"My sons love me!" Jack insisted. "They love their father. I have always taken care of my sons!"
Martha knew this was a lie.
Jack never sent a single penny in child support to his first son who was now in his twenties. Jack would not have sent anything to his second son except the state of Florida garnished his wages for child support. He never bought a Christmas or birthday present for his older sons. He never even sent a birthday card to them. Jack did not give a damn about his children except when it suited him to play the devoted father for some gain. It made Martha sick to watch Jack use their son, Mikey, for his personal gain. He told his co-workers that Mikey was sick and that the medicine was so expensive and not covered by insurance. His co-workers took up a collection to help buy medicine for Mikey. Truth was, there wasn't a thing wrong with Mikey. Jack lied. He collected money from people who could barely afford to take care of their own and used the money to buy booze. Martha often thought to tell his co-workers how he lied to them to get some money, but if anyone ever revealed she outed him, Jack would surely murder her.
"And I will be taking care of little Mikey too!" he shouted in her face. "You can count on that."
Martha looked at her feet. The nail polish was chipped here and there. She couldn't make eye contact with Jack. Eye contact would be perceived as a challenge and any challenge would be met with violence. She had no nail polish remover and no money to buy any. She would have to touch up the chipped polish and hope she could save back a few dollars to buy some polish remover next week.
Martha was snapped out of her focus on her chipped toenail polish by a sharp poke to the side of her head.
"Did you hear me, bitch?" Jack snarled.
Martha looked up at Jack who was looming over her with his fists clenched at his side, his jaw set and his nostrils flared. Jack was looking for an excuse to choke her and punch her in the head. Martha's forehead was still sore from the last time he punched her in the head. Jack was always careful not to give her a black eye. He never hit her in the face. Jack punched her in the side of her head a lot. He also liked to pull her hair and slam her head into the closest wall.
"I'm listening, Jack." Martha said. She tried to keep her eyes fixed on her toenails and her chipped nail polish.
"That fucking crack whore takes my child support and gets her hair done, gets her nails done, and my son does without!" Jack shouted. "Man, fuck that crack whore. My son knows I love him. He knows his mother is a fucking cunt whore! My son knows his daddy is a real man!"
My fucking god! Martha thought. That son-of-a-bitch never calls his son and complains about every cent that is garnished from his wages for child support.
Martha wanted to call him out and tell him she knew what he was really mad about. He was angry that he had to support his son because the state of Florida finally caught up with his deadbeat ass. He was calling the mother of his child a "crack whore" because that's what stupid people do when they have no valid argument -- they call names and make false accusations. According to Jack, every woman he ever knew before her was a crack whore. Every. Single. One. A. Crack. Whore. The mother of his oldest son was a crack whore. The mother of his second son was a crack whore. Martha figured if she lived long enough to escape him she too would be deemed a crack whore.
"You shouldn't accuse her of being a crack whore, Jack." Martha said. "You are morally and legally obligated to support your son. You shouldn't attack his mother because you don't want to pay support."
"The fuck!" Jack screamed at her.
Jack lunged forward and grabbed Martha by her throat. She instinctively grabbed his wrists as his long, strong fingers closed around her throat. Martha looked up at the face of the monster who was choking the very life out of her. His teeth were bared like a feral dog. There was spittle running from one corner of his mouth to his chin. Martha noticed that Jack had a really nasty blackhead in the corner of his mouth and his mustache was drawn on badly today. She closed her eyes and just waited for the darkness.
Maybe this time he will be merciful and just kill me, she thought.
Jack released his grip on her throat and Martha gasped for air.
"Fuck you," he spat. "You fucking bitch. What the fuck do you know about shit? Stupid motherfucker."
Jack walked out the front door. A few minutes later she heard the car start and Jack drove away.
Please let him crash into an utility pole and kill himself, she pleaded with whatever power controls the universe.
Jack came home after 2 AM stinking of booze and shit. He had pissed himself again. The front of his baggy jeans were wet from his crotch to his knees. Martha could smell cheap perfume and another woman's sex on him too.
"Hey baby girl," he slurred his words as he crawled into bed. "Make me some Ramen noodles, baby and put some of that chicken in them for me, baby. Love you baby. You my girl? You my girl, baby? I love you baby girl. Yeah, make me some noodles baby."
Fuck you! You stinking drunk! Martha thought.
She fled their bed before he could put his filthy hands on her. She went to the kitchen to heat water for the noodles. Martha heard his monstrous snoring before the water started to boil. She turned off the stove and then went to the living room and turned on the television. Christy Brinkley and Chuck Norris were demonstrating how to use an exercise machine that will give you fabulous abs in only a few weeks or your money back. Martha fell asleep on the sofa. She dreamed of life before Jack and it was good.