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A father questions his parenting choices after meeting a violent man living in the tropics.


Submitted:Mar 13, 2013    Reads: 11    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


'Stop it you beast! Leave that child alone!' Michael cried as he waddled across the weedy lawn. He stopped at the rickety Veranda where a naked man was striking a young child across the back with a broom before half a dozen quivering children.

'Stop! Stop!' He could barely hear his own voice over the crickets and the screams.

But the man did not relent.

'Stop! Stop! Stop!'

The man put down his brush. He stretched out his sweaty muscular body like a lion waking from a nap.

He turned to Michael, baring his yellow teeth. His fangs were sharp, too large for his mouth.

'What? What the blast has it got to do with you?'

Michael jumped back, his eyes wide.

'You can't do that! You should know better.'

'Why?'

'You're not from around here. You're from somewhere civilised.'

'Ha!'

'You should know better.'

'Better? These kids don't know any other language.'

'Are they yours?'

'I feed and clothe them. They are as good as mine.'

'Don't you speak Thai?'

'Not enough. They understand me though. You'll see. There won't be another peep out of them. Not until they want feeding.'

'There are other ways to discipline them.'

'There are? Such as?'

'Take away their privileges! Reason with them....'

'The only privileges this lot have got is the food I give them. Take away that and then they'd starve. You'd not think that was civilised either.'

'Send them to their rooms...'

The man laughed. 'They all share the same room.'

'Reward them for good behaviour...'

'Bah! None of that stuff works. You got kids?'

Michael nodded.

'You telling me when they're out of order and you 'take away their privileges' they magically behave?'

Michael turned red. The image of the police standing on his doorstep asking about the screaming child entered his mind. The screaming child was his child, Millie, and she had been screaming in protest about being sent to her room for beating her younger brother with a broken chair leg. The screams had worried the neighbours. They had worried that Millie was being beaten.

'No, but it's better than hitting them.

'And how would you know? You've never hit them, have you?'

'No, and I never will. Never. It doesn't work in the long run. I mean it's obviously is not working for you otherwise they would not be misbehaving.'

'Kids are beasts. They can never be tamed. This'll tame 'em for a while though. Leave me to get on with my work. When they forget, they'll get another reminder.'

'They are not the beasts! You are the beast!'

The man struck the door with his fist.

'Get the hell away from my property and mind your own bleeding business!'

The man stomped into the house, casting a glance at Micheal and then the flock of children before he slammed the door behind him.

Michael crept up to the door and looked through the mosquito net. The man was sitting at a typewriter, tapping away.

'I've a good mind to report you to the police', he said.

The man arose and turned to Michael. His sun-kissed face was as black as thunder. He stormed to the door and opened it.

'The Police are busy protecting the local girls here, girls as young as twelve, working at a brothel just down the road from 'ere. Girls who need protecting from podgy, sick, perverted tourists whose wives stopped putting out a long time ago. You know the type.'

His dark blue eyes stared at the wedding ring on the Michael's finger.

'God help him if I ever got my hands on one of those perverts.'

Michael began walking backwards.

'Shouldn't you be getting back to the missus. She'll be waking up soon. Don't want her to notice you're gone now, do you?'

Michael turned and fled across the grass and up the swamp. Who was that beast to make judgements about his own activities that morning? Those young girls seemed all too happy to take his money from him. The third one this morning had been charm itself. There had even been a policeman frequenting the premises. Would that beast have the guts to judge a man of the law, a man with a gun, a man with the power to arrest him? No, he was a bully, that's what he was, pushing around those weaker than him.

He would ask at reception about reporting the beast. He could not allow such abuse to go on. Fancy believing that the only way to control children was through violence! No, he thought, ideas had progressed; man lived in more civilised times. He owed it to those children to protect them. He would do so at once he vowed as approached the five star beachside hotel, a towering skyscraper breaking into the vista of mountains and the sea like someone had taken a knife and torn a tear in a classic landscape. As he entered, he saw his wife and children sitting at breakfast. He made his way to the reception desk.

'How may I help you sir?' asked the receptionist.

He shuffled from one foot to another.

'I want to make a report.'

'What about sir.'

'About a man living in the jungle who beats children...'

'Sir, you will have to speak to the police.'

'I don't want to speak to the police...' he felt around his collar and wiped sweat from his brow, 'I want you to make the report for me.'

'I will get my manager Sir.'

'Aren't you capable of such a simple task?' His throat felt dry. He felt a little faint. He wondered if the beast would tell the police where he had been coming from that morning. He wondered if they would let it go. Maybe he could buy them off.

'I'm sorry Sir but it's not our duty to..'

Michael wondered if his wife would find out. But she had been bought off anyway. This holiday was part of the bribe.

'Oh forget it!'

