Mike gets woken from his nap by some sort of strange noise. He hasn’t made it out of bed when Sarena and his mother come over from Jesse’s apartment, pounding on his door. They tell him the apartment building’s been vandalized and he calls the police.
“Mike? Mike!” Sarena spoke sharply. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry. Got woken up when I was pretty sound asleep. Haven’t had my coffee yet.”
“We’ve done all we can, Mr. Reuben,” the cop told me. “All I can do is give you a copy for the insurance and file it. No fingerprints, no clues. On this frozen ground, what footprints would show?”
I nodded, thanking him. “Want a coffee to go?”
He thanked me, but left without the coffee. I called the agency who handled the apartment complex, left a message and faxed them the file from the police. Nothing else could be done, not even clean up, until the insurance agent came to look it over. Since it was Sunday, it was pretty doubtful that was gonna happen soon.
“At least it wasn’t worse,” Ma said over her coffee. “It could of been real bad had that been a real gun.”
I shuddered, not wanting to think about it. “Yeah, well. . . . If the kids egg the house tonight, what’s gonna show?”
“They’re doing Halloween tonight?” Ma rolled her eyes. “On a Sunday?”
I shrugged. “It was the only night with a clear forecast. Maybe it will cut down on the number. I don’t have candy, but Molly said to hand hers out. I should go get it.”
I gave each woman a kiss, with various degrees of intimacy, and went to get Molly’s candy. Her place was spotless. Not that Molly’s a slob either, but I could see that having Sarena around was going to come in handy, for more reasons than one. If the woman could cook too, I was gonna be set—and spoiled—for life. I grabbed the candy and the bowl she’d set aside for it, and headed back to my place.
The damage looked worse from a distance. I hadn’t noticed before, but the multicolored splats spelled a word. Six feet high, on the wall facing the street, it said “DICK”. I had to laugh. What else was I gonna do? I wondered if the cop had noticed and been too nice to say or if he hadn’t seen it either. All I could think was whoever did it had pretty good control of the gun for it to look anything like a word. Me, I’d have stuck to random splats.
The coffee things were washed and put up when I got back, so I took out a beer. My mother made a face as I popped it open on the edge of the counter. I saluted her with the bottle, then laid it on my forehead. The damp cold felt good. After a moment, her hand followed the bottle.
“Mikey, are you okay? You look sick.”
“I’m okay, Ma. Too much excitement, not enough sleep.”
“You’ve had a busy week since your birthday.” She nodded, pursing her lips as she turned abruptly away from me.
I narrowed my eyes, trying not to frown. “What?”
“Jesse told us about your mysterious woman. And then the girl and the girl’s mother. . . .” Fortunately for me, Jesse didn’t know about Shelly too.
“Nothing happened with the girl,” I emphasized heatedly.
Not like it was her business, but I wanted her to know that in addition to my other sexual exploits, I hadn’t added pedophile.
“I’m just saying. . . .”
I hate when she starts sentences like that. It always leads to trouble and generally yelling. I love my mother, but sometimes. . . .
“Lying down. She’s tired too, you know.”
“I know. I’m not the one who’s kept her busy cleaning all day.”
“No, you’re the one kept her up all night.”
“Ma, we kept each other up all night. What, specifically, has you pissed off? And is this a conversation I have any chance of understanding? Cause I’m tired too. As you pointed out, it’s been a busy week.”
“I want to know about this woman,” she said pointedly.
“Why? Does it matter? It was a one night thing. We were both too drunk to think straight. It was a great night, but she left before I woke up in the morning. I got no idea who she even is.”
“Michael Aaron Reuben! I didn’t raise you to be a whore!”
I drained my beer. There was no way I was even gonna hold my own in this conversation. Instead of trying, I grabbed another beer and walked away before I said something horrible to her.
© Dellani Oakes 2014