Dolls & Rabbits
It was Friday night and all the neighbors were over—drinking his beer—Hal wanted no part of it.
He had made a permanent spot in the backyard long ago, away from all the clucking hens and the jibber-jabber of folk. A simple aluminum chair leaned up against a rusted out metal shed; that was his spot. Everyone knew not to go near.
“Hey boy,” Hal calls to his son.
Derek jumps. Being summoned by the old man was either punishment or an honor. But his grades sucked. Junior year was kicking his ass. He moves towards his father with caution.
“You like babies?” Hal asks him.
Frannie, his girlfriend, had only told him about her pregnancy this morning. There was no way his dad could know.
“Saw that girl of yours in town,” Hal says. “Looking thick…”
The light of the cigarette casts an eerie glow across Hal’s face. A shaggy salt and pepper beard and moustache practically cover every drop of flesh. Light eyes—Jesus eyes—penetrate Derek.
Drunken laughter explodes from back porch. Hal glares at the house. “You still got those M-80’s?” He asks Derek. “The ones I got you for Christmas?”
“Go get ‘em .”
Derek belly-crawls under his bed and grabs a couple M-80s.
“What are you doin’?”
His mother is a mere shadow in the door. She eyes the fireworks as she sways from one too many.
“Dad asked for these.”
His mother pulls two pills from her jean pocket and hands them to Derek. “Drop ‘em in his beer…can’t take it no more.”
When Derek returns to the yard he finds his father digging around in the shed.
“Good, you got ‘em,” Hal says, “I want to show you something.”
Hal pulls out a pink box covered in thick dust and weathered from years of changing seasons. His father lifts the lid.
A porcelain doll stares out with pink blush dusted upon her cheeks and silky, blonde hair. Its clothes are a bit tattered, but still lacy and frilly. Hal takes it out and hands it to his son.
“Your mother wanted a girl.”
“This was mine?” Derek says.
“Well, ‘til your mother tossed it. Guess she was afraid you’d end up a gay or something,” Hal says, then looks away from him. “Ain’t nothing wrong with a boy learning how to love.”
Undetected, Derek flings the pills behind him.
“Did ya ever see a bunch of white folk run like rabbits?” Hal asks. He takes the M-80’s then shoves them into the Earth. “You do the right thing for that Frannie, ok?”
Hal shouts towards the back porch. “You freeloading fuckers have all of ten seconds to get outta my house!” He lights the fuses. “TEN, NINE, EIGHT, seven, fourthreetwoone!”
Those M-80s seem to fly in slow motion as they cruise towards the house.
The old man was right, too. Shit, did they run like rabbits…a bunch of white, scared rabbits.
Pamela D. Hardy resides in Melbourne Beach, Florida with her husband and psychotic Dachshund.
She graduated with a BA from Columbia College, Chicago in 1994. Her current screenplay, Asses to Ashes as well as her women’s contemporary novel, Demons & Daisies are both currently on submission. Her most recent work has appeared in the blog, Moms Who Drink and Swear.
When not writing, she takes additional writing courses in fiction and poetry. She avidly partakes in reflective bicycle riding, ocean worshipping as well as volunteering at her local dog shelter.