Fiction: Just Dessert
By Colin Gee
Come on said Grandma, pick yourself up it is only three more blocks.
I wailed, No she left me for my best friend Tony, my ankles are swollen from the heavy drinking this Christmas, there is snow in my boots, and I think I have leukemia, my blood feels icky, I want to die.
Grandma looked down at me where I had thrown myself onto the ground and said, That is no way for a boy of your age to behave. For shame, you are now thirty-two years old, Gee. And people are looking at us.
I do not care, I screamed, kicking my chubby legs, My boss makes fun of me in front of his secretaries thinking I am mentally retarded, I work a useless job as an unnecessary hack, I am a drone on society, struggle to make casual conversation, chicks at the grocery store think I am a stalker, my pants don’t quite fit because of this american food, every bite is full of chemicals, and I have a pimple on my butt.
Three schoolgirls went by tittering and pointing.
Grandma said, That’s it buster, I am going to count to five and if you don’t pull yourself together by then you will get no dessert tonight. No dessert for kids who can’t behave in public.
I said, No please not the dessert it is all I have left, but Grandma just started the countdown.
I shrieked, They stopped contributing to my zines in 2021 when everyone finally had time, the inhumanity! I said, My interactions on Twitter are at minus 350 per cent since you know who took over, I only make enough at my dumb job to pay for gas, rent on a shabby studio, and one hooker on my birthday, and let me tell you she is NO DALLAS COWBOY CHEERLEADER of this I can assure you Grandma.
Grandma, looking over her shoulder, hissed, Shush child! For shame!
She said, Four, three, two…
I wailed, No for christalmightysake, you work your fingers to the bone for what, for just enough pocket change to keep soul and body together, suffer of boredom and hunger for nice things and thirst then you die and enter an abyss of nothingness, for what, why do we do it, all is vanity, vanity.
I screamed into the air some gibberish for all I was worth and Grandma said, One, one-half, one-quarter, and tried to hoist me to my feet, got me half up, but my shoe laces got tangled as I tried to take a baby step towards the house, blubbering and sniffing, and I fell right over again.
There I lay and wept hard, gasping and bellowing, as Grandma’s hand went limp in mine and she started to cry, too.
She said, One-sixteenth, zero. No dessert for you, buddy boy, and when we get home you are going straight to your bed to sit and think about your behavior.
I sobbed into the gravel on the sidewalk and kicked my legs out slowly. What was the use of continuing in this world, this sad meaningless horrible dog eat dog world, and at the end you die? Why me, why me, woe is me.
Grandma said, Come on, pick yourself up now for the love of God, and we can go home. I’ll make you some lemonade and we can both just calm down.
Colin Gee is founder and editor of The Gorko Gazette, teacher and writer. Stories and novellas in The Penult from LEFTOVER Books. Novella Lips out with Anxiety Press tba 2024.