The Awakening of Russell Henderson

Every Sunday, I try to post an excerpt from my novel, The Awakening of Russell Henderson. Here’s another. The book is available at

Neither Karen nor I had heard from our parents until Christmas Day when I had a call. I reluctantly answered.

Merry Christmas, Mom. How are you?”

“Not very good. Donny’s in jail.”

“What?! In jail? What — ”

“He started drinking again a few months ago. He’d quit for a while after his last DUI. You know he can get real mean when he drinks. Well, he come home and beat up Alice pretty bad. Put her in the hospital. I guess she’d been in the emergency room other times to we never heard about. This time they had to admit her. She’s pretty beat up. Anyhow, the hospital reported him to the sheriff. I guess it’s spouse abuse, something like that.”

Oh, shit. That’s all this family needs. “How’s Alice? Where’s Zoe?”

“He’s not doing too good in jail. He’s not being to nice to anybody there in that jail. We got him a lawyer, but he don’t pay no attention to him. Just keeps mouthin’ to off the guards and stuff.”

It’s always about poor drunken Donny and no worries about his wife who he put in the hospital.

“I’m sorry, Mom. Really am.”

“Yeah. I’m sure you are . . . like everything else. Your father and I are worried sick about you two. We  never hear anything from you. Where’s Karen. I try calling but she never answers. I’m worried. I heard her house is for sale. Is she coming home?”

I stayed on point, “But, what’s going to happen to Donny? What about Alice and Zoe?! Is Alice out of the hospital. Where’s Zoe?!

“Zoe went to stay with her grandparents in Cedar Rapids. I think Alice is there now. She was only in overnight, a broken rib, black eyes, a few stitches and a lot of bruising. He really beat her up bad. We really don’t know about Donny. His lawyer says it’s pretty serious. He’ll probably go to jail. I guess it just depends on how long. This isn’t the first time, you know.”

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