter of what they bring in-"
"Do 'em yourself!" I snarl back at him, "And keep the quarter! " I pause, "And if you hurt mom or Pistol while I'm out, you are meat."
I slam the door so loud on my way out that a car alarm goes off.
"So... how'd it feel, to hit your dad before he got the punch in?" Max asked PJ.
PJ thought about it, staring at his burger, "It felt... great," he admitted, "You know, I think I'm still scared of him. I think a part of me always will be. But now I know... I know I'm better than he is. And I don't have to hit him to prove it – I just have to keep myself from hitting him when I don't need to."
"So... you think it's gonna turn out alright?" Max asked him.
"I sure hope so," PJ chewed on his burger.
"You think you'll have to do it again?" Max asked, "You know, with the knife and all? Maybe even go through with it?"
"I hope not," PJ admitted, swallowing his mouthful, "You know how much I hate to admit it, but... I guess fear really is the only language some people understand."
Breech: I'm afraid a lot of this story is truth in fiction. Abusive parents have done all the things PJ mentions. It's not based on one single story of abuse, but I'm afraid PJ is no exaggeration or compilation of how badly some parents will abuse their children.