“Mother Seeks Connection” by Kevin Holohan
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, Kevin Holohan, author of The Brothers’ Lot, brings us a dark tale of a son’s return home. Next week, we’ll travel to Russia with Lina Zeldovich, for her story of an imam interrupted late at night.
Deirdre stares around her at shelf after shelf of cell phones, earpieces, cell phone covers, holsters, and some strange metallic screen things she cannot explain. She rarely comes into town anymore and it took her twenty minutes to find the mall and fifteen more to find a parking space. She is still wearing her apron and only now notices it. She tears it off and unsuccessfully tries to cram it into her coat pocket on top of her car keys. She stuffs it under the display of luminous cell phone cases.
“Welcome to Tru Buy. I am Raymond. Are you finding everything you need?” a tall young man in a purple Tru Buy T-shirt recites with perfunctory, paper-thin solicitude.
Deirdre turns her small, worried eyes full-beam on him and bites her lip. “No. No, I am not,” she manages in a soft, lost, pleading voice that is the last thing Raymond wants to hear.
“I need an Internet,” continues Deirdre. Raymond can see immediately she doesn’t mean want; she really needs an Internet. He does not feel at all equipped to deal with wounded, raw need like this.
“Uhm, let me get a Team Captain to help you with that, I don’t usually handle Internets,” he says, scuttling off to the stock room and the temporary comfort of a smoke on the loading bay, far, far away from this old trainwreck with no sale/no commission written all over her.
“Hey Ma! S’me. I’m on another bus. Dunno. Somewhere on the ways to Boston. Comin up on Albany I think. Maybe Schenectady. It’s warm on this bus like the AC is broken. Yeah I’m wearing a sweatshirt, but if I take it off I might forget it when I’m trying to get all my shit together to get off. I hate when I have to get my shit together like that in a rush.”
Deirdre had stood in the kitchen listening to her son’s overlarge voice all flattened out by the poor cell phone signal and whatever else might be flattening it out this time. Another bus? What was the first bus? Where did it come from? She didn’t ask.
“So yeah. Like I’m gonna be in Boston in about two hours and then I dunno, see if I can get a bus home. I got $20 in my pocket so I’ll see how far I can get.”
Home. When was the last time he had called this house home? Deirdre had wondered. Her eyes flicked from the sink to the fridge to the wall phone with its little antenna that allowed her to stand all the way on the other side of the kitchen. When the last one with the extra-long cord broke, the guy in store had explained that they just didn’t make rotary dials anymore and this was the best he could give her. She found herself backing into the corner by the door. As if distance from the phone cradle could possibly help.
“Welcome to Tru Buy. I am Stacy. Are you finding everything you need?”
Deirdre jumps, unsure for a moment if she dreamt her first encounter with Raymond. This young woman smiles welcomingly and then grows disconcerted by the amount of thought Deirdre is giving to her answer and is further thrown off balance by her plaintive, “No. No, I’m not. I’m not finding anything. Where do you have all the Internets?”
“It’s crazy here. They are SO strict about seat belts. You HAVE to wear one driving. If they see you without one, THEY WILL STOP YOU. And you can’t be on the phone. Yeah. I drink a lot of soda—it’s $1.25 out of the machines and they give change out of dollar bills too. I’ll call you when I get close. Maybe you can pick me up. Dunno maybe another seven hours or something. Hey, do I have to go to the town hall and shit to get my stuff moved over, like? ’Cos I DON’T want to have to do THAT shit. Just want to chill for a while and get my shit together and see where I am. Know what I mean? And I just have the bag and all so I can put it under the bed.”
Deirdre had walked up the stairs as she listened to him and looked into his old room. The bed was covered: old suitcases, dusty Christmas decorations, an old box fan, some faded cereal boxes full of old letters and bills. She’d have to clear that out. She shuddered as she looked at the poster of the giant lizard biting the head off what looked like an armored cockroach soldier. No idea why she hadn’t taken it down when he went away. Might as well leave it up now.
“Just chill and get with my stuff and get my shit together and no, no, I am NOT going to New York City, I know, I KNOW. I am not. Don’t need to get in all that. Just chill and relax with my stuff and my Internet. You know how much a carton of cigarettes is in New York? Hundred and twenty, hundred and thirty. Bullshit! Makes me crazy. But my Internet keeps me happy. I need my Internet. It’s got to be the best thing. Without it I just dunno. Don’t need that shit happening all over me again!”
“I need an Internet. It’s for my son. He’s coming home. I think he owns a phone. If I give you his name and the number he called from, can you look him up and tell me what kind of Internet to get?”
“Do you have a computer, ma’am?”
“No, never. Never had one. He has a phone. I need an Internet for him before he gets home. Can you show me an Internet?”
“Ma’am, let me get my supervisor. Maybe he can help you with this.”
“Oh, OK. I hope he knows about Internets. I really need one. I have $80. It’s for my son. He’s coming home. He’s been away a while. He really needs an Internet. We really need an Internet. He’ll be home tonight. Probably.”
KEVIN HOLOHAN was born in Dublin. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and a veteran of a high school education at the hands of the Christian Brothers in Dublin. His short stories have been published in Cyphers, the Sunday Tribune (Dublin), and most recently, in Whispers and Shouts. His poetry has been published in Studies, Casablanca, Envoi, and Poetry Ireland. He has reviewed fiction for the Irish Echo in New York. For two years he was reader for the literary department of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. The Brothers’ Lot is his first novel. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
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: Mar 17, 2014
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