“Daddy” by Valda Moore
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Valda Moore lives a hard life in Fairbanks, Alaska. Next week, Kevin Kilroy takes a walk through Humboldt Park in Chicago.
It’s eleven o’clock in the morning but dark as night. It has continued to snow each day since the beginning of December, and without the daylight, my mood leans toward depression. It is thirty below zero outside, and I sit in this bar as I do each morning, drinking the same old drink—scotch and milk—for breakfast, listening to the same old songs on the jukebox. The smell of stale cigarettes, piss, and broken dreams can sometimes be overwhelming, but after a while the smell, too, becomes a part of the fucked up decor. I come here each day to hear the same old stories from toothless bar skanks about the man that got away or the moose that got away or how they were going back to the lower forty-eight because “life is hard in Alaska.” I sit in the back booth in the dark and observe the man I call my “Sweet Daddy” while he flirts and flaunts as bartender all in the name of selling drinks.
I am so tired of this man! I don’t know when I got tired of him and his bullshit—was it this week, or last month, or possibly last year? I only know I am tired. I started hating almost everything about him: his smell, his skin texture, even the way he chews his food. I have asked him to move on from me, but each time he packs his bags, I run back to him, begging him to stay. In the past when I acted this way it was definitely because of the sex—hard, dirty, and sometimes disrespectful. I liked the way he made me beg for it and I liked the way he begged me when I would lock him out, knowing damn well I would let him back in before the night was over. But lately even the sex is underwhelming; I refuse to partake in it.
We have lived in Fairbanks—in one room in this boarding house—for the last year and half. We have lived here since Sweet Daddy decided he liked gambling away his money better than he liked to pay rent. I clean rooms and cook here in the boarding house three days a week to keep the roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Meanwhile, Daddy spends his money on pull tabs and other women.
I have concluded that I am too weak to keep him away from me, so I need to keep away from him. Far away. I have started saving a little money here and there; hopefully I will save enough real soon to get away from Alaska and Daddy. I have packed a small suitcase with the few items that are precious to me and also the money I am saving. I keep the suitcase in a false wall in the corner of the closet. I found this wall by mistake one day while trying to hide my money from Daddy.
Meanwhile, my dislike for Daddy grows more and more each day. I try to remember just what it was about him that attracted me in the first place. I have lost so much since I took up with this man: my family, even myself. I walked away from it all for him, and when I point this out to him he laughs and reminds me that he never asked me to do it. And I agree, he never asked me to walk away from all that I knew and loved, but he suggested that after we settled down we could send for my family to visit—something he never really intended to do.
It is taking too long to save up enough money to travel home, so I spend the savings and cook Daddy his favorite meal. I put on my favorite dress and ask Daddy to dress for dinner as well. As we sit down to eat, Daddy actually apologizes for the way he has treated me for the past year and vows to do better. I begin to cry and smile at the same time, and he thinks it’s all about him. I say a little prayer for him, my family, and myself and ask God for his forgiveness. Daddy interrupts my thoughts with coughing and foaming at the mouth from the rat poison I have placed in our food. As I begin to do the same thing, I look at dead Daddy and smile.
VALDA MOORE is an army veteran and a self-proclaimed Mind Adventurer—sort of like Indiana Jones without actually leaving the house. She is also a patron of the Theater of the Living, where she watches people and writes their stories—in her head.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Jan 12, 2015
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