This little piece was written in response to Freak-Of-Spades challenge and to get back into the writing swing. Check out the profile for further information on the challenge requirments. I'm not usually much of a one-shot writer and it is a lot fluffier than my usual works...I hope you enjoy anyway!
Every little piece of him had disappeared. I strolled through the house, lost in a reverie of a foreign time. Past the ugly couch that we flopped on to when we first bought the place, through the hallway where Mike slipped and stubbed his toe and blamed me, beyond the bedroom where we'd wake up in a tangle of arms and legs, into the kitchen where we argued over my cooking and finally I stood staring at the door that he left my life through.
How had it all gone so wrong in just two weeks? We were fine before we bought the stupid house in the stupid suburbs with the stupid pug dog he insisted on getting. Now I was stuck all alone in the stupid house in the stupid suburbs with the stupid pug dog and nothing but instant coffee, a piano, ugly furniture and my own thoughts.
- - - - - -
"Alright guys, you have been amazing with the rubbish that we've had to work with." I announced, clutching the sweaty hands of two of the students included in the giant cast and crew circle we constructed. "You have all put so much into this. So let's put on a bloody excellent show guys, you freaking deserve it! We're on in half an hour. We can do this."
Yes, that was the Arthur Digby Jr. attempt at stirring enthusiasm.
They all gaped at me with teenage robot faces.
Across the circle, I caught Morgan's lime-green eyes peeking out through his reddish brown hair but I lost them to the floor. His bright red 'Super Mario' T-shirt stood out amongst the white and blue happy country townspeople costumes for the opening number of the musical. I couldn't figure out how I had screwed up, yet again.
Posters that read 'Slasher Zombies: The Musical. Opens September 16!' filled the hallways as propaganda for an inevitable flop. I had to pick up from where Shawna left off: with a stupid, stupid, script and ridiculous plot. It was some arty expression of prejudice or something that only really made sense to Shawna before she left for a rehab vacation.
- - - - - -
It took a lot of energy for me to get to work after a night spent bashing out nothingness on the piano to get my mind off Mike. No, I wasn't thinking of him. I had hardly thought of him. I hadn't slept for the two days since he walked out.
"Arthur… are you drunk?" The principal asked.
I yawned. "Not yet."
He shuffled in his seat uncomfortably. "Arthur Digby Jr., it's an honour to have a talent like you helping us out with our school musical. When we sent the email, we truly didn't expect that you'd respond."
"Yeah, neither did I."
- - - - - -
"Yes, prop guy?"
I held out my hand to collect his gum. I didn't have a problem when people chewed gum…but when they churned out that spitty, smacking sound, it made my spine frost over. He got a few quick rabbit-like chews in before he spit the crap into my hand.
"What do we do about Georgette?"
"Georgette?" I asked.
Proppie looked down.
"We named the Papier-Mache cow."
"Ok then... what about her?"
"The thing about Georgette is that she's…she's a widespread kind of woman, you know? We sorta tried to get her through the wings and uh the thing is…"
I crossed my arms and pulled my best unimpressed face.
"Spit it out Propsicle."
His eyes bounced everywhere except for at me.
"She was beheaded."
Of course, why wouldn't she be?
- - - - -
I sipped from my thermos filled with self-made Irish coffee. The school had privileged me with the drama room to work in when there weren't classes going on. I stood in front of the mirrors lining the wall and gawked at what Mike had created. I was twenty three going on thirty-five. Black facial hair was beginning to get itchy, thick-rimmed glasses shielding red-rimmed brown eyes and a creased stripy shirt. Yes, Mike. Take a look at me now.
The door creaked open and I dove onto the piano chair and played a few awful chords. "Ugh, sorry, I'm busy…there's no class in here until twelve."
The intruder cleared his throat, causing me to spin around and acknowledge the boy.
He leaned against the doorway with a mouth full of sandwich.
"Nmmmarthurigby?" he mumbled.
"Sorry, I couldn't hear you through the sandwich."
He swallowed. "Arthur Digby?"
His mouth tweaked to the side as he waited for my answer.
"Arthur Digby Jr."
"Ok." He walked over to the piano with an outstretched hand. "I'm Morgan Alexander. Your techie and basically everything else since the school couldn't be bothered hiring people that were suitable for their jobs." And with that he took a hefty bite of his sandwich that I swear was bigger than his mouth.
- - - - -
I sat in the front row of the ocean of seats, waiting for the curtain to raise above the tragedy. I predicted that I would spend the next week mourning, and then hopefully feel so crap that I crawl to my piano and continue work on my new masterpiece. As I heard the beginning notes to the opening song begin, I could just picture Morgan leaning lazily back on the broken chair in the lighting booth, telling the other kids what to do and trying not to appear as anxious as he truly felt.
The first zombie jumped out to sing his opening lines:
"My little lunchtime feast.
I have a choice of favourite meats,
Will it be him or maybe her?
Lunch is served, and nicely preserved! Oh my, oh my!
It's a good time to be fed
Gee it's great to be un-dead!"
I prayed my seat would dissolve into quicksand.
