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Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Human Puzzle
Heather Neale

Meesha was sick and Charlie knew it.

"I HATE YOU," she shrieked and scrunching her paper bag face into its condensed milk version went storming out the back door. SLAM.
The heavy mahogany door closed behind her and like angry dominos, empty Kokanee bottles smashed onto the floor from the mantle above. Shards of amber glass lay like a jigsaw puzzle on cold linoleum- a case to be cracked, but not so easily.
Meesha was sick and Charlie knew it. There was no going back now though, he thought. What’s done is done and she will have to accept that my final answer is no. No I will not unlock the medicine cabinet. No I will not indulge your insanity. No I cannot go on loving you if you can’t exist in this world without crack or fucking pain killers.
But then really, he had no choice. He glanced out the window holding back tears. For once the poor man avoided automaton mode-bending to pick up glass, sweeping linoleum, calling Meesh’s psychiatrist, dragging her out from the dumpster out back.
She seemed obsessed with that dumpster- like it would somehow be possible, among rotting fruit peels and soiled diapers, to find a hit.
A hit??
Where had he gone so incredibly wrong, Charlie thought? And was he a wretched father for giving up? Could he give up?
There was no easy answer. All Charlie knew was that he had lost the spark plug for his heart somewhere along the way, he had bags under his eyes that hung like dead monkeys all the way to the floor, and his retirement savings had leaked onto hospital stays, esoteric psychotherapists, rehab initiatives and bail.
He would have to take a fourth job on and sell his house.
Charlie’s father had passed this place on to him. A small 800 square foot bungalow on Walnut Street. Hoped it would provide security and comfort for him all the days of his life. Be a kind of utopian lovers’ nest for him and his new bride Ellen. It was adorned with a wicker porch swing, tiny stained glass windows, and a garden out back where they could watch their dandelion dreams flower into roses. But now along with the pelting rain, all of this was being washed away like oil on duck feathers, retreating from sight, but intoxicating everything in its path.
And the worst part was, it wasn’t her fault.
He loved and loathed Meesha all at once. The sharp pangs of rage he felt in his abdomen when she cut her wrists shaving, was followed by guilt vomits and hysterical remorse tears. He just wanted the pieces to fit on the linoleum. To make sense.

© Heather Neale March 2003

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