By Nicola Ditty aka britwizz
PSR: Ten drabbles that tell a tale of endings, and what comes after...
PG for language. Comments and feedback welcome. Share your thoughts with me at email@example.com
~ For Morgan and Meghan ~
“A brother is a friend God gave you; a friend is a brother your heart chose for you.” ~ a proverb.
1: The Comeback Kid
You were supposed to die, you know that?
They told me, and I believed them. You, of course, had other plans. Always bucking the system... Not that I mind, in this instance.
You’ll never work again…that much has been decided and, surprisingly, you don’t seem all that concerned. Do you know something I - they - don’t?
I wish you’d tell me. We haven’t had the chance to talk since your mom sprung you from hospital. I wish I knew what you plan to do when you come back from NYC.
Anything you decide is fine by me…
Just come back.
I was supposed to die, can you believe that?
Surprised the shit out of everybody when I woke up - myself included. One minute I’m somewhere - nowhere special - but it’s quiet, calm. The next, Hutch is pinging off walls and molesting nurses. Way ta go, Blondie!
That was the easy part, opening my eyes. It went downhill from there.
But here, at home, things have been good. I’m good – well…better. Ma’s having the time of her life, feeding me, building me back up. She wants me to stay. She says “What’s back there anyway?”
I say, “Not what, Ma… who.”
3: Long Distance Call
I’m supposed to carry on as usual. Do the job, eat, sleep, take out the trash, like nothing’s out of the ordinary. But it is…and I can’t. I show up, I snack, I dream, and I try not to make a mess. Of anything.
I’m not doing so good.
I miss you like you wouldn’t believe. It’s one thing to have given you up for dead, but knowing you’re alive, twenty-five hundred miles away…well, it’s a whole new kind of pain. This stinks, buddy, worse that my three week old garbage.
So…pick up the phone, goddammit…
4: Insurance Policy
Just ’cause he’s a grown man, I’m supposed to sit back and let him make his own decisions? Well, let me tell you, Starsky men make lousy choices sometimes.
Me, I never had a choice: child bride, teen mother, widow before thirty - he calls me ‘Ma’ but treats me like a big sister.
He’s done being a cop - sad for him, but me? I’d do cartwheels, handstands, any number of tricks to have him stay alive. Stay here.
No job, no girl, no future… What’s back there for him anyway?
I’m leaving the ringer turned off, though. Just in case…
5: Shock Tactics
Who are you supposed to be, lady? You ain’t ‘Ma’. You’re like some sit-com yenta, dishing out guilt trips with the chicken soup. No thanks - I’m full. I’ve had it up to here. As for that crap about the phone bugging you at night…
You say, “It’s not like you have to get back to that crummy job…”
I say, “Wasn’t so crummy when it helped pay your bills.”
The slap that follows is deafening, the silence after is worse. Then come the tears. Yours… Mine… You damn near took my eye out.
Like I don’t have enough problems already.
6: Family Planning
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Denied daughters, I had a right to daughters-in-law: I wanted to be the youngest grandma on the block.
Nicky’s been…a disappointment. And as for Davy, I don’t know him at all.
He’s going back to
Maybe he only needs a second look. I hope she’s a nice Jewish girl. Someone he’ll want to bring home. For good.
Maybe it’s supposed to be like this, after all.
7: Target Practice
I miss Hutch.
And I kept missing him every time I called. Spoke to Huggy twice, the Cap’n three times in the past couple weeks…but not Hutch. At least I know now why I never heard from him…
Can you believe my mother?
So here I am at JFK. Supposed to be boarding any minute now and, much as I hate to fly, I’m more than ready this time around.
’Cause this time I’m heading in the right direction. It’s been a while since I felt like that. A long while.
Guess I only needed something to aim at.
8: Marketing Man
It’s not until I empty my grocery cart that I realize what I’ve done.
Moving along the belt are the fixings for three days of salads, a quart of one-percent ~ diet, or die trying, as my mother always says ~ a six-pack of root beer, a box of Froot Loops, three packs of Twinkies, and a huge frozen pizza.
What the Hell’s the matter with me? If I can’t have Starsky around, I’ll have his groceries instead?
Embarrassed and confused, I offer the checkout girl a supposed smile. One she mirrors as she says, knowingly, “Your weekend for the kids, huh?”
9: Homing Instinct
He’s looking down as he climbs the stairs, watching his feet like they’re a pair of ex-cons and might do something stupid at any minute.
He’s toting bags from Speedy-Mart; he picked plastic over paper - first time for everything. Whaddaya suppose it means? Save A Tree?
Three treads shy of the top he stops… Sways… So I reach out and grab him by the groceries ’til he’s steady enough to look up.
He looks tired, empty, but then a smile starts to spread, filling his face ’til it reaches his eyes. He says, “Hey...”
And I know I’m home.
10: Philosopher's Stone
I recognize the feet…the shoes, anyway.
But aren’t they just a little out of place? They’re supposed to be in
I’m dropping shopping.
Then all at once he’s holding me tight, like nobody’s ever held me. At least, not since…well, since he did…when Gillian died. I push him away to ask, “Who died this time?”
He says “I did, ya big lummox.” He hauls me closer.
I whisper, “Well, that’s alright then.” And it is.
’Cause there’s this little loophole I’ve found called reincarnation.