EXIT - R.S. BOHN
She squats over the toilet seat. Panting. Pressing down. Every time she pushes all her muscles down, she feels like she’s gonna rip in two. But there’s nothing yet, just a thin string of blood.
She glances over at the dirty cup. She didn’t drink it all. It tasted nasty, like some old rotted hamburger, or those squirrel guts that his mama was cooking up that one time. She wouldn’t eat that. She wonders if Mama T put some squirrel in the tea along with the herbs, just to get her back. That old woman always did think Carlita was a snob – she could see it in her gunky old red eyes, full of hate for the girl. Hadn’t Carlita been told this? Mama’s boys, you don’t want one of them. They think their sons is nothing but gold, princes all of them, but the girls they choose, they’re all sluts and whores.
Maybe she should’ve drank everything in the cup. Maybe it would go faster. She reaches a shaking hand over to the sink, almost knocking the cup over. Bringing it to her mouth, she nearly vomits again, as she had when she’d first smelled the concoction. She pinches her nose and gulps the rest. Her mouth contorts, tongue trying to scrape off the putrid slime.
In seconds, it’s worse. She bends over, caterwauling and gripping her knees. She begs, Please, let this be it. Let it be gone.
Mama T told her it would be fine once it was over. Sure, she’d said, it hurts, because one way or another, it coming out hurts. But had she mentioned this? Pain like a hundred knives in her stomach – and Carlita’d know, she’s been knifed before. The prom. Stupid jealous bitch, what’d she think—
Carlita screams, clamping her thighs together. A string of Jesus Christ, God, God, oh God, please over and over. The pain, inconceivably, grows. She shuts her eyes tight, imagining it’s the little bastard himself, or herself, clawing and tearing at her, refusing to leave.
“Samuel!” she shouts, dragging out the last part of his name. “Samuel! Help, oh God, help me!”
The door opens, and she wipes away a screen of tears. She’s in too much pain to be anything but grateful, even though it’s not Samuel, but his mama. His horrible, smells-like-pee-and-cabbage mama.
“Oh, thank you. Thank you. Help me. Please.”
The old woman comes in, shuts the door.
“Help me. What is this? I can’t do this,” she sobs into her hands, and it’s Mama’s firm rubbing on her shoulders that, for the moment, calms her.
“Yes, you can. You can do this.”
“But it hurts, oh God, it hurts.”
“I told you. It’ll be fine when it’s over. Now you just push.”
And she does, and Carlita feels something give way. It pours out of her. She screams as it splashes back up on her. It keeps coming. She begs for help, for Samuel. She begs Mama T to get Samuel.
“Samuel is with his sister, helping out. He ain’t gonna come.” Mama T stands up.
“Ain’t nobody gonna come. Who’d help you, you stinking whore?”
Carlita freezes. She turns a trembling, gray face to her mother-in-law. The old woman stands tall now, arms crossed, looking down at Carlita with disgust. Like you’d look down on a sick dog lying in its own shit.
“What’d you put in that tea?” she manages to get out before another wave of excruciating cramps hits her.
“Just what you wanted. Something to get rid of another man’s baby.” She spits on Carlita. “Samuel don’t need no Jezebel. And you a Jezebel if I ever saw one. Stinking. Whore.”
The door shuts. Carlita is barely aware of the sounds of Mama T in the kitchen, making herself at home. She’s too busy emptying herself out.
BIO: R.S. lives in a suburb outside of Detroit, where she writes flash fic that isn't usually flashy, and sometimes isn't even fiction. You can find her riding solo at R.S. Bohn.