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Off to a Bad Start

Everyone remembers their first time.

And by first time I mean paying back all the sonsofbitches who done you wrong. No matter how you do it, always feels right.

Off to a Bad Start by Steve Sibra




When anybody asks—and they seldom do—but if anybody asks I have to tell them that I lost my virginity in an Alabama outhouse. Truth is, it was nowhere near as romantic as it sounds.

I was twelve years old and inside sitting on the big hole—I always used the little hole but this one time I was braving it. In busts the door and there’s my Uncle Gage, just as boiled drunk as a barn owl and looking at me real strange. Next thing I know he grabs me and I am bent over the bench with my face stuck in that big shit hole and he is taking his pleasure with me, there in the middle of the stink and the flies. When he was done he threw me to the floor like trash and he left. And that was about it. This happened four days before I left home.

Two days before I left home, I went to my father and I told him what his brother had done. He was staring at me and listening intently; but then I started to cry just a little bit. Just a single tear, actually, running down one cheek. I reached up with my sleeve and I wiped it away—but when I looked back my father had a completely different look on his face. I knew then that I was undone.

One day before I left home my father took me in front of Uncle Gage and he told him what I had said. Uncle Gage was sitting on an old wooden chair on the back porch. He looked at my Pa and he listened to him talk and the expression on his face was completely blank—it never changed. I watched him and I was near to crying again, but this time I held it back.

My father said to Uncle Gage, “What do you make of this, Gage?” My uncle never said a word; he just looked at my father for the longest time with that blank look on his face. Then he looked at me the same way, and he lowered his head and shook it slowly from side to side as if he was ashamed—not of himself, but of me, for telling such a tale.

My father took me behind that outhouse and he whipped me with his belt; he whipped me on my bare ass until I bled. My nut sack was tore and it bled. My whole rear side was covered in red blood. I cried good that time—I couldn’t help it. I cried like a real little baby. Or so my father said as he finished up and left me there in the dirt.

The day I left home, I watched Uncle Gage go into the outhouse. I waited about thirty seconds or so then I kicked that door open as hard as I could. Uncle Gage was sitting on that big hole and he had a look of shock on his face. I raised up the twelve gauge shotgun and I cocked both barrels so he could hear me do it. I pointed it right at his head.

I said some things to him then; I don’t remember rightly what it was but I said what I felt like I had to say. He started out grinning but the grin was off his face by the time I was done talking. He started to cry, in fact. A single tear ran down one cheek. Then another on the other cheek. Then another, and another.

“You're nothin’ but a big baby,” I told him. “You are a big cry baby and big cry babies get punished, and shamed, and left lying face down in the shit. That’s what they get.”

That’s what I said to him. Then I gave him both barrels. One, then I stopped and waited for a tick. I looked at him. Then I gave him the other. Right where he sat.

And that was what happened that day. The day I left home. For good.
I guess it was all for good. Well, I mean I know it was Good. But sometimes I ain’t sure it was For Good. I get to thinking sometimes, about my old man. I get to thinking maybe it would be for good if I went and saw him. Just one more time. I mean, it’s been eleven years. Eleven years of just thinking about it.

Maybe going to see him that one last time. I think maybe that would be For Good.

Steve Sibra grew up accident-prone on a small farm in eastern Montana. He was nearly killed as a child by a tractor, a barn door and an errant .22 rifle shot. He now lives safely in Seattle with a wife and some docile animals. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Down in the Dirt, Jawline Review, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Shattered Wig, and others.