Fantasticoe -- Fall 2011
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Parting Problems

by Brianna Hull

Jimmy stood holding his mom’s hand looking down into the deep hole wondering how it was cut so perfectly. As dirt began to be flung into the endless pit, he felt a tight squeeze as his mother, Susan, tried to control her sobs. Jimmy wouldn’t look at her. He had held his composure for this long and wasn’t about to lose it. His fingers loosened as his mother turned to walk away. “Are you coming Jimmy?” she asked. He didn’t respond with words, just simply shook his head. He waited a couple minutes to make sure that she was gone and lost it. The tears started rolling down his cheeks uncontrollably. Not able to hold it in any longer, he dropped to his knees and ignored the workers that continued to throw dirt into the grave.

            His father hadn’t been dead more than a couple days but to Jimmy it felt like a lifetime. He never realized how much he took advantage of the time they had together. He would go days without talking to either of his parents, and now he wished he wouldn’t have done that. He remembered the night his father died like it had happened five minutes ago. As he cried he replayed the terrifying moment over in his head for the millionth time.

            He was at the skate park on a chilly evening with Zach and Caleb, the kids from next door, when his phone rang. It was a weird number so he chose to ignore it. But after the third time of pushing ignore, he picked up with a frustrated tone. “What?” Jimmy demanded. No one answered but he could hear the heavy breathing (and was that crying?) on the other end of the phone. “Who the hell is this?”

            “Jimmy,“ it was his mother’s voice.

            “What do you need?” His tone hadn’t gotten much better.

            “It’s about,” but Jimmy cut her off. “Mom, can we just talk about this when I get home? I am in the middle of something.”

            “Jimmy, he’s gone, he was hit by a drunk driver. I need you to come to the hospital right now.”

            “Who mom? What the hell are you talking about?”

            “Your father,” she sobbed. Jimmy was frozen. He slammed the phone shut and looked at Zach.

            “I have to get going,” he said, hoping they’d understand.

            “Where are you rushing off to? Your mommy want you home?” Zach teased. Caleb pushed himself over on his skateboard to join in on the tormenting. Jimmy knew it would have been easier to just to tell them right then what had happened, but he was still having a hard time believing it.

            “Come on Jim, don’t bail again. Your mommy will survive,” said Caleb. But instead of trying to put up a fight, Jimmy just turned around and skated to his car. On his way there he heard the laughter and probably some smart-ass comments but he wasn’t concerned with what they had to say, at least for now he wasn’t.

            When he got to the hospital he practically ran through the doors. His mother was sitting right there, waiting. Her eyes were beaten red and swollen and some of their closest family friends and his aunt Lilly were there.

“Mom,” Jimmy choked out, but she didn’t move. Instead Lilly came straight to him and hugged him.

“I’m so sorry,” she said as her voice cracked.

            “Jimmy!” someone yelled. Jimmy snapped out of it and turned around. It was Lilly. “We’re going,” she said. But once again instead of replying, he just got to his feet and headed towards the car. Halfway there, though, he turned around and got a good look at the grave. It would be the last time in a long time that he would see it.

“No!” Jimmy yelled at his mother when she begged him one more time to take the trash out. “I’m not doing it, that’s disgusting! Who wants to touch trash?” Susan didn’t know what else to do. She simply let him storm off in a tantrum. This is how most Wednesday evenings ended, Jimmy losing his temper and Susan letting him take the win. Ever since Joe, Susan’s husband and Jimmy’s father, passed away, things had been shaky around the house. It was hard to Susan to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. It was even harder to tame her son. Jimmy began disobeying not only Susan but also the rules at school. Sooner rather than later, she was afraid, he might begin breaking the law. Susan was stuck in a pit and wasn’t exactly sure how she was going to get out.

