The Good Father

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short story about a father, trying his best during hard times.

Submitted: August 09, 2012

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Submitted: August 09, 2012

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“Tom.” June said, staring at me from the doorway. “We’re outta baby food and Jake needs to eat.” I looked over at her holding him in her hands and staring at me silently. She was as skinny as ever, and so was I, barely eating when we had money. June and I had gotten together in the middle of high school. Who would’ve thought that just 4 months later she’d get pregnant and we’d have to drop out. Unlike in the movies and T.V. shows our parents didn’t offer a helping hand. Not that my father or mother was ever really there for me anyway.

I stood up and walked over to her, kissed her on the forehead, and placed my hands over hers as she held Jake. Her hands were cold and thin, barely holding him up really.

“Yea I’ll get some food.” I looked at Jake and smiled, “I’ll be back in a little while Lil’man.” Whenever I called him ‘Lil’man’, he’d giggle. I didn't know why but I guess he had gotten used to the name. Which always worried his mother a bit because it wasn't the name she had given him.I stepped out the motel door and threw a thin jacket over my shoulders. It was cold outside, but I could take it. I just needed to go to the store around the corner and come right back. A little bit of Chicago’s chill couldn’t kill me anyway. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet.

14 dollars huh?

I guess getting laid off from McDonalds kills, especially when you have mouths to feed.

“Tommy!” I heard someone call my name out from the distance. It was of course the motel manager.

Shit.

“Hey Mr. Howards, how are you?”

“I’m fine Tommy, but look; I can give you only one more week extension on the payment day. After that I have to give you an eviction notice. I’m sorry.” I nodded my head and gripped my wallet tightly in my hands before placing it back into my pocket.

“I understand Mr. Howards. I’ll have your money, I promise.”

“I hope so Tommy.”

I walked away and headed down the dimly lit street towards the store. As soon as I turned the corner I saw a man standing, perched up against a streetlight pole. Before I could even walk past him he stepped forward and blocked my path.


“Empty your pockets fucker, just empty'em!" he swayed back and forth on shakey feet. This was his first time robbing and he was obviously druggie. His shriviled skin had been eatten away by the cold, and his eyes gleamed with desperation. He needed his next hit, he needed his fix.

The knife in his hand gleamed as the street light above us flickered. He shook the knife and took a step closer towards me. I quivered and my mind went blank, the fear had kicked in, and instinctively I reached into my pockets.

“Good, just give me the money and don’t do anything stupid.”

As my hand touched the dull edge of my wallet, I remembered that I had to go buy baby food. My son, my only son needed to eat, and I had to feed him. June and I could barely make ends meet, and Jake was always our priority before anything else.

“Stop stalling man, give me the money!”

“I can’t.” I whimpered, pulling my hand out my pocket, “I got a family to feed!” his eyes battered and his hand dropped slightly.

“I’m sorry man, but I got to do what I have to do.” He threatened as he moved forward, now poking the knife against my chest. “Just give me the money; don’t make this any worse than it already is.”

“Any worse? I got a kid to feed!” I panicked and it felt like a rock was growing inside my throat, making it impossible to breathe. He pushed his hand into my pocket, and I smacked it away.
“Fuck man!” I pushed him off and took a step back, tripping over my own foot. He lunged over me and went back for my pocket. It was impossible to stop him with words, he had fallen as far as you could fall.

I panicked again and threw my fist into his nose. He grunted but didn't get off. He had me under lock. I shook my leg free and thrusted it into his knee. He swung back and landed on my side, grabbing at his knee. 

I guess I had forgotten about the knife.

Too bad I was quickly reminded of it when he stabbed it into my chest. He pulled the wallet from my pocket as I struggled to breathe. Getting stabbed in the chest made me sort of feel like I was drowning or something. Our eyes met before he ran off, and somewhere in them I saw a look of regret, as if he was sorry for this.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone, typing in the only number I really knew. 

“Hello?” answered a soft and tired voice. 

“Sorry June...” I gasped for air, choking on my own blood. “Can you do me a favor and tell Jake daddy loves him?”

“I have you on loud speaker silly, he’s lying right here listening. You should’ve seen the smile on his face when he heard your voice.”
I couldn’t help but start coughing as the blood made its way to my mouth.

“Hey Jake, daddy won’t be able to make it home alright?”

“Tom? What’s wrong?” June questioned, mubling other words I couldn't quite make out.

“Don't worry Lil'man... Daddy will see you in a little while..” As I heard him giggle over the phone everything went numb, cold, and my breath had already stopped on its own.

 

"Tom if you're running out on me I swear I'll fucking kill you. Don't you dare do this to us."

 

"Tom?"


© Copyright 2017 LJ Walker. All rights reserved.

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