Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hard Love

Rudy heaved himself onto the kitchen counter as quietly as he could, then crouched over the top of the refrigerator and lifted the lid from a ceramic, pale green cookie jar and took out a chocolate chip and a peanut butter with cross-hatches pressed with a dinner fork. Gingerly, with all the skill he could recall from playing Operation with his little brother, he set the lid back, but still did not avoid a hollow, tinkling report as it settled into place. Rudy cringed and hopped down to the floor and peered around the corner into the living room, where his step-mother lay on the couch, immersed in the world of the evening news.

He tried his best to walk casually, padding softly on the shag carpet, palming the cookies at his side as he passed in front of a stand upon which two floral lamps cast irregular light over a cherry wood mounted portrait, yet leaving it mostly in shadow.

"Hold it mister." Rudy recoiled and crashed into the stand, jarring the lights that rattled and fizzled out. The television flicked his step-mother's shadow at him like a dark tongue as she advanced, fists clenched, face dark, featureless. "Show me."

He raised a sweaty, trembling hand that gripped the remains of his ruined plunder; bits and crumbs fell away as a sob arose from his chest.

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to love you?"

"I'm s-s-sorry," Rudy began to wail.

"No, but you will be."


Bailey Stewart said...

You might not have been able to put into it all that you wanted to, but its still powerful. I'm glad you entered the contest. Good luck!

Lavinia said...

The punch is there. The threat of violence hanging in the air like that. Great writing.

If this is a familiar familial theme from your life, Im so sorry. She sounds like a right old cow.

Scott said...

Eve - Thanks for the heads up on the contest, it was fun to enter. I need more things like this to push me along.

Lavinia - Howdy newcomer! Thanks for the compliment. As for my past, I've had a few times like the one I described, but it wasn't always like that. My past is a mixed blessing. Like my father said to me on the phone the other day, I have so much to draw upon for inspiration.

Jada's Gigi said...

Hard Love..a good name for this piece....it gave me the creeps!

magnetbabe said...

This story really impressed me, Scott. The 250 words forced you to get your point across as concisely as possible. The imagery was perfect.

Moni said...

Awesome and all within the confines of 250 words. Mind if I link it?

Scott said...

Cheryl - Then my job is done for the day!

Nat - Thanks!

Moni - I hereby give you permission to link any and all items from my blog!

mr. schprock said...

Great story, Scott! (I feel bad for Rudy.)

I wrote one myself, only it's not quite so serious.

Scott said...

Oh man! Check out Mr. Schprock's entry. He is simply the best!

The Zombieslayer said...

Gingerly, with all the skill he could recall from playing Operation with his little brother

I like this line. As silly as it is, it works. Maybe because a lot of us could relate to it.

Tee said...

Awh, poor kid... I can totally taste that cookie. My Mom made those all the time :)

Dixie Belle said...

I think you did a great job! 250 words doesn't leave room for much.
Let us know if you win.