            As Jimmy stormed out of the room, his mother didn’t notice him hiding around the corner to see if she actually did was she usually did (take out the trash, even if she was too tired). He felt awful for throwing the tantrums but he had always thought that at least he was winning something in life. No one else gave in to him. Not his teachers and definitely not the bullies at school. So he felt the urge to win against someone, that being his own mother.

            Jimmy woke up that night out of a deep sleep to a loud crash. He jumped up so quickly, having been sleeping on the top bunk, and smoked his head on the ceiling. “Shit!” he yelled. He climbed down to the floor and walked out of his room, down the hall to check to see if his mother was still in bed. Exactly where she always was, on his fathers side of the bed in one of his old t-shirts, sound asleep.

He continued down the hall into the kitchen. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when he stopped and scanned the place up and down but just as he was turning around he heard the crash again. But this time it was louder, as if he had gotten closer to the fall. He whipped around his already throbbing head and right in front of his eyes the trashcan began to shake. It seemed as if it was mutating into a larger form. Jimmy thought that surely this had to be a dream. He was simply sleepwalking and would wake up here any minute. After a minute or so went by and the trashcan continued to shake and grow, he realized that it was seriously happening. By this time the can had grown what seemed to be arms, legs, and even a mouth. A large, terrifying, filled with millions of teeth kind of a mouth.

            Jimmy went to turn around and sprint back to his room but before he could manage his first step he heard “STOP!” So he did exactly that. Not that he wanted to, but because he felt that he was stuck. Too stuck to even turn back around and figure out who (or what) exactly was telling him to stop.

            “Who do you think you are,” continued the growling voice. “You think you can push your mother around? Fine. But you won’t push me around. If I need cleaned, you’ll clean me. Especially if the owner of this house and the woman who gave you life tells you to.”

            At this point, Jimmy felt like all was lost. He had no other choice but to turn around and face what was happening. Hovering there across the kitchen was a gigantic trash monster. Looked exactly like something that should have walked out of a closet to give you nightmares.

            “I don’t have to take you out, and I never….” Jimmy started to say but was interrupted by the jolt of his body being thrown up against the wall.

            “You will do as I say and if you don’t start taking the trash out or doing any of the other chores, the other appliances will continue to come to life,” said the trashcan. He slowly sat Jimmy on the ground and turned around and walked away. Jimmy couldn’t believe what had just taken place. Without even the knowledge of what had just happened, he turned around and went straight to his room. He didn’t sleep much that night.

            The next day Jimmy woke up and went on to continue his morning as he always did. He rolled out of bed, took off his pajamas, and slid on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that his mother had placed there the day before. Rolling his eyes he buttoned his pants but just before he turned to walk out of the room he caught his laundry hamper shiver. “But I thought that was just a dream,” Jimmy whispered to himself. He shook his head and began to turn when he was halted by “It wasn’t a dream. And if you haven’t noticed, I’m overflowing.” He turned around to see the outline of a face on his hamper, nonetheless speaking to him. Jimmy shook his head in agreement, but mainly to just get away, and continued to the kitchen.

            His mother was setting the table for the two of them to have breakfast. Today she made blueberry pancakes, his favorite. Though he would never tell her that because she thought he hated everything.

            “Good morning darling,” said Susan. “I hope you wanted some pancakes, it was all I could think of making.”

            “Yeah Mom, it’s fine,” replied Jimmy. Susan sat down across the table to enjoy their breakfast together. Jimmy took his time though, eating very slowly. He was trying to take in what exactly had happened last night (and this morning). With that thought, he turned to look at the trashcan. It sat there still as ever; it was almost impossible that it came to life last night.

            “What are you looking at?” Susan asked.

            “Nothing Mom,” he snapped. He had become irritable. He didn’t like being controlled and this is exactly what’s happening. When he was done he took his plate to the sink and just set it inside it. He was going to wash the syrup off of his hands when the drain began to gurgle. Not just a slight gurgle of water but almost like a growl. He turned to see if his mom noticed and she happened to be gone. He didn’t even hear her leave. Jimmy looked back at the sink as it continued to make gargling noises. He started taking steps backwards and he heard the command, “Stop!” He did as he was told.