He marched away, desperate for a drink of water. He took one from the buffet table, a feast for all the lounging breakfasters, a feast laden with fruits, meats, cheeses and juices, as colourful as the island itself. He gulped down a glass of water before joining his family at their table.

'Oh you aren't half sweating Michael,' said his wife. 'It's too hot to be marching around outside. You should know...'

A shriek could be heard. It came from Millie, Michael's eldest, who had been struck around the back of the neck. Her brother, Tomas, the middle child, sat beside her, looking up at the ceiling the moment his father's eyes were upon him.

'Tomas!' said Michael.

Tomas stuck out his tongue, laughed and then screamed as Millie slapped him across the face. Greta, the youngest giggled. Tomas took her wrists and Chinese burned them. Amidst the screaming, laughing and cries of Mummy, Michael's wife looked around the dining room and saw how the other guests glared at them. 'Children, stop it,' she muttered under her breath, crimson red, with all the conviction of the devil telling a glutton to stop eating cakes.

The children looked at their mother and then at their father, their eyes glinting, and carried on hitting and teasing one another. Millie went as far as to take her bowl of cornflakes and pour it over Tomas who then smothered the gooey mess in her face.

'Right! That's it! No television tonight!' said Michael.

Greta smashed a banana in Tomas's face.

'Michael, please! Show some authority for once!'

'You do something!'

'I try but they only laugh at me. Michael, show them who is the boss for goodness sake.'

'They laugh at me too!'

'This is ridiculous. What a poor excuse for a man you are! God I hope she', she glared at Millie, 'never gets married.'

'Excuse me? You are their parent too...'

Their volume increased in tandem with the naughtiness of their children until another guest interrupted them by shouting: 'Will you do something to control your children?'

'Stop it!' hissed Michael, like a worm imitating a snake. He glared at them but they simply giggled and carried on.

'Stop it!' screamed Michael.

But they paid not the slightest bit of attention. In fact, they misbehaved even more as Greta began dragging Millie across the floor by her hair while Tomas took a spoon and began smacking Greta on the legs with it.

'For God's sake listen to me! If this continues you'll go to your rooms' roared their father, like a pussycat trying to kid a mouse it was a lion.

'What am I supposed to do?' he pleaded to his wife.

She looked at him. Her face mirrored his own helplessness.

'Enough!' she screamed. 'Stop it you beasts!'

The beast. Yes, his ways were wicked but he knew how to control those children. Michael remembered the beast standing there naked, beating that child. He remembered how quiet all the children had been after the beating. The beast had been right! Yes, that was the solution; the beast's methods would solve this mess.

He began to undress.'Stop it you beast! Leave that child alone!' Michael cried as he waddled across the weedy lawn. He stopped at the rickety Veranda where a naked man was striking a young child across the back with a broom before half a dozen quivering children.

'Stop! Stop!' He could barely hear his own voice over the crickets and the screams.

But the man did not relent.

'Stop! Stop! Stop!'

The man put down his brush. He stretched out his sweaty muscular body like a lion waking from a nap.

He turned to Michael, baring his yellow teeth. His fangs were sharp, too large for his mouth.

'What? What the blast has it got to do with you?'

Michael jumped back, his eyes wide.

'You can't do that! You should know better.'

'Why?'

'You're not from around here. You're from somewhere civilised.'

'Ha!'

'You should know better.'

'Better? These kids don't know any other language.'

'Are they yours?'

'I feed and clothe them. They are as good as mine.'

'Don't you speak Thai?'

'Not enough. They understand me though. You'll see. There won't be another peep out of them. Not until they want feeding.'

'There are other ways to discipline them.'

'There are? Such as?'

'Take away their privileges! Reason with them....'

'The only privileges this lot have got is the food I give them. Take away that and then they'd starve. You'd not think that was civilised either.'

'Send them to their rooms...'

The man laughed. 'They all share the same room.'

'Reward them for good behaviour...'

'Bah! None of that stuff works. You got kids?'

Michael nodded.

'You telling me when they're out of order and you 'take away their privileges' they magically behave?'

Michael turned red. The image of the police standing on his doorstep asking about the screaming child entered his mind. The screaming child was his child, Millie, and she had been screaming in protest about being sent to her room for beating her younger brother with a broken chair leg. The screams had worried the neighbours. They had worried that Millie was being beaten.

'No, but it's better than hitting them.

'And how would you know? You've never hit them, have you?'

'No, and I never will. Never. It doesn't work in the long run. I mean it's obviously is not working for you otherwise they would not be misbehaving.'

'Kids are beasts. They can never be tamed. This'll tame 'em for a while though. Leave me to get on with my work. When they forget, they'll get another reminder.'

'They are not the beasts! You are the beast!'

The man struck the door with his fist.

'Get the hell away from my property and mind your own bleeding business!'

The man stomped into the house, casting a glance at Micheal and then the flock of children before he slammed the door behind him.

Michael crept up to the door and looked through the mosquito net. The man was sitting at a typewriter, tapping away.

