Friday, September 26, 2014

FICTION: The Kind That Leaves Me Alone (Excerpt)


Now that he has a couple centuries' worth of oxycodone David guesses he should be happy for pill whores.  He can't pretend Xamanda is anything else as she sleeps beside him beneath the tarp: a junkie knows a junkie sure as he knows his own baby. Once he could have hated her for being so pretty, David thinks as he runs his hand through her fluorescent orange hair. But when you can see somebody's soul there's no joy in degrading her. Nor in knowing she's fond of you, just not so fond as you hoped.

David rolls out of bed and checks the nightstand clock, 4:30 am. Drew's father is bringing him back at 3:00pm and if he finds her pilled out again she's liable to lose the boy altogether.  David sets the alarm for noon then looks for a place where it will take Xamanda time to find the beeping alarm. Finally he puts the clock near the bathroom, throwing last night's panties atop it for good measure. David knows no matter how bad off you was the night before, once you see the toilet you ain't going back to bed without a piss.

And if you're still blocked up from last night's pills you gonna go get a cup of coffee to get the yellow river flowing. By the time Asshole McAsshole the Fourth gets here she'll be fine.

Outside the window above Drew's crib the sky is already catching fire. David can see the razor blade on the coffee table in X-ray relief against the shimmering glass: wax and talcum residue floats grey as the spots on his Daddy's lungs.  Xamanda's not moving, David would be worried if he couldn't hear the soft patter of her heart across the room. That girl don't know when she's had enough. David chuckles. Or maybe she just wants too much.

"Ain't no medicine gonna fix neither of us, darlin'," he says to the smoldering sky. Xamanda stirs but does not wake. David lifts up the tarp and tucks the sheet and comforter around her, it gets cold up here at night and the wiring won't take a space heater even if she wasn't three months behind on her light bill.  He has to stop for a second to admire her, even after a baby her titties still look you in the eye and wink. Then he moves on to the pile of papers on her desk.  

It takes a little digging, she ain't no better keeping records at home, Professor, but finally he finds the disconnect notice in the top right pile. Her Daddy sent money twice, he ought to know to get the account number and pay it hisself.  Amazing what folks forget once they get a brick house.  He finds his flannel shirt beside the nightlight then shoves the notice in the pocket behind his Marlboro Reds. Grown folk can live without power, Lord knows he's done it, but it ain't right for a child to lie scared in the dark.

David walks over to the coffee table and picks up the razor.  He picks up the rolled dollar bill from the floor as he's stepping into his pants, then places it in his left nostril as he carefully scrapes every stain into a grey-white line.  One quick sniff and everything is clean again. David wipes it down with his red hanky to make sure no trace remains should Drew try to stand on the edge, he's bound to start walking any day now, then covers the table with Xamanda's sari fabric.

The stars above Drew's crib are gone now: the moon is fading like Jimson weed closing up for dawn.  David puts the blade in his wallet's credit card slot and scans the place again for incriminating evidence. When he finds none he puts on his baseball cap and pulls the tarp off Xamanda. She stirs and raises her hand, she's fine, she'll be fit as an untuned fiddle tomorrow.  David wishes he could stay like they talked about but he can't help no further now. It's near sunrise but he can still get home without hurrying more than a little bit. And besides, if Asshole raised his voice too loud it might wake David up and that wouldn't be good for nobody.

"See y'all tomorrow night," David whispers in Xamanda's ear, then, hesitant, "I love you." She smiles: David closes his eyes so he cannot see her dreams.