What I Wanted

I sit in my car at a red light, slumped down in the seat. It’s freezing cold outside, but I don’t want to turn the heat on because I’m low on gas and even more low on cash. Instead, I tuck my arms inside my coat and hold them close to my body like I used to do when I was a kid and wanted to pretend my limbs got amputated in a serious accident.

The light is unusually long, but it is rush hour, so I look around me to pass the time. The house across the street has lights on in nearly every window. I shake my head in disgust at the waste of electricity and make a mental note to kick my own ass later for turning into my father.

“Jesus Christ, I’m not made of fucking money!” he’d scream at us kids as he stormed through the house, slamming a beefy palm down on the light switches to turn them off. I secretly hoped he would get so angry his heart would explode and he’d die on the spot, but no such luck. Turns out his alcoholism had beaten his heart to the punch and would kill him within five years. I rejoiced the day my father died.

A neighbor found him slumped over the steering wheel of his car one morning. The neighbor, knowing I lived close by, called me up, frantic.

“Paul? Paul, your dad! Oh, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…Paul, your dad is dead!”

I had to stifle a snicker. I quickly coughed to cover up my laughter.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I lied.

I took my time coming over. In fact, I made myself a ham sandwich before leisurely putting my shoes on, carefully lacing the strings and tying perfect bows. I drove under the speed limit to my father’s house. I pulled into the driveway behind his car, got out, sauntered over to my dead old man, opened up the car door and punched that fucker in the face, shut the door and waited for the coroner to come.

My only regret was waiting this long to give my poor excuse for a father what he fucking deserved to have done to him years ago.

But finally, in his death, I got what I wanted.

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