            “We have told you many times to start obeying and doing what you should,” said the sink. “You rinse off this dish and put it into my friend the dishwasher over there,” he continued. As the sink said this, the dishwasher swung open and the drawer inside slid out. “I can’t make this much easier for you. This will be your last chance,” said the sink. This time, there wasn’t much Jimmy could do. He had enough. He picked up the dish, washed it off completely, and slammed it and the fork into the dishwasher. Jimmy was about to shut it but it swung close on its own.

            He hurried to find his book bag and ran out the door. “Bye mom!” he yelled back at her, hoping that she heard.

            “Hey there mama’s boy,” Jimmy heard as he walked into the front doors of the school. The hallway suddenly became a little bit smaller and it was harder for him to breathe. “I’m talking to you,” Zach’s voice pounded into his hears but he tried to keep walking. After he walked past the group of boys huddling around the door, he felt a jolt in his back and he was quickly stumbling. “You should really learn to listen when someone is telling you something Jimmy boy,” said Zach, followed by the chuckling of the rest of the guys. Jimmy whipped around and was nose to nose with Zach. Standing so close that he could smell the peanut butter on his breath. “Ew,” he thought to himself.

            “I don’t have to listen to you. Or anyone for that matter,” Jimmy fired back at Zach.

            “Jimmy, what have I told you about picking fights? I catch you again and you’ll have detention,” the boys’ English teacher Mrs. Handerson said.

            “Yeah Jimmy boy, I just wanted to chat,” Zach whispered. With that Jimmy was left standing alone in the hallway. He stood there for an extra minute after the tardy bell had rang and then decided to head to class. “I hate today,” he muttered as he went to toss his water bottle into the trashcan but missed. Usually Jimmy would just leave the water bottle there but after taking a couple steps away from it, he remembers what had happened at home. He turned around waiting for the trashcan to say something, to shake, or to at the very least growl but nothing happened. He picked up the water bottle and tossed it into the trashcan and headed to class. He swore that when he was halfway down the hall that he heard someone say thank you but when he turned around, no one was there. He forgot all about it the second he was forced to listen about algebra.

            Jimmy returned from school that day and as he walked in the back door he dropped his book bag and coat on the floor. But before he could even leave the kitchen, he heard a grumble. But it didn’t take long for Jimmy to realize what he had done this time either. He immediately walked over to the book bag and coat and hung them up on the rack just next to the pantry. Susan noticed this, and smiled to herself.         

            “Jimmy, I’m about to put a new load of laundry in. Do you have any dirty clothes?” Susan asked. She was waiting for the reply she always got, which was him saying no. But to her surprise, he actually had something else to say.

            “Yeah mom, I have a bunch of dirty clothes. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” He walked straight into his room to grab the laundry hamper. After he put them into the washing machine he unloaded the dishwasher that had become full and was cleaned through out the day. Last but not least, Jimmy was going to do something he usually never did.

            “I’m sorry mom,” he said. Susan was shocked.

            “For what honey?” she asked.

            “Just for always being so mean. I don’t mean to do it, it’s so hard to control my anger. I promise it won’t happen anymore. And I also promise to always take out the trash when you ask.” With that Jimmy shot a glance at the trashcan and he swore that it winked at him.

            Jimmy woke up the next morning as cooperative as ever, just as promised. His mother was in an exceedingly better mood, probably thanks to her son’s cooperation. Never again did an appliance come to life but Jimmy still wondered from time to time if it was a dream.

            Jimmy and Susan sat at the grave, the first time since the death had happened, and just held hands. “I’m glad you came with me honey,” Susan said to Jimmy. He didn’t reply, just simply squeezed her hand as he stared at the stone. He was glad he had finally come too, though of course he’d never tell her.