By Bonnie Carlson
Relief flooded over Terry the moment he finally made the decision. He was sick and tired of this life, this messed up life. He was done. Finito.
Since he’d been laid off—again—Chuck, another casualty, had become his best buddy. He called Friday morning to invite Chuck over to watch one last game together, the NBA finals. One final look at LeBron James. Now that was one beautiful male specimen, even if he was black.
“You sound okay, Terry, calm. Sober even. I’ll pick up a case on the way over.”
The apartment was a disaster. Dirty dishes, overflowing ashtrays, and clothes littered every surface. Didn’t matter. Chuck didn’t care.
They enjoyed the game together. He’d gotten a good buzz going. Not a bad last night. He’d intended to get it over with as soon as Chuck left, but he was so plastered he was afraid he might fuck it up. So, tomorrow. He opened his underwear drawer and fingered it, comforted by the cold, hard feel of the metal, its heft.
He awakened late, after a fitful night, hung over. Unaccountably, he decided to shower. While getting into a clean pair of sweats, he studied the photograph on his bureau. The last good pictures he had of his whole family. The good people he’d hurt so often. Lies. Promises broken, disappointments. Never intended any of it.
His phone rang. Shit, Tyler.
“Hi Grandpa. Did you watch the game last night?”
Terry’s mind exploded. “Hey kiddo.”
Bonnie E. Carlson is a retired professor of social work who lives in Scottsdale, AZ with her husband, dog and three cats. She has published three short stories, “Boost Your T” in Down in the Dirt; “What to Do When You Lose the Love of Your Life” in Foliate Oak; and “Sylvester,” in Praxis and is completing a novel.