Prompt: Two people get into a heated discussion on a busy city street.
Thanks for the great submissions everyone!
Chris Musgrave – Writer in Training
The Excessive Gardener
“Fifty Shades of Ray”
Thain in Vain
Ray navigated a jagged path down the congested street. It was the height of tourist season. A season Ray despised. Torrents of confused foreigners stumbled down streets, heads lolling in all directions, expensive cameras dangling around their necks. Ray wondered how people afforded trips and cameras.
His mother walked next to him, panting to keep up. “Ray, are you listening to me? I was telling you about how Mary was complaining about Linda. Linda of all people. I can’t imagine anyone having an issue with Linda. Linda’s the nicest person in the world.” She inhaled a phlegm-y breath and coughed.
“Nicer than Mother Theresa?” he asked, ensuring he stepped on every crack in the sidewalk. When Ray’s father died, care of his mother fell to Ray. His sister and brother quickly relieved themselves of the task avowing to be “far too busy to dedicate the time mother needs” and “it wouldn’t be in mother’s best interests.” Ray had listened patiently to them as the itemized all those important things that are supposed to occupy our adult lives — stressful jobs, children and their activities, travel, cars, mortgages, retirement plans, and blah, blah, blah. They underscored their argument by pointing he had “taken another path” and “didn’t have the same stresses.”
“Don’t get smart with me young man or I’ll put you over my goddamn knee.”
“I’d like to see you –.” He stopped and focused on a piece of red crumpled paper lying on the sidewalk, quivering in the breeze. That’s fifty bucks, he thought and quickly stamped his foot over it. He couldn’t remember the last time fifty bucks passed through his hands.
“What are you’re doing?” She pointed at his foot.
“Nothing. Just go inside there. I’ll be right in.” He pushed her towards a store.
“It doesn’t look like nothing to me. You tell me what’s under your foot,” she demanded.
“Jesus. It’s nothing. I dropped a nickel. Just go inside.”
“All that stamping for a lousy five cents. I don’t believe you,” she said bending down and pushing his foot aside enough to expose a part of the bill. “A-ha! Nickel, my ass,” she said clawing at the fifty dollar bill.
He quickly bent down in a preemptive strike against her. “Ma, you’re going to rip it!” He yelled, shielding the money from her grasping hands. She got hold of the corner, tugged a mighty tug and half the bill dislodged from under his foot with a loud riiipp. She fell backwards onto the street, her legs hurling over her head, exposing her large, whitish underwear and pale, fleshy legs.
“Help me, Ray!” She said through her skirt. He bent down beside her, grabbed her pudgy hand, pried it open, seized the torn piece of money, and stood up and walked away.
“Ray? Ray? What are you doing? Help me up this instant. Raaaayyyy –.”