Thursday, 12 January 2012

Knocking on Heaven's Door--for Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge

Speaking of Chuck Wendig, as we were yesterday, this week's fiction challenge was for a 500-word story inspired by a song. Here's the original challenge along with links to the other stories submitted.

By Katherine Tomlinson

“She ain’t here,” the boy with the lazy eye said as I knocked on the door of the rusty trailer squatting in my mother’s blighted back yard.
“What?” I asked.
“You looking for Heaven, she ain’t here.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
He gave me what he probably thought was a sly look.
“Who are you?” he rejoined with a grin that exposed rotten gums and broken teeth.
Meth mouth. Lovely.
I’m getting too old for this shit, I thought, but I’d promised my mother I’d evict her tenant’s sorry ass so she could find someone who might actually pay the rent.
“Do you know where she might be?” I asked him.
He considered the question for a long time.
What do you do when one-syllable words aren’t simple enough? I wondered. Maybe I should have used sign language.
“I know where she might be,” he finally said, but offered no further information.
“Well, she might be at the White House but she’s kinda racist so it’s not likely,” he said and looked at me to see how I’d take that information.
My mother, who’s really my stepmother, is black, so that explains a few things about the whole dysfunctional landlady/tenant thing going on.
“Might be she’s at the library,” the tweaker added, vastly amused by his own wit. “Might be she’s in Nashville, writing a song for Carrie Underwood.”
I wished I hadn’t come straight from work. I really didn’t want to blood on my best gray suit.
“You’re a regular Ron White,” I said, pondering my next move.
He looked confused.
“Do what now?”
“Comedian,” I said. “Google ‘You Can’t Fix Stupid’ and he’ll come up.”
“Huh,” he said.
I reached for the trailer door.
“Hey, that’s private property,” he protested.
“You live here?”
“Sometimes,” he admitted.
“Great,” I said. “You owe my mother five months back rent.” I made a show of counting on my hands as if I needed the help to do the calculation. “That’s one thousand, seven hundred and fifty.”  He looked blank. “Dollars,” I added helpfully.
“Shee-it,” he said. “I ain’t got that kind of money.”
No, really?
“Then get out of my way or you and me are gonna have a problem.”
It’s scary how quickly I can revert to the bubba I was in high school. I used to eat little pussies like him for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.
The kid was fucked up on something, his eyes so pinned he looked like a zombie, but he wasn’t fucked up enough to take me on. He stepped back with a weird smirk.
“Be my guest.”
I wrenched the trailer door open and immediately wished I hadn’t.
Heaven was inside, or most of her was.
“I think she might be in hell,” the tweaker observed with a phlegmy laugh.
“Heaven’s in hell,” he giggled. “Get it?”
I broke the little fucker’s nose, then pulled out my phone to dial 911.

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