'I've a good mind to report you to the police', he said.

The man arose and turned to Michael. His sun-kissed face was as black as thunder. He stormed to the door and opened it.

'The Police are busy protecting the local girls here, girls as young as twelve, working at a brothel just down the road from 'ere. Girls who need protecting from podgy, sick, perverted tourists whose wives stopped putting out a long time ago. You know the type.'

His dark blue eyes stared at the wedding ring on the Michael's finger.

'God help him if I ever got my hands on one of those perverts.'

Michael began walking backwards.

'Shouldn't you be getting back to the missus. She'll be waking up soon. Don't want her to notice you're gone now, do you?'

Michael turned and fled across the grass and up the swamp. Who was that beast to make judgements about his own activities that morning? Those young girls seemed all too happy to take his money from him. The third one this morning had been charm itself. There had even been a policeman frequenting the premises. Would that beast have the guts to judge a man of the law, a man with a gun, a man with the power to arrest him? No, he was a bully, that's what he was, pushing around those weaker than him.

He would ask at reception about reporting the beast. He could not allow such abuse to go on. Fancy believing that the only way to control children was through violence! No, he thought, ideas had progressed; man lived in more civilised times. He owed it to those children to protect them. He would do so at once he vowed as approached the five star beachside hotel, a towering skyscraper breaking into the vista of mountains and the sea like someone had taken a knife and torn a tear in a classic landscape. As he entered, he saw his wife and children sitting at breakfast. He made his way to the reception desk.

'How may I help you sir?' asked the receptionist.

He shuffled from one foot to another.

'I want to make a report.'

'What about sir.'

'About a man living in the jungle who beats children...'

'Sir, you will have to speak to the police.'

'I don't want to speak to the police...' he felt around his collar and wiped sweat from his brow, 'I want you to make the report for me.'

'I will get my manager Sir.'

'Aren't you capable of such a simple task?' His throat felt dry. He felt a little faint. He wondered if the beast would tell the police where he had been coming from that morning. He wondered if they would let it go. Maybe he could buy them off.

'I'm sorry Sir but it's not our duty to..'

Michael wondered if his wife would find out. But she had been bought off anyway. This holiday was part of the bribe.

'Oh forget it!'

He marched away, desperate for a drink of water. He took one from the buffet table, a feast for all the lounging breakfasters, a feast laden with fruits, meats, cheeses and juices, as colourful as the island itself. He gulped down a glass of water before joining his family at their table.

'Oh you aren't half sweating Michael,' said his wife. 'It's too hot to be marching around outside. You should know...'

A shriek could be heard. It came from Millie, Michael's eldest, who had been struck around the back of the neck. Her brother, Tomas, the middle child, sat beside her, looking up at the ceiling the moment his father's eyes were upon him.

'Tomas!' said Michael.

Tomas stuck out his tongue, laughed and then screamed as Millie slapped him across the face. Greta, the youngest giggled. Tomas took her wrists and Chinese burned them. Amidst the screaming, laughing and cries of Mummy, Michael's wife looked around the dining room and saw how the other guests glared at them. 'Children, stop it,' she muttered under her breath, crimson red, with all the conviction of the devil telling a glutton to stop eating cakes.

The children looked at their mother and then at their father, their eyes glinting, and carried on hitting and teasing one another. Millie went as far as to take her bowl of cornflakes and pour it over Tomas who then smothered the gooey mess in her face.

'Right! That's it! No television tonight!' said Michael.

Greta smashed a banana in Tomas's face.

'Michael, please! Show some authority for once!'

'You do something!'

'I try but they only laugh at me. Michael, show them who is the boss for goodness sake.'

'They laugh at me too!'

'This is ridiculous. What a poor excuse for a man you are! God I hope she', she glared at Millie, 'never gets married.'

'Excuse me? You are their parent too...'

Their volume increased in tandem with the naughtiness of their children until another guest interrupted them by shouting: 'Will you do something to control your children?'

'Stop it!' hissed Michael, like a worm imitating a snake. He glared at them but they simply giggled and carried on.

'Stop it!' screamed Michael.

But they paid not the slightest bit of attention. In fact, they misbehaved even more as Greta began dragging Millie across the floor by her hair while Tomas took a spoon and began smacking Greta on the legs with it.

'For God's sake listen to me! If this continues you'll go to your rooms' roared their father, like a pussycat trying to kid a mouse it was a lion.

'What am I supposed to do?' he pleaded to his wife.

She looked at him. Her face mirrored his own helplessness.

'Enough!' she screamed. 'Stop it you beasts!'

The beast. Yes, his ways were wicked but he knew how to control those children. Michael remembered the beast standing there naked, beating that child. He remembered how quiet all the children had been after the beating. The beast had been right! Yes, that was the solution; the beast's methods would solve this mess.

He began to undress.





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