Here we are on the second installment of FFF. We are given a first sentence, this time suggested by me, and our mission was to write a 2000 word or less story based on that sentence.
So here goes my attempt — feel free to comment if it so moves you 🙂
Mom Is Always Right
Mom always said I would amount to something.
I amounted to exactly 5’11,128 pounds and 3 ounces not including clothes. When Slacker cut off my digitus mínimus mánus, or commonly referred to as pinky finger, I might have amounted to less, but indiscernibly so. A person really never considers the beauty of a pinky until he no longer possesses it.
Slacker was my wife’s brother who earned his name by selling dope and living off the girls he fucked. He fucked a lot of girls and lived pretty well. He amounted to about 6’3, 248 of unadulterated muscle.
Slacker was not a nice guy. Cheryl, my wife, said so herself. She said it was the juice, but I thought there was more to it. His shocking blue eyes were a little closer together than the average person which to me seemed somehow predatory. He could enter a house and you’d never know. Scared us a few times like that. We’d be eating our mashed potatoes or whatever and he’d be standing in the doorway just staring at us like he was studying us. When we’d notice him and jump, he’d laugh and give Cheryl a hug his huge paws draped over her shoulders.
Mom, Cheryl’s mom, was the only real mom I ever had. When I was 17, my father killed my mother then put a bullet under his chin with the family’s .38. While one cop said she thought it was homicide, all the others assumed murder suicide. Case closed. I asked them why and they said, “shit happens, kid”. After that I was in counseling for about a year; that is, until the counselor unexpectedly ran off with some newspaper editor from Reidsville.
I started dating Cheryl in high school and her mom took pity on me and saved me from the foster care system. I was able to finish high school, and Cheryl and I were married right after. I took three years of pre-med at the local state college. Cheryl waited tables at Crawford’s Racks and Ribs where the girls wore pasties while serving cheap beer and bar b-que to fat townies. I didn’t like her working there, but the money was putting me through school so I couldn’t bitch too much.
Mom said I’d be a doctor from the day I met her. Mom believed in me. She said a psychic three towns over in Harrison told her in no uncertain terms that her daughter would marry a doctor. One of the only reasons mom said yes to the marriage was because I agreed I was going that doctor in her prophecy. If I lived through this, I’d have to find that psychic and give her a piece of my mind – I hated sick people. But I did love Cheryl.
I’ll admit it, when Slacker took my thumb with his gardening snips, I almost passed out. I know he tried to get between the metacarpus and the palm, and I appreciated that, but it was just too hard to get in there with the thick blades. He put his massive frame down on the handles, his forearm muscles straining, and the snap of bone made my stomach lurch. It was the sound of it more than anything.
I was probably down about, what, 10 grams. If not, blood loss would definitely put me there. What a mess.
A couple of hours before I found myself there in Mom’s basement, a guy up at Crawford’s told Cheryl he’d seen me with some “hot little thing wearing a state T-shirt and painted on jeans”. Slacker was me downstairs within about 30 minutes.
“I’m telling you, Slacker, I mean, shit, look at me, I didn’t have any hot little thing. Ever.”
Slacker was pulling a piece of my flesh that got caught in the snips when he suddenly stopped what he was working on and cocked his head like a dog hearing a door knob rattle. “Ever?” he asked.
“Your sister, I mean, that, that goes without saying. She’s always been really hot.”
Slacker was wearing a black mesh wife beater that showed off his sculpted frame, jeans, and Wolverine work boots, which made no sense since he didn’t work. Through the mesh I could see his freshly shaven pectorals and wondered just what kind of man actually did that.
“Come on, man, I didn’t do anything with some other woman. I wouldn’t. Let’s go find the bastard that said this and get it straightened out.”
Slacker wasn’t in the mood to talk that was clear. He bent down and reached under a worn workbench that hadn’t been used since their father died 4 years ago.
Slacker slid a 40 pound bag of fertilizer to the front of the bench and opened it up. A stench like an overflowing factory farm filled the room. Slacker reached both hands as if he was a chef, and then he seemed to clasp something inside and hauled it out. He wiped specks of fertilizer off the top of the package, then set a kilo of coke on the workbench. Turning on the radio, Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition” emanated from the miniature speakers.
