Friday, July 15, 2011
Mommy’s boy….............Flash Fiction
She came to me twice in a dream. The first time was a week before I met her; the second time was after I left him. I didn't tell him about it because it kind of spooked me. In the first dream, she came to me in a robe that was just like the one my foster mother wore when I was a kid. Blue, fuzzy, high necked, with a no nonsense zipper up the front. A robe made for utility, not style. A robe a modest woman of advanced age could wear to the door and no UPS man would be aroused or appalled by a bit of wrinkled wrist or ankle showing; it zipped to the chin and did the job that armor did in the old days.
The night he took me home to dinner she came out of her bedroom wearing the robe from the dream. She'd been sick in bed for a week she said, out of her head with fever half the time.
I was a bit shook, but not really surprised. Shit like that was always happening to me. Dreams, déjà vous, flashes of insight about people that warned me off of getting too close. After a while you get used to it.
She didn't eat with us; she just came and went from the living room to her bedroom a few times. Twice she stopped by my chair and squeezed my shoulder with a bony talon. Both times she said something too low to be heard, but somewhere in the muttering were the words "remember" and "you promised."
By the end of the night my skin was crawling and I was itching to be gone. He didn't even get a goodnight kiss, let alone get to give the guided tour he was hoping to give me of his new mattress. Sex was so far from my mind by the time he dropped me off that my thoughts would have been ok'd by a nun. And that hadn't happened since the eighth grade.
Lying in bed that night I went back over what she'd said in the dream. Most of it was along the lines of taking care of Brian when she was gone. Hell, I hardly knew the guy. Why would she be tagging me to take care of him, and did she mean "gone" as in "dead" or gone as in I'm tired of cooking and cleaning for my forty year old son and I'm going to go live in a condo in Florida kind of gone?
But it's not like I could ask her. People tend to look at you funny when you quote something they said to you in a dream and ask them to explain it to you.
I didn't see her again until the wedding. She looked frail sitting there in the front row of the church clasping her rosary beads. She found me in the bathroom during the reception and thanked me for coming into Brian's life. She said she knew that he had decided to take me on when he moved them to the new condo and gave her her own room. Then she slipped a package into my hand and collapsed. It happened so quickly that I didn't even have time to reach out to her. She was standing, then she was on the floor.
The paramedics came almost instantly from the fire station next door, but she was already gone by the time they got there. When they strapped her to the gurney she looked peaceful and happier than she had when she was alive. Weird thing? She sat up and talked to me when they were carrying her out. I know that couldn't have actually happened, because the medics or the coroner standing there signing the death certificate would have noticed. But she gripped my arm as they took her out and told me to make sure I took care of Brian. She said she wouldn't rest easy until I promised.
I left him this morning. We didn't have a honeymoon. The funeral took up the first three days, and the effects of the slow poison took up the next few. He never suspected. MSG hides almost any aftertaste and it makes the food taste just that much more delicious.
He should be dead by tomorrow or the next day. Hopefully it'll look like a heart attack. After all, the poor guy lost his mother and new bride in the same week. What heart wouldn't feel the effects of that?
The package she'd given me before she collapsed had detailed everything; she'd even provided the poison. She'd been with Brian for five years. She was twenty-six when they met. Apparently his boyish charm was kept lively by sucking the youth out of his sex partners. According to traditional lore, that would make him an incubus, but one with a twist, since Brian didn't want to father a baby. For him, that was simple logic, if you father a baby you won't be the baby of the family anymore.
The clackety clack of the rails had lulled me into the first decent sleep I'd had since the wedding. She stepped lightly into my dream and sat down on the sleeper berth next to me. She was dressed in a white satin robe and looked radiant. She told me that the cops would be calling me in the morning. They'd found the body, but I wasn't to worry because she'd made sure I'd be in the clear. She handed me a newspaper and faded out into the ether on a gust of some exotic perfume.
I looked at the front page of the paper and saw Brian's twisted Prius wrapped around the girder of a bridge. The paper didn't detail how the accident happened other than referencing his blood alcohol level. But I knew in a flash of intuition that chinks in the subconscious weren't only there in dreams.