Eleanor’s three rules: no playing, no talking, no moving. When mummy is watching her programme, you should observe strict obedient silence, or you know what you’ll get!
Sundays are a great day for domestic violence. The desperate search for a motive, a morsel, a mote—some reason to live another week, to get through it without killing someone. Unfortunately, on this winter night, the motives were in short supply. It was freezing out, the taxman wanted his money, no one wanted to hire two thick planks with four kids.
David’s three rules: shut up, get me a beer, don’t speak unless I say so. When daddy is staring at the wall, you should observe strict obedient silence, or you know what you’ll get!
Two people who hate each other stuck in a house with four children they don’t love have two options. The first is to divvy up the kids, move to another country, and wait a few years. The second is to beat the children with predictable regularity, beat each other, then repeat this cycle until someone dies, a lesson is learned, and guilt rusts the soul.
Lucy’s three rules: hide from mummy, hide from daddy, run away.
Smack! Take that second child! Which one was that? What’s her name? Take that! “You useless ****!” Wham! “You ******* ****!” It’s the slapstick of hate! What are brutes if not clowns without the capacity to love? You would laugh, really, if there was anything to laugh about. A bottle to the temple, and someone’s dead. Which is one is that?
Jade’s three rules: lie on the floor, stare at the ceiling, stop breathing.