VignetteSubmitted by DaBeast at 2011-04-19 00:37:39 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 10 ratings (10 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
I walked into the trailer. I felt my neck tighten and my jaw cracked as I worked it. My skin was flushed, fevered and my sight had a little bit of crimson in it.
It's been too many years. I've not had a good fight in a long while. I'm well past my prime. He's younger, bigger, has piggy little mean eyes that flash like a splash of scalding coffee. My fingers hurt, curled against my palms. It takes an effort to relax them. Old tricks once scorned flickered through my brain.
I'm old enough now to reach for every tool available. There was a chance that things would get messy. No smile at the thought like the old times. Cockiness would cost too much. I refused to make that mistake.
My problem's always been keeping my mouth shut.
And, damnit, she's my friend.
I moved past the washer and dryer, turned left into the kitchen, passed the stove and a messy island countertop and stopped at the carpet line of the living room. Brand sat on the couch, slumped over a netbook, surrounded by the debris of seven small children.
My head pounded.
Kat stepped out of the far hallway and into the living room. She looked tired but she always did. Five of the kids were Brand's but two of them were hers. She was expected to watch them all in return for the room and board, had been essentially homeless after her divorce and Brand had taken her in.
Yeah, he took her in alright. From the moment I'd found out, I'd had a bad feeling. For me, at least, things were about to come to a head.
I kept my eyes on Brand. I'm pretty sure a left hook would not have stopped my lips from moving. "I don't think I've ever met someone with a frostbitten heart before," my eyes found his, locked on, "or with icy veins. How do you live with that?"
"What?" The eyes were sharp but bovine this early in the morning. Frizzy, unkempt hair straggled like brillo from the wrinkled forehead.
Kat went still.
I rocked forward onto my toes but I stayed put. There was something metallic on my tongue, I could taste it, and it dripped bitterly from my voice, "I have never in my life heard a colder, more unfeeling, and sadistic statement than the one you made to her yesterday." I swallowed but the taste remained and my lips twisted. I realized that I was both outraged and offended in every sense of those dusty words. Something in me brimmed with revulsion and scorn and it was huge and I couldn't contain it. Although, I must admit, I wasn't trying very hard. "Do you keep your internal organs in the freezer or in a box in the ground?"
Kat took a step forward. "Hey, now..."
"Wait a minute." Brand stood up but took no step in either direction. "What are you talking about?"
I kept an eye on Kat only peripherally, my attention focused all on Brand. "Her son is experiencing one of the most difficult things he has yet faced and you tell her that she needs to put him in a home." There was a vileness upon my tongue, soaking into my gums. "A child that has been abandoned by everyone that ever claimed to love him except for her and your suggestion is that she abandon him, too, so that you won't be inconvenienced by him any longer. A suggestion that does not come from a love for your own children or an honest fear for their safety but out of your selfish desire to not be inconvenienced. You can't be bothered with your own children so why should you be bothered with hers?"
"Now, you wait a minute. He hurt one of my kids." Brand's face went splotchy and his voice was shrill.
I picked up one hand and slashed it through the air. "The only time you ever care about your kids is when you can use them like a hammer against that fuck you fooled into marrying you. Prison must be a veritable vacation for anyone that had to be hitched to anyone as cold, petty, spiteful, and mean as you. The only thing you care about is making your spouse as miserable as possible while you fuck around with anything that walks past. You don't spend time with your kids, you don't play with them, you don't talk to them - you yell at them, you belittle them, you make their lives just as miserable as you made Billie's life and all so you could feel better about being little old you. You're a fucking bully and one of the biggest, most idiotic loudmouths I have ever come across."
Kat suddenly appeared in my sight. Rather, Kat's gargantuan bosoms (really, I can't call them anything else - they weep for a bodice that begs for a rippin') suddenly appeared in my sight. That woman could feed Ethiopa all by her lonesome. They do grow some mighty fine peaches in Georgia, lemme tell ya'.
"Hey, there, Beast! Long time, no see!" She grabbed my arms, flipped me around, and shoved me back the direction I came from. "Well, gotta run! Got stuff to do!" She grabbed her son with her free hand. "See you later! Bye!"
I was herded out by a pair of massive mammaries and a round eyed, freckle-faced boy.
"Kat!" Brand screeched.
I cackled. "I hear the wicked witch of the South! Watch out for flying houses, bitch!"
Kat shoved me so hard in the back, I almost kissed dirty laundry. Her steps were efficient and quick as she herded me out into the morning light. "Be back soon!" she called behind her and slammed the door.
In moments, we were in the car and out the driveway.
For a while, nobody said anything.
"You really shoulda let me keep going." I muttered. The road was pocked with ruts and holes so I couldn't spare her more than a glance.
Which was enough to tell me she was going to kill me.
"I'm sorry," I sighed.
She lit a cigarette with a shaky hand. "That's the only home I got right now, Beast. You're not helping me with this." Her voice was quiet and weary.
"I know." I slowed down a little to give me a few more seconds and I looked at her. My laughing friend was somber and her eyes were dark and stormy. "If she kicks you to curb, you can come to my house. My kids and yours already get along and they look out for each other. You can finally sit and eat bon bons on the couch and watch soap operas and I'll even get cable back, if you want it." Still, I know better now and I knew it then, too. "We'll all look out for each other and be a family." I felt sad.
She shook her head, laughed a little. "You see Brand's face?" Her lips twitched.
"I think that's the first time I've really ever seen his eyes." I widened my eyes as wide as possible. "I can see why the piggy thin thing. I'd do that, too, if my eyes were the color of manure."
"Manure!" the little freckle face yelled from the backseat.
The air got a little clearer and we all laughed as we left the trailer park.