He settled in. It had been a long day at work. They were all long days. Nothing ever changed. Did she get the steaks for Saturday? The kids were all done for the weekend. It was finally an empty nest. This was the best it was ever going to get. This was as quiet as he could expect it.
He settled in and cradled the remote controller like a newborn. He toured the usual sweet spots: Food network offered both the dishes and figures he lusted after. Cartoon Network reminded him of his younger days—the time before responsibility. Discovery gave him parasites and jaguars.
He checked the freezer for steaks. They were there.
He fired up the grill. He didn’t like the way lighter fluid made the meat taste, so he only used charcoal and paper.
The kids were milling around the old tree near the fence. When he was younger and the Thompsons lived in this house, kids used to say that this tree was haunted. They said that the Thompsons had buried the children they didn’t want to keep underneath that tree. When he moved into the house 13 years ago, he got out there one night and dug around the roots. He couldn’t find any evidence that there had been any children buried there.
Perhaps he didn’t dig deep enough. The steaks were ready.
He pretended to have a stomach ache so that he could skip church and watch the game. He had leftover steak and mac and cheese and watched the Packers hand over another win.
He thought about the days of “Sunday night movies”. Where had they gone? Probably the casualty of the whole Reality television curse. There was no reality on the screen, he thought. It was just gold-diggers and famewhores dancing for dollars. Jaws used to be on Sunday nights. Jaws, Caddyshack and A Star is Born. Now fatties lost weight for cash and prizes. It was a sin.
He didn’t go to work. There was a sound coming from the basement that he thought he’d investigate. It was probably the hot water heater, but he wanted to be sure. And he took any excuse he could to skip work. It was boring work that left him unfulfilled and at least once a day someone would order him to “Smile”. He hated this most of all.
While he sat at his desk at his terrible job, he thought about writing a novel on post-its. Just the novelty alone would assure that the people who took notice of these things would take notice. And if the novel was actually good! Well, this was something he definitely needed to look into. His secretary wasn’t a very attractive woman—she had terrible hair and an under bite. Her butt was high and flat. But her large chest canceled this out when he found himself lacking women to think about during the slow times at work.
He was outside having a cigarette and thinking about his ugly secretary’s boobs when he got the call about the accident.
A drunk driver had plowed into them. A drunk driver in the middle of the day, on a weekday. He was driving along with an open Pabst and had plowed into the family as they were returning from T.J. Maxx.
They could have been killed. Someone walked by and told him to smile.
He hurled a rock at their head and walked to the hospital to see his wife and kids.
J’Mel Davidson is the founder of a local improv comedy troupe called The Feminist Debutante Guild. You can send him the love—or a packet of post-it notes—via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.