> Back Issues > Issue III > Billy
by Brad Beard
"Mom, can I have some more milk?" said the eleven year old boy sitting at the kitchen table.
"Billy," said his mother in a scolding tone.
Father looked over his morning paper in an automatic move, his eyes not even registering what he saw. Billy's little sister Margie giggled.
"Come on, Mom," repeated Billy. "My cereal is dry."
Billy's mother turned to look at him and stopped her cutting of the vegetables that she had been doing with her new brand new Ginsu.
"Billy," she said. "If you ask me again I swear I'll carve YOU up with this thing."
"Mom," he complained. "I hate my cereal like this."
Billy's mother let out an angry sigh. "Alright young man, I have had enough. I guess I am just going have to kill you after all."
Billy frowned at his loss in the debate. But, then to his discomfort, his mother came walking toward him in an angry, yet businesslike, stride. The Ginsu bobbed in her hand.
"Mom?" said Billy in an uncertain tone.
Still in her businesslike pace his mother raised the knife up and out to the side at the full extension of her arm. Billy's eyes grew wide as he saw her begin to strike. The knife flashed at his neck and he jumped from his chair. Too late to avoid the blade completely, it passed across his arm just below the shoulder slicing open the skin. Billy jumped away from his mother.
"Mom, that hurt," he said in indignant surprise.
"You hold still," she said in her scolding tone again. "I have to leave for work soon and I don't have all day to kill you. Now you just stand there."
She came at him again this time moving the knife in front of her. Billy held for only a moment and then turned and ran.
"Billy," barked his mother in a perturbed voice.
"Do what your mother say, Billy," his father called absently after him without looking up from his paper.
Little Margie bit her lower lip and put her curled fingers on her chin.
Billy ran to the stairs and mounted them quickly. Behind him his mother followed with her calm, yet irritated, strut. As she began to mount the stairs she called up to him.
"Billy, don't you get one drop of blood on that carpet up there. You know how much your father and I paid for that. I don't want to have to get it cleaned. Blood makes one of the worst stains that there is.
She reached the top of the stairs. Looking both ways, she did not see her son.
"Alright, Billy, this is quite enough," she called with her hands on her hips. "You come out here right now. I don't have time for this. Mr. Farling needs me to be at the office on time."
No answer came. But then to her right she heard a quick rustling. With a 'humph' she strode off down the hall in the direction of the sound. When she reached the end of the hall, two doors confronted her, one on the left and one on the right. She looked hack and forth between them.
"Billy?" she called in impatience.
The knife with its small streak of blood glistened in the hall light. Again there came a muffled noise. It came from the right. Billy's mother strode impatiently into the room and saw that the boy was not in plain sight. She sighed at the simplicity of her choices and went for the closet. Grabbing a handful of hanging clothes she shoved them to the side. Before she could react, Billy dashed out and dove for the door. The knife slashed after him hitting the wall instead. A garment fell off of Billy's back as he exited, its hanger still sticking from the neck. Billy's mother gasped.
"Oh my God," she snapped in outrage.
Kneeling quickly she snatched up the shirt and inspected it. Blood stained the white back of it in a deep red smear. Her mouth came open and she blinked forcibly.
"You have just ruined a seventy five dollar blouse, young man," she called out loudly. She stomped out into the hall. Going down it, she entered the bathroom. Shoving the shirt into the sink hastily, she turned on the cold water.
"Billy, this little hide and seek game is over," she called out with her voice almost cracking in upset. "You come out here right now and look at what you did to this blouse. I don't know why you do this sort of thing to me. This stain will never come out. I wear this blouse, you know. Or at least I used to."
With an angry twist she shut off the water and headed back into the hall with her knife held in the ready. She looked at her watch.
"I now have five minutes left to kill you, finish you father's breakfast and get your sister on the bus." She sighed forcibly. "Not to mention getting myself ready."
At the opposite end of the hall stood only one door. Billy's mother stomped down the hall and entered the room. Backed into the corner with a baseball bat was Billy.
"This isn't fair," he yelled at her. "You never kill Margie. And she always does stuff."
"This isn't about Margie," countered his mother.
"Well I think it sucks," Billy blasted back in a resentful tone.
His mother gasped then said, "You will not talk that way in this house, young man. Now will you just behave and let me kill you? I'm in a hurry."
"Make me," shot back Billy in a snotty tone.
His mother raised her nose as she took in a breath. "I'll just do that," she said.
She came forward with the knife and an indignant expression. She swung back to strike and Billy swung his bat in return. The weapons met and the knife flew from her grasp. Billy swung back and hit his mothers arm and then dove for the knife. Grabbing it he sprang on to the bed in an attempt to cross it and escape out the door. But his mother lunged at him and grabbed his shoulders, pushing him clown onto his bed. The bed jolted and slammed into the wall and Billy and his mother separated. They each came off the bed on opposite sides. Billy first looked at the now thoroughly bloody knife then up at his mother. A dark red stain was spreading out and downward from just under her left breast. She looked down at the stain with shock on her face. Then she put her hands around the spot and ran her fingers through the blood there. She looked up with shock on her face.
"How could you?" she said with a hurt tone. "This is one of my favorite blouses. That's twice in one day. I mean, this isn't all that expensive, but I wear it almost twice a month." She dropped her hands at her side. "Why can't you just behave?" She sighed and shook her head, rolling her eyes upward.
Billy's face showed uncertainty at what move would next be best.
Then his mother blinked with a sudden gasp. Her eyes rolled up and she fell full length onto her back with a thud.
Billy frowned and shook his head. He rounded the bed and passed his mother by as he headed out the door. Soon he had come back down to the kitchen and set the knife into the sink.
His father spoke from behind his paper. "I hope that's not too much of a mess up there. You two were making so much racket I could hardly read the paper."
Billy shrugged uncertainly in answer.
"Make sure you clean that knife off, too," added his father. "You know how your mother hates dirty dishes sitting in the sink."
Billy pursed his lips and looked about absently.
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November 19, 2002
by David Kraybill
©2002 Beard-Kraybill Studios