IT ALL STARTED back when we were growing up in a rural area that I won’t identify too closely. My father is a mean, violent alcoholic who’s a danger to the rest of our family. My mother is already going insane, probably because of the strain of living with my father. I’m just a scared little girl trying to hold my family together. Oh yes, then there’s the remaining member of my family, my Big Brother.
My Big Brother is two years older than me. He’s a strange child. He’s very intelligent, perhaps too intelligent. He can solve problems, but doesn’t do too well with people. That last is, at least from Big Brother’s point of view, to change.
My father’s drinking has escalated to the point of him being a present danger to the rest of the family. Mother and I are terrified and have no idea what to do. Big Brother sees the situation only as yet another problem to be solved.
I have quit going to school because I have to stay home and supervise my mother. Mother has housekeeping skills that we need. Father just goes off, sometimes for days, and gets drunk. We live on welfare and charity.
Big Brother leaves the house each morning. We think he’s going to school. He leaves the house with no lunch, no books and not even a pencil or notepaper as we have no money at all. Unfortunately, Big Brother fantasizes that he has met some sort of aliens. Instead of going to school, he goes off and interacts with his fantasy aliens and then returns home at the end of each day. Father is rarely there (and just as well.) Mother is there, but mostly delusional. Thus, I’m the only one Big Brother ever tells of his fantasy aliens.
One day, when Big Brother is ten years old, he returns from a visit with his fantasy aliens, bearing food and some housekeeping supplies. He also has some sort of strange weapon, basically a blade on the end of a longish pole.
I’m sure that he’s stolen the food and supplies. However, in our dire financial situation I really can’t worry too much about where things that we need come from. I just take the supplies he brings me and thank Big Brother. I then begin to fix the first decent supper that we have had for weeks.
That night our father returns home, wild drunk. Big Brother calmly goes out and tells father that we don’t need a drunk and that father should move on. Reeling drunk father then attacks Big Brother. Somehow, ten-year-old Big Brother manages to avoid father’s desperate, drunken rushes and inflicts major damage with the pole knife.
Fortunately, the police have been notified, apparently by someone at one of the bars where father was drinking, and they come, searching for Father. The police prevent Big Brother from killing Father. The police take Father off to the hospital and would have taken Big Brother as well. However, Big Brother still has the pole knife and a really bad attitude.