Edgar sat at his kitchen table, his stringy brown hair hanging in
front of his face. He knew he was in deep trouble now, his mother was going
to be so angry when she saw what he had done. After a few minutes of
contemplating what his punishment might be, Edgar rose from the table and
began to pace back and forth in the small, cramped room. He had to think of
a way to get out of the pickle he was in. The air was thick with heat, and
a putrid stench seemed to linger in the humidity. Sweat was dripping from
Edgar's forehead into his eyes, causing him to blink repeatedly. What was
he going to do? He had to find a way to hide this from his mother. It was a
little after two in the afternoon and his mother came home at six in the
evening. How was he going to explain this to her? Edgar was beginning to
panic. He had four hours to either hide what he had done, or figure out a
good explanation. Neither of those prospects were realistic in Edgar's
mind, but he had to try one of them. He had to. There was no way he was
going to face his mother with the house looking as it did. Edgar made the
decision to try and hide what had happened while thinking of some kind
He began his cover-up by scrubbing every inch of the kitchen until it
sparkled. This way, his mother would have no idea what had occurred there
and also commend him for his thoughtfulness. After the entire kitchen was
spot-less, Edgar moved into the living room that was juxtaposed to the
kitchen. This would be a much harder than the kitchen had been. Edgar
didn't have a carpet cleaner. He did his best with the "409" cleaning
solution he had found under the sink. It didn't do much, but the carpet was
a little better then when he had started. That was enough, it was all that
could be done. The panic that had been rising in Edgar was ebbing somewhat
as he started to see progress. It was five in the evening when he finally
finished cleaning. He was certain his mother would notice that something
was wrong. There was still one more thing that had to be done. Edgar had to
get rid of what he had done. He had to bury it in the back yard. Was there
enough time to dig a hole? Edgar doubted that he would finish entombing
what he had done in the backyard before his mother returned home. What else
could he do? It had to be taken care of; there was no way around it. As he
thought of a quick fix, Edgar brought what he had done to the backyard. He
looked around frantically, and then he saw it. A huge green tarp was strewn
over a large pile of dirt in the neighbors' yard that was left over from
some landscaping project or another. Would they notice it was gone before
Edgar had time to bury what he had done tomorrow morning? In the July heat,
it would take him at least an hour to finish the job, maybe two. He knew he
couldn't take the chance doing it now. He ran into the neighbors' yard and
stole the tarp.
By the time his mother came through the front door and into the
living room Edgar had covered up what he had done with the tarp in the far
corner of the backyard. There was no way she could sense what had happened.
He was safe, for now.
"Edgar, the kitchen is so clean!" she exclaimed as she stepped onto
the newly mopped linoleum flooring. "Why did you do all of this?"
Edgar could feel his heart racing. "I wanted to make you happy," he
His mother just smiled at him lovingly. She hadn't noticed the stains
on the carpet. Edgar stared at his hands that sat in his lap. He had
forgotten to clean them. How could he have forgotten something that was
right in front of his face the entire time? He was sure to be caught now.
"Where's your father?" his mother asked. "Edgar, where is your
"In the back yard," Edgar mumbled, low so that his mother couldn't
hear what he had said.
She walked back into the kitchen and looked right at Edgar, who was
still sitting at the kitchen table. He slowly put his hands onto the cold
wood veneer of the tabletop, palms up. He saw his mother's jaw drop out of
the corner of his eye.
"Where is Daddy?" she asked again, ignoring what her mind was telling
her. "Eddie, sweetie, did you do something to Daddy? The car is still out
front. I know he didn't go anywhere. Tell me what happened."
Edward couldn't answer. He just stood up, and walked over to his
mother. He still had his pocketknife in his jeans.
"I'm sorry mother," he whispered, "but I think you need to be with
"Why did you hurt Daddy?" his mother asked as she began to weep.
"Where is he?"
"You people never loved me. All summer you keep me locked up in the
house, exhausted from the heat!" Edgar started to raise his voice as he
held his knife up; "I hate you for leaving me alone with him! Do you know
what he did to me? If I ever did, anything wrong he would just beat me,
like I was some prisoner he had to keep in line. Today, I dropped a glass,
and he got so angry with me. He just started hitting me in the chest. I'm
sixteen years old! I wasn't going to let him do that to me anymore! So, I
stabbed him over and over with this pocketknife he had given me. You're
just as much to blame as he is. I hadn't thought of this until just now. I
was actually worried I was going to upset you."
His mother was frozen with fear. Her own son was about to kill her.
Edgar had rage painted all over his adolescent face. He jumped at his
mother, making her fall to the floor. He straddled her and jammed the
pocketknife into her heart many times over. This time he didn't have to
think about how he was going to clean up what he had done, he just went to
bed. It was the first night in sixteen years that Edgar could remember
having a restful night's sleep.