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Mrs. Wilkins Smith

July 17th, 2009

FictionIconShe walked around the house picking up one empty pack after another, sometimes the same one more than once, and shaking it, listening carefully for the telltale rattle of one last overlooked cigarette. He watched silently with his hands folded before him as the look on her face got meaner and meaner.

“Where’re mah smokes, boy?” Her thick southern drawl mixed with her toothless gums sometimes made it difficult to understand her. “You gettin’ inta mah smokes again, boy?”

“Now, Mama. You know I don’t smoke.”

“That never stopped ya when you were a chil’.”

“Mama, I told you. I never stole none of your cigarettes. It was Brand.”

A smile broke on her face. It was like sweet morning sunshine after a week of rain. Suddenly, the face worn so roughly from years of gardening, drugs and alcohol dropped twenty years. He swore, in those rare moments, she was an angel.

“Brand. My angel. Where is he?”

His older brother had long since stopped caring what happened to Mrs. Wilkins Smith. He’d changed his name so she couldn’t find him and ordered Wil to tell her he was dead.

“Mama, I’ve told you a hundred times. Brand is on a mission in Saudi. He’ll be home soon.”

“That’s my boy. Always thinkin’ of othahs befo’ hisself.” She looked at him with disapproval heavy in her eyes.

Wil looked away. He had long since stopped having this argument with her. “Mama, we’ve gotta go now. Where’s your purse?”

“I’m not goin’ without mah smokes, Wil, now be a good boy for once and help me find them.”

“I’ll buy you a pack on the way. Please, Mama. We’re gonna be late.”

“Jesus, Wil, you’d think you were the parent! Stop orderin’ me around all the time! I’ll go when I’m good an’ ready. Find mah fuckin’ smokes or I’ll give ya what for!”

“Mama,” He started softly, “I’m thirty-seven years old.”

“Yur never too ol’ for a beatin’, boy.”

He walked to the couch and picked up her pocketbook. He noticed the strap knotted in the middle.

“Mama, why didn’t you tell me you needed a new purse?”

“Ya nevah done nothin’ nice fo’ me, boy. Why ya gonna start now?”

“Mama, now you know that’s not true. I’ve an idea. Why don’t we go shoppin’ after your visit, Mama? I’ll buy you a new purse and get your hair done. Just like when I was a kid. Remember, Mama? I used to take you for ice cream and buy you a new dress with the money Daddy sent.” He bit down on his lip, immediately realizing his mistake.

“Yur father was a wonderful man.” The tears welled up in her eyes. “It was you damn kids that drove him away.”

“Yes, Mama. Us damn kids. But not Brand. Brand is your angel. Can we go now, Mama? Please?” He never told her Brand had their father removed from the home. He was tired of the beatings and thought, with Dad gone, she’d stop shooting heroine. Her drug use only got worse with Wilkins Smith, Senior out of the house. Seemed she didn’t mind the beatings so long as he kept her high. And she had long since forgotten how to cope without them.


She snatched the purse from his hands and stormed out the front door. He looked around at the mess and shook his head sadly before following her out.

For the rest of the story: Mrs. Wilkins Smith

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  1. July 17th, 2009 at 21:48 | #1

    This was really, really well written. In fact…i’d call it brilliant. Other than the five chapters you’ve already written, are you planning more? inquiring minds wanna know, dammit. 😉

  2. July 18th, 2009 at 08:56 | #2

    @jenpet Wow… Thanks 🙂 Yeah I plan to finish this one. I’m just not sure where I’m going with it.

    I got really frustrated because I wrote more to the fifth chapter than what’s there. I wrote it on a paper towel and accidentally threw it away. What’s there is what I could remember.

    Eventually, I’ll stop being mad at myself and be able to work on it again.

    Really… Thanks 🙂

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