Sad Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

There's so much I need to teach you, son. 

Reptiles are taking over more than just the insurance game, the world will yield once Geico takes over Progressive, then Allstate, then the banks, then the world.  

In 15 minutes or less, 15% or more of our tax dollars are used to fund Oprah’s Illuminati trust fund that paid a time-traveling baby boomer to replace Tyler the Creator as homophobe earlier in his rap career. Tyler was later overtaken by the real Tylor the Creator who stopped saying the F word and came out as bisexual. 

The system tries to hide these facts from you, but don’t worry son, I see through the world's bull. 

You can trust me. 

HAHAHAHAHAHA but look, catch me stealing the 20 dollars from this chumps pocket. For real, look! Catch me! I dare you. I'm looking right at the guy whose money I just jacked and he's not even noticing the fact that I'm lifting a tip of the bill out of my pocket.

It's so annoying when people don't chase you. I need to get my cardio in today.

I don't know if you noticed but I'd like to talk to you until things settle down and I drop you back off at school. I tend to get very lonely being homeless in the city. I need you to keep me afloat. I'm not crazy, just imaginative... at least I hope so… Have you seen my wife? Just kidding, ex-wife, your mother I guess that would be true. She divorced me a few years ago before the drugs took hold. Took me away from you. 

Don't blame her son, I'm sorry. 

It's my fault. 

She was a fine woman, with good cheeks in the face and butt. I loved her beautiful red hair, still as full as ever. I know where your mother is right now, bet you do too. She has to be at the county courthouse judging criminals and poor people like myself. I haven't been caught in a while anyway, how long does it take to get an arrest warrant wiped clean? Who cares? 

It's you and me son against the world.

I used to be the breadwinner when your mother was in law school believe it or not. My blog was really taking off. I was just about to get a book deal and then... never mind. You don't want to hear about this. I just never want you to forget that:

I miss you.

I miss breathing.

I miss sleeping.

I miss feeling happy.

I miss how it felt when your mother held me, holding you, holding her. 

I miss the scent of her perfume, honey, and vanilla.

She was the dream.

You were the reality we never thought was possible.

We were a family.

I'm so proud of you.

I'm so sorry, kid.

Please never forget that son.

But anyway, let's go sing in the streets eh, might grab some ice cream on the way.

You know I've been stone-cold sober for 36 whole hours and 10 minutes.

The thing is, I just can't get over how much I hate myself. This is why I have to take drugs to stay alive. Its survival. Let me give you an example.

When a diabetic starves themselves their blood glucose levels get very low and they will usually need sugar, quick, fast and in a hurry. An item like a candy bar will raise their blood sugar quickly enough to stop hypoglycemia, which can cause a coma and various other awful symptoms. A coma is a nap you might not wake up from, but don't worry about that, you're too young to understand these things son. 

My question for you is this.

Is the candy bar good for the diabetic long term?

Nope! But they have to raise their blood sugar quickly, so they don't die, right? So what do they do? Of course the diabetic eats the candy bar because they need to stay alive. That's why I do drugs son. 

Do you understand?

I’m just trying to stay alive.

I know this is ruining my life, but I just want to make it through the day. Right now sadly, this is how I do it. It's quite the sticky predicament being me. I should have a job, but I don't care. I should go live in a shelter but screw those rules.

I'm an adult.

I require freedom.

I used to be a novelist.

I've been homeless for 5 years, you can't just shake that off. Who's going to see past that? The real world won't accept me. I can't go back. I can’t get a job. I'm just not built for it.

Anyway, kid. What do you want? vanilla or strawberry with sprinkles? Figure those are still the favs.

"Kid wants the strawberry flavor with sprinkles, I don't have any money, but I paid extra last time, you'll spot me aye?" I ask the ice cream lady. She is wearing a blue bowtie and a black vest covering a white dress shirt. Her name tag says, Laney.

"Sir if you can't pay, may you please exit the line," says Laney.

"I might have some pennies here, hold up," I say.

I finger through my pockets. There was:

A lighter,

2 spare cigarettes,

the tiny head of a spiderman action figure,

of course a picture of you, Jaden,

my diamond-less wedding band,

and a pipe I haven't used for 36 hours and 10 minutes.

