"Fuck off!" Doosh. A (Central European) size-27 foot comes crashing down on my head with all the might a four-year-old girl can muster. No reaction. "Stupid, sticky man!" Nothing. Her English stock of insults used up, Edwina resorts to Czech. "Blbce! Pitomce! Teplousi! Drz pec!" The way they trip off the tongue suggests we are on more familiar territory here, and yet... Faggot? Shut your gob?
Her pops are nothing compared to her mother's Kalashnikov. "You utter bastard!" Slap. "Bloody lazy arsehole!" A wet towel thwacks down on my left cheek, jolting my head to one side as the right cheek cowers. “Call. Yourself. A fucking. Father?” Slap slap slap kerpow. As her ammunition is spent I hear the catatonic drone of her depression welling up with the tears. This is not good. Better to have her manic and thrashing than depressed and moaning on the bed, spittle in the corner of her mouth, eyes staring into oblivion, wallowing in the injustice of it all. In the next room, Victoria whimpers for her mother’s breast.
Edwina's sun-shaped energy-friendly bedroom lights bathe my blobby body as I lie arched on my back over her fluorescent-green beanbag. A temple exalting my immoderate belly, boxed in by limp intellect and stubborn warts. Edwina is running a temperature and tonight I have been appointed her nurse, ready to administer liquid Nurofen and ice-cold towels and soothing words. But I have not slept for two days and nothing will wake me. Hatty is here, she will look after her child. Our child. And I can slumber, oblivious to the insults and punches raining on me.