Hank smashed his fist down into Peter’s cheekbone, knocking his head to the side with the force of the blow. His wife screamed his name and sobbed behind him, pleading for him to stop.
“You corrupted my little girl with your fancy ideas, you punk!”
Peter turned his head as best he could with his hair being gripped by Hank’s free hand, looked up at Diane with bloodshot eyes, snot and blood streaming from his nose.
Diane stood by her mother, hands clasped in front of her, her face frozen in an expression of shock and curiosity.
“I’m sorry sir, I didn’t mean to…”
The heavy knuckles clubbed Peter’s skull again; pain registered briefly in the back of his mind, then turned into the throbbing of the skin on one side of his face.
“Shut up you, I’ve had enough out of you. You infected my girl with your damned words!”
Hank leaned down and shouted into Peter’s ear as he turned his head away from Hank’s fury.
“You think you’re clever huh? Do you realise what you’ve done? You’ve ruined this family.”
“Please sir, I..”
“Shut up!” Hank screamed, standing up and raising his fist. Peter briefly glance up at Hank, then turned his head away and tried to shield his face with his arms.
The blow never came.
Peter looked up at Hank as he let go of his hair, let his arm go limp by his side, fell to his knees and buried his head in his hands. He slowly stood up and gingerly put his hand on Hank’s shoulder as his body shook with the force of his grief.
“Damn you boy” Hank wept, “damn you and your ideas and your damn words”.
Peter looked up at Diane’s mother, red faced and crying, shaking her head. Diane stood still, a look of uncertainty on her face.
Hank looked up at Peter, tears streaming down his cheeks.
“You know how much these damned units cost? Diane was the latest model.”