Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Writer: Adam Byatt

The Sins of the Father

Andy stumbled across a discovery that excited and startled the ten-year-old and he had to show his best friend, Pete. The two paused briefly before the open office door. Looking back down the hallway they heard the strains of the afternoon football match and the sound of a can being opened in the lounge room. Andy led the way into his father’s office and pulled the door partially closed behind them. He sidled over to the built-in wardrobe and slid back the door. Thrusting his head into the semi-darkness he rummaged around while Pete kept watch on the door and listened for approaching footsteps.
“Here it is,” said Andy holding a magazine like a holy object. The front cover was emblazoned with by-lines that screamed of eye-popping full frontals, “the best you’ve ever seen” and other saucy secrets.
Andy skipped the writing and flipped to the first pictorial. The burlesque strip tease performed on the pages caused Pete to stare in wild-eyed wonder. Breasts fell out of lingerie and bottoms were concealed and revealed from all angles. Turning the pages, they had never considered that there could be so many variations on a theme in terms of size and shape, pubic hair landscaping and tattoos.
“Wouldn’t it really hurt to get a piercing there?” said Pete as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Shhh… did you hear that?” said Andy. The boys froze like rabbits and waited. Each could feel their heart thumping a frantic ostinato. A cupboard door closed shut and the crinkle of fast food packaging joined the sound of the game. They returned to their investigation of masculine curiosity and perversity.
Pete couldn’t believe his eyes when Andy reached the centre of the magazine.
“That’s almost life-sized,” he said.
Spread out between them was the curvature of naked breasts and buttocks and a finely manicured lawn with the staple as a secondary bellybutton ornament.
They flipped backwards and forwards through the magazine stopping to read the articles that made them giggle with words like “throbbing” and “pulsating” and they were unsure why there was a constant reference to cats.
A parental voice broke in, “There you two are. Been wondering what you’d been up to; thought it was too quiet.”
Andy’s father suddenly stopped when he saw the naked panorama. Andy and his father locked eyes. Andy just stared, knowing his guilt. His father bored down on Andy in parental displeasure but broke contact first.
“That’s not something that you should be looking at,” his father chastised. “It’s not appropriate for someone your age.”
“But why do you have it hidden away in the cupboard? Don’t you want Mum to see?”
His father rattled his brain for the appropriate parental response and grasped at the first one that would get him out of answering the question.
“Give me that. You two go outside and do something.”
Andy’s father took the offered object of indiscretion and watched them walk ashamedly from the office. He rolled up the magazine and sighed deeply. Resisting the urge to flick through the pages one more time, he checked that the boys were indeed outside playing before dumping the magazine into the garbage.

© Adam Byatt 2010

Adam Byatt is an English teacher and a drummer with an interest in literary pursuits, rhythmic permutations, theological amplifications and comedic outbursts.  He inhabits the cracks around the following websites:


  1. I always enjoy these tales of pre-adolescence and the struggle to interpret adult behaviour ... but I was a bit bothered that his wife might be dealing with the garbage later?

  2. It actually happen, i'm sure the father was very embarassed

  3. its a nice tale which i could identify with because all men go through these age in whick our "urges" awake and it reminded me of some really stupid stuff i did at my time

  4. Boys will be boys no matter how old they are. Cute story done well.

  5. It is a representative history of a situation that most of the boys have lived in their
    Abraham Ramos Palomeque

  6. the youth sometimes, or, may i say, always trough this, it's like a non-necesary step we've to take for adolescence. Knowing the opposite sex.
    This story is narrated in a peculiarly way that you feel like the young Andy, i really enjoy the story.

  7. * always pass trough *


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