“Not Again,” sixteen year-old Jared Sutton whispered.
His eyes popped open in the middle of the night for the third time this week. Jared’s father was awake and making noise in the kitchen. As Jared exhaled, the muffled bumps and bangs increased with less intervals of silence and peace. He tried holding his breath while he prayed his father would cease with the late night disorderly conduct.
Jared’s father, Charles Sutton, was a local judge in a small town in Missouri. The job wasn’t particularly stressful, especially since the family had relocated from the Chicago area where Mr. Sutton was on a career fast track. He was serving as the state of Illinois’s intermediate appellate court after a brief stint on the trial level. Charles Sutton was a rockstar from the moment he left school. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio, and then attended Princeton Law School where he was authoring articles for the Law Review and received a highly sought after clerkship at the State Supreme Court level once he passed the bar with a lackadaisical stride. He landed in Chicago, married his adoring wife Mary, and shortly had his two beautiful children thereafter, Jared and Susan.
The sudden move to a tiny jurisdiction in the middle of nowhere is what precipitated Charles Sutton’s increasingly stranger and stranger behavior. For all intents and purposes, this was a sign of career failure; rapidly careening downward was not the predicted outcome for him whatsoever. But Charles liked getting high. Really high. Throughout law school he was notoriously gifted at drinking regularly while maintaining outstanding grades. His performance also justified partaking in just about any substance he could get his hands on. Charles, or “Chucker” as he was affectionately referred to by his cohorts, derived from his incredibly ability to endlessly “chuck” back booze. Charles loved the adrenaline rush associated with the challenge of creating obstacles for himself. He wasn’t sure if it was because he was bored or he genuinely believed he was beyond reproach from fate or God.
However, this was the past. Now, Charles was faced with cleaning up a messy situation. What led to the move down to Missouri was a scandal that, to say the least, was embarrassing. He was caught with piles of cocaine on his desk while giving a blowjob to one of his clerks and sodomizing a female paralegal. He had always had bisexual tendencies. To Charles, this was the epitome of power. He was expected to make impartial decisions in order to preserve justice, which was tremendous pressure. Thus indulgences such as indiscriminate fornication, drugs, and booze were also justified. This was balancing the scales so-to-speak.
He fancied himself as a Roman magistrate reincarnated in 1984. His identity transgressed time and space. The Honorable Charles Quincy Sutton assumed was entitled to an ancient rite; perhaps he was possessed by the bloated, corrupt and flatulent ghost that once wandered the forum. Charles was a victim of his ego more than any poison he religiously ingested.
He was a monolith of a man. Charles stood six feet four inches with a full head of peppered gray hair. It had a swooping appearance that complimented is regal forehead. He was blessed with a sharp jaw, broad shoulders and gait that elicited pause from lowly paralegals as he marched by them in the hallway. Natural athleticism and hard work consistently landed him in commanding roles on the soccer and baseball fields. Women swooned; being blessed with a huge cock was also a bonus. And his wife’s hollers were a testimony to that fact. Charles was two tons conservative and Darwinian. An alpha male that imbued the patriarchal installation of a neo-liberalism, a government that only involves itself in order to enforce the will of God. It keeps America great for some, while it tips scales of justice in the other direction for the less fortunate.
That night Charles was not this man. Jared slowly rolled out of his Empire Strikes Back sheets, pulled over a quilt knitted by his great-grandmother, set is feet on the carpet and then shuffled down the steps. The sounds grew louder as he descended and then turned into the dining room where he could see only a vignette of the partially lit galley. The boy watched as his grown father wobbled around in his white briefs that sagged in the crotch so much that his testicles swayed back and forth exposed. Jared’s father’s legs were horribly bruised, and his knocked knees shuttered to hold up the massive man’s physique. The Chucker was definitely not everyone’s favorite party hound this evening. He clumsily bobbled pots and pans in an attempt to make macaroni and cheese. The box of dried pasta, dehydrated powder and milk were strewn all over the chevron tiled floor. Jared could almost hear his mother’s nagging that spills can stain the grout if you don’t get it out quickly.
Jared stared apathetically at his old man. These episodes were getting more frequent for some reason. The house was getting phone calls from his dad’s work that inquired as to Mr. Sutton’s whereabouts. Jared or Susan would answer and say “Who?” or “You want my Dad?” only to have the handset grabbed by their mother. Mrs. Sutton always had a swift excuse ready; as if seconds were running out on her during a quiz show.
Mary was from a very wealthy family in Lake Forest on the outskirts of Chicago. A stern protest upbringing, she was procured for a private education and destined to marry within her class. At an attractive five foot six, Mary’s intelligence is what really lit up a room. She enjoyed physics but excelled in economics. Her father, Maximilian Hurst, was an engineer and her mother, Meredith was an attorney. Mrs. Sutton probably wouldn’t have gotten married and had children if she wasn’t already sufficiently fulfilled in her life. Traveling to Spain semi-annually and living abroad in Sweden for three years, the bilingual mother of two knew she would return to the academy someday.
“What are you looking at, you ungrateful shit?” Charles Sutton blabbed at his son.
“You woke me up Dad, what are you doing tonight?” Jared responded wearily.
“You know something, y-you are so lucky, do y-you know that, son” Jared’s father slurred.
“Oh really, Dad.”
“Yes, you sm-sma-art-ass, kids live in this country with nothing, nothing, you hear me!?”
Suddenly, Mr. Sutton charged at his son, then reached out and struck him on the head with the handle of a wooden spoon as he fell to floor. Jared moved back as he was hit and clipped the door jamb and crumpled on the hardwood floor. Terrified, Jared bounced up, and quickly retreated, but turned back to see his father passed out face down.