When our Pa passed on, Liam my elder brother took over, the patriarch. That is how it is in traveller families. Even if they stop travelling, that is how things are. The new patriarch, Liam, aged just forty, he used his fists just as much as any of Pa’s generation. Might is right. If you don’t do what the family head says, then you get the shit beaten out off you, that is just the way that it is.
I thought I’d left that behind. I didn’t marry a traveller girl. Tamsin was from a nice middle class family in Nottingham and I, well, I was working as an insurance consultant. I’d done well at school, got the qualifications, stepped out of the travelling ways. ‘Cash in hand to tarmac your drive mister- cheaper than chips to do it that way you understand?’ The little subterfuges, the tax savings. Men like Liam made very good money in the rough way, but I’d escaped that… hadn’t I?
It was when Liam and his fellow travellers were back in our area that he dropped by. There had been a bit of bother, some customers complaining. He preferred to steer clear of the trading standards people, so he said that he would stay a month. I remember Tamsin staring at him, swarthy complexion, his rough trousers held upon by the thick belt that Pa used to beat us with and an open necked white shirt that showed off his ample chest. Liam was the gang master for the work, but he had the physique of a navvy. Tamsin was anxious, of course she was. If Liam was in trouble, then we should steer clear. Still, Liam moved in, being head of the family and all.
My memory of Liam was that he was a heavy drinking loud and aggressive bastard. Well, he wasn’t so drunk most of the time. But he was certainly opinionated. He told Tamsin to buy clothes that showed off her figure. ‘You gotta a good figure woman and ‘wemen’ should show off their fecking assets’. I remember Tamsin staring terrified. Still, in the next weeks, she dressed his way. I saw that she had bought two tight leather skirts. They weren’t really short, but fuck they were tight with full length exposed zips up the front. He looked at her wearing them, winked, nodded and said that was better. He must have approved because he gave her a Rolex that he took in exchange for drive work done. I watched her put it on. I watched her check it. The watch was genuine. It hung chic on her wrist. It made her feel, well, sexy, I suppose.
The month lying low was up soon enough and I softly asked whether he was rejoining Susan in their van? I remember that he looked slyly at Tamsin, and said, ‘no, another month, and what was it my fecking business asking anyway’. He was ‘fecking head of the family alright?!’ Tamsin looked embarrassed. But I understood the next week, he was fucking her. I came home early from work one night and he had her up against the wall. The zip of the skirt was right up and he had his oily hand up between her legs. He looked as though he was trying to retrieve something but Tamsin was groaning, moving against his fingers. ‘Feck off’ snapped Liam. I was to bugger off somewhere whilst he finished fucking my wife. I bristled, I can still feel my neck hair rising the way it did that tea time. But I didn’t want to face his sledge hammer fists so I went and sat in the lounge and listened to him taking her. Something tumbled off a shelf. I could hear him bucking her against the radiator. Tamsin was begging him, begging him to take her. Then I heard him grunting, grunting like a bloody animal as he squirted his cock up her.
That night Liam had a couple of jobs to go and quote up. I sat looking at Tamsin in her tight skirt. I looked at her knowing that he had probably fucked her a few times. I thought she might be embarrassed, even ashamed of what she had done. But she was calm, cooking the meal, refusing to debate it with me. Finally, when I had stared at her long enough, my eyes doleful, she snapped, ‘if you want him to stop, you”ll have to fight him’. I nodded. Yeah, right. A nice insurance man, fighting knuckles navvy. ‘Do you want him?’ I asked. There seemed no point in getting my brains mashed if my wife wanted him anyway. There was no point in that at all.
‘Yes’ she admitted.
‘I can’t fight him… he’ll cripple me’ I observed, trying to sound rational, as though I was simply assessing the risk.
She looked at me. It was a resolution moment, there was a pity in her eyes.
‘You’ll have to do what he tells you to then’ she said, as though that was the inevitable, the logical outcome.
I wanted to argue some more. But Tamsin sent me out for a few packs of beer. I had better have them home long before Liam returned.
The tacit agreement, the changing of the guard happened from that point forward. I’d seen Liam fucking her and hadn’t the guts to intervene. My brother knew I was weak, she, Tamsin knew I was weak. Three days later Liam came home and told me to get my ‘fecking clothes’ out of the master bedroom. Pictures of our wedding were to go too. I prickled. Liam waited. If it was now then he would do it. He would knock me about the head till I did as I was bloody well told. I remember Tamsin watching us. She seemed mesmerised why the tableaux. I guessed that it turned her I, I guessed that.
I moved my clothes. The guest bedroom was next door. I found a bedside table to put the wedding photo on, Tamsin, me, Liam as best man. I’d look at it at night listening to him fucking her. He made the bed squeak and creak. He made he grunt and moan. I imagined him, his mouth hard on hers, her arms pinned up over the pillows his bare cock jagging relentlessly up her insides. I imagined him drilling her higher and higher up the bed, her sex sore from the brutal coupling. One that was settled, once that was ‘decided’, as he would put it, Tamsin started dressing very much as his bitch. The skirts were shorter, stockings replaced tights, she wore bras that put her tits on show. She hardened, she hardened like he was teaching her the family way, the traveller way.
