by Paul Beckman
These are some of the things I know
and some I wish for:
We’ll be getting new BMX bikes.
I hope they’re Tony Hawk models. My new brothers
will want to play ball with me and Mikey: softball, hardball, bowling, and
pinball. We’ll go to a new school in a nice town and live in a big house with our
own bedrooms. We won’t have to beg for food or steal it. And we’ll be able to
play on the high school sports teams—that is, if we make the tryouts. I’ll be
able to play drums in the school band and my brother Mikey will write for the
school newspaper. And we’ll go out on dates, get our driver’s licenses, and use
our new father’s car. Our new mother will ask about our food choices when she is
making out the shopping list. All this and we’ll get new clothes. But best of
all, we’ll never have to see our birth parents’ fists again.
Our new mother and father picked us
up and signed the papers. We got in
the back seat of their silver Mercedes, and they asked if we were hungry, and asked
how we feel about a drive-through, and we told them we were excited about
McDonald’s, and it would be one of the biggest treats of our lives. We got two
Big Macs, a large fries and shake each, and were careful to not drop or spill
anything in the car.
We drove off the turnpike ramp and went
through beautiful neighborhoods as
it got dark, and finally we drove to a
cul-de-sac, and went all the way to the end, and took the driveway in
what seemed forever, to a large brick house that was so beautiful, we both
wanted to cry, and our new father opened a garage door from the driveway, and
we drove into our new world, which was the basement of this new world, where we
were told that we were only allowed upstairs in the house when our new parents
For now, we must put on the handcuffs
with their chains imbedded into the
cement and our ankle cuffs. We each had a mattress. They brought us down food
after they had dinner. It was left over from their meal, and Mikey and I shared
roast beef with bite marks, the same with the baked potatoes, dessert, and
vegetables. We were told that at the right time in our training, they’d let us
loose to work in and around the house, but it would take a while of good
Our new mother homeschooled us, starting
in the morning, after breakfast
of leftover eggs, and toast, and sometimes milk, and once, juice.
We never did get our driver’s
licenses or go out on dates, or even have
our own rooms, until one day, they were gone all day and came home drunk.
Over time I had worked a big piece of
concrete almost loose, and they
brought us their doggie bags from the restaurant, and sat watching us eat, while
drinking Scotch, passing the bottle back and forth until they got silly, and
then a little mean, and finally passed out drunk.
Mikey reached the lady’s pocketbook,
snagged the keys and her wallet,
undid my locks, and I stood holding the concrete slab high over the man’s head.
After we took care of business, we went
upstairs to finally see our new
house and raid the fridge.
Paul Beckman’s fourth
short story collection is Kiss Kiss
(Truth Serum Press). He had a story selected for the 2018 Norton Micro-fiction
Anthology and was one of the winners of Best Small Fictions 2016. He won the
Editor’s Choice Award in 2016 from Fiction Southeast. His stories have appeared
in the following publications as well as many others: Spelk, Necessary Fiction,
Litro, Pank, Playboy, Thrice Fiction, and The
Lost Balloon. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction
reading series monthly at KGB’s Red Room in New York’s Lower East Side.
Rosmus is a Jersey
girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side
Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do
whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun
Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out
of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Twisted Sister. She
is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a
Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out
into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.