Saturday Night Scavenger

Little Larry heard the F-bomb, again, softer than before but this time he turned down the volume on The Simpsons and sat straight up on the sofa. He un-muted, and watched for several seconds before-


Now Larry turned the TV off, his finger finding the belt-loop of his blue jeans as he listened. The house was quiet.

“Son of a bitchbaby!”

Little Larry was sure something was wrong. He fell off the couch (on purpose) and walked toward the stairs, standing at the base and looking up. It might be right to go see what’s going on... It might be a good time to eat some cookies.

Larry was halfway to the kitchen to the jar when-


Larry gave up on the Hydrox, pulled a 180 and started up the stairs. His bare feet trudged through deep blue shag, and as he paused on the landing to turn he heard the distinctive "glinx" of glass shattering.

“Applefucking Cockvomit!!!”

Larry hustled up the last five steps and toward the bathroom. He stopped in the open doorway when he saw the scene inside.

Mr. Wyman had his shirt off- maybe torn off- and his hair was wet, and messy. Every drawer in the room was open, and the contents scattered on the floor and in the bathtub: brushes, rollers, cottonballs… band-aids, vitamins, vaseline… The countertop was covered with Q-Tips. A broken hand mirror lay by the toilet, shards of glass on the white tile floor. The water was running, swirling round the sink and down the drain.

“What’s going on, Mr. Wyman?”

“Nothing significant, Larry,” Mr. Wyman said with wide eyes, “you go back downstairs and watch your cartoons.”

“But I want to play with you,” said the boy. Mr. Wyman sighed.

“This isn’t playing, Larry… I’m looking for medicine.”

“Are you sick?”

Mr. Wyman was rummaging through a plastic travel pouch. “Very sick,” he said, “I’ve got a sore nose, goat fever, and a face ache…”

“You don’t LOOK sick,” spoke Larry, but Mr. Wyman wasn’t listening. He pulled open the medicine cabinet and continued his search.

“What time is your Mother coming home?”

“Midnight!” said Larry, the hour unthinkable.

It was only thirty minutes since Ms. Lennok had left, comforted by the warm assurances of good neighbor Julius Wyman: “You go, and have a good time… Little Larry and I will have a boy’s night in. It's gonna be fun- I love the babysit!”

Ms. Lennok had smiled through a sigh, picking up her pocketbook and pulling Larry aside.
“Listen to Mr. Wyman and do what he says. I left you Steak-Umms and grape cola for dinner… you be a good boy or I'll track down your Father.”

“Does your Mother have any valium or xanax? Any Ritalin or Ambien? Soma- has she got Soma?” Larry didn’t know what any of that was and shrugged.

“How about a big bottle of cough syrup?”

“Yuck!” spat Larry.

“You’re dead weight, kid.”

“Do you go to school?”

Julius paused, a brown pill bottle in hs hand. “I attend university. I own my own car, I have a girlfriend, and for what it's worth I eat more burgers in a week than you do all month.” He squinted and read the label on the jar. “Biaxin?!? I didn’t take this gig for antibiotic!”

Larry was getting cranky, or maybe he just despised Mr. Wyman. “I want dinner and I wanna watch TV!”

“Aww, shitcake, Larry! Can’t you-”

Julius stopped speaking, his eyes locked on a sight in the cabinet.

Behind the teeth-whitening strips and Neutrogena sat a brown medicine bottle, and Mr. Wyman plucked it from the shelf like Eve picking an apple.

“PERCODAN!!!” he shouted, rattling the pills inside. It sounded like a lot. Larry thought he heard a heavenly choir.

Mr. Wyman popped the cap and poured a bunch of pills in his hand, flipping them into his mouth. He bent over and put his mouth to the running water, drinking it up and swallowing hard. He slipped the bottle into the pocket of his blue jeans.

Larry asked, "Is that medicine gonna make you feel better?"

“Come on, kid,” Mr. Wyman said, putting his arm around Larry's small shoulder, “let’s go watch some cartoons.”


1 comment:

  1. This made my brain feel funny-sick- which is the highest compliment I can ever give EVER.