it was me. And so what? He
deserved it. Three Christmases, RJ ran off with our gifts. Missy’s doll house,
Patty’s Legos. This time, it was the baby’s stuff. Year-old Lulu. His own kid. With
the same cold, almost black eyes. Like bullet holes on those shows where the
bad guys always win.
knew he would do it. That one present, that’s the one I rigged. The prettiest
package, wrapped in silver and red foil, with the little stuffed kitten
sticking out of the bow.
the only thing I hated, about
doing it. The kitten got blown up, too.
mind why I did it. Why’d he keep
stealing our presents? Sold them, to get high. And Mom always let him. With
that hopeless look she got, when my brother Markie took another dump in his
pants. And he was no baby. We were all fucked up, all five of us.
was supposed to be dumb. But at
the same time, smarter than some grown-ups. How else could I build a bomb? A
special kid in a special school instead of a real sixth grade class. Nobody was
allowed to say why I was weird. But toy companies made special dolls for kids
like me. Just for girls, I guess. The one girl in my class kept spinning
around, but could recite all the presidents, backwards.
mousetrap, I found, in the basement.
The storage area. Our building is super-old, with lots of fun shit, all over.
Wouldn’t have been fun for the poor mouse, though. Glad I found the trap,
first. And more fun shit, on the other end.
weird guy upstairs, I think they were his. The shotgun shells.
those shows, on like the true crime channels. You learn a lot. They’re so
stupid to give directions. Not everybody who watches wants to blow something up.
But there’s always one kid . . .
Who’s sick of the shit . . . Like his
mom’s eyes all swollen, more often than not . . . Who busts out crying, when
she’s nuking mac n’cheese, or wiping ass.
the pretty foil comes off, and box opens, the bar on the trap hits the primer .
. . 00 buckshot. Nine per shell . . .
nice, big mess. . . .
think Mom would be glad. But when the cops came—
the lady cop
looking like that weird redhead comic—Mom screamed, and screamed. Chunks of RJ
mixed with chunks of the dealer, the cops said, so you couldn’t tell who’d worn
the Giants cap. You couldn’t tell who was black, and who was white.
kitchen stunk. Markie had shit his pants again. For once, the cops came with
good news. But nobody but me was happy. Not even Lulu. And it was mostly for
her, I did it. She looked at me all mean.
Mom wailing in the background, and the other kids holding each other, that lady
cop kept her eye on me.
only one smiling.
hooked my pinky around Lulu’s fingers. In her baby face, RJ’s eyes told the
cops that yes, I was special:
grown-up than kid.
“Kaboom” originally appeared in Shotgun
Honey on April 5, 2019.
Cindy is a Jersey girl who
looks like a Mob Wife and talks like Anybodys from West Side Story. Her
noir/horror/bizarro stories have been published in the coolest places, such as Shotgun
Honey; Megazine; Dark Dossier; Horror, Sleaze, Trash;
and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of Yellow
Mama and the art director of Black Petals. Her seventh collection of
short stories, Backwards: Growing Up Catholic, and Weird, in the 60s (Hekate
Publishing), is out, now! Cindy is a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights
paintings and collages have
appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including
the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery
on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in
a basement, and she was well received.