Roaring Drunk is a term that must have been named after the kind of drunk
Uncle Bloddy became on rare occasions like Fridays. Aunt Maggie didn’t like it; she
told him she didn’t like it many times. She didn’t like it because first he wanted to fight
and then he wanted to have sex. The fighting part was no problem; it was the sex part
that particularly pissed Maggie off. Ruined the whole mad. The little bugger with his
neck and ear breathing always got his way if she let him get close enough.
Bloddy came from a clan of forgive and forgetters. He thought they should fight
and then forget and forgive, shake hands, make up, and then go to bed. Maggie was
not a good forget and forgiver at all. Brooded. Never learned the skill properly. Came
from a family of frying pan swingers. She told him that the next time he came home that way, roaring drunk, she wasn’t going to let him in the house and that was that. Her position was that this afforded the greatest percentage chance of them both surviving to an old age. His
position was that he lived there, he paid the bills, and she damned well better let him
in the house or else. He never clearly defined the ‘or else’ because he didn’t know what
the ‘or else’ was going to be. Didn’t think he’d have any need of that part.
It wasn’t many days before Bloddy came home with a
roaring drunk on again and found the door locked. “Maggie, Maggie,” he called, “the
door’s locked. Come unlock it for me, Darling, there’s a sweet lass.”
“MAGGIE! THE DOOR IS LOCKED AND I CAN’T GET IN,” he
roared, awakening the Catcavages next door and the dogs on Fifth Street. Lights
began to come on in the neighborhood.
Maggie, who had gone to sleep on the living room couch long before, ran
upstairs, opened the upstairs bedroom window and called down, “I’m not leaving you
in, Bloddy. Now I would suggest you go somewhere and sleep it off and then you may
come home when you are sober and proper.”
“What!” Bloddy was shocked by the reality of a situation that he thought of as
only hypothetical until this very moment. “What!” he said again, swinging his arms
loosely and swaying at the waist.
“Be quiet and go away. And since you spend so much of your money at the
saloon, perhaps the proprietor will let you sleep there too,” she snapped, as she
slammed the window down.
This statement completely dumbfounded Uncle Bloddy in the state that he was
in. He stared at the sidewalk in wonder. “She’s keeping me out of my own home?” He
turned around and stumbled a few steps before turning back. “Well, I’ll be damned!”
He cupped his hands around his mouth so that his voice could reach Exeter at
least. “Well you had better stand away from that door, woman, because Bloddy
Whiteside is coming in whether or no.”
With that, he rushed around to the backyard of the house; head swiveling back
and forth, searching for something with the qualities he had in mind; snatched up a
long clothes prop, and headed back to the front. There, halfway between the porch with its four steps and the wrought iron gate, he turned to face the entire building. With feet placed wide and clothesline prop held vertical at his side, Bloddy Whiteside in his magnificence shouted, “Open the door, Maggie Whiteside, this is your last chance and I’m sorry to be telling you this.”
He waited. Nothing.
“THAT’S IT THEN, WOMAN!” Bloddy roared. He placed the end of the clothesline
prop beneath his arm, lowered the point, and charged a fateful charge.
“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaah,” roared Bloddy as he gained a high rate of speed, hit the
steps running–which raised the point of his lance higher than the porch roof, by the
way–charged up the steps–the point of the clothesline prop raising higher and higher
fell over backwards, bounced off the steps, and landed flat onto his back in the prize
Azalea bush. After a minute or so, he groaned.
As Maggie told it later, when she heard her man crash onto the steps, she
came running down to gather up the pieces. But before she set foot onto the porch, he
was miraculously regaining his feet and if anything his rage had doubled. She hiked
her nightdress up over her knees, and ran back up the stairs. Upon seeing her, “HO. HO, ” Bloddy roared, “Now you’ve truly broken it, woman. And–” He stopped and broke into some rapacious coughing which derailed his train of thought. “Now. …Now.” He waggled his finger trying to hold on to it but the words slithered away from him. Not being able to think of anything else, he commenced with the siege plan.
What was it? Oh yes. He plunged toward the wrought iron gate dragging his lance behind. Opened it and wobbled as fast as he could to the center of the street, turned, and faced the front door once more. It was 2 A.M., there was no traffic at that hour.
As a matter of decent reporting here it should be noted
that Maggie could never come up with an explanation for the need to run upstairs to
the bedroom after each encounter, for that is precisely where she did not wish to be if
her husband got himself in. Another historical curiosity is that the top half of the front door was a glass window which Bloddy could easily have knocked out with the back of his hand. A
reach, a twist, and he would have been in. But it had gone beyond all of that, you see.
Far beyond. Now the faint trace of Gilbert the Red’s blood still flowing in Uncle Bloddy’s veins demanded decisive action of a spectacular sort. Lowering his point again, looking down the length of it like an expert at these things, he broke first into a trot and then into a run. Slightly sobered by the tremendous jolt he had taken earlier, this time he noticed that the fence gate was slowly closing of its own accord and redoubled his pace to get through before having to stop and open it again. He noticed that there were spectators all up and down the street gaping away by this time.
He almost made it through the gate. Almost. The opening had narrowed considerably by the time he got there, and he attempted to flash through at the last second before the latch caught. The gate snagged him in the hip, put a hitch in his charge, and tore a rent in his best gabardine slacks. But now the die was cast, with the neighbors looking on and all.
Bloddy ran with a limp after the gate collision, but with maniacal determination.
He reached the porch-steps showing a good turn of speed despite his affliction.
Driving hard up the steps, moving faster than before, he again hooked the clothes prop over
the porch gutter. This time his feet made it to the top but his frame was
bent backwards into a bow by his deathlike grip on the pole. The neighbors assured
him later that the resulting back somersault down the steps was near perfection. He
landed with his head on the lower step and his body stretched out along the sidewalk,
where he passed out.
Maggie waited after the crash, no sound came from the porch below. After
more time than she could stand passed, she went back downstairs, snatched the
throwcover off the living room couch on her way, and went out onto the front porch. “Bloddy,” she said, “are you still alive, Darling?” Whereupon her husband took one of those deep shuddering breaths inveterate snorers sometimes do. Satisfied that he wasn’t dying,
she tucked the spread around him, relocked the front door, and trotted back up the
steps to await events.
She was awakened in the morning—having fallen asleep accidentally–by a
clattering in the kitchen below. He was down there rummaging for cooking utensils to
make coffee. When he saw her, he simply said, “back door was open,” and went about
“Are you hungry?” Maggie asked, reaching for her apron behind the door.
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