A short story
by Joti Heir
He wasn’t quite sure what to do next. His little sister was crying, his mother was lying on the floor with her eyes rolling in and out of her sockets. And there was a man at the door yelling,
“Open up you dirty bimbo,” the voice said.
Timmy didn’t know what a bimbo was but he knew if he opened the door the man would come in and try to shake his mother. It was not possible to shake her up, but he would yell and shake and it would make his little sister cry. The haze of whatever she syringed herself with usually lasted several hours. You had to catch her in between the end of one haze and the start of the next one if you wanted to talk to her.
He had determined in his 11 years of life that during the first week of a new month the minutes between the end of one haze and the start of the next haze were limited to just a few. The end parts of the month were different. During those days his mom would sometimes get up at the end of a haze and buy food, maybe even make dinner, maybe even talk about things. The end parts of the month were Timmy’s favorite.
But if you tried to bother her in the haze she would throw things and the man would definitely be angry if she threw things. Timmy placed the glass of water he had been holding down on the ground and picked his frame up off the floor. He felt his knee crack a little he must have been huddling over his mom a long time. He slowly walked over to the front door.
“Open the door you little shit.”
He really, really just wanted to cry. Just sit down and cry. Just if he could only press STOP he thought. Let everything just stop for just a minute. Please, just please, let it stop, just please.He blinked quickly, swallowed hard but the mucous seemed stuck.
He looked up at the door and saw the chain lock was in place so he turned the diamond-shaped knob to the right to unlock the door. The man’s whiskers entered the door as soon as Timmy opened the door and so did the stench of cigarettes and dirty cheese. Timmy had seen this guy around a lot over the past two months, painting the motel hallways, fixing the front door and he had even been over for breakfast one morning.
“Open the door, where’s your Mom,” the man spit through the slice of space between the wall, the door, between him and Timmy.
“She’s not home, it’s just my me and my sister, we’re not allowed to open the door when Mommy isn’t home.”
The man’s eyeball grew gargantuan, he shoved his pock-marked nose toward the door opening.
“You. Tell. Her. She. Needs. To. Leave. This. Place. Tommorrow. I. Have. A. New. Hoar. Her. Free. Ride. Is. Over.”
“I suppose yours is too,” he added.
He leaned his head back, dry-gargled his throat and shot phlegm through the door crack and wiped the remaining phlegm stuck around his mouth on the back of his arm.
“If you want to get away from that old bitch of yours, I have a buddy who really likes to take care of little boys, you just let me know,” he said with a yellow smile.
Timmy closed the door, turned the knob back to the left and went to grab a napkin to wipe the phlegm off his nose and then attended to his sister. By this time her big blue orbs were only slightly glossy and the tears on her cheek had dried up, leaving imprints on the ruddy, dry parts of her skin.
‘It’s ok, you’re ok,” he said to her.
“You sit right here and I am going to warm up some milk for you.”
He placed her on top of the mini-fridge in the room and filled up the electric water kettle with water from the bathroom and placed the kettle on its base.
The kettle clicked done and Timmy mixed the last of the powdered milk with water, poured it into Amie’s bottle and shook it. He picked her up off the refrigerator and plunked her down on the couch with her bottle.
His mother’s eyes stopped swirling around 10 p.m. and so she got up off the bathroom floor and came into the motel room.
“Mom, that guy that came for breakfast last week was looking for you.”
“What’d you say to him,” she responded.
“I just said you weren’t home because …”
“Honey, it’s ok, I’ll take care of it, I’m going to go out now, you take good care of your sister ok?”
“Umm, Mom, there is no more milk for Amie.”
“Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll buy some on the way back, put the chain lock on,” she said. She kissed Timmy on his forehead and Amie on her head, grabbed her purse and left. He was getting used to dragging the oversized wooden chair alone to and from the window, to and from the door but today his skinny arms began to shake when he tried to pick it up.
Do it Timmy, you have to do it, do it Timmy, he told himself. He hadn’t eaten all day so it took him some extra effort, but after a few minutes the chair had been dragged and the chain lock was in place. He left the chair there so he could unlock it when his mom came back.
Timmy settled Amie on the bed, sat down with her and switched on the television. An old Western movie flashed onto the scene. He wanted to eat something, but he felt so tired and it felt like maybe sleep could be better. Plus, he was pretty sure there wasn’t anything in the fridge. He couldn’t quite remember because he was so sleepy now. It must be fun to be a cowboy he thought.
Bang, bang, bang.
Timmy shot up off the bed and ran to the bathroom looking for his mother on the floor. Sometimes she banged on things when she got out of her haze. She wasn’t there, he panicked. The banging continued and then realized it was night now, he had fallen asleep. She had gone out, someone was banging on the door.
“It’s Mom, open the door sweetie,” yelled Mom through the door.
A shot of heat splashed on his grey face as relief flooded Timmy’s body.
He went over to the door, got back on the chair and unlatched the chain latch, then turned the diamond-shaped knob to the right and opened the door.
“Oh Timmy, you sweet, sweet little boy, look what mommy has for you,” she said.
Her eyes sparkled as she pulled out a chocolate bar and a bottle of orange soda from a plastic bag.
Mom whistled as she removed her hair clip and let her hair down. She walked over to the fridge and placed the chocolate and soda on top of it along with bread, peanut butter, potato chips and cornflakes. From her purse she pulled out a bottle of milk and a package of hot dogs and placed them inside the fridge.
“We’ll go to the park tomorrow, it’s going to be a beautiful day,” she said.
Timmy changed out of his pants and put on a pair of shorts and went over to the bed with his chocolate bar and soda. He was happy. This was great. Mom was home. There was bread and even peanut butter. He felt lucky, so lucky and happy, like the luckiest, happiest boy in the world.
