published prose

Not Well Done

 NOT WELL DONE

He brought the steaks from the back yard barbeque and slapped them down on our clean white plates waiting on the kitchen table.

Being an overly emotional and dramatic teen I screamed when I cut into my steak and red blood ran all over the plate. Everyone in our family ate their meat Kansas style; done and really done.  I went hysterical over the blood, like it was my own.

My dad picked up my plate and took the meat back outside and returned it to the fire.  I knew by the way he was holding his body in that stiff position that he was really pissed.  I was still sobbing when he came back in and sat down. My mother was Patricia Ann-ing me with the emphasis on the Aaaaaaaan.

My dad's eyes narrowed, and he smiled a really sadistic, fake smile.  In his lowest bass voice, he said: “If you think a little blood from a steak is bad you should have seen what I saw in the war. I saw a guy stand up and stick his head out of our tank and the enemy shot his head completely off and it rolled back down inside of the tank where we were all sitting.”

Now I was really upset hearing this crap.

 “Holy shit,” I howled.

And then I was told that we did not talk like that in our house and I could go to bed without dinner.

 

 The Milo Review
Vol. 1 Issue 2: Fall 2013

 


The Nancys

The durable Durham, Nancy was beige and sturdy; partners in the 4th grade math book of long column addition.  She flashed through her pages with her stubby graphite and left the mirrored pages blank for me to finish. She was poor and smart. I was intimidated by her math prowess.

 

I saw her house once for a birthday party in her backyard. I went inside to snoop. Her living room was dark and empty and sad.  They had taken all the furniture out on to the backyard for the party. There was only one tiny window on the front by the door. The shade was pulled.

I didn’t want to see her bedroom. I might have cried.

 

Outside, under the big elm tree she had a tire swing. I was glad she had that. And then I remembered the long columns of numbers and I was all of a sudden so tired just thinking of her big clumsy durable hands that could somehow write numbers to keep up with her quick mind.

 

I finished my part of the math book eventually and spent the summer painting my nails first dark Revlon red and then a pale baby blue. I interspersed that with an attempted paint by numbers picture of a boat.  I liked the smell of the nail polish and the oil paints and never did finish the painting.

 

Then I read the Nancy Drews; all of them. Someone bought me one I hadn’t read. Nancy was my hero. I wanted to be this Nancy. I wanted to be a daddy’s girl and solve important mysteries.

I painted my nails again and was glad I didn’t have to do any more math. I didn’t have to see Nancy the durable again until the fall.

 

Later in life another Nancy had laid claim to the man I loved. She was dark and cute and shady. I was not. I was intimidated.

 

 From the big boned through the sleuths to the cute and shady, all the Nancys intimidated me; all having qualities I admired but didn’t possess.

 

 

Scapegoat Review
©Fall 2013
Patricia George