Memento Mori

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11

Fuck you Mike. Lead fucking coordinator of the art department.

Fuck you.

Stick the entire lollipop inside your left cheek, grasp it firmly with your molars, and yank the hard candy from the stick. You can eat the candy or spit it out — whichever you prefer, but take the naked stick and forcefully ram it into Mike's eyeball. It won't kill him but it will discompose him long enough for you to strangle him with his stupid apricot colored tie.

I was so embarrassed.

I suffered from Chesterhindes' disease. It's very rare. If I didn't take a cream-colored pill, my skin would swell and bruise. It would turn red and get very tender. It was excruciatingly painful.
Chesterhinde's was the underlying cause for the extreme anxiety I had.
Nervousness.
Restless.
Tense.
Rapid breathing.
Weak and tired.
And the anxiety is what triggered Hyperhidrosis, a condition that made me excessively sweat in unusual situations.

I was a pot of warm stew.
A hot mess.

I punched the driver's side window of a milk-white minivan. I didn't break the glass, but instead fractured my knuckles. My hand was sore and tender. It hurt when I moved my fingers. Unknowingly, there was an older gentleman sitting in the backseat of the van. He slid the side door open.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" His scratchy voice barked.
I snarled at him and stormed off.
He stepped out of the van. "Where do you think you're going?"
I quickly spun around and yelled, "sir, may your ears turn into assholes and shit on your shoulders!"
I was so worked up, I hadn't realized I stepped into South Broadway traffic.

I could hear, but I wasn't listening.
Horns honking.
Vehicles skidding.

Then it hit me.

An artichoke-colored subcompact car. Hit me.

I did a somersault over the hood, shattered the windshield, and launched twelve feet onto the pavement.

I woke up to the sound of beeps and buzzes. I was surrounded by pumps, monitors and ventilators.
"Sweetie! We were so worried!" Mom cried. She hunched over me and gave me a hug.

Ow.

"Please be careful with the physical affection," Nurse Cullen said. "Your son fractured his collarbone, wrist, hand, finger, and hip."
I had eleven stitches on my forehead, six on my chin, and eight on my left thumb. I heard the nurse tell my mom that I had severe scrapes and bruising on my arms. The wounds were smothered with antibiotic ointment and dressed heavily with bandages.
Nurse Cullen requested that my parents privately speak with the doctor, per his request.
I was in a double patient room. The other person receiving treatment was Mr. Morbidly Obese. Mr. Morbidly Obese was a 400 pound, bloated man with an extraordinarily large gut. He had widespread redness and large, fluid-filled bumps on his belly flab rolls.
Dr. Everyman, a board certified dermatologist, lifted up Mr. Morbidly Obese's slimy, cherry-red tummy folds, and out fell a moldy pastrami on rye.
Mr. Morbidly Obese told Dr. Everyman that the sandwich was his lunch two weeks ago.
Dr. Everyman suggested the obese epidemic three things. First, and foremost, lose the weight. Secondly, thoroughly clean the flabs of skin and blow dry on a chilled setting. Finally, use antifungals, antibacterials, and non-talc powders.

The obese epidemic. Mr. Morbidly Obese.

I started to think about Mr. Exterminator.
Osteoarthritis, heart disease, and hypertension crisis from obesity. Goodbye Mr. Exterminator.
Deadly bacterial skin infections from aged, rotting food. Goodbye Mr. Exterminator.
Severe allergic reaction from prescribed medication. Goodbye Mr. Exterminator.

Mr. Exterminator. My unbranded foe. He's the one who seeks harm and tries to humiliate me.

My parents and Nurse Cullen returned to the room.
"Put your clothes on Phineas, we're leaving right now." Mom exclaimed. She frantically started to tug at the needles and tubing connected to me.
"Ma'am, please stop!" Nurse Cullen exclaimed. "You're acting irrational!"
"Mom, what's going on?" I asked.
"These pitiful people want to experiment on you like you're some monster!"
She pulled a white cotton t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants out of her cognac-colored tote bag.
"Here put these on!" I could tell the blood vessels in her face were widening. Her eyebrows were frowning. Her nostrils were flaring.
"Ma'am, the doctor would just like to help."
"Zip it!" Mom hollered. She made piercing eye contact with Nurse Cullen.
"Only a mama knows what's best for her child!"
Dad helped me out of the hospital cot.
Everything hurt.

It hurt like a motherfucker.

I got in the back of dad's cream-colored Oldsmobile. Mom was in the passenger seat. Dad turned on the ignition. Big band jazz music began to scream out of the rear speakers. Mom turned down the volume dial. I sat in the backseat, silent and still. She whipped her head around and fiercely glared at me.
"Did that girl put you up to this!?" She hollered.

