To Mommy And Daddy With Love -by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Joseph O'Donnell

Joseph O’Donnell

( from his book ‘Tales for Late at Night’ – See our BOOK STORE to get more)

Little Lisa Tomilin had an unhappy life as a child. The daughter of Frank And Pamela Tomilin, both heavy drinkers and each others adversaries on most days, had very few happy days to account for.

Her best friend, her five year old brother Daniel, was on year her senior. Because neither was permitted outside the house, they made a strong and lasting friendship, and could often be  seen playing together. They both tried to sidestep their parents onslaught’s and played quietly by themselves either in the basement or their rooms.

The mother, Pamela, was a constant screamer who could easily have gotten on anyone’s nerves. The nerves that she enjoyed fraying the most was that of Frank who eventually took it out  on the kids. Pamela would use the strap on then too, but preferred goading Frank into being “Mr.  Mean ,” as she referred him to the kids when he wasn’t around. Anyway, it was him that wanted  the kids in the first place, not her. Having kids to her meant staying home and caring for them,  and she was used to being the life of the Christmas parties at the company that she worked at for years. The home life was not for her and she had been well adjusted to playing the office tease  and enjoyed the role immensely.

Frank was no prize either. He loved his kids dearly enough though, but was often pointed  out by his wife as a loser. He was an idealist to the extreme, and couldn’t hold down jobs to long  when he felt improprieties shown by the company’s he had worked for got in the way of his own  moral code. He was very jealous of his wife as well, and she used her flirtatious attitude openly in  front of him as her best weapon against him.

To this end, there were no doubts about the many fights they had with each other. She  loved to goad him into yelling and spanking the kids because she knew his love for them would  make him bitter against himself for taking his frustrations out on them.

When he did work, and he always managed to find a job, he showered the kids with gifts,  upsetting Pamela even more because she felt it cut down on her being the only recipient. Wanting more kids than just the two he had, he bought a score of talking dolls and animals, the kind with pre-recorded tapes that you could easily replace with your own recordings, to just about decorate  the house. Lisa and Daniel in turn had re-taped their own voices on the machines inside the toys and they themselves coveted them as if they were all dear friends.

Then came the night Lisa died. Frank had just lost another job and Pamela was caressing a tirade of ridicule and taunts that drove Frank into a frenzy. During the argument, Pamela brought  up the kids and complained vehemonlently about them as well. The two got into a shoving match in which Pamela hit Frank and he backhanded her in retaliation. Lisa bravely came out of her room to quell the fight, but when her mother chased her away she became disoriented, and instead  of running to the closed door of her room, she mistakenly ran to the cellar door instead. The fall  down the stairs killed her instantly.

The weeks afterward became a numbed silence to the house. Frank brooded silently in the  living room, where he now slept, staying away from Pamela as much as much possible. Daniel  played by himself in his room in a tomb of silence, while Pamela avoided them both, fearing  especially of triggering any rage from Frank because he “ lost one of his pets ,” as she said to  herself.

Three weeks after Lisa’s death, Pamela had been cleaning up the kitchen when it first  started to happen. One of the kids stuffed toys, a doll that resembled Lisa with its blond hair, had been perched on the counter nearest the coffee pot. Pamela, seeing it, knocked it over on its side with contempt while trying to clean around it. Suddenly a tape mechanism inside the toy started to  play.

“Please stop hurting me,” the tape said in Lisa’s little voice, “to mommy and daddy with  love.”

Pamela stood frozen as the tape clicked off. She stood with mouth agape, unable to move from the spot.

“Frank!,” she said finally managed to scream, “Frank, get in here right now!”

“What’s up?” he said, nestling a beer in his hand as he ambled into the kitchen.

“Is this some kind of sick joke, or something?,” Pam said.

“What are you talking about?,” he said with annoyance.

“Listen!,” she said as she replayed the tape. He was shocked at first, but then enjoyed her discomfort. He blamed her for the loss of is little girl and to see her squirm in her quilt felt good.

“See!,” she shouted, “don’t start playing games with me.”

“Believe me, that’s not my idea,” he said with intense sarcasm.

“But you think her death was because of me, don’t you?,” she screeched. “Admit it, you enjoyed your little joke.”

“The little joke as you put it was not mine, but I did enjoy it immensely,” he said.

“Well just remember Frank, none of this would of happened if you were only able to hold down a job,” she said as she stomped out of the room.

Slowly he crushed the beer can in his hand as he watched her leave. She got the last word in again.

That night after Pamela locked herself in her bedroom, Frank heard her scream again, five  minutes after she shut the door.

“Frank!,” she screamed again, “get in here this instant!”

“Now what?,” he bellowed as he came through her now unlocked door.

“So this is the bedroom,” he said be-musingly, quoting an old television ad.

“Not so funny Frank,” she yelled. “And neither is this,” she said pointing at a stuffed bear hidden by the blankets on the bed .

Frank went over and pressed the stomach on the bear, probably the same thing Pamela did when accidentally laying down on it. “Please don’t hurt me again,” it said in Lisa’s voice, “to mommy and daddy with love.”

“This is not my idea of a joke,” Frank said standing stiffly, “but I think you’re the one who would do something like this.”

“Go to hell Frank!,” Pamela fumed, “ and get out of my room and take that thing with you.”

The next morning as Pamela gathered some clothes piled in the bathroom corner, she  lurched backward as the blond haired doll, hidden under a pile of shirts blurted out,” you hurt me  for the last time,” in Lisa’s voice. “To mommy and daddy with love.”

Pamela, justifiably jolted, and now filled with rage, stalked to the kitchen. There she retrieved a steak knife from the utensil drawer and confronted Frank sleeping on the couch.

Without a word of warning she began to repeatedly stab him until she was sure he was dead. As she stabbed him, she kept shrieking that she hated him, and would kill him as she did his daughter and, as she stood back to stare at her handy work, a sudden knock startled her back into reality.

“Open up, this is the police!,” a voice shouted from the other side of the door.

Suddenly the door was kicked in and two officers crouched and pointed their guns at Pamela’s mid section.

“Drop it lady!,” one of the cops said to Pamela, indicating the knife in her hand with the point of the gun barrel. Instinctively she dropped the knife and blurted out,” how did you know?,” she said,” how did you get there so fast?”

“Your daughter called and said you were killing her father,” one of the officers said.

Pamela could only stare at them in disbelief. It was one of the detectives who entered the house later who spotted the telephone cord leading into the linen closet and, upon opening the  door , found Daniel clutching the doll which looked like Lisa.

“Well you’re safe now little fellow,” the detective said. “We’ll bring you to your grandma’s and grandpa’s house. They’ve been worried sick about you, and they’ve asked me where you’ve been.”

“Thank you,” said Daniel aloud, his boyish voice, high for even his age, sounded just like a girl’s.

“Me and Lisa will be safe now,” he said to himself, clutching the little doll with brotherly love. “We’ll be safe forever.”