Trying to escape the sweltering house, Jerry and I laid out blankets in the front lawn under the dining room window. Jason and Je’re were asleep in their shared bedroom and rather than Jerry sleeping on his couch and me on my loveseat, we decided to enjoy the coolness of the evening and sprawl out on the grass. It was late, probably around 2 am when the car came spinning into the driveway, spewing rocks in every direction. Mel jumped out of the car as soon as it reached the gravel and charged toward the front door. Dad, with his head hung out the window of the driver’s side, was yelling at Mel to stop and accidently ran over her foot. The scene went from crazy to fucking crazy in an instant. From the glow of the moon, we could see dried blood down Mel’s chin and that it covered the front of her shirt. Mel jumped through the driver’s window to punch dad and he tried to grab her arm. Jerry and I cowered low, not wanting the violence to turn toward us in any way, but there was nothing in Mel’s eyes but drunken intensity toward my dad.
Dad let the car die, jumped out of the driver’s side and began to defend himself against the She-storm. Mel’s eyes were beginning to swell shut and we could see that her front bridge had been knocked out. Her bloody toothless mouth was visible in the bright moonlight, a scene I would encounter years later in a zombie movie, and Jerry and I scrambled to stay out of sight on our blanket. Mel stormed into the house and Dad ran after her. What I didn’t know and which Jerry had recently informed me was that Dad had hidden his gun. Because of their regular volatile fights Dad didn’t want Mel to have quick access to a weapon. What Dad didn’t know was that Mel had found his gun and hidden in her own secret place.
The crashing continued into the house as Mel unleashed her fury and Dad grabbed at her to try and slow her down. There was no stopping her, the threshold had been passed and Dad was directly in her sights. If he had asked, I would have told him to run, but logic had long abandoned his drunken senses and my Dad tried to reason with a hurricane. Jerry and I timidly peeked through the front window as to carefully not draw any attention but to see what was happening. I remember it looked like the pro wrestling of which Mel was so fond; Saturday nights, The Flying Dutchman Dutch Savage and Superfly Jimmy Snuka. Mel was flailing, screaming and throwing anything within her reach and Dad was trying to hold her down as best he could. After about of a minute of intense struggling, Mel wrestled her body free, grabbed a wrought iron dining room chair, lifted it above her head and threw it directly at Dad. Fortunately Dad’s reflexes were still functioning and he ducked just in time for the chair to whiz past his head and fly straight through the window under which Jerry and I were hiding. We had both seen it coming and moved clear just in time. A spectacular crash echoed down the street and as the chair, glass and pieces of wooden frame tumbled to on top of our blanket.
The ruckus sobered Dad for a second, enough time for Mel to break free and bolt to the kids’ bedroom. She burst into the bedroom yelling, “Look at what your Dad did to me!” Four and five year olds awaken to a screaming, drunken, bloody, toothless zombie. Both Jason and Je’re burst into howls of terror and the chaos now included two wailing kids on top of the screaming and crashing glass. I stood frozen, not sure if I should run and scoop up the kids or stay put. The level of violence was certainly beyond my limit and both Jerry and I decided to stay outside, out of sight.
I’m not sure how the scene unfolded exactly, but it quickly became evident that Mel had found the gun. Strangely, the loud intensity of the explosion was followed by immediate silence, bar the barking of the dogs throughout the neighborhood. Because Mel had missed her target Dad was quietly and quickly mapping out his exit. The silence was temporary as the shock wore off and the babies began wailing and Mel began yelling. Dad quickly joined us outside but continued running all the way to the curb. It was at that moment the cop cars drove up.