A Check For A Million Dollars

My father refused to pay the two contractors he had hired to build a wet bar in our living room and they told him that they were going to come over and kick his ass, which is exactly what they did. This happened in 1980, when I was eight years old. There was a knock on the front door and when my father opened it the two contractors jumped him. I was in the den watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century when it happened. I heard grunting and swearing and I walked out of the den and saw my father being attacked. I just stood there with the remote in my hand. One contractor got my father in a headlock while the other contractor punched him in the ribs and kicked him in the nuts. Then, for some reason, they ran. May father laid on the floor for a couple of minutes, then he got up, went into the kitchen, and poured himself a glass of iced tea. I stood there in my pajamas, the remote still in my hand, and I remember thinking to myself, That’s it? It didn’t seem like that big of deal, getting beat up. You got grabbed and hit and then it was over. No one died. No one spent any time in the hospital. It just didn’t seem that big of a deal. My father nursed his wounds and drank his iced tea and then he took a shower and put me to bed. He never mentioned what happened and neither did I. A few years ago I hired two contractors to build a tree house in old oak sitting square in the middle of my backyard. When they were finished I had some concerns about the type of wood they used for the tree house. My concerns had to do with the type of finish applied to the wood, and how the finish was reflecting the sunlight directly into my eyes whenever I stepped into the backyard. The two contractors told me they couldn’t fix anything until I paid them their final installment, and I told them I couldn’t pay them their final installment until they fixed it, so they kicked my ass. They broke my nose, cracked three of my ribs and tore my scrotal sack, and while they were doing it I remember thinking to myself, You know, this is really scary and if they don’t stop they might kill me and at the very least I think I’m probably going to have to go to the hospital and there’s no way I’m going to forget about this because this is going to stick with me forever and I think I’m ready for it to stop, so I tapped the contractor – the one who had me in a headlock – on his forearm and I said, Okay, stop, please, I’m done, I’m done, so he let me go. I got up off the ground and immediately wrote them a check. At first I wrote them a check for a million dollars, but then I caught myself and wrote a check for the right amount. Afterwards my son walked into the kitchen and asked me why those two men were beating me up, but I had a hard time answering his question because I was short of breath. My son told me he had watched the whole thing through the sliding glass doors. He asked me why I didn’t fight back and told him it was because I didn’t know how.


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