Hell In A Cell
This has gotta be the fourth time I’ve thrown up today.
I still gotta remind myself that Rosie and I share a stomach now. Then again, she’s been in it for seven months. You’d think she’d at least let her mama have some Cap’n Crunch and orange juice for dinner. It’s what I crave, but it’s never what she wants.
“Come on, baby…” I say down at Rosie. “You gotta let me eat somethin.”
And you’d also think that I would’ve figured out by now what I can eat and what I can’t eat. Louie works out at the stables til late, so he always gets food for himself while he’s out. He gets me food, too, but only when I ask for it. I just never know what to ask for.
Mama always says I’m movin way faster than I got business to. I feel like I’ve gotten slower, but obviously that ain’t the case, otherwise she’d find somethin else to pick at. Pregnancy’s made my hair straight and my skin clear, so now she’s really been lookin for somethin, and I guess that somethin now is how quickly I get up from the toilet.
The full moon shines from the bathroom window against the surface of my vomit. Don’t know why I always look, but I do. I flush. I clear my face with cold water. I leave.
On the television in the living room is WWE Smackdown, and on the pot on the stove in the kitchen I'd put boilin water. I pour it into a mug, a mug Louie got me the one time when we went to Vegas. It’s got that sign with all the lights and everything. It’s even got a couple of LED lights in the handle, but I reckon they never worked. One of my favorite fantasies is goin back to Caesar’s Palace like one of those old blonde bitches on Facebook and gettin in the face of one of them employees at the desk and sayin, “Um, excuse me. This mug’s lights’ve never worked, and I demand a full refund.”
Those Karens’re always so self-assured. The only thing I’m assured about, however, is the fact that Louie and I’ll never be goin to Vegas again.
I’ve found that tea’s the only thing Rosie likes. I hate tea, but I’m so hungry that black tea smells like bacon. I feast on my tea from the kitchen counter; I don’t wanna go through all the mess of gettin back up and doin that whole song and dance again. I can already feel my stomach poppin off, but I try ignorin it, at least for now. Gotta breathe at some point.
“Ladies, gentlemen, all hellbeasts in between, cower in fear...before…” the loud announcer says, “The Wheel...of Destruction!”
A giant silver curtain drops to reveal this giant rot'ry saw and everyone’s cheerin. There’s no one in the ring yet, but from how it sounded in the bathroom, I was throwin up my brains to the fight of a lifetime. Pissed now to see that it was all just hype. That’s all what half these shows are, but at least sometimes the wrestlers throw a chair.
Camera goes clockwise round the wheel. Each slice of the pie's a new form of torture. The wrestlers have to fight in even worse and more painful conditions cause it’s Halloween. Casket Match. Buried Alive. Chains and Whips. The Death Cage.
Of course, a commercial.
“Are you tired of your souffle looking like THIS? When you bake, do you---”
I never bake, so I don’t plan to watch none more. Next.
“Coming this fall on TBS, get ready for the sitcom that’ll warm your heart and swell---”
Complete My Circuitry. Or Completing Circuits, one of those. Two robots move into some highloft in Seattle Lou and I can’t afford. They move in outta convenience, or for a factory job, I don’t know, but they end up fallin in love. One of the jokes is about how they’re supposed to make kids, and that’s the only funny one outta the eight they try I’d say. Next.
“Enhance your performance, both for him and for her---”
I know that it’s late but I still find shit like this tasteless. I know Rosie’s watchin. Next.
Opens up on two high schoolers makin out on a cliff. It doesn’t feel real at all, so it feels more okay. I just put my hands over the top of my stomach as though Rosie would try to peek over my dress and around my belly button.
Trunk’s open. Inside're the girl’s pom-poms and the guy’s football gear and open beer cooler. A song from the 90’s is playin. Not like I could tell you which one. Not like it’s any important. Cameraman certainly ain’t thinkin so, because we’re right back on them teenagers.
“You think anyone’ll catch us here?” she says. “No,” he says while kissing her neck. “I don’t know, Jonny, I’m scared,” she says, takin off her blouse. “Chill out, Cely. I’m here. What could possibly happen?” he says like a dumbass.
Camera’s now in the point of view of the girl. Guy’s straddlin her and nearly covers the whole front window of the car with his big football shoulders. There’s just one small bit of the outside in view, though: a full moon. The full moon’s soon covered by a pair of red eyes.
“Aw shit, Jonny,” I say while thinkin, Ya know, Rosie, this tea ain’t bad. “You’re fixin to get got.”
Poor Jonny ain’t even get a chance to turn around before he got got. His head’s now in the werewolf’s mouth. He flings the head round back and forth and back forth like a chew toy in his muzzle. Blood spills from Jonny’s neck over Cely, who’s screamin her goddamn head off. Good actress, whoever she is. Reckon I saw her in a toothpaste commercial once. Glad to see someone’s movin on up in the world.
She kicks. It’s time for somethin, but I don’t know what.
I flip it back to WWE. Two women are in the ring now. Who they are, I don’t know, but one of them looks like my best friend from high school. Lizzy. When I sent invites to my baby shower to all my old classmates, she was the only one who RSVP’d. She gave Rosie this big, red silk blanket. I don’t wanna think about how much she spent on it.
Lizzy went on to graduate, top the class, always smart as the devil. Got into Harvard and now she’s tryin’ to be some kinda lawyer. I’m just tryin to hold this baby down. Some food down would be just fine too.
