THE TALE OF MR. MILLER BEGINS

Tommy is limping around his dirty apartment like an injured antelope running away from its predator. Ever since last week, when the old man “fell and couldn’t get up” out of his tiny shower stall, he has been subjected to the grueling task of using crutches for support. He promised the doctors that his beer belly and foul alcohol breath had nothing to do with fracturing his foot, that he had only had one glass of wine, and that he knows he has a heart thing going on.

He trips over an empty package of Natural Light, stubs his bad toe on the television stand, and swears grumpily at the top of his tar filled lungs. “Fucking piece of shit!!!”

Fuck the box, he thinks to himself. Fuck it.

He picks up what’s left of the innocent cardboard and demolishes it with three swift moves. There is no relief to be felt. There is no consolation in the action. He throws it on the ground with a temper tantrum of a five year old child and proceeds to beat it with one of the crutches.

When the momentary, pain-induced rage finally subsides, Tommy takes the object of his anger to the fly infested kitchen. Greasy dishes smeared with yellow topple over the sink with no room for more. Withered cranberries, used to make his favorite juice, are permanently stuck to the counters. Dry chicken bones, some with grey meat still attached, are scattered around the floor.

Yet nothing in the kitchen seems to irritate Tommy, except for the incessant buzzing of the flies, now circling around and around and around the ceiling lamp.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Bzzzzz. Bzz buzz bzzzzzzz. Bz. Bz.

A fly sits on Tommy’s weak forearm. Without hesitation, he smacks the area, but misses the little fucker. He fantasizes about ripping off their little body parts, piece by piece, and fly by fly.

Adding to his aggravation, is a knock on the door. He ignores it, but the visitor is persistent. The knocks do not stop and Tommy feels forced to open the door, prepared to tell whoever it is to leave him be.

But his demeanor quickly changes, because a beautiful, radiant young woman in green scrubs smiles at him. His eyes reveal a hint of surprise mixed with admiration for what he sees. Her skin is a glowing caramel, sun-kissed by the warmer city weather. She has long, curly, brown hair, swept back in a neatly ornamented pony tail.

“Hello,” she says, but Tommy does not answer her. Her voice is subtle, sweet. He has known it before.

“My name is Monica. I’m a home health aide from Care For You Inc.” she quickly adds.

Nothing.

“I thought they gave you a call I was coming today? You need help because of your cast?” Nothing.

“Uhh… Sir?”

Nothing comes out of the old man’s mouth.

They stare at each other and Monica continues to smile amidst all of this confusion. Tommy is deliberating and decides that she’s right. He was expecting a health aide, but not Eve.

“Welcome,” he utters coldly and lets her in.

NOT ENOUGH

The choker at her neck pulls tightly against the alcohol she swallowed two hours ago. She wonders if that’s why she feels like puking, but no, she just wants to puke.

Sharon takes one more drag and puts her cigarette out in wet mud.
Her thoughts never really go anywhere. She says things out loud, but they never reach her; the things that make one feel low. There are a lot of things that made her feel low.
Patrick was still at the bar. He could never let go of the bottle, just like he could never let go of Sharon.
Sharon would never know how much he really loved her. No one really would.
He just thought that she stopped loving him halfway though the marriage, waiting for the ball to drop.
They ended it knowing they both had enough, and so they drew their pink flags, and then, they walked, the fuck, away.

And now…
They both need AA.