“Taking Care of Mother” by Todd M. Guerra
Gotta take care of mother. Mother is why I’m here. She’s the reason I’m alive. She kept me alive all those years so I must do it too. That’s what a good daughter does. The house is cold when the bills aren’t paid. I work hard to pay them so Mother isn’t cold.
I scrub the dishes very hard at work. It makes me think of Mother and when she used to wash me in the sink. She got me very clean; she scrubbed me hard. I wish pans could bleed so I’d know they were really clean.
The people at work always give me funny looks. They whisper that I’m slow and weird when they don’t think I can hear them. I’m not slow I’m just busy. I don’t have time to talk about television and boyfriends and getting laid (whatever that is). I have to clean dishes to keep Mother warm.
Mother always kept me warm when I was little. She made me play where it was warm, so I wouldn’t catch cold. It hurt but I know that’s love. I love her, so she stays warm now too…just like when I was young! She’s old now, and she’s like the kid and I’m the mother now. I just want to be as good a mother as she was to me.
I invited a boy over to the apartment once; his name was Donny. Mother didn’t like him because she caught us playing her game together. She told me that’s a game only mothers and daughters play, and I shouldn’t be bringing anyone home to play it with them. She told me boys were evil and wouldn’t do nothing but trouble for me. She said if I got in trouble by a boy, she’d make sure it died. I don’t know what she meant, but it scared me and I tried to never cross Mother again.
I never had a daddy like other kids. I finally asked Mother why. She said he left her with the little shit-maker to deal with and ran off with someone. I don’t know what a shit-maker is. I’ve been looking all over the house to get rid of it to make mother happy. I thought it was the cat, so I dropped him out of the window. It made a real neat splat sound and a really big mess. Mother got really mad when she found out. Things got out of hand and we hurt each other, and since then Mother’s not said anything to me. She’s just mad, but she’ll get over it eventually because I keep her warm now, where you’re supposed to go when you get cold.
Todd M. Guerra is a longtime amateur writer who will take this thing seriously one of these days. He is, as Doctor Octopus once described Peter Parker, ‘brilliant, but lazy.’