He woke up the next morning with a smile. It was sunny. And there were peanut butter sandwiches to make. He was going to surprise Amie and his Mom with peanut butter sandwiches. But these sandwiches were going to be special because he had saved his chocolate and he was going to put his chocolate in the sandwiches.
He knew they would be surprised and they would be so happy. He quietly rolled himself off the bed. The rays of light were dancing on the motel’s old orange carpet making magical patterns of happiness. He walked over to the bathroom, switched on the light. His Mom lay crumpled between the toilet and the bathtub.
He felt a hurt in his heart.
“It’s ok, we won’t go to the park, she’ll feel better tomorrow,” he told himself.
He pulled the hair off her face and noticed a trickle of dry blood below her left nostril.
“Mom, Mom, we have to go to the bed Mom.”
He placed his whole hand on her cheek and tried to wiggle her face.
“Mom, please wake up.”
“Why don’t you go lie down in bed and I am going to make you a surprise breakfast,” said Timmy.
He shook her and shook her.
He waited and waited.
He shook her and shook her.
He quickly got up and stepped out of the bathrrom closing the door behind him. Amie had found his chocolate bar and was wearing some of it.
“Thimi, Thimi,” she giggled as she stuffed a piece of the chocolate into her mouth.
Why was his mom’s face so cold he thought.
“Amie, you sit right there, I’ll be right back,” he said to her with a smile on his face.
He went back to the bathroom and knelt down beside his Mom.
He put his forefinger on her eyelid and his thumb below her eye socket and opened her eye. He let it close and then opened it again. He repeated this over and over and over again. The last time he had done this to his mom she had popped awake after a few minutes.
He wet a towel and wiped her face and neck.
He shook her. Nothing
He pinched her. Nothing.
He pinched her really, really hard. Nothing.
He poured water on her face. Nothing.
He grabbed her hands and used them to slap her face.
Her hands were kind of limp and weren’t very effective.
He kept hitting her, but this time with his own hands in order to be more effective. Nothing.
He was pretty sure she was dead.
He heard a banging coming from the front door.
“Open up you little bitch.”
It was the man again.
Timi bounced up, turned off the bathroom light and shut the door quietly behind him as he walked out.
“Amie, we’re going to go outside and play.”
He pulled on her jacket and put on her socks and shoes and then his own. Timmy turned the diamond-shaped knob to the right and opened the door.
“Sir, she went to the doctor, she will be home very soon.”
“Well, I’ll wait,” he said.
Timmy went over to the heavy chair, dragged it to the door, got up on it and undid the latch. The man yanked open the door and sent Timmy rolling backwards. He quickly got upright
“We’re going to the park,” said Timmy and he went over and picked Amie up.
The man sat down on the bed.
“We’re going to play in the park,” he told the man again as he walked past him.
“I’ll wait,” said the man.
He walked out of the door with Amie on his hip. He wanted to run, but Amie was no longer a little baby and he found his 11-year old frame struggling to carry her. As soon as they were out of sight of the motel room door, he put her down.
“Let’s run Amie.”
He held her hand and they ran toward the park.
He was oh so very confused, he knew he couldn’t tell a grown up about what was happening. He knew what happened when big people found out that kids were alone. Two summers ago his mom had gone away during summer vacation and he almost got everyone in big trouble. There wasn’t any milk in the house to feed Amie so he had asked a neighbour for some milk and then came the very bad days.
Some people took him and Amie to some place and separated them. He didn’t see Amie or his mom for so many days. He didn’t want that to happen again.
“Thimi, Thimi, thwings,” giggled Aimee while tugging on his pants.
“We can’t play at the park right now Aimee, but we’ll come back ok?”
Her face crumpled, and he hated to see that but he knew that bad man could come to the park any time, this time he would have to let Amie feel a tiny bit sad, there was no choice. He took her hand and tried to get her to run, but she didn’t want to. He picked her up and walked quickly toward the main road in town.
A man driving a freight truck, pulled up alongside them.
“Where you kids going?”
“We’re just taking a walk sir, thank you,” said Timmy.
“You two look a little young to be taking a walk by yourselves on the highway,” said the red-ponytailed man.
Timmy wasn’t quite sure what a highway was, but he knew he had to pretend he did.
“We like taking walks on highways when our mother is taking a nap, she gets very tired, so we take walks,” he said.
“It is up to you little boy, I can call the police or I can take you somewhere safe, my wife loves to take care of children,” he said.
“And that is how Mr. Tim Jenkins ended up living in Toishon County with Mr. Chris Hunter and his wife. They used the children as slaves, he escaped when he was 18, but his sister stayed,” said Kimberly Bistane, Tim Jenkins lawyer.
“Mr. Tom Jenkins has bounced around the country, never being able to hold down a steady job and it is no surprise that he cannot. He did not experience a loving and structured environment and has not been able to cope with life. I ask that you take all of this information into account before sentencing.”
“Mr. Tom Jenkins is a 37-year old man who has killed 12 boys, all under the age of 11. A difficult childhood is not a defence for that,” said the judge.
He remembered how Chris had made him perform on him and so when he sat on that electric chair, Timmy felt fine. He had no care in the world, except for his sister, but she hated him too so he was good and ready to go. Someone brought him a diamond-shaped lock on a plate and he licked it, his last meal.
He hoped all those little boys were living lovely in the heavens. Little boys should never have to live here. He wish he could’ve done more but he did the best he could. There were angry faces in the gallery, but they didn’t understand, earth was no place for a little boy. He smiled at the thought of greeting all of them in the heavens as he waited for the final shock.