Monday, May 24, 2010

Short Story Debut

I have yet to post any short stories on my blog and am excited now to offer this one. Gina Simunovich, is a coworker of mine, an ICU nurse, a mom, and (evidentally) a short story writer too....


Old Habits Die Hard

The sky was awash with sun, but my mood was gray as I watched my daughter bounce away from my car, trotting happliy tward her run-down apartment and abusive husband. Nylons ripped, skirt too short, a fine crust of blood barely visible under one of her nostrils. I shook my head at the wonder that she was still alive. Born and raised New York, she would have been beautiful if she weren't a junkie. She begged me for money frequently. I gave it to her most of the time. What the hell else could I do? I hated to say it, but if her entire brain were high quality heroin, it probably wouldn't retail for enough cash to buy a decent meal. I touched the gas pedal of my Mustang and eased it away from the curb, glad to leave that scene behind me.

I kicked a Lucky out of the pack on my dash, lit it glumly and sent a jet of smoke to the ceiling with a sigh. My mood worsened as I crossed the Triboro bridge. Driving didn't feel good, but home didn't sound good either. A gas station loomed ahead and I pulled off to calm down; to collect myself a little. Taking my cigarettes, I got out and sat on the hot black hood, absorbing the street in front of me.

A couple of shabby old men in tattered jackets sat on the curb, passing a bottle in a paper bag back and forth, smiling and talking in the afternoon sun. Loud, rapid-fire Chinese came from the open door of a laundry to their left. Even further down the street, a wolf pack of punk kids caught my eye. Five boys strutting down the street in a formation like flying geese. The apparent leader in the front, with two of his followers on each side, slightly behind. They all wore beat up jean jackets with the arms cut off to show off new tattoos. All of them had the air of an almost desperately projected toughness, just waiting to be challenged. All of thier hands were covered in black leather, fingerless gloves.

The leader had long, blonde hair that turned short and spiky on top. He pointed to the old men and said something to his friends, who laughed and quickened their pace. The leader approached the first old man and growled some kind of threat. The man glanced up briefly and turned back to his friend. "Can't you fucking hear, grandpa?" the kid screamed, "I told you to get off of my street!" Enraged at still recieving no reaction, the kid reached down and grabbed the old man's jacket roughly, sending one of his friends into an idiotic fit of giggling.

Suddenly, the old man scrambled to his feet. Bending from his knees and raising his arms, he transformed his posture from and old man's to that of a boxer from the 40s. The kid's friends stopped laughing. The kid threw up his fists in some feeble attempt to mimic what he'd seen on TV, but he didn't stand a chance. The old man didn't need his gloves, he heard the bell go off in his head and he was back in the ring again. He sent three lightning punches to the kid's face and drove a hard left into his stomach, catching him with a solid blow to the jaw as he went down. I heard an ugly crack. The kid was crumpled on the ground. His buddies didn't help him up. They weren't there anymore.

The old man walked shakily back to join his friend, who handed him the bottle and they resumed their conversation. I took a deep breath and looked the street up and down again. The sun beat down on my hood and the laundry that continued to spew Chinese. A light breeze tossed a wrapper down the sidewalk. By the time I looked back, the kid was gone, and so were my blues.

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