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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man's final confrontation with his son.

Submitted: November 14, 2011

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Submitted: November 14, 2011




Toby trembled.


He squeezed his eyes shut.

“You’re a coward and a sneak. You’re no good to anyone like that.”

“Shut up!” Toby screamed and violently kicked over a chair. It hit the lamp and both fell apart. Veins stuck out all over Toby’s neck, like bright green rods. The old man remembered the last time Toby had come to him for money. He’d brought a bright green rod.

Toby began to storm away. Everything around the door was blurry. Out. Out. Before-

“You’re going to leave a despairing and tired old man alone?” 

Toby froze.  He spoke with his back turned to the old man. His words flowed out of him, easily, comfortingly. “Years ago I would have,” he said through blackened teeth.

“But now you have learned better ways,” the old man’s hoarse voice fell like a whip on Toby’s back, so he retaliated.

Yes,” he hissed. The pistol came up warm from his pocket. Toby turned on the spot, but his finger never reached the trigger.

An enormous explosion tore at his ears, rocked his brain, as his chest ripped apart in every direction, and his blood splattered the old man’s carpet.


The woman had been ordered to wait outside. She was grateful for that. “Wait outside” was a place of safety. She’d always have at least ten minutes alone. Ten minutes to run away if she wanted. But Toby had caught her before, with twenty.

A tear finally gave up and rolled out of her eye. It stuck fast on the ridge of her top lip, and the woman, equally as stubborn, refused to wipe it off. Instead she placed her hand on the Chevy’s bumper. If I had the keys, she thought, I would leave.

And then I’d roll this truck into the bay.

The door to the faded, splintered house opened. Fear made the woman’s tongue dash out and capture the tear. But it wasn’t Toby who came clunking slowly down the stairs. This was an old man. The woman didn’t know what to think or do. She imagined he wouldn’t hurt her, or be able to hurt her. He certainly wasn’t one of Toby’s.

“Rena?” the old man croaked.

“Y-Yes?” Rena glanced at the door. No one else came out.

“That his drugs?” He was staring at the baggie in her hand.

She nodded and tossed it like she’d seen Toby do so many times.

He caught it. But he didn’t go away. Rena wished he would go away! “You should take these,” he said. And he held out Toby’s keys!

Rena boggled. Could she? Would she? This wasn’t a trick was it? Of course. Of course it was.

“No trick,” the old man said, as if he’d read her mind. “Toby won’t…” His eyes lingered on Rena’s shoulder, bruised beyond any normality. She hurriedly shrugged her sleeve down. “… hurt you again.”

“Where is he?” Rena dared to ask.

“He’s dead.”

Rena jumped so severely she bumped her elbow on the sideview mirror. But the majority of her blood was rushing to her head. She suddenly became very aware of the red specks on the old man’s jacket. Her hand started to go to her mouth, but he grabbed it and forced the keys into her palm. “Don’t go to the police,” he warned. “Drive out of town. Out of state. First get rid of whatever else he has in there-,” he jerked his thumb at the truck “And get out of my sight. You’re a fool to think he’d ever be anything kind to you.”

“You killed Toby,” Rena’s voice shook, but not the second time. “You killed Toby!” she screamed and flew into the driver’s seat.


The old man watched her slam the door shut. Wisps of hair were sticking out of the crease, but Rena didn’t pause. She and the truck screeched into the road while the engine was still shivering from mid-November cold.

The old man’s knees buckled. His fingers hit the curb wrong- skin flayed to reveal soft pink flesh, smooth and warm. He watched the blood run over his stinging hand. He couldn’t cover up his crime, if it was a crime. What was murder, when it was absolutely necessary?  Oh, he’d be dead before long anyhow. Most men don’t live to kill their sons. Most men, he thought bitterly, never have to.  And he would have no matter what. He would have even if Toby had come to him with flowers. The old man could only think of the last phone call. The two-sentence phone call. “She’s pregnant. I need money.” No money. Just a bullet. The girl had a chance, though, to raise the fatherless baby. It all depended on what she did next.

The old man tried to hold on, but couldn’t. A neighbor’s cries accompanied his descent into darkness.

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