One thing you never do is come on to the head man’s bitch. That isn’t to what you do. There was one occasion when one oaf tried in pa’s time. The guy ended up in coma and later died, after some ‘scaffolding had fallen on him’. So I’d look at Liam’s conquest and ache. I’d ache like hell because now she was taking cock time and time again I wanted her the more. That is how, I suppose, psychology works. A sexed up bitch makes you ache to fuck. Tamsin smiled. She occasionally brush my cock, through my pants, with her hand. ‘Need a beating darling?’ I begged her not to be that way. I begged her and she just laughed.
If you can’t fight a bullet hard fucker like Liam you might be able to do something else. I went and found Susan. She was still travelling in the van and not too far distant. I waited outside as she surveyed me. It was raining, so eventually she relented and said I better come on in. Fixing coffee I fretted about how to put things. Susan had to get Liam back right? There had to be a wider family code or something? There had to be some hold she could work on him? Looking at Susan she had let herself go a bit. She looked tired. Instead of explaining things she went and found a video clip recorded on her phone. It was she said a little reminder.
To my surprise there was Liam, Tamsin and Susan at some bar having a drink. Susan was dressed drab and Tamsin was dressed to the nines. The scene cut back to the van in which we sat and there was Tamsin with her pleated mini skirt up, having her sex licked by Susan. I gawped at it. Susan was licking open mouthed and Tamsin was watching Liam. She was watching him with a question on her face, something like, ‘is that how she is to be handled?’ ‘Shit!’ the word escaped me before I could think. ‘I do as I’m told and so should you. It’s a family thing’ said Susan.
The rain soaked me on the trip back. By the time I got there though, Sue had done the dutiful thing and telephoned her mistress. I got my face slapped. I got it belted and the cocktail ring on Tamsin ‘s finger cut my ear. ‘You wait till Liam gets home’ she seethed. She would have no more words with me. Begging didn’t help. Liam would ‘sort me’. I waited in terror. I waited like we used to, waiting for Pa to get home tired and irritable from his fecking work with the fucking people who hated romany mind. ‘Please…’ I begged Tamsin. Her hand came up- no! She checked the Rolex, Liam would be home soon. He could deal with me!
The door opened and Liam stepped in. He kissed my wife slowly and Tamsin looked at me seated in the corner. I stood immediately for the head of the family. Tamsin had warned him on the mobile. I’d been snooping around Susan. Liam hit me the once and removed two front teeth. I remember one of them snapping, the dentist had to dig out roots later. I was apologising profusely addressing Liam as ‘sir’. Tamsin watched, crossed legged in leather jeans as I took my beating. I was cringing, waiting for fist two when Liam said,
‘OK, I told the fecking bitch she’s to have her few things over her tomorrow, I’ll sell the van and she can start work down at the fecking trouser factory.’ Tamsin nodded. It seemed that it wasn’t a particular surprise. I suppose that it wasn’t. Another bedroom had already been readied in a frugal sort of way. ‘The fecking bitch works for you woman. Make sure she hands her wages over every week and you spend it on the nice things alright?’ Tamsin nodded and watched me. I was searching for a tooth, well some of it. My mouth was bleeding but I couldn’t imagine that anything was left in the socket. ‘She does the housework Tam, she does it flecking all, alright?’ Tamsin. nodded again. Liam looked my way. ‘You, yer fecking disgrace, you’re going to work second job with me driveway crew.’ I shuddered, the manual work would kill me. I tried to imagine the hours, weekends making driveways, on my hands and knees block paving. Back at home Tamsin would fuck. ‘Well??!!’ Liam snapped at me. ‘Yes sir!’ I chirped. I felt incontinent. I felt my pants grow warm and wet. ‘Sixty per cent of your fucking soft office wage goes into Tamsin’s account and all of your fecking second job earnings too’ Liam growled. I nodded. Tamsin went to him. She needed his kiss. He obliged her, proud of the provision that he made.
I watched him then stroll over to me where I lay slumped on the floor. Casually, as if he was tired but relaxed, he unzipped his fly and took out his prick. It was semi erect, aroused why the violence the fighting over a woman. He waited and Tamsin watched. I keep my hands really clear, no resistance and opening my mouth staring up at him I sucked his cock. It tasted of dirt, sweat and semen. It tasted like a muscular slug. I wanted to gag- my fucking brother.
‘You said he would’ said Tamsin coming to my side.
‘Yeah…. I did’ said Liam, thrusting his meat nonchalantly into my mouth.
‘I need you’ she whispered.
‘Go lie on the bed, finger yourself’ he told her, ‘I’ll be finished here directly.’
I watched my wife depart, her bottom pert. I thought of her frigging herself anticipating him. My mouth was so fucking sore and with the salt on my bare teeth sockets, Christ.
‘You do every fecking thing that Tamsin tells you, you hear? Licking, cleaning, fetching, carrying, scraping, the fecking lot.’
I blinked up at him, nodding softly so his cock wasn’t thrust too far the wrong way at the back of my throat.
I could feel the vein in this cock pulsing. He was going to come. Christ, thank God. He pulled out and went to find Tamsin.