Warsaw, 1932

A junior high school. A new stage in my life. I was studying, and my sister got herself sewn. Mother was a seamstress, and father was a church cleaner. I had to bow to the reverend for that. My family was poor and believing. Parents couldn't afford a third toddler. And it was so hard: there was a crisis in the West, the number of believers was dropping, there was exploitation in the dressmaker's shop. The only consolation were my talents - in terms of arithmetic, I was relentless.

After the first September cold I got sick. Almost two whole weeks, I was lying in bed. When I came back, I was soon surprised by a test. The first time I had to deal with F. An old professor didn't mind my disease. I didn't know the material. It aroused fear.

My father said that my studies got slack: 'I have to react. I've never beaten you before, but you bring F from school again, and a dozen heavy belts will rest on your skin.'

I was worried about that threat and took to work. A week later I went to the test's revision. I solved all the tasks without any problems and thanks to that I didn't have to be afraid of being beaten.

On Monday, the professor read the results. I didn't know what kind of tricks he had used to check. To my surprise, I have received F! At first, I thought I had misheard, but the pedagogue allowed me to look into his notebook, what only confirmed that he had begun to age. I was Kowalski, and the class-idler was Kwiatkowski. That special needs student had all the Fs. That time I didn't pass, and he got an A! I ran to report the mistake to the teacher. The old professor called me a cheeky liar. He also said he wouldn't talk to a shit like me. In addition, he had already sent my parents a letter. I swear I heard a whistle of belt in my head when he said he would broadcast a telegram about my behaviour, which would certainly serve it. It was a tradition to write a letter when a student got two Fs, but an A was supposed to be mine, not some cocksucker! That's what I told the professor. He kicked me out of class. Saddened, I was coming back. I've got a belt waiting for me. I missed a postman in the staircase. The letter and telegram have already been delivered to my parents by him. I hated the old man. He was also the reason my ass was gonna be blue. I pushed the postman down the stairs with rage! All this emotion would give me ulcers! When I entered, they were already waiting for me in the living room. I was sure they'd give me a sermon before they hit me. I cried at their final speech. They warned me that if I wanted to, it could have been worse.

On top of that, the postman came in with a big tumor: 'Watch this shithead! It's miracle nothing happened!'

My father didn't give in, he even tripled the number of belts: 'Shame on you! I didn't think I'd live to see such a time! Crying won't change anything, but you'll get a beating tomorrow. You've already exhausted your lease limit today.'

He also said that I had sinned like the people of the tower of Babel, and that he had decided to replace the belt with a cable.

I went to bed without dinner. I fell asleep miraculously, thinking that the next day I would face pain. In the small hours, I heard strange crackles and groans. The night passed very quickly. I was reluctant to get up. I came across my father when I was in the bathroom. I saw on his back a vast number of strips! What happened last night?! What was that supposed to mean?! He took me to the living room to talk about that.

'You have failed me, but you have also aroused terrible regret, when, in fear of punishment, you cried so much. I cried last night too, and I took your sin upon myself, with punishment… We all want to be in heaven.'

So that's why I heard crackles in the night - father was belting himself!

When I'm writing this story today, I know that his brain was sick. Fanaticism has overwhelmed him completely. How could he treat himself a beating?! It's a good thing I live in a normal family now, but that doesn't mean I don't use a cable sometimes…