It only took one week, the week before Christmas, for Martyn’s life to go from being merely terrible to being totally out of control.

My name’s Martyn Pig. I lived with my dad, who’s a drunk. He pretty much always has been. How did I feel about him? He was a drunken slob and he treated me like dirt. Of course I hated him, who wouldn’t? But even if I hated him, I never wanted to kill him. I never meant for him to die.

So, I was watching Inspector Morse. I wasn’t paying too much attention to Dad, and so I didn’t realize just how drunk he was. But he kept making jokes about Morse, and imitating the way Morse sounded when he called his assistant. I couldn’t hear the television, and suddenly I realized I’d missed the whole point of the show. I stood up and yelled at him, finally saying the things I’d always held back. He doubled up his fist, and got up to swing at me. I dodged, and shoved him away. And that’s when the split second I’m talking about happened. He staggered across the room, and fell against the fireplace wall, hitting his head with a sickening crack of bone on stone, and collapsing to lie much too still on the hearth.

Like I said, there are reasons things happen, reasons that came before, and reasons that affect what happens after. And day after day, those reasons began to build up and build up, until there was no way I could control them or control my life.

Too well. Because when everything went wrong, I never even saw it coming.

This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart.