BAD CHOICES - PHIL BELOIN, JR.
Erica doesn’t know her father so her choice in men could be deemed self-destructive. Take her latest beau, a leach named Barney. He don’t do much, outside of drinking cheapo brew, finger fucking Guitar Hero, and abusing his benefactor. When Erica comes home from her secretarial shit job, neighbors can hear the shouts, the blows through the flimsy walls.
Around noon a persistent knock rouses Barney from bed. Heading down the hall, he’s cursing, issuing threats to his unexpected visitor. As he swings open the door, a fist turns Barney’s worldview dark. He is bound with tape, all his crap loaded into cardboard boxes.
Erica returns to her apartment after dark. It doesn’t take her long to see another man has left her without warning. She wonders what she’s done wrong, but after a week or so, before another jerk can latch onto her, she won’t miss Barney. When she thinks about it, she hasn’t missed any of the others, either.
That’s what she tells this older dude living one unit over. She’s mentioned how her mother died shortly after she was born, and that her dad gave her up. Her adoptive parents died in a car crash not long after her eighteenth birthday and she’s been on her own and struggling ever since.
Living nearby like I do, I’m able to look out for Erica. Now I know I ain’t much of a role model. See, Barney’s dirt napping with my daughter’s other bad choices.
BIO: Like Phil's narrator, he, too, is mysterious. So mysterious, he didn't provide a bio. Oh, well, the story's what matters.
Irish Times Crime Fiction column, February 2018
13 hours ago