Happy Birthday, Dad

An original play with one character. Written by Don Normann (pen name of Samuel C. Glass, Jr.) First published online in 1998.

happy birthday day imagery

Happy Birthday, Dad

No, Dad, don’t get up. For once you are gonna sit down, shut up and hear what I have to say. God! Couldn’t you just leave well enough alone? Dr. Hughes? Detective Johnson? Rick’s parents, for goodness sake?

Is there anyone you didn’t ask to fill in the blanks for you? DId you ask the dog yet? You didn’t have the time to say so much as hello to me when I was here. Now all of this happens, and first, you make me into some kind of survivor, a hero. Then you turn around and ask about the gaps there are in the story YOU helped create. Never crossed your mind just to ask me, did it?

We weren’t telling you everything for a reason, to spare some good people more agony. So you want the truth, huh? Well here it is. They killed Rick and the girls, Dad, and they did rob us first. But it never occurred to you that when they raped Christine and Patti and Susan, that maybe they didn’t stop there… That’s right, Father – they robbed and raped us. All of us. And I am not standing here today because I’m some kind of tough guy. Rick is dead and I’m still alive, because I was a coward.

I didn’t black out like I said before. I saw everything.

I had just come back from taking a leak, and I remember looking at my watch and seeing it was about two-thirty. It was maybe a minute after I got back into my sleeping bag, that I heard a scream. It sounded liek Patti. I was trying to get up, and somebody hit me. A couple of times, I don’t know what they hit me with, a gun, maybe.

I was dizzy, and they dragged me out of the tent. I don’t know how many there were; six, seven, maybe more. I heard a struggle behind me, and I knew Rick was out there, too, and they had him. I tried to get up even though they were holding me down, and somebody hit me again, and I remember thinking that I wished they would just kill me and get it over with.

We could hear the girls screaming far off somewhere, back in the woods, and they were laughing. The bastards were laughing, and then somebody said something about getting in on the fun. They tore off my shorts… somebody cut them and ripped them off the rest of the way, and I knew what was coming next.

Then I felt less hands holding me down, and I heard different screaming. I was able to look up. Rick was there – he was on the back of one of them, and had him in a headlock, and couldn’t get him off. That was our chance, I should’ve done something then. Then another one crept up behind Rick. I saw him pull his head back, and then take his knife… the blood, the blood splashed on me, on my face, in my mouth… then… then they took him down and I heard him… I heard the sound of him choking on his own blood, and they still raped him, Dad. Rick was dying, and they still raped him.

Somebody put their foot on my head, and shoved my face down into the dirt… then it was my turn. There were about four, five of them, I wasn’t counting, the agony was there the whole time. I never even felt it, until I… until I didn’t hear Rick anymore.

When it was finally over, I really wanted them to kill me. I thought, when I heard them whispering together, that they might let me live. Ever been stabbed, Father? It’s like being raped all over again, but they’re destroying your soul and your body at the same time. They stabbed me four times. I held my breath, and I played dead. Somebody kicked me, and I didn’t move. It was like swimming in a pool of red water. There was blood and there was pain, and the sound of my heart beating, and I wondered if I would even know when the sound stopped.

After forever, they left. I wanted to scream at the pain, but I dragged myself over to Rick. They had gutted him after they finished with him. His eyes were open, and they were staring back at where they’d had me. And I can’t help thinking, that the whole time, all he was thinking about was helping me. While he was dying, all he thought of was me.

That mean anything to you, Dad? Figure it out yet? Remember before the trip when I had something to tell you, but you didn’t have time? I was too much of a coward to tell you after that. That was the whole reason Rick and I went on the trip. To figure it out. To decide if we would tell you and Mr. and Mrs. Callaway, and how we would do it. But I was afraid to tell you, and afraid to die. So Rick is dead, and now I’ve lost my best friend, and my lover.

That’s right, Dad, your big strapping linebacker son is a flaming faggot. Rick and I have been lovers for the last year, and you and his father, the Great Men of Local Politics, didn’t have a clue. And if you had, all you would’ve cared about would be your precious careers.

I think that whoever attacked us, they knew. They knew that I wasn’t dead, and that I’d suffer a lot more if they let me live. And they were right. I’m even too much of a coward to kill myself. But right now, if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t hesitate to take Rick’s place. And the worst part of it all? Losing my friends? Losing the one person in the world I’ll ever love? Coming this close to death? No, Father. The worst thing of all, is that part of me still feels like I deserve what happened, because I’m not the son you always wanted me to be, and I never will be.

So now you know. Is that what you wanted? You happy now? By the way, it’s after midnight. Happy Birthday, Dad. Happy birthday.

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