Slacker fished a pocket knife from his pocket then carefully cut a hole in the wrapping. Quickly he produced a gold-plated metal straw from his other pocket, dipped it in the powder, and inhaled deeply. There was a half cough, a sniff, an exuberant “yes”. I could see his neck vein pulsing as he leaned his head back letting whatever was still in his nose drain down the back off his throat.
“Slacker, buddy,” I begged, “even if I did cheat, which I didn’t, why all this? It’s a bit extreme, isn’t it?”
Slacker opened a rusted toolbox from on top of the bench, grabbed something, and turned toward me.
“For years she’s worked and gone into debt for you. You took her years, her money and more important my sister’s trust. Fuck, Oliver, you took my mama’s trust. How do imagine the scales of justice would weigh that? A finger? A thumb? Maybe a hand?”
A human hand weighs about 300 grams, give or take. Trust is hard to measure. I knew for a long time scales of justice were not always balanced.
That’s when I noticed he had a hatchet in his hand. It was something you would use for kindling or cutting small branches. It was something that could easily go through a man’s wrist.
“You’re crazy,” I groaned trying to wiggle out of my bindings.
Slacker strode toward me, a gleam in his eye. A gleam I have recognized in my own at times. I was terrified.
He raised his hand above his head, striking a pose that reminded me of the Indians in the old westerns right before they killed the poor settlers.
“Sit still,” he said, “you don’t want me to miss and take half of your forearm.”
At that moment we heard a women’s commanding voice declare that Slacker should drop his weapon. I had my eyes closed, so I didn’t see her and when I opened them Slacker had already turned and was rushing toward the stairs.
Two loud pops didn’t stop him as he lurched forward. A third seemed to stun him and his body jerked back like he was shot with a jolt of electricity. A fourth cause the hatchet to fall to the floor with a thud and a gasp of air leave his lips. He dropped to his knees, and then sprawled forward onto his face.
In front of him at the bottom of the steps was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, all 5’8 and 120 pounds of her. Her chest was heaving, sweat dappled her forehead. She took her State T-shirt sleeve and wiped her face. Her hands were shaking.
“I’ve never been so glad to see you, Detective.”
“Looks like I owe you an apology.”
Detective Hicks kicked the hatchet away, checked Slacker for a pulse, then holstered her weapon. She fumbled with my bindings for awhile before getting me free. She smelled like Lilacs. Probably a Lilac scented deodorant; it worked great.
“I’ve been telling you,” I grimaced holding my bloody hand, “I had nothing to do with my parents’ deaths or counselor’s disappearance.”
“I said I was sorry.”
“You said you owed me an apology.”
“We knew he was dealing,” she said looking at Slacker’s body on the floor, his blood pooling on the concrete. “We just could never get anything on him; but this, we never guessed this.”
“Clearly,’ I said looking for my digits hoping that a doctor would be able to sew them back on. “There’s coke over there.” I jutted my chin toward the workbench. My hand was throbbing.
“Why you, Oliver? Why’d he come after you?”
“Shit if I know. Could I get an ambulance? Christ?”
Hicks called in for a bus while I tried not to pass out.
“My guess Hicks, I’m just throwing out ideas here, he was an overprotective big brother. He never liked me I mean I invaded his house when I was 17, and married his sister, all while his mom had more hope and expectations for me than her own son. But you know the thing that really set him off?”
I heard sirens in the distance which was good because my adrenaline was dropping and the pain was hitting.
“Someone told him I met this ‘hot thing’ today.”
Her face blanched.
“I, I was…”
“I know, trying to get under my skin. See if I would lose my cool, even though I didn’t have anything to lose my cool over. Ah, fuck you very much Detective.”
She looked at Slacker’s body, then at my bloody hand.
“I guess I deserve that. For what it’s worth I’m truly sorry.”
I nodded. For some reason, I really felt bad for Hicks. She looked so vulnerable, so innocent. Strangely it was the first time I ever hoped she’d find the counselor, all 5’10, 263 pounds of her.