The Beaky Bunch


Sneak Preview  

When her eyelashes looked like grotesque tarantula legs, Nicki winked at the mirror and blew herself a kiss. Satisfied with her work, she put down the mascara and picked up the glass from the narrow pedestal sink. The mixed drink – heavy on liquor, light on fruity mix – burned going down, a welcomed pain. She arranged her push-up bra and gave her boobs a squeeze. “Go get ‘em, tiger,” she told herself and wobbled out of the bathroom, balancing precariously on three inch heels.

Her son sat in the hall, drooling on his bare chest and sitting in his own poop by the looks of that bulging diaper. Nicki stopped and swayed in her stilettos, as she watched Little Zachary. He was facing the bedroom, staring into the dark interior, his chubby cheeks and pouty lips forming a cute profile, which would have been perfect it not for his nose. So much like his damn father’s. His little hand went up in the air and waved bye-bye. A smile dimpled his rosy cheeks. Nicki shuddered, stumped toward the bedroom and slammed the door shut.

“Who’re you waiving at? Huh? There ain’t no one there.”

Little Zachary’s lower lip bulged out and for a second he looked as if he was going to cry. But he didn’t. Instead, he crawled toward the living room, diaper drooping noticeably.

Let the witch change him. She should be here by now. Nicki glared at her Timex. Leaning against the entrance to the living room, she looked from the door she’d just slammed back to the kid. Little Zachary picked up a tiny toy truck. Nicki tapped her foot and checked her watch again.

The kid showed no interest in her. He played with his truck, watched it slide down the ramp of his Fisher Price garage set. When it reached the bottom, he picked it up and put it at the top again. He did it over and over again, mechanically, with no smile, no spark in his eyes, just a fixed stare. Nicki rubbed goose bumps off her arms, looked for cigarettes in her purse, and lit one. The bell rang.

“’Bout time,” Nicki murmured, rushing to the front door and sparing one cautious look toward Little Zachary.

“Hello, Ilse.” Witch, she added in her mind.

The woman offered a curt nod, barged in and scooped up her grandson in one swift motion.

“Hi there, sweetheart,” she gushed.

The kid beamed and kicked his legs in excitement. A pang of jealousy made Nicki’s stomach go sour. It must have shown on her face, because the witch’s expression grew smug, her beaky nose rising a whole two inches in the air. That nose, that ugly, hook schnozzola that was the Polvani’s trademark. This woman, the kid, and even Martin had had it.

Poor boy. Now that Little Zachary was young, his nose was fine, cute even. It made him look like one of those parakeets at the pet shop, but it wouldn’t always be that way. One day it would look more like his father’s and his grandmother’s, a shiny crow’s beak, perverse and ugly.

Nicki left and shoved any trace of remorse she might have felt deep in one corner. She deserved a break from her job, from the kid, from her entire wretched life, no matter if her beak-nosed mother-in-law gave her the accusing, evil eye.

Ex mother-in-law, she reminded herself. Ex. The woman was nothing but the boy’s grandmother, his only other blood relative and Nicki’s sole reprieve from it all. Martin, his father, was gone now, and that was good. …

This short story is available in Amazon. Or if you’d like a free digital copy just contact me :)