Ray’s stomach was upset. He had purchased a bottle of the pink stuff last night. This morning it was three quarters gone. He had just finished eating a slice of dry toast, hoping that would settle his stomach, when his cell phone went off. Before the snippet of “We Are The Champions” by Queen finished, the phone was in his hand.
“Ray, it’s Alex. It’s Saturday, man. Where are you?”
Crap, forgot the weekly Saturday morning basketball game with the guys. “Sorry, Alex. I’m not feeling well. Some kind of stomach bug.”
“That sucks, man. Hope you feel better soon.”
“Yeah, me too.” He hit the End button and dropped the phone on the table. The toast didn’t seem to be helping, his stomach was still rolling.
The cell rang again. He looked at the screen, it was his sister, Carmen. He sighed and picked it up. “Hi, Carmen.”
“Hey, Ray. I’m here at the restaurant for my breakfast with Mom and she hasn’t shown up yet. I tried her cell, no answer. Do you know where she is?”
He knew but he wasn’t saying. “No, not a clue.”
“Didn’t you have dinner with her last night?”
“Yeah, she was there when I left.”
“She say anything about meeting me for breakfast?”
“No, not a word.” Ray’s stomach began to roll in earnest. “Look, I’ve got some stomach thing. I gotta go.”
“OK, hope you feel better.” She clicked off.
Ray dropped the phone on the table again and held his arm over his stomach. Mom had been such a bitch last night. Always on him about dropping out of college.
“For what?” she railed at him last night. “You’re writing. What kind of job is that? Does it pay?”
She knew it wasn’t paying much. He was living in his own place but it wasn’t more than a main room and a bathroom. The bed was in one corner and the table he used for a desk was in another. The sink, stove and fridge took up another corner. The only chairs were kitchen chairs he picked up at a yard sale for five bucks. Friday night dinner at his mother’s was the best meal of the week. The rest of the time he lived on ramen noodles and tuna sandwiches.
She just kept at him until he couldn’t eat the pot roast, and she made the best pot roast on the planet. “Ma!” he threw his fork and knife on the plate, splitting it. “Please! Stop!”
Then she got on him about the plate. She stormed over to his side of the table and began snatching the plate bits up from in front of him. “Look at what you’ve done! You never take care of things.” She just wouldn’t shut up.
“I’ll take care of it, Ma. Leave it.”
But she wouldn’t leave it. When he left the table and went into the kitchen, she shouldered him away from the front of the sink. He snapped.
Now here he was, in his miserable apartment, running the scene through his mind over and over again. His stomach heaved and he ran to the bathroom, just making the toilet before the toast came back up. Ray retched until it felt like his stomach would come up too. He sank to the floor, wedged between the bathtub and toilet, head back against the wall, too exhausted to do anything but grab a square of toilet paper and wipe his mouth. He dropped it in the toilet and flushed. Now what am I going to do. I don’t have any money, and nowhere to go. If she had just shut up, or cut me a little slack. That’s all I wanted, just a little respect. Ray sighed. Not much hope of that happening any more.
He struggled to his feet and went to the kitchen to get some water. It felt good going down. His throat was sore from the vomiting. Pressing the cool glass against his throbbing temple he sank down on the kitchen chair in front of his laptop. The story he was writing was on the screen. It seemed so stupid, he couldn’t stand it and tapped Control A to select all of the text then hit the delete button. The cursor blinked at him from the upper left hand corner of the screen, taunting him. Maybe Ma was right. What makes me think I can write?
Ray finished the water and got up. He put the glass in the sink and went to the small wardrobe that was the only closet in the room and picked out a navy blue polo shirt and khaki pants. His loafers were under the bed, covered with dust. At the sink he wet a paper towel and cleaned his shoes and slid them on his feet. In the bathroom he splashed his face and wet his brown hair to smooth out the tangles, then combed it smooth. I really need a haircut, he thought as he examined his reflection in the mirror. Too late now. I should have shaved. Nah, the day old beard is all the fashion now. Finished, he went back into the main room, got another glass of water, and sat down at the rickety kitchen table.
The knock on the door came two hours later. When he opened it, two police officers stood there. Another two were just down the hallway. All four of them had guns out and pointed at him.
“Ray Colins?” One policeman with stripes on his sleeve asked.
“You’re under arrest for the murder of Alice Colins. Turn around.”
Ray turned and put his hands behind him. The second officer put the cuffs on him. “We have to take you to the station, son.”
They led him down the hallway and out to the street. “Why’d you do it?” The first officer asked as they put him in the patrol car.
“She had no respect for my writing.”
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html