Daniel’s father had not always wanted to murder his youngest son. There were times when, some might say, he had been an inherently good man.
“I am being an inherently good man” he would think to himself as he offered the train seat he had coveted to an elderly citizen, silently entreating their heart to explode before they could accept it. “I am the best of the best” he would think, ushering a young mother across the road ahead of him, as his right foot furtively toyed with his accelerator pedal. “I love all of humanity” he would declare loudly as he opened a shop door for a soiled and ungracious youth envisioning as he did so, the noise its nose would make as he slammed the door back into its face.
Who then, was able to glimpse the inner virtues of this ostentatiously poisonous individual? His mother Bernice? No, she had long since abandoned the cruel seas and toxic deserts of North London for a home atop the wild mountain ranges of Milton Keynes, rationalizing that since there was nothing left there that was worth burning, she would be safe from the ravages of modern times. To her, Daniel’s father was no more than an occasional unwanted visitor, like the Hari Krishna or influenza and whilst absent, his face became vague and dissipated as if it had been drawn on tissue paper and dropped into a bowl of warm water.
Siblings? Perhaps an elder sister who swooped down from high in times of trouble, shielding Daniel’s father from the ravages of the Highgate sun? Someone who could navigate through the elephantine folds of her brother’s skin to the simple golden heart beating beneath? There was a sister, Bathsheb, but her exit from the familial nest had been more like a double-decker bus than an eagle. To her, life was like an out of control HGV, unconscious driver slumped over the steering wheel, careering towards her with malicious and destructive intent. Simply getting out of bed in the morning was a task of herculean complexity, so swooping was right out of the question.
A brother then, statesman like, ushering Daniel’s father down a path well trodden, a virtuous figurehead, loved by all, who could find good in even the venal wasteland that was Daniel’s father’s soul? There was a brother, Clive, who adored Daniel’s father, but only in the inclusive manner that he cherished everything and everyone through the fuzzy felt eyes of a whiskey bottle. Clive could not judge the distance between his feet and the urinal he was often found slumped over and was certainly in no fit state to assess his brother's worth.
Lost behind the chorus in the theatre of malice which played day after day in Daniel’s father’s mind, it was Baz who saw the good in his father. Baz, the other son, who lay beside Daniel like a discarded rag doll in his father’s viscous world. A trophy from a battle lost, the son before the son cherished and after the son bemoaned. Baz who loved his father with an unconditional drip drip drip, until even that tap finally ran dry through rancor and neglect.
There was one other person who dug deep enough to trace and nurture the tiny shoots of virtue that dwelt within Daniel’s father amongst an impenetrable forest of bitterness. But that would all change on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Swanage, when she hit a parking attendant on the head with a spade. The day she realized that she was a mermaid and Daniel’s father was more the devil than the deep blue sea.