I should and I would, but I don’t wanna

Published November 15, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m having motivation issues. I am also having headache-general malaise-ennui problems, too.

I did manage to slog through another story for the contract. It was so gooey and icky sweet it actually made me feel as disgusted as if I had just eaten soggy french fries dipped in cotton candy. (I know! That’s gross!)

I have a lot of stuff that I need to do and fully intended to do today. I still have another installment for CatNoMoWriMo before I face the full wrath of Meankitty. (I think the dream I had where my backyard turned into a swamp and there were forty cats just wandering around was some sort of Nightmare on Elm Street cat threat.)  I know what I want to write I even have my scientific facts lined up and ready to parade around.

I just didn’t do it.

I also have heaps of information to fire up my rant on education (Oh, yeah, that thing.)  as well as some new and exciting stuff about the fall of mankind and what humans need to do to survive the next Extinction Level Event.  (Why, yes, I know it is kind of dickly not to give you that information or at least my source materials.)

But I got sidetracked by my headache which is making me woozy.

But the story in my head dragged me to the computer.

I started cobbling together the ideas for my second novel years ago. I got a brainstorm on it’s format and there’s a teaser on my webpage under the works in progress. For a long while now, the individual characters have popped out and began speechifying.

The working title is Intentionally Left Blank

This took over the machine today.

The end is just the beginning

Billy Russell arrived early. He needed the time to be alone before the celebration started. He sat in the middle of the floor and pulled out the locked metal box. Carefully removing the key from its hiding place, he clicked the box open. There were only a few things in the box. Most of them he had seen before. There was  a picture of two young girls. One held a baby in her arms, toddler sat on the knee of the other.

Billy smiled. He knew their faces like he knew his own. He carefully set the picture aside and took a notebook out of the box. It was the kind of cheaply made thing you only found in discount stores and every spare inch of paper was covered with words. These were stories and poems of such brilliance and innocent beauty that no one would ever have believed they came from the mind of girl who spoke so little that everyone assumed she was either a complete idiot or had some developmental disability.  Billy opened the notebook and read his favorite. He had heard this story in the author’s voice so many times he knew it like he knew his own name.  A tear fell from his eyes and onto the page.  He placed the notebook next to the picture.

There were only two things left in the box, a much folded scrap of paper and a cassette tape.  He pulled out the paper and unfolded it.  The writing was so small, he had to squint to see read it. He had read it so many times he knew what it said. It had arrived. in an envelope full of newspaper clippings. The clippings were advertisements for various medical supplies. The ads didn’t mean anything. The note was stuffed into the bottom of the envelope.

The tiny words said it all.

“I took care of it. J didn’t mean to. Love you, K. Don’t come again.”

He straightened the paper as much as he could and placed it next to the picture and notebook. This last one would be the hardest of all. He reached under the couch and pulled out the player. He popped the tape in and pressed play. The sweet voice that told him stories and yelled at him and made the rules and kept him safe came forth. It was just as warm and comforting as he remembered it.

“I don’t know who you are now. That’s for the best. The night we left, you were so mad at me. You kept reminding me that it was your idea and we should have let you be there. It doesn’t matter, you know. None of it matters now.  It may have been your idea but we planned it that way. We had to get you out of there and away from it all. That was the plan all along.  I know it has been hard for you to understand, but this is the only way it works. We kept it away from you as much as we could. You are the best of us. We all knew it. You are the best and so you deserved the best chance, and that means we had to take care of it for you so you can take care of yourself.

You asked me once if I was your Mother. Everyone always asked that. The ages are almost right and if you talk to people they will say it was always assumed. It’s not true. I wish it was, because then I would have had more to say than I did.  But I was your mother in every way that counted.   Every single thing I have done since you were born has been for you. I wanted to keep you out of it.  We all did.

I don’t know what else to tell you. When they find this and they find me, you will truly be free of all of it and all of us. I know you don’t want to, but try and understand why we did it. We love you so much. Take your best chance and have the best life.”

The tape hissed as it ended and Billy pulled it out of the player. He felt like a shell as he remembered opening the envelope when it had arrived just a few months earlier. He hadn’t heard from her in over a year. He knew she hadn’t forgotten him anymore than he had forgotten her.  It was for the last best chance.

He pulled the tape from the plastic casing and tied it into knots. He stood up and crushed the casing, then went into the kitchen for a large metal pot. He pulled out his lighter and set fire to the tape, dropping the rank and smoldering ribbon into the bottom. He ripped the cover off of the notebook and dropped that in first. He methodically ripped every page out and dropped it into the flames as they began to burn down he dropped in the scrap of paper.

He took one long moment to look at the faces of his sisters and brother one last time, then dropped the picture in. He waited until everything had burned out before he took the key out of the box and dropped it in the garbage disposal. He stomped on the metal box itself, bending the hinges loose. He put every moment of every bit of pent-up rage he had in every movement. He remembered their faces and the last time they had all been together. He couldn’t let any bit of it remain with him now.  He put the mangled box in the metal pot. He didn’t think anyone would go through his trash, but you never knew.  He put the pot in the back of his closet along with the cassette player. He stood up and turned his back on Kane Grey for the last time. It was almost time for Billy Russell’s bachelor party and the guest of honor couldn’t be late.

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