Memento Mori.
Remember you will die.

"Wha- what? No, no. No." My words fumbled. Dad started to drive. I saw his face in the rearview mirror. He was somewhat dejected.
"We know you're always talking to her! What did she get you into!?"
I explained the botched job interview at Fantastical! Family Amusement Center. The fiasco made me careless and caused me to neglect oncoming traffic.
My parents condemned my erratic behavior.
"You know Phineas, I'm usually patient with stupid, but your stupid is pure ignorance," mom snarled.

Her words were like daggers.

While Mr. Exterminator is running his mouth and spitting out insults, roughly shove him to the ground. If you're lucky, impact from the fall will make him severely bite down on his tongue. Hopefully the grueling bite will become infected with gangrene, and result in his untimely death.

Dad left immediately after we got home. He didn't like being home. He always had to be out doing something. Whether it was to get his daily exercise by aimlessly walking around an 180,000 square foot superstore, or sometimes he would go visit an old friend and they would discuss their shared passion for the rough and lawless wild west.
Never drive black cattle in the dark.
The 30 second gunfight at Third and Fremont.
Acoma, Pueblo.
Don't dig for water under the outhouse.
A gunshot wound to Jesse James' head.
Stuff like that.

Sometimes he would just drive his cream-colored Oldsmobile around town. He would play 1950s southern rockabilly, smoke an inexpensive stogie, and deal with his emotions effectively. He had no destination. No journey's end. He just drove.

I stood behind my mother's shoulder. I watched her paint the kitchen walls.
Apply in full even coats.
Use appropriate amounts of clean water.
Never mix colors.

Imprison Mr. Exterminator inside a sheltered, private shithole slathered with paint. Be sure his yap-box is duct-taped shut.
Hopefully he'll choke to death on his own vomit.

Mom asked if I would like to help.
No.
She was aggravated and uneasy. A menthol cigarette suspended from her lower lip.
I stood behind my mother. I was inhaling the toxic particles from her rolled-up, dirty habit.
"You know, just because she looks like an angel and talks like an angel, doesn't make her an angel. Angels can have broken halos. What they do with the broken halos is carve the two halves into horns." Mom put her two cents in.

Memento Mori was far from an angel. Her smile was divine, but the devil danced in her eyes.

"Have you ever heard of the Black Widow, Phineas?"
The venomous spider with an hourglass marking?
"She was a serial killer. She murdered men she met through personal ads. She killed eleven people, including four of her husband's. Her preferred murder method was poison, so I suppose in a way she is similar to the spider. Both deadly, and both kill with a potent toxin."

Mom has always had an annoying habit to prejudge a person before she even knows anything about them. She often has a bad opinion of someone's behavior, mostly because she thinks she's better than almost everyone.

That's why she has no friends.

"Maybe take a break from your phone?" She suggested. "Leave your phone to charge in the kitchen. That way you can relax tonight and it won't be a distraction."
"But I use it as an alarm clock."
"Your dad has that neat, flip number clock radio. I'm sure he'll let you borrow that." She made an offensive, self-satisfying smile. She brushed paint on the wall with the angled edge of the brush.

"If the broom fits, ride it, mom." I mumbled.

"Excuse me!?" She yelled.
Mom got reckless. She made a mess with the paint. The ivory cream yellow mixed with the spinach green. The colors created a pale lime.
"Who was Chester Hindes, mom?"
She took a puff of smoke from her cigarette.
"We've been over this before, Phin!" She shouted.
Her hand went into involuntary spasms. She splashed the pale lime color onto the spinach green. She shook her head and muttered, "we're trying so hard…"

She didn't answer my question.

"What do you know about him?"
"There's not much to know, other than you two share the same illness." Her cigarette was slumped to the final puff. She took one final and desperate drag, and sucked it to the butt. She put it out in the driblets of pale lime.

She lit another.

Her hand went into a sudden, violent movement. Her arm quickly jerked, causing paint to splatter on the countertop. She wildly rattled her head and uttered a high-pitched, piercing cry.
She cried her eyes out.

"Stop trying to make me feel sympathetic pity for you!" I impulsively swung my hand, striking the ivory cream encrusted paintbrush from her weak grip.
Her posture stiffened. Her eyes watered. She released a faint bark of laughter. Her lit cigarette fell from her mouth and onto the floor. It dampened out in Muttley Cru's water bowl.

She collapsed.
Her skin was gray and sweating.
Her pupils were dilated.
Her breaths were irregular.

I thought I killed my mom.
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