This is a short story that I wrote many years ago. It holds a special place for me, as it was one of the few times I was really inspired to write non-genre fiction.
Content and language warning.
I crawled out of bed around noon with a mild hangover. After stumbling through the kitchen searching for some instant coffee, I stood next to the microwave waiting for the water to heat up. I glared around planning how to rail at John for the mess, knowing I’d never actually bother to talk to him about it.
It dawned slowly, that he was gone. The thought snaking its way through the fog in my brain finally latched on. I scowled at the messy kitchen, then shuffled through the house, room by room. Finding nothing, I slowly sipped at my coffee, nearly gagging because it was too strong.
I slumped onto the ancient threadbare couch wondering vaguely what I should do. The flashing message light finally caught my eye. I pushed the appropriate button on the second try and slumped back to listen.
I was the only person in the state who knew John intimately, so I got to be the one to identify the body at the morgue. I never cried in public. I told them to send the junk-heap car to the compactor. After hitting a tree head on, it wouldn’t have been worth keeping anyways. I cried myself to sleep for a week straight and started planning my move to
Francisco. I skipped the funeral.
I’d been planning on moving for years, but now I had to. I would need to get out of the house so John’s heir, whoever that would be, could do whatever with it. I tried to pack by myself, but I kept feeling guilty, or getting angry and throwing things, or crying. The crying was the worst. Finally, I just called some friends over and we had pizza and beer while packing up the few things in the house that were mine. The rest of my stuff was in storage, waiting to be picked up just before leaving town.
I called Liza in San Fran to tell her I was actually moving. She offered me crash space on her couch until I got on my feet. I told her that that would be perfect. I got online every night for a week, filling out applications for everything from data-entry to Micky-D’s in the area close to Liza’s place. I started and online journal, telling the world how horrible John was. Then I told the world how horrible I was for saying that in the first place.
“Janice Larson? I’m Jacob Sorens, attorney. Can I come in?”
I let the conservatively-dressed man in, kicking at the cat who was attempting to escape. I waved him into the threadbare chair that only matched the couch if all the lights were off and it was nighttime.
“So, what do you want? I’m moving out in two days and nothing’s missing…”
“I’m here about Mr. Allers’ will. You are Janice Larson, correct?”
“Yeah, but what…”
“I have here the last will and testament of Mr. John Allers.” The young man pulled a few papers out of his shiny black briefcase. “Ms. Larson, you are the sole heir to Mr. Allers assets, estimated at $250 thousand. I have some papers for you to sign.”
Sometimes I think about John; the way he treated me, the way I treated him. And the bitterness I feel threatens to overflow, I blink back the tears with a wisecrack about the size of a penis, and everyone laughs. If anyone ever bothers to ask, and no one here ever does, my feelings for him are only this: I was with him for love or money. But never both.