The Men You Know

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Prompt: Kill someone.

“I’m not bringing him.” Says my elder brother, Ryan.

                “I’m sure as hell not going to.” Says my younger brother, Ian.

                “Screw you guys.” I melt into a puddle at their feet, but I can’t garner their pity. They’ve already come to their conclusion. They both knew they were never going to try.

                Neither of them would be able to hold my father’s hand anyway. Male to male contact shouldn’t be a taboo, we live in the 21st century, but around here old traditions die hard. Especially the ones where you have to stand at a dying old man’s bedside because of familial piety. I’ve seen my dad’s dad maybe about three times, but I still have to miss a volleyball game just to watch him kick the bucket.

                AHHHH! Gross. So gross.

                “It’s one day Clara.” Ryan tries to support the fact that he just threw his younger sister into an oncoming bus. “It’ll be over before you know it. Just close your eyes.”

                Before I can try and find a solution, the two boys in twenty year old men bodies’ whisk themselves away to dear daddy’s office to tell him the news. If I didn’t love our old man to death I would have screamed that I wouldn’t go. But I didn’t.

                Around 1 o’clock in the morning, dad comes down and shakes me awake. The phone call came in and time is slipping through the cracks of what’s left of his paternal obligations.

                When we arrive there are bunches of people crammed into the hospital room. I don’t know many of them. I presume they’re all grandpa’s children, I’ve got like fifteen aunts and uncles, but they’re not all like my dad. Bastards, like in the medieval sense of the word. Many of these people were born in actual marriages and brought with them children who knew well the face of the man on the bed. All of them are crying, including my dad who has a tight grip on my hand. I’m rubbing with my free hand at my eyes to make something come out but they’re dry.

                I hate this place. If I die, it’s going to be outside or in my house or someone can just dump me in a river, but nothing like this squashed, awkward room. It reeks of hand sanitizer and bed sheet bleach. Why they haven’t invented an air freshener for hospitals is beyond me…

                On the bed, amidst his uncomfortable guests, is a decrepit bag of bones. One time he had been a broad-shouldered man that sat once on our porch and laughed at me trying to chase my brothers with my “little chicken legs”. Then he sauntered off into the sunset, in a black Gran Torino. He was forgotten for five years until one summer day, where he showed up again with baseball for my brothers and I. None of them fit our hands.

                We have to wait around for a couple of hours, cramped in this room. No one is sure when it’ll happen. He’s not on life support and he’s not getting euthanized. His final moment will come eventually while we wait. A quick little nip in the butt from nature.

                His last breath sinks his chest. One of his daughters screams. The skin collapses like a popped balloon, sagging into folds of veins and liver spots. The heart monitor goes off after a minute after the breath. The beats have become too infrequent for its liking and it continues to scream for someone to do something, but no one moves. A heart monitor’s shriek is the last thing anyone wants to hear while they die. Muscles relax further then should be allowed by physics. An acrid smell fills what’s left of our breathing space. Bowels release when you die, now I get to see a grown man wet himself in front of me. It’s revolting. 

                Looking at my grandfather, now truly reduced to a bag of bones, and is still chest makes me want to hold my breath. I’d shame Michael Phelps if I could win that contest. I’d shame God if I could win that contest.

                Now is the time where my services are needed. I can’t shed tears at the form of my grandfather and the stench of his bodily fluids, but when my father turns with tear stains mixed in his stubble I can’t stay strong anymore. I hug him while he cries, hoping that it’ll all be over soon. The shaking breaths and the ache that’s decided to take a tight hold on my heart…

                This is the worst part.  


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One Response to “The Men You Know”

  1. Warren Rochelle Says:

    The prompt was NOT kil someone.

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