Friday, September 14, 2012


By Nandy Ekle

He’s gone. Milo is gone. Your best friend’s death is like a sharp finger poking you right in the middle of your forehead. You’re sitting across from Madge and she’s just going on and on, talking about what you have to do to fix this, but all you can think about is the fact that Milo died in a stew of his own sewage.
“Hello?  Earth to Mr. Poopy President. Are you listening to me at all?”
You look up from where your eyes are fixated, staring at a brown stain under your fingernail. Where exactly had that brown stain come from? Was it from the flying fecal matter at your house as you ran away? And what about that running away thing? What kind of leader runs away from his problems?
You look up into Madge’s eyes. “What?”
“I said, what kind of a leader runs from his problem?”
A gasp blasts out of your mouth. Did she read your mind? You’re sure you thought the question up yourself; or did she plant it in your brain? Does she have psychic abilities you never knew about? And how come you never got a share of that?
“I, um . . .”
Her eyebrows are scrunched up and her mouth is posed in a pucker as if she actually expects you to say something intelligent.
The answer suddenly pierces through your consciousness. Screw it! Screw them all! Your business is tanked. Your reputation looks like the offending crap all over your house. Your best friend is dead. And now your sister demands you pay attention to her as if she were the smartest person in the world. You don’t need this. You don’t need any of it and you damn sure don’t have to put up with it.
You stand up and turn your back to her in mid-sentence.  “Go to hell,” you say as you walk toward the door.
“Get back here! We have to get this worked out!”
You run out the door and head for the stairs leading up to the roof. You need to get away just for a moment to mourn Milo, your mom, your career, your life. You need . . . fishing. Madge said your dad was on the yacht in the Pacific. You feel a sudden urge to pull on Daddy’s pant leg and beg to be hugged and rocked to sleep.
As you reach the roof you jump in the chopper and aim it toward the west, your main thought: “I want my daddy!” The sun glints off the water below you—or is it the water leaking from your eye?
Surprisingly, Dad’s boat is not far out on the sea and the size of the yacht makes it easy enough to spot. Lowering the copter to the deck you jump out of the aircraft. You see your sixty-year-old father running toward you.
“Dad!” You throw your arms out to him as you yell his name.
Instead of taking you in his arms for a comforting paternal hug, he pulls his fist back and punches you a hard one across your jaw. Rubbing your face, you look at the man who raised you. “What the?” You ask in a stunned tone.
“Get the hell off my boat, you murderer!”
“It wasn’t my fault! The lab substituted components in the formula! I didn’t do it! I swear!”
“You sold those things all over the world and got rich off people’s doody, boy. I don’t want your disease close to me. I don’t want anything to do with you again. Now get this confounded whirlybird off my boat before I throw you and your toy overboard.”
“But you’re my dad. You’re supposed to be on my side.” The man who had helped you build a Pine Derby race car for scouts when you were eight years old now looks as though he would harpoon you like a whale and gut you like a fish.
“My wife is gone, and your sister probably will be too if she keeps working with your zombies. Even the dog died. You’re no boy of mine.” He takes a couple of steps toward you. “I didn’t raise you to turn the world into sewer zombies.” 
As you stand there rubbing your jaw, your father grabs your arm, runs you to the side of the boat and pushes you over. You hit the water and the only thought in your head is that the brown stain under your fingernail will finally be washed away.
The rhythmic sound of a cello plays from somewhere in the air. Your dad looks not in your direction, but past you. He laughs and points, and you’re afraid he’s gone crazy and will jump in and drown you.
As you start to swim toward the yacht, the cello music gets louder and more intense. Then a new thought jumps into your mind as you feel something massive brush against your leg. You know that music! As the identity of the sound gels in your mind you see the circle of red around you grow larger. Suddenly your left leg is cold. LEG? What leg? You realize your left leg is missing and the blood is coming from you.
You open your mouth to scream for your daddy when the giant great white shark clamps on your other leg and pulls you under.