Fiction

Voices

By: Ruth Deming

When I awoke and removed the noisy CPAP machine from my nostrils, I remembered. Writing day! I peeked out my upstairs window. An enormously bright light grinned at me from the darkness across the street.

            The sun!

            When next I looked it was gone.

            Into the nearby bathroom I went and washed my hair. It took twenty minutes as I bent over the tub and scrubbed my hair with Head and Shoulders. When done I looked in the mirror and saw gobs of white hair hanging from the comb.

            Without missing a beat, I toweled myself off and ran outside, tossing the hair behind the mottled Akuba plant.

            Take that! Let the birds use it for a nest. What do I care?

Chrissie McVie was dead. Singer for Fleetwood Mac. Seventy-nine years old. Excruciating back pain. I knew what that was. I was operated on a dozen years ago. Got off the Tylenol with Percosets as soon as possible. The radio played her exciting song: You make lovin’ fun! 

            Every bit of my clothing was wet from the shower. Ripping off each piece, I left the layers of shirts to dry on the floor of my bedroom.

            I put the Bradford Tea Kettle on and fixed my Chemex for “good to the last drop” Maxwell House Coffee.

            What was the matter with it? Cold. Stone-cold-dead like Chrissie McVie. Adding neighbor Patrick’s honey from his beehives, I tasted it again.

            Cold! Dammit.

            Chug! Chug! Chug!

            Oh no! The trash men were here already.

            In a single motion, like a ballerina, they easily lifted the Yellow Plastic Bin and slammed it to the ground.

            Jaws! Giant jaws! The drivers rode on the back wearing warm hats.

            Thank you for allowing me to see that. Perfect. Simply perfect.

            The rapist who lived on the next street and who gave me a cowboy hat he had found was given a proper burial.

            Bob was not a nice person. When you read the archives note in The Inquirer you will see how he killed a young girl and felt no remorse.

            Bob died earlier in the week, walking his dog, Lulu. He sat down in his driveway and moaned. And moaned and moaned.

            The photo showed Bob, all right, his mustache going downward over his face. A face to avoid at all costs.

            Redemption? My dead friend Judy, whose planter is in my front yard, laughed and said, “Serves him right, the bastard!”

            Helene, whose poinsettia is doing well in my bay window, held onto her tummy and laughed. Words not necessary.

            There they are, gathered at the bus stop, at 7:30 am. The small kids first. Bob killed a young girl. Fourteen years old.

            My late friend Freda is a philosopher.

            “This, too, shall pass,” she says, wearing one of her colorful caftans.  

***

Ruth Z. Deming worked as a psychotherapist for many years. She enjoys helping folks get their lives together. A lover of nature, she walks every day and enjoys watching the sunrise and the sunset. She lives in Willow Grove, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA, USA. She also enjoys sending out postcards nearly every day. Before bed, she reads from a dozen books she has checked out of the library.

Categories: Fiction

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