This One by Alan ten-Hoeve

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They come in drunk, trying not to make too much noise stumbling through the dark single-wide. They think I’m asleep but I am only pretending. I was up right before I saw the headlights sweep across the fake wood paneling of the living room walls. That’s when I turned off the Cheers rerun I was watching and ran to my room. It is long past my bedtime. As my mother closes my door they are whispering loudly and giggling like little children. I try to place the man’s voice but can’t. He might be new.

Through my thin walls I hear them collapse onto the pullout couch. The springs and rickety metal frame start creaking, and giggles and whispers give way to other noises. I pull my walkman from under my bed, put on the headphones, and hit play. Control by Janet Jackson fills my ears, the only cassette I own. I crank the volume as loud as it goes but can’t completely drown out my mother. I wish she would have taken the bedroom and given me the pullout in the living room. That’s where the TV is.

In the morning I wake up with my headphones still on and the pillow over my head. Leaving my room I find the two of them passed out, their bodies twisted in dirty sheets. The man is completely naked, his schlong hanging limply like an old wrinkled hotdog. I don’t recognize this one, but it’s hard to be sure. They always seem to have the same kind of mustache.

Most of her boyfriends ignore me, looking awkward and anxious to leave as they smoke their morning cigarettes at the kitchen table. Some stick around longer than others. A few try to be pals. I prefer the ones who ignore me.

One time, a guy named Bill took me to see wrestling. That was okay. He had third row seats by the aisle where I got high-fives from Tito Santana, Rockin’ Robin, and my hero, Hulk Hogan. The memory gives me a little hope. Maybe this one won’t be so bad either.

I eat cereal beside the pull-out on the living room floor, watching Wrestling Challenge on channel 5 while they sleep off their hangover. When this one finally wakes up he is bleary-eyed and confused at my presence, at where he is. Looking around the room and down at my sleeping mother, realization slowly settles on his face. He focuses on the tv, and sneers.

“Hey kid. You know that shit is fake, right?”

 

Alan ten-Hoeve is a writer and musician currently living in Connecticut with his wife and children. His work has appeared in The Daily Drunk and he can be found on Twitter @alantenhoeve

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