Cosmo is a character who Came to me one day. I was surprised to learn that he was the son of one of my other characters, who works for the infamous Bud Blossom. Cosmo has turned up in quite a few Bud Blossom stories. This excerpt is from a story that tells how Cosmo and Bud first met.
Cosmo and Bud
I called in and told Bud I wasn’t coming to work.
He didn’t answer me when I said that, but I could feel his eyes burning through the telephone.
I knew he didn’t want to hear it, but I explained. I told him everything.
And he said, “You got problems. Sounds like you also need some income. You want to keep it, be here on time. Tell your mother to make you something special to eat for a change.”
He hung up.
I ask you, what could I do?
“Mom?” I rapped on her door. She didn’t answer. “Mom, I’m coming in.”
She was lying on the bed, on her side, staring at the night table.
“Mom, I’m going to work. You know what I’d really like? You remember that stuff you used to make with the roast beef and noodles and goopy sauce?”
After a few seconds too long, she said, “Stroganoff?”
“We don’t have any roast beef.”
“Could you maybe roast one?”
Her mouth twitched. Before Dad left, she would have laughed out loud.
“Please, Mom? I’d really like it.”
She nodded and sat up. It looked like the hardest thing she’d ever done.
We hadn’t hugged for a couple of years, because I thought I was too big to be hugging on my mommy, but we hugged then.
“I can taste that beefy goodness now,” I said. “See you later.”
It was hard to keep my mind on work. After I dropped the third salt shaker, I wasn’t surprised to find Bud glowering over my shoulder.
“You think salt comes free? You think I don’t have to pay for it, so you can pour it all over the table?”
Tears started coming out of my eyes and I couldn’t stop them. I didn’t blubber, but I couldn’t turn off the waterworks.
Bud just looked at me with that golden statue stare of his. He pulled out two chairs and sat down. A flick of his hand was his idea of inviting me to sit in the other one.
“Apparently, you think I’m an idiot, but I’m not,” he said. “People leave people. They even leave their children. They don’t honor their commitments. I don’t have a problem with that, especially if it’s me who’s doing it.”
Maybe he considered that funny. I didn’t.
He went on, and I thought he sounded faintly surprised, like he was just realizing something. “The people who get left behind feel pain.” He shook his head. “It happens. So what?”
“I’m worried about my mom.” As soon as I said it, I knew it was a lie. I wasn’t worried, I was terrified. My fingers flexed. If I’d had something sharp, I’d have cut myself anywhere she wouldn’t see it, telling any God who would listen that I was offering the pain and the blood as a trade for Mom being okay.
~ * ~
Sweet, dreamy, steamy, and sometimes slightly seamy, this multi-genre collection of short stories includes something for every taste. Prepared by the BBT Café authors: Marian Allen, Shonell Bacon, Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, W.S. Gager, Helen Ginger, Dani Greer, S.B. Lerner, Audrey Lintner, Morgan Mandel, Maryann Miller, Bodie Parkhurst, Bob Sanchez, Mary Montague Sikes, Red Tash, Christine Verstraete.
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A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Two different characters deal with depression in very different ways.