Robert Bard

Sound and Fury

In Mimesis on December 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Cacophony! Cacophony! Reginald could not get his bearings. He was screaming at his family in the kitchen of his parents’ house, brandishing a knife and waving it at them, threatening to kill them. This had been going on for some time. He couldn’t explain it. He didn’t know why he was doing it. He just couldn’t control the anger. It surged through him like a current of electricity and he just exploded. One little spark and the whole powder keg went up. He really couldn’t control himself.

“Yeah, dad?” he screamed. “Well I’ll come to your fuckin’ nursing home and beat you to death with a baseball bat! You’re gonna get old someday, and I’ll be fuckin’ waiting for you! Who do you think is supposed to take care of you when you’re old? First chance I get I’m pullin’ the fuckin’ plug!”

His dad was screaming back at him, all red in the face, drops of sweat dripping down from his bald head. The redness of his dad’s face was even more sharply contrasted by the whiteness of his hair, or at least what was left of it. His dad’s hair was white primarily from raising Reginald. His dad was yelling from a recliner on the other end of the room, in the family room that adjoined the kitchen. There was no wall in between them. Reginald’s mom, his brother, and Elizabeth were trying to diffuse the situation. Reginald’s brother stepped in and said, “Hey, I’m not going to sit around and listen to you threatening to kill the whole family. Put the knife down.”

Reginald didn’t want to act like this. He was hurting inside, deeply hurting. He just didn’t know how to express himself when he got like this. It was like riding a rabid bull. There was almost no controlling it. “Yeah?” he screamed at his brother. “Well, I’ll fuckin’ kill you too!” He took the knife, and for a brief moment was actually going to kill his own brother, his best friend since he was a boy, only two years separating them, but at the last moment started stabbing the cutting board instead. The knife broke, and the impacts on the wood made his hand slip, causing him to cut his hand. Blood started coming from the wound in a steady flow. Reginald began cursing profusely. Elizabeth got a towel and started caring to Reginald.

“Calm down, baby” she said. “Do you want to go for a walk? Get some air?”

Reginald agreed to go, and they went out the door, slamming it on the way.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Elizabeth asked once they were outside.

Reginald was silent, fuming. His jaw was clenched, eyes staring straight ahead. His hands were balled into fists, and he held a paper towel that was turning red with blood from the cut on his hand. After they had walked about a half a mile in silence he stopped and turned to her. “I don’t know what’s wrong,” he said, his breath labored, but returning back to normal. “I can’t control it. The other day I spent an hour in my room listening to Mozart really loud and cutting my legs with a Buck knife, then with my razor because my knife wasn’t sharp enough. Today I almost stabbed my brother.”

Elizabeth reached out and pulled him into her arms, hugging him tightly. They stood for a couple minutes like that, and Reginald could feel himself relaxing in her embrace. “I love my brother,” he said. “People used to think we were twins. We went everywhere together. My mom even dressed us up in identical outfits for school picture day.”

He stood back a little bit so that Elizabeth could see him better. His eyes had a hyaline transparency to them, and his gaze was far off. “I feel wrong about the way I treated him. I used to try to knife fight with him when he was only two years old, and I was four. I beat on him viciously until he took wrestling and was able to finally beat me up. I always wondered if he took wrestling so that he could. I want to tell him that I’m sorry, but I just don’t know how. I want to tell my whole family that I’m sorry.”

Elizabeth nodded, and said, “This will come in time. They’ll understand.”

Reginald let out an exasperated sigh, “But what if they don’t? I haven’t exactly been the easiest to grow up around. All my relationships have fallen apart because of my mania. I don’t know how to explain to them that it’s the disease.”

He hugged Elizabeth, and they stood there for a moment in silence. “I think you’re having a manic break because of the ecstasy you did with me at the festival. You should probably go to the hospital and get evaluated,” she said.

This was Reginald’s worst fear. He had been evaluated before, but every time he minimized why he was there. He did not want to be kept overnight. He knew Elizabeth was right, but he didn’t care. He’d made it twenty-four years without visiting a hospital, he was sure he could make it another twenty-four years without one. He told Elizabeth as much.

She looked up at him as she held him a little tighter. “If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your family. Do it,” she said, “for me.”

He sighed, and the tension that was built up in him evaporated. There was no one else on Earth that could talk him down like this. No one. “C’mon,” he said. “We’d better get going if we’re going to make it to the hospital.”

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