THE SITTER - DANA C. KABEL
Jessie was enormously happy with the box C.J. gave him after they went through the drive thru of the McDonald’s. At first, he was very upset that they weren’t going inside the restaurant because he loved the Playland where you took off your shoes and went through the tubes with the other kids and jumped in the colored balls.
But when they went inside, C.J. usually sat with his coffee while Jessie played and never got anything to eat because he was too excited with Playland to actually eat anything.
C.J. called the box a Happy Meal and it was certainly doing its job of making Jessie…well, happy. There was chicken and French fries and a toy Shrek and Shrek was Jessie’s favorite movie of all time.
Jessie was eating fast because he was so hungry. He didn’t want to eat breakfast when Mommy made it for him and then it was time for her to go to work and then the breakfast was gone. But when he saw the green Shrek toy in the bottom of the Happy Meal box, he forgot all about eating and a half chewed fry dropped out of his mouth.
The car went fast then. It got real loud and growly underneath and Jessie felt a big bump as they flew over the curb and into the street and he almost dropped Shrek. There was a loud squealing noise and a stinky smell.
C.J. was talking on his phone and he must have been mad because he was using the words that Mommy said were bad and he was using his loud voice to say them. Then he said the really really bad F word and threw his phone against the window of the car and it fell on the ground.
“Uh Oh!” Jessie said.
C.J. turned around and looked at Jessie. He gave him a great big smile, but his eyes were still mad.
“It’s okay, buddy. Are you having fun with your new toy? Make sure you eat your chicken!”
It must have been okay then, because C.J. didn’t use any more bad words. He rolled his window down and the cold air came in with the smelly smoke from C.J.’s cigarette. Mommy smoked cigarettes too, but not in the car with Jessie.
He coughed and C.J. threw his cigarette out the window and rolled it up. Jessie took a piece of chicken out of the box and bit it.
C.J. stopped the car and opened his door.
“I’ll be right back, buddy. I’m gonna lock the door and turn the radio on so you can listen to the music. But I promise I’ll be right back.”
C.J. shut the car door and went into a building Jessie had never been to before. There were no windows on the building, so he couldn’t see inside. It was kind of dirty with junk and garbage cans like Oscar the Grouch lives in, so Jessie didn’t feel scared. He was hoping Oscar would pop out of one of the cans when the door that C.J. had gone through flew open and a man was thrown right out of it.
The man looked like a big ball and rolled head over butt and tipped over one of the garbage cans when he landed on the ground. There was trash all over the ground that spilled out of the can, but no sign of Oscar.
Then C.J. came out and picked the man up by his shirt and started shaking him. The man must have been real sad because he was crying and shaking his head. But that must have made C.J. mad because he shook the man more and slapped his face.
Then he shoved the man real hard and he flew backwards and slammed against the car. Jessie jumped in his car seat and almost dropped Shrek when the man’s head hit the window next to him.
The man fell to the ground then and C.J. walked towards him real fast. He spit on the man and said a lot of bad words. Jessie saw his leg move back and forth real fast and hard like he was kicking something.
C.J. sucked real hard on his cigarette and then threw it on the ground and opened the car door.
“All set, pal?” C.J. said to Jessie. “We gotta go for another ride now. How’s that Happy Meal coming? Want some more juice?”
Then they were driving real fast again with lots of squealing noises until they came to another building. C.J. stopped the car on the side of the street where there were lots of other cars.
There was trash here too, but the cans weren’t against the building, they were out by the curb. And there were lots of people all around. Some of them were sitting and lying right on the sidewalk.
“Shit! I can’t leave you in the car in this friggin’ neighborhood,” C.J. said.
He got out of the car and came around and took Jessie out of his car seat. Jessie dropped a half eaten piece of chicken, but held on tight to Shrek.
“Come on, kiddo,” C.J. said. “This’ll only take a minute.”
The building they went into was real stinky and Jessie wanted his pacifier, but it was in the car. C.J. carried him up a bunch of stairs and then down a hallway where they stopped in front of a door.
There were babies crying and people yelling in lots of different languages. It was a very noisy place.
C.J. took Jessie’s Shrek and put it in Jessie’s pocket.
“We’re gonna put Shrek away for a minute so you don’t drop him,” he said. “Okay? Now we’re gonna play a game. I want you to put your hands over your ears and hold them real tight, okay?”
Jessie covered his ears like C.J. told him and then C.J. held Jessie tight against his chest while he knocked on the door.
There were foot stomps and C.J. reached in his jacket and pulled something out.
The door opened as far as the door chain would let it.
“What you want!” A man shouted through the crack in the door.
C.J. kicked the door in and the chain broke and the man behind it fell backwards to the ground with a shout.
C.J. pointed the gun at the man on the ground and fired it a bunch of times until the man on the ground stopped moving. The gun was real loud, even though Jessie’s hands were clamped tight over his ears, and it smelled real bad.
Jessie looked over C.J.’s shoulder as he turned to run down the hall and he saw the blood that was all over the man on the floor.
When Mommy came home from work, C.J. got up from the kitchen table where he was feeding Jessie carrots and applesauce. Shrek sat on the corner of the high chair tray.
“How’s my baby? Eating something healthy, I see.”
She walked over and kissed Jessie on the head.
C.J. was putting his coat on.
“Thought I should make up for giving him a Happy Meal for lunch,” C.J. said.
“Oh, did you get a new Shrek?”
Jessie pointed his finger at Mommy like a gun.
“BANG!” Jessie said. “BANG BANG BANG Mommy!”
Mommy made a funny sad face at C.J.
“Was Mr. C.J. watching bad movies again?”
“I thought he was sleeping and I’m afraid he caught a few minutes of a crime thriller I was watching. I won’t let it happen again.”
“That’s okay. I’m sure there’s no harm done,” Mommy said. “See you tomorrow, C.J.?”
“You betcha. See you tomorrow, Jessie.”
BIO: Dana C. Kabel’s work has appeared in The Flash Fiction Offensive, Out of the Gutter, Yellow Mama, Mysterical-E, Powder Burn Flash, and Muzzleflash. He can be contacted at http://www.thenonstopbullet.blogspot.com/
Launch: DECEMBER STORIES by Ian Sansom
19 hours ago