The tiny plastic bag containing my life's misery was in my other pocket.

"Sir, I need to ask you to step away from the booth," says Laney.

Now I’m angry so I slam my fist onto the counter. "You ain't got strawberry, fine. Vanilla then."

A hand grabs my shoulder, "Calm down pal, okay," a voice says.

I swipe the hand off, then regretfully pull out the money I pickpocketed. I wanted to cherish it, hang on to it for a bit. But nope, life is expensive! You forget the true weight money has in your hands when money is more scarce than fossil fuels are from the Middle East. You don't know this yet son, but money determines how the world values your worth. I am worth -$10,000 dollars. I am poor.

Bad credit, a few evictions, adult things son. 

I'm valued as a negative person son. An integer is what I am. They should be teaching you integers in Math later when you get further into elementary school. But all of those math rules they tell you about are obviously a crack of bologna. Boy, do you hear me? The system isn't built for us. It's for them, you understand?

"Take all of it, they’re the last dollars to my name," I told her, pushing the paper closer.

"It appears you’ve already purchased these tickets sir, this paper is good for two tickets to the premiere showing of the new Spiderman movie. Go through the double doors and you'll find an attendant that will take your ticket and guide you to your theatre. Thank you. Next." said Laney.

Money looks different every day son, I can’t tell the difference between all these new dollar bills anymore. Money is the Illuminati’s paycheck. I once bought drugs with two frozen turkeys and a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, it's all relative son. Money is a trap son, don’t believe what anyone tells you unless it's me, you get that? I would never lie to you unless I said sorry. After I apologize, that's that, zip and done. 

This is what my therapist tells me I have to do more, to say sorry. 

I told a grocery store clerk sorry for taking a bottle of whiskey, pickpocketing his keys, and crashing his car into a fast-food burger joint. He punched me in the nose and took my wallet. 

That's why I took what I thought was a dollar bill, but it's actually movie tickets because I don’t have my wallet. What a goof I am. I mixed up reality more than your mother mixes sugar into my gas tank when I would drive drunk too often. 

HA adult jokes son! You’ll understand everything in due time, you’re a wise kid. Mature for your age. That's how I was too, an adult wearing diapers, cleaning up beer bottles, turning up the TV so the neighbors can’t hear the house breaking, the screams, the dog whaling. Never answer the door and always leave through the back window. 

This is what my parents taught me. 

But yes I only stole to go get you some ice cream, so stealing isn’t bad when you need ice cream or when the other person deserves it. Strawberry with sprinkles right? It's your favorite. 

I’m so sorry. 

When I tried to walk up to your mother’s front door I tried to say sorry but got what we adults call cold feet, so I left. This is an idiom, son, you’ll use them to win arguments with your boyfriend or girlfriend or partner, whatever… I don’t care who you want to love, just make sure not to lose your whit when they get to bitchin. We always have to win. We are men and not to be disrespected. This is what men do, we fight to keep our dignity from a world that is constantly taking it from us. 

This is what my father taught me. 

I hope you understand son. These are adult things, far too difficult and complicated. I hope you enjoy that bike I left you. You would think it would be easier to carry it out of the store, rather than ride it, and you would be right, but it's just not as fun. I hope you have as much fun with the bike as I did. 

Say sorry and start there, that's what she tells me. It's been 10 years since I’ve sat on that therapist’s couch and gave in to the system's bull. 

 I was brainwashed.

Now I am free.

I walk to the doors, scratching my head. There's probably ice cream inside. I can pay for it with an- I owe you. I feel like I'm forgetting something… 

"Remember we’re getting two more tickets for Gunther's friends, I didn't know they were coming so we'll have to wait in line again," says a feminine voice.

"Wait, honey have you seen our tickets." I hear a manly voice ask rather loudly in the further back part of the line.

I turned around to see if they noticed I was the alleged thief. Do you think they’ll chase me? We can play tag. 

"I thought I saw them a second ago," the feminine voice says.

 A fly flies to the top of my nose, tickling and startling me silly. I swipe at it with the tickets. 

"Hey you stole our tickets," says the manly voice, pointing a finger. 

It's not polite to point at people, son, this man is what the world calls "a piece of booty."

