Grandparents Heart Babysitting

Quarter to twelve and peanut butter and duck feathers sully the couch. The girl cries in waves, swells rolling four long hours and counting. I hate you! I hate everybody! I want to die! Inside and out, her body glows pink with attempts: dental string troughs around her neck, butter knife saws across her wrists, petroleum coated jellybean sludge down her nightgown. Fortunately, the grandparents are familiar with this type of behavior. They know exactly what to do. As Grandpa shakes in his chair, Grandma empties her lungs, opening her throat wide enough to expose the pale pills nested in her stomach. Her shrill note still hangs in the air when Grandpa checks in. After easing the dictionary from the bookshelf, he silences his wife with 2,000 hard covered pages to the gut. But Grandma can only be silenced so long. She recoups her wind and shuffles her way into the kitchen. Grandpa misses this turn. Although he’ll find someone else to blame, he knows damn well it’s the years. Grandma, finally, at the decisive moment, holds the meat cleaver.

Dan Lundin’s short stories have been/will be published by Echo Ink Review, the Battered Suitcase, Everyday Genius, Monkeybicycle, Black Heart Magazine, and Everyday Other Things. Links and other random- ness can be found on his blog: