Joy looks at the pile of scrubs in the laundry room floor and runs her hands through her short hair. “Not tonight.” She mumbles. Closing the door, she heads for the kitchen and the bottle of wine that is calling her name.
Settling on the couch, she uncorks the wine and flips on the TV. A groan escapes her lips at the knock at the front door. “Who the hell can that be?” They had been in the apartment only a few weeks. Maybe Jared sent flowers for my birthday. She springs over the back of the couch and dances to the front door.
Peeking out the window, her heart drops to her feet. She crouches down before she can be seen. How did he find me? I thought I had more time! Her heart races as she takes another look. Her hands curl into fists. I do. I have another year.
Taking a deep breath, she stands and straightens her stained t-shirt. She looks out the window again. A shiver runs down her spine and wonders if she should wake up Jared, but quickly decides against it. She can handle this.
Leaving the security chain on the door, she opens it a crack. “Go away.” She says in a firm whisper.
He chuckles. “Ah, come on girl. It ain’t so bad. It’s inevitable.” He reaches in and caresses her hand with his long gray fingers.
“NO!” She tries to slam the door, but he’s too strong. Breaking the chain, he pushes he’s way into the small apartment.
She’s ready for him. She crouches in an ‘Angry Flamingo’ kung-fu stance. “Come on, then.” Joy motions with her hand. “Let’s dance.”
He takes a flying leap at her, but Joy sees it coming and does a back flip, catching him under the chin with both feet. His head snaps back, stopping him in mid-flight. She can feel his teeth breaking with the impact of her kick.
He springs to his feet, seemingly unaffected by the bone crunching blow. He smiles at her through the blood and the broken teeth. “Really, I think you’re over reacting, my dear.”
Joy grabs the skillet she used to reheat 20 pounds of chicken Mc-nuggets for Jared’s late night snack. “It’s not my time, Forty. I have another year.” She cartwheels over the couch and smashes the side of Forty’s face with the cast iron skillet.
Forty pulls his head from the sheetrock and cackles. The side of his head is caved in, clumps of gray matter drip from his open skull hitting the floor in wet plops. He reaches a hand on each side of his jaw and wrenches his head back in place with the sound of popping cartilage. “OK. OK.” He holds up his hands. “I can see there’s no changing your mind.”
Joy’s shoulders slump, the skillet drops to the couch.
Forty, seeing his chance, charges with his arms extended, he clamps his long finger around Joy’s throat.
Joy’s blue eyes widen in surprise. She holds on to Forty’s boney shoulders and drops onto her back, her feet catch him in the crouch. He drops to his knees. Grabbing a fist full of hair, Joy drags Forty to the front door and heaves his broken body down the flight of stairs. She holds up her bloody fists to the sky and shouts, “I’m 39! Come back next year Forty and we’ll dance again!”
She walks back into the apartment and closes the door.
“Huh, honey?” Jared shuffles out of the bedroom rubbing his head. “What’s going on?” He looks at the hole in the living room wall.
Joy quickly hides her bloody hands behind her back and gives him a tight smile. “Oh, got a little carried away….” Her voice trails off as Jared spies the skillet on the couch.
“With….” He prompts.
“Home renovations done with every day kitchen appliances.”
Jared blinks and scratches his crotch. “Whatever. You want to go out for your birthday?”
Joy glances sideways at the front door. “No, let’s stay in.”