No more would I cry.
Rebecca was dead.
The tears had been gone for hours.
She was killed in a car accident.
Now I could only stare at the street.
Cars passed by slowed, to see the wreaths.
My only child, gone forever.
She was riding with her boyfriend two days ago.
Why did that bastard live?
She was forbidden. He was under eighteen. Her seatbelt was off.
Why so many fucking flowers?
He has come to the house. Yesterday and today.
Twelve bouquets of flowers on the porch.
I dared my wife Carla to move them.
"Bitches," I said to Carla. "I married a black bitch. Then she had a daughter. Who we turned into another black-ass bitch."
My wife trembled. Rage and fear confused her. Flight or flight gone awry. Mixed signals causing arms to lash out, then shrink back.
"Fuck you, Roy!" she said. "I should have never let you start calling me a bitch. Your own wife a bitch. Your dead ass daughter--a bitch!" She paused. A gleam shone from her eye. "Then your god damned mama must be a bitch!"
Carla, bitch that she was, loved a good fight. It wasn't over until the ambulance came.
"Last motherfucker standing," was always her signal. Fists hit hard. Nails scratched deep. Furniture often broke.
I wanted to finish ripping the screen door off its hinges with her body. Putting my head through the plate glass window in the living room was next on her list. A glass shard ripped open an artery on the back of my thigh. She snatched it out. She sucked my blood. I screamed. Neighbors called 911.
A crowd gathered. "Nuthiné but them niggers fighting again."
"That crazy bitch beat his ass," came from the fringe.
Carla spoke to the police. "He fell through the window."
"Ya'll couldn't use the door?" asked the cop. "Oh, my bad, ya'll tore that up last week."
I never pressed charges. Landlord was tired of fixing up the house. Tired of us. He nailed an eviction notice on the door. I nailed two sheets of stolen plywood over the empty window frame in the living room. Rebecca, our angel, was gone.
So we smoked all her weed.
Then Carla found an eight ball, hidden in the back of Rebecca's sock drawer. We both snorted. Crushed the whole rock up. Snorted some more. Cried.
You know you are out there when nobody wants to pee, when both of you have stared at the pile of cocaine so long you have started counting each individual grain. Your jaw hurts, but you can't stop. You watch Carla wipe a trail of snot from her nose. Her hair has gone nappy, her brown skin, dull. She starts to wipe her wet fingers under the arm of the couch, but remembers at the last minute, and is now sucking the stiff mucous off of her finger, feeling a faint, bitter tang from the flakes that have accumulated in it.
No sleep for three days. Called in sick at work. The coke finally ran out. Except for the secret stashes, the ones we each squirreled away when the other had to break down and take a shit, or nod off. Nursed raw flesh around our nostrils back to health.
A package was stuffed in our mailbox, wrapped in duct tape and a paper bag. I thought it was a bomb. Carla noticed the plastic video case sticking out of one corner. I read her the note. "Your angel's videos," it said.
Rebecca was tied up. Men were urinating on her. She smiled when piss hit her in the face. My stomach lurched. Not my angel. I closed my eyes. Carla pushed me, hard. "Look at that shit." The camera showed a close up of my baby, drinking out of a cup full of snot.
"Where's my money?" she said to the camera. She tried to lick the viscous white liquid off of her chin.
It wasn't snot.
How many men had it taken to fill the cup? Where were they? Why was I watching this?
Carla's breath was hot. She whispered in my ear. "See what you did to her? See what your sick fucking ass did to our daughter? Treating me like shit everyday. That's all she knew about love. Nuzzling nasty nuts, sucking crusty dicks like blow pops. I guess I wasn't bitch enough for ya, huh?"
Carla was bellowing now. "You built your own Frankenslut! Didn't I tell you your nasty ass friends was trying to rub on her when you wasn't looking? Huh? Didn't I tell you that she was starting to like it, starting to want to believe them bald faced lies them nasty motherfuckers told her?"
I stared at the dark knot in the center of the plywood in front of me.
"Are you getting a hard-on?" Carla stared at my crotch. Her funky breath was in my ear again. "We bitches. We pussy. That's all you see, ain't it." She stopped. Started again. "Well you ain't nothing but a dick to me."
You could hear Rebecca in her voice. Threatening, whining, trying to get a nigger to go off. Rebecca was worse than her mother, though, taking your money to buy drugs you never saw. Taking your money to bail the worthless fucking niggers she thought she was in love with out of jail.
The gun was under the bed. Three bullets left. Carla was gone in the car. She would be back soon. I sat on the porch, more hollow from the drugs than sorrow.
Rebecca's voice. Carla's voice. Bitches. Pussies. Begging, bitching, aggravating whores, always complaining, always whining.
I sat on the porch, among the dying flowers, waiting, the gun in my lap, hard steel resting against hardening flesh.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003 and had a short story selected as a Notable Online Short Story of 2003 by storySouth.
He has published work in MIPO Magazine
(online) and Exquisite Corpse.
Kris is seeking an agent for his collection of short stories, "Check Out My Melody". He is currently working on his first novel. "Bulletin Board" is set in Buckhead, the heart of the Atlanta financial district, and explores the misadventures of boiler room stock brokers in the 90's.