- - - - - -
"You didn't need to drive me home. You're too young to drive." I slurred to him at my doorstep. I fumbled for my keys until Morgan took them off me and tried a few until he got the right one.
"Dude, for the third time, I'm twenty and you spent half the day sleeping under the piano. I did need to drive."
As soon as I flicked the lights on, the pug bounded towards us on his ridiculous little legs. Morgan bent down and scooped up the nuisance.
"This is Nacho." I threw in to accompany my lazy hand-gesture.
He gave me that weird side smile. "Sounds like there's a good story behind that name."
"Uh…I like Nachos?"
The boy looked around the place.
"How does such a young guy become the owner of a house like this?"
"He falls in love with a doctor that coaxes him to use a fair portion of his royalties on a place they were supposed to live in together."
"Royalties?" He asked, leaning against a wall in my entrance. Could the boy ever actually stand on his own? Nacho absorbed the attention, already liking Morgan more than he liked me.
"Yeah, I write some of the songs for 'KoolKidz', you know…that brat-band of future drug and attention addicts?"
He smirked at me with wide pale green eyes.
"Yeah, that's the usual reaction."
"So where's the doctor?"
"He walked out two da…MONTHS…ago." I lied to avoid becoming pity meat.
He let Nacho go and dug his hands into his pockets.
"I'll pick you up tomorrow morning. Your car is having a nice sleep at the school and I think that you should have a nice sleep too. See-ya."
- - - - - -
I stood out the front of the theatre, enjoying my intermission cigarette. I could hear high heels clacking and a high pitched voice.
"You are SUCH an ASS-HOLE!" The woman screeched. She would have been in her late twenties, a tidy looking thing. The business suit she was yelling at kept with her pace. She hurled her take-away coffee so close to his feet that he had to jump away to avoid the splash, giving her a lead in her walk.
"Jesus! You're PSYCHOTIC!" He yelled back, recollecting himself.
She stormed up to me, grabbed my collar with both hands and smacked her mouth against mine. By the time she'd let go, business guy had caught up and I was trying to remember how to breathe.
"See! You accused me of being a whore, well here I am Fletcher!"
He gave me an apologetic shrug before he followed her, yelling "Oh you'd like to make it that easy wouldn't you? Well sorry toots, you're stuck with me and…"
And then I couldn't eavesdrop on them any further far so I completed my cigarette, aching to talk to Morgan, and returned to the second half of the treachery.
- - - - - -
Morgan hid his face after we passed a children's birthday party in the park.
"No" he squeaked out.
I tore his arm away. "Shit! You're crying!" He squirmed out of my grasp as if I was the central source of leprosy.
"I have…an unfortunate case of hay-fever."
"You should get that checked out, along with your unfortunate case of shitty-lying."
He shoved me away. "I hate clowns, ok? I'm terrified of whole-face face-paint! And those masks that are just plain white and look like faces. I can't handle them Arthur I just…you wouldn't get it, you're too much of a hero."
I dragged him into my arms. His face curled into a sulky frown and I pressed my forehead against his.
"I'm used to being the only one that's scared of things, that's all."
- - - - - -
No one had walked out so far so that was a positive. The second act had begun well, besides the dancer that slipped, the chorus boy wearing the wrong costume and Georgette appearing on stage with her thick, silver duct-tape neck brace. The lead Zombie and the pretty, young Mayors daughter were now truly in infatuation with each other and the townsfolk were living in fear of both a serial killer and a zombie and were completely oblivious that the two were the same thing. Thanks Shawna, thanks.
- - - - - -
"Tell me some things about Mike."
Morgan stretched across the couch, his legs over my lap while he nursed Nacho in his own lap.
"Well…there's not much to say. We were together for a year, we moved in together and two weeks later the wuss leaves one pleasant March afternoon when I'm out at work."
"March? I thought you said he left two months before you met me."
I was never a good liar so I opted for the truth. "It was actually more like two days."
He placed Nacho down gently before drawing his knees to himself.
"So I was the filler?"
I reached over and playfully pulled his hood onto his head. "No, no, no!" I laughed at the absurdity of the word. I had never thought of him that way.
"You wouldn't have been with me…I mean…if Mike came in and said 'I want you back' you would have gone with him. Right?"
I could barely remember Mike's face anymore. He had disappeared to me in a tacky puff of smoke like on daytime television or bad magic shows.
Morgan shook his head at me.
"You had to actually think about that didn't you? God! If I had known this was going nowhere I would have…"
He jumped off the couch. "What did you just say?"
"I said…" Shit. What DID I just say? "…I said, move in."
I stood up and slid my fingers into his before he ripped his hand away.
"Screw you, Arthur."
And then he too, walked out on me.
- - - - - -
Once the crowd had left, I sat back in my seat to absorb the empty theatre. The show had been a semi-success and I was thankful that there were only three nights left. I felt a presence drop itself into the seat next to me. We both watched the empty stage as if the answer we wanted would dance across it.
He slipped his hand into mine.
"We did alright, Morgan." I finally said.
"That house was never yours and Mikes." He replied after a long silence.
But he just hummed the words 'Gee, it's great to be un-dead' and continued holding my hand until we were told to leave by the staff.