Word Count 457
By Anne Nassar
When they got home, Alek’s father followed him upstairs. Alek sat down on his bed. His father remained standing. He folded his arms and looked at the floor silently, brow furrowed.
Finally he said, I don’t know what’s happened to you.
I don’t know either.
You were always such a compassionate boy. Alek nodded. He wasn’t anymore.
You threw a quarter at an old lady in a wheelchair, his father said, emphasizing each word, as though there was the possibility that Alek didn’t know what he’d done.
Alek said, Yeah, and I’d do it again.
Cause she’s a bitch.
Well, maybe she is. But you and her aren’t the same. You’re young and you can walk and you’re male. And you’ll never have to work selling bus tickets.
Oh, so everything is just fine.
No, I know it isn’t. His father sat down on the bed next to him. Alek drew up his legs, to put a barrier in between them, just in case his father tried to hug him.
What can I do? His father asked.
Alek said, Get rid of Jeanette.
She’s my responsibility now.
She’s a gold digger.
I don’t blame her for that. She grew up dirt poor, she was one of eleven children….
Alek interrupted, I don’t care. I don’t care about her.
She treats you well, as far as I know. Why do you hate her so much?
Mom was smart and beautiful and classy. Why would you replace her with a fff-ing bimbo?
She’s not a replacement for your Mom, nobody could possibly replace your Mom.
She thinks she’s my new mother. She thinks she’s got the right to tell you how to discipline me.
Yeah, that- that was nervy. I’m sorry about that. I’ll talk to her.
No, Alek said, you won’t. You don’t dare. Alek jumped off the bed and grabbed his jacket and slid it on.
His father said, don’t leave, please.
Alek said, I have to leave, or else I’ve got to live in a house where I’m not wanted. His father did not follow him down the stairs or out of the house or down the street, or across town. Alek kept looking behind him, though the thick fog limited his range of vision, and he kept listening for the sound of the Cadillac’s engine. But his father had let him leave. He knew he was welcome at his grandmother’s house, but she would feel morally obliged to call his father. And Alek wanted his father to worry. So, he snuck in his grandmother’s garage. Inside was the little car that she could no longer drive. She’d left the keys in the ignition. He couldn’t drive. But, he thought, how hard could it be?