When I had class with Lizzy, half her hair was green and the other half was pink just like this chick yelling at the other chick on TV in some other language. Lizzy’d change it ‘round sometimes, but what wouldn’t change was how much she cared. Back then, of course.
Now not many people come round here. No one calls. Haven’t paid that bill in two months. Cable’s my only way outta here. While Lou had the cash to pay for the phone, I’d call Lizzy every now and again. But she had some chick at a desk answer and tell me she was always busy. That's Lizzy. Always quick and hidden and smart as the devil.
She kicks and kicks and punches me.
“Stop it, you little---”
I hold my tongue. Mama’d smack me if she saw me talk to her granddaughter this way. Lou would do much, much worse I know. I know.
Tires pull into the driveway. Lou’s boots step into the door but he doesn’t kick em off like he usually does. They stay on his feet. Not like this carpet couldn’t get anymore messed up. Bleach only does so much.
“Busy day, baby?”
I always start the conversation. Sometimes he goes second. Not this time.
Lou's quiet as he hobbles into the kitchen. I don’t see it at first, but once I do, best believe I grabbed a towel and told him to stop right where he was. Oh, I scream. He didn’t stop of course.
I turn the TV off. I turn the stove off. Sometimes turning everything off I find's the only thing I can really do.
“Lou,” I catch my breath while holdin his leg in place. He tries pryin it away still. “Who in the hell did this to you? Tell me!”
The gunshot in his calf was bout the size of a dime. The yellow towel I got was red in not too long. There’re still tufts of fur ‘round the wound. Never seen anything like it before in my whole life.
I saw somethin else I’d never seen of Lou til that night. He frothed at the mouth. Color was leavin him faster than nothin but he was still tryin to get in the kitchen.
“What’s so important in there? I’ll get it for you!” I mopped up some the foam but he only made more. His neck moved back and forth and back and forth from my grasp and he wouldn’t calm down even when I scratched his ears like what he told me to do in a time like this. That’s all I ever known since we were kids: what he told me to do.
We’re miles away from everythin. Outside our tin door’s nothin but fields of corn. I really, really wanna ask what happened. That kinda violence just doesn’t happen out here. No one’s out to hear it.
I start gettin mad at myself while gettin Lou some water. If there was a gunshot out at the stables I would’ve heard it sure enough. Rosie would’ve felt it for sure. Maybe that's what she really kicked for.
He drinks none. He only growls and sinks further into the floor.
I can hear the tire tracks comin from farther away than I did Lou’s truck cause now everything’s off except the lights. We haven’t paid electric in a month, but they haven’t turned it off yet. Don’t know why.
This car’s goin slow. It’s goin slower now. I can see their lights out the window. They’re lookin for somethin.
I look down at Lou as he’s sweatin his brains out on the ground.
They’re lookin for him.
Lights're off now. I feel for Lou’s big football shoulders and pull him up from the ground. He gets up. I can tell he’s tired from his breathin. He don’t wanna fight no more and I don’t neither.
I wanna ask him what kinda trouble he got himself into now. I do most the time. It’s ‘cause he always looks so proud of it. “Honey, look at this broken finger. Lars thought it’d be ‘kay to sleight me outta twenty bucks. That snoutta his ain’t gonna work for a week.”
He did nothin to fix that finger, but after a month, you wouldn’t know nothin happened to him. I would try tellin him to stay outta trouble. If not for me for Rosie, you know? But he insists it’s nothin he can’t handle. It’s just broken fingers. Bar fights. The kinda fun and bullshit he got into in high school.
He says I always overreact. Maybe I do, but like hell my husband’s dyin tonight.
I drag him into our room. I don’t turn the lights on. I don’t need to. Car’s still outside.
“Just what did you do, Lou?”
As if I ever needed to ask at all with all the blood that’s all on the floor now. Our windows are only covered by two plush blankets. One Hello Kitty one, the other SpongeBob. Rosie picked em out cause this is her room too.
I finally get to wrap somethin round Lou’s leg. His breath is slow but he’s calm now. His eyes ain’t closed.
“Try closin’ your eyes for me, baby. Come on.” I fluff his pillow. Louie wheezes with his perfect lungs. “Please.”
Two big beams of gold shine on us. My body is over my husband. My back's against the window. I can’t breathe. I don’t wanna try anythin. Not now. I can still feel them lights.
My hands feel Louie sleepin now. He snores and he snores loud enough to shake the walls down most the time. I tell him one day he will bring these here walls down. He tells me I overreact.
It’s like he’s too tired to snore now though. I put my hand against his forehead and he’s gainin his color back. No fever neither. I grab for a tee of his and clean up his face. I’m gonna draw him a bath first thing in the mornin. A salt bath.
He’ll hate me for it by God I know it. He’ll scream his goddamn head off and call me a bitch and whatever else. He’ll call livin with me a form of torture. It’ll all hurt like hell for sure, I know. I know it.
Then, then he’ll calm down. He’ll say sorry and continue with his bath. All he gotta do is get all his words in.
That’s what I think, anyway. Not like I have any other words. Not like there ain't nothin to change.
The tires're distant now. I get up. I kiss his forehead. I get the shotgun from under the bed and load it. I leave.
I turn the TV on and every channel’s a commercial. Shotgun’s in my hands even when that car’s long gone, even when Lou’s fast asleep. I stay on the couch. It’s the only place I can sleep til Rosie wakes me up again.