“Charlie, are you feeling okay?”
I sighed, and rolled over on my side. I could feel Franny’s eyes burrowing into my back, but I couldn’t work up the energy to care.
“Charlie? Well, you might answer me. I don’t know what’s wrong with you! The last few days you’ve acted like a stick in the mud! If something is wrong, say so. Otherwise, get out of that bed and get dressed. You promised to mow the lawn today.”
I listened as she walked away, angry footsteps and a loud sigh conveying what a lazy bum she’d married.
Ah, screw her, I thought, closing my eyes.
The truth is I’m not feeling well. I feel like someone’s taken a stick and beat me over the head. Not that I’d share that with Fran. She’d just say I’m faking it to get out of mowing the lawn.
My head hurts like a son of a bitch! I’ve never had a headache like this before.
“Charlie? Are you up yet? C’mon, I’ve got your breakfast on the table. It’s nearly noon, for crissakes!”
I shove the pillow over my head, trying to drown out Fran’s voice. That woman has a voice that can be heard in five counties when she starts yelling.
Maybe I’ll just lie here for another five minutes and try to get rid of this damned headache… it’s sticking to me like glue…
* * * *
“Hey, buddy, do you have the time?”
I look at the guy standing in front of me. Something about him doesn’t sit well with me. He’s dressed in black, in a heavy trench coat, a plaid derby pulled low over his eyes. Those eyes… black… almost dead. I start to move past him but he grabs my bicep, sending a chill through me.
“HEY BUDDY! I ASKED IF YOU HAVE THE TIME!”
I look down at my wrist, but my watch is behaving strangely… the hands are flying around the dial – backwards. What the hell?
“I… I’m afraid I don’t have the time…” I stutter.
“That’s right, buddy, ’cause you’re out of time.” The guy grins and abruptly releases my arm. Pain washes through me and I stagger.
The fellow reaches into the pocket of his coat and yanks his hand out, forming a make-believe gun with his thumb and index finger. “You’re out of time because this is a stick-up! Bye-bye!”
* * * *
Fran watched the paramedics as they worked hurriedly over Charlie’s body.
“I couldn’t get him out bed,” she sobbed. “I kept asking him if anything was wrong… I thought he was faking it. I thought he was just trying to get out of mowing the lawn!”
The male paramedic glanced at his female colleague. “Nothing to be done here. You want to call it?”
She nodded, looking at her watch. “Time of death: 1:16 PM.”
Fran cried out, “What? What?”
“I’m sorry, ma’am… there’s nothing more we can do. Your husband has suffered a fatal brain aneurism. It may be a comfort to you to know he probably didn’t suffer. These things are almost always instantaneous.”
Bewildered, Fran simply nodded, watching as they loaded Charlie’s body onto the stretcher.
Now who would mow the lawn?
© All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton and Odyssey of a Novice Writer
Note: This story is written in response to Steam of Consciousness Saturday (here). The prompt word is ‘stick.’ Approximately 550 words written in 12 minutes. Had a bit of fun with this one!