I see a short man with a mustache, sporting a balding buzz cut on top. He wears a navy tee with tan khaki shorts, to go along with black flip flops.

"Look at his ticket. I always fold the corners before putting them in my pocket. There's a bloodstain from when I cut myself shaving, earlier today. I wouldn’t say this if I wasn’t 100% sure but look at his ticket. He must have stolen them," says the short man.

"Is this true? Did you take our tickets," asks the tall, slender middle-aged woman next to him, carrying a red handbag.

I look down and see the red stain on the ticket. The wheels in my head spin off the sides of the wagon. 

Ow! A sharp pain poked my back.

The door behind me opens, a family of 4 brushes shoulders with me, trying to maneuver and get around me. A toddler is straggling behind, dragging his sneakers on the pavement so they'll light up.

The voices from earlier were now suddenly right in front of me. I wipe my eyes. They were still here. 

Son, did you get our ice cream already? Did I give the money to you?

Oh yea, I don’t have any money. Wanna see a movie instead? I know I promised ice cream, but superheroes are fun and you'll love it. 

I look over next to me and there is no one there. I look to the other side of me, I see nothing.

You left me. I can’t see you Jaden. Where did you go?

I am alone. 

I’m sorry son.

"You okay pal?" asks the manly voice. 

"Do we need to call an ambulance?" asks the feminine voice. 

"We're not calling an ambulance if he won't give us our tickets back."

"He's clearly high out of his mind! He's not well, we need to help him."

"Can’t be that high if he managed to pickpocket me without me noticing. Let's go get a manager.”

"Whatever," says the feminine voice.

I feel the sky fall.

I feel cuts where rocks scraped my neck up like a cheese grater. I'm on my side, with my mouth open and drooling. I feel wrapped in a blanket by the three thick coats I'm wearing. I can smell my armpit like I can smell my feet. The scent sticks all into one. My beanie is tickling the tips of my ears, I'd fix it If I could move. I don't know what's happening, I'm frozen.

Can you hear me, son?

 Please tell me I’m not alone!

I felt the pipe in my pocket. It was warm. There was residue packed into it. 

You know when I said I’d never lie to you unless I said I was sorry? Well, I’m sorry son. When I said I was sober for 36 hours and 10 minutes I forgot to mention that I smoked 10 minutes ago. 

It's adult logic son, you wouldn’t understand. 

Being sober is acknowledging the reality in front of you. Sobriety ruins your mind with all kinds of pesky things. It makes your father crazy and unhealthy. 

Don’t trust the doctors!

Don’t trust the police! 

Don’t trust your mother!

Remember that son. I am sober when I choose to be, but I am always me. 

"Sir an ambulance is on the way," A lady says, putting an iPhone back to her ear. “... Yes, the movie theatre on Huntington Street is correct. You're speaking with the manager. Okay. Right. He’s fallen over into the rocks, and is conscious, but was barely breathing a minute ago. Yes, he is in a recovery position,” says the lady looking helplessly into my eyes. 

“He just lifted his head up,” she says.

I fall back into the rocks. My head is heavy. I see one cloud shaped like a donkey chasing two circular clouds with holes in the middle and another cloud that resembles a wagon without wheels.

I'm sorry I fell off the wagon.

Stop chasing me son.

I'll get sober.

I'll chase you.

I’ll find you. 

"Happy New Year," someone shouts in the background, as I see the blue and red lights flashing, sirens blaring.

I miss you son.

I love you.


January 01, 2022 00:17

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Dell Bell
23:59 Jan 06, 2022

Hi Matt! This story was very unique and impactful. A lot of it felt more like a poem than a story which I really liked. You did an amazing job of characterizing the father without many other people entering the story. His thoughts/words were comical at some parts and sad at others. My only suggestion would be that parts of the story (the parts with dialogue) seemed to change from the father’s words/something he would say, to more first person narration. The narration that he is giving seems like it is coming from a different person than the ...


Matt P
15:38 Jan 08, 2022

Hello! I've always enjoyed writing that is short and choppy, It feels good to hear you say it's like a poem because that's what I'm going for. You make a good point with the dialogue parts, I think it could flow better too. Thank you!


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