Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bit

I got some serendipitous free time this afternoon, so...

Bit, a story perhaps posted in parts

Gina heard the scream just as Hector was rolling off, exhaling. She jumped up from the futon and grabbed her robe.

“Who the hell?” he said, sitting up quickly.

Looking back at Hector, she motioned for him to lie back down. “It’s Addy. Stay here.” She rushed from the room as Hector was reaching for his jeans.


The screen door slammed behind Addy as she threw her backpack on the recliner. Gina rushed through the kitchen from her room at the back of the house to find her daughter in tears, undoing her jeans in the front room.

“Honey what are your doing?” She grabbed the girls shoulders, feeling her shaking beneath her t-shirt.

“I got bit Mommy! I got bit.” She had her jeans pulled down to her knees, exposing her thin, tanned thighs. Gina turned the girls shoulders to see the back of her legs, then sucked in her breath sharply when she saw the torn skin and blood spilling out of the deep bite.

“Holy shit! What the hell?” Hector was pulling on his plaid workshort as he came through the kitchen, but stopped short when he saw the girl’s leg. “Was it a dog? Did a dog do that?”

Gina turned back to him, annoyed. “Get a towel or something, will you?”

Hector didn’t move. “Addy, what did this? We gotta call the cops!” Gina scowled and moved by him into the kitchen.

The girl looked at him, her face dirty and wet from tears and sweat. She had stopped crying when she came through the door, but her jaw was tense, holding back. She jabbed her finger towards the wall and Hector glanced in that direction. There was a poster pinned above the television. A sketch of a woman and a child. He looked back at her, confused.

“That brown and black dog – the end of the street.” She pointed at the poster again, taking in a ragged breath. “It busted out the door and caught me. I was trying to peddle so fast, but I couldn’t – I couldn’t...” The last word came out in a burst as she started to sob. Hector moved to her quickly and held her close, pressing her head against his chest.

“Hector, don’t you have to get back?” Gina came back into the room and pulled Hector away. She tried to tape a large square of folded paper towel to the wound with some old surgical tape, but the tape wouldn’t stick to the bloodied skin. She wrapped an ice-filled towel around the girl’s leg instead and guided her to the couch. “Sweetie I’m gonna put you here for a minute to see if we can stop the bleeding. Do you want water or something?”

“Mommy I was so scared!” The girl held her Gina’s neck as she was arranging a pillow behind her daughter’s head.

“I know Sweetie. I know. It’s okay now – I’ll just go get you some water, okay?” She pulled the girl’s hands away.

“No! Stay just for a minute her. Just here please?” She tried to reach for her mom’s wrist as Gina was moving back.

Hector stepped forward. “I’ll stay here next to you, okay?” He turned to Gina as she went by him. “Gina, you gotta call the cops.”

Gina stopped and grabbed his arm. “Come with me - I need your help for a sec.”

He was looking at the girl, but when Gina pulled sharply on his arm he turned at looked at her, confused. She pulled his arm again, and he turned to follow her to the kitchen, looking back at the girl. She was crying quietly on the couch, both hands covering her face.

“What the fuck, girl? You gonna call the cops or what? You don’t, I’m going down right now to shoot the fucking thing!” Hector was standing next to her at the sink, craning his neck to watch the girl in the next room. He flexed his hands opened and closed at his sides.

Gina held her fingers under the running water, looking out the window at the dandelions in her neighbors backyard. She sighed. “No, I’m not calling the cops, idiot. And you’re not gonna shoot the animal. And we don’t REALLY want the law up in here, right? RIGHT?” She pushed his shoulder, and he turned back to her, frowning.

“What we got downstairs got nothing to do with this here, you know? They ask a few questions, see her leg and they go shoot that dog, you know?” He threw both hands into the air suddenly. “You gotta take her to the doctor, at least, you know? She need stitches. That thing need work!” He grabbed the glass of water from her hand to take to the girl, and Gina went back to her room to put her clothes on.


When she came back into the living room, tying her tangled hair into a ponytail she stopped and dropped both hands, her mouth open. Hector was sitting on the couch, one hand stroking the girl’s hair, the other hand holding the phone.

“Twenty-seven twelve Alder, near Albertson’s offa 39th. Yeah, it’s down the street… I don’t know, hold on… Honey, did the dog go back to the house?”

“I don’t know – I kicked at it and then it let go but I didn’t look back. I just pedaled and pedaled and - ” Hector put his hand to her cheek and she stopped. He finished his call and put the receiver back into the cradle of the phone in his lap.

“They won’t shoot the dog, Hector. We don’t do that in this country.” Gina bent to pick up some magazines on the recliner and straightened the coffee table in front of the couch. She finished fixing her ponytail, looking around the small living room. “You gotta go.” She pulled Hector up and sat next to her daughter. “You can’t be here.”

“Why Mommy? I don’t want Hector to go.”

“He’s gotta get back to work, Sweetheart. Maybe we’ll see him later.” She smoothed the girl’s hair, not looking up.

Hector shook his head, but he went back to the bedroom to get his work boots.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mostly very good dialogue. I certainly got a picture in my mind. Is Hector hispanic? I definitely want to read more, so please post another installment.

1/14/2007 5:16 PM  
Blogger spellconjurer said...

mignon,,,,,,,another side to you. Why do I always feel surprised by the things you write? Remember in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Violet the girl that turns into a giant blueberry, chews that gum. As she's eating it, she says it starts out like soup. Delicious tomato? I think. Then she says it's roast beef, perfect and baked potato. The same piece of gum keeps changing, and it's just as delicious every time. Just a constant surprise and delight. Well until she turned into that giant blueberry. I hope you're understanding when I say that the best compliment I could bestow on your tonight was that you were like a stick of gum. A very special one though! Thank you for sharing. As a wise man before me commented, I should like to read more as well.

1/14/2007 7:55 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

Did you get the e-mail I sent about the fiction contest? Are you entering? I hope so, you'd win.

1/14/2007 8:20 PM  
Blogger meno said...

Facinating portrait of a triangle.

1/14/2007 8:38 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I want more!

How old is the little girl? What exactly is the relationship of the mother and Hector? Why does the mother react so atypically?? You've set a provocative stage here.

1/15/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

So physical movement. People talking, emotions rising and no one is ever still! I love it! I'm curious about the relationship between Hector and Gina.

1/15/2007 8:20 PM  
Anonymous DD said...

and what's in the basement? (I'm thinking weed, not a meth lab...)

1/15/2007 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Waiting for the next installment....
I love how your draw the reader in with a couple well placed mysteries... I know i'm dying to know what happens!

1/16/2007 8:51 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

INTERESTING! What the hell do they have in the basement?

1/16/2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Ortizzle said...

Totally hooked! Is "Hector" actually Héctor, i.e. hispanic, as someone already suggested? Are they afraid of the "migra" (=immigration people)? Hmmm... no, there's something downstairs, of course.

Excellent start, in any case. Waitin' anxiously for the next installment.

1/17/2007 8:28 AM  
Anonymous LetterB said...

Wow - this made me all tense! That's awesome. More, more!

1/17/2007 6:48 PM  
Anonymous kathie said...

Definately give us more! I cringed at the leg thing. Great job.

1/23/2007 11:12 AM  

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