Note: This one was pretty fun, but looking at it a few days later I think that the ending could use a bit of work.
“Hey Uncle Matt,” Timmy craned his neck round from the hum of the television.
“Can I have a juice box?” The request was innocent enough.
‘He probably saw the drawer full of snack-packs earlier too’ thought Matt, ‘It’s only a matter of time.’
“Yeah sure. Get two. One for each of us.”
Wordlessly, Timmy hopped up from his cross-legged seat and bounded out of the living room. Matt listened to the pitter-pattering of the 11-year-old’s feet as he half-ran-half walked to the fridge in the other room. It wasn’t often that Diane asked Matt was asked to watch his nephew. But, when he was, he didn’t turn down the opportunity– it was nice having some semblance of company.
After a minute, Matt strained to hear the child’s footsteps once again and realized he could not. He reached for the remote lying on the couch next to him and muted the television– still no footsteps.
‘Fuck, alright,’ he thought.
In one clunky motion he pumped his legs and with a soft grunt and tuck of his gut, Matt was on his feet and started for the kitchen.
“Timmy.” He called. “The juice is on the bottom shelf, you can’t miss it.”
“I got it.” Timmy responded.
As Matt rounded the corner he looked down and saw two juice boxes sitting on the tiled counter adjacent to the fridge. Both french doors were still ajar and appeared to have sprouted tiny legs.
“What are you doing? Still hungry? After all that pizza?” Asked Matt.
The doors swung closed and there stood little Timmy with a rolled up bit of tinfoil in his hand.
“You didn’t tell me you had gummy bears.”
“Where did you find those?” He asked staring at the candy.
“They were behind the pudding. Here” Timmy thrust the tinfoil shell with two gummy bears towards his uncle. “Two for me and two for you.”
Two thoughts simultaneously collided in Matt’s ever-hurrying thought process. ‘At least he’s sharing,’ and ‘Oh shit, Diane is going to kill me.’ Both were true, though the latter was a bit more troubling. Matt took the tinfoil ball out of Timmy’s hand, scrunched it back up and put it on the upper-most shelf in the refrigerator.
“Timmy.” Matt began sternly, “I didn’t say you could have any of these gummy bears, did I?”
“No,” Timmy said dropping his gaze to the floor.
“So you took these from me?”
“Yes,” Timmy responded, quieter than before.
“Well then,” Matt said wondering how his father might handle something like this. “It’s time for bed then.”
“Bed?” Timmy’s eyes began to water. “But, it’s only 7 o’clock. I’m sorry Uncle Matt. Please please no. Please can I stay up a little longer.”
‘I’ve got to be gentle with the kid,’ thought Matt, ‘He’s probably got another hour before those gummies kick in.’
“It’s either bed or I’m calling your mom. And she won’t be happy if she has to leave dinner early.” Matt said pulling his cell from his pocket and began mock dialing his sister. It was a bluff of course but he couldn’t think of any other card to play.
As wordlessly as he bounded off, Timmy sulked his way from the kitchen, down the hall, up the stairs, and into the spare bedroom. Matt trailed behind, and began sending texts. The first to his dealer read “Hey, if you’re still good on L? I need 2 more.” The second, infinitely more nerve wracking text to Diane read, “Timmy said he want’s to stay here tonight. I’ll drop him off tomorrow, have a nice night.”
He read over the latter over carefully to make sure there were no mistakes.
Matt was halfway up the stairs when he pocketed his phone and walked into the bathroom. He briefly glanced at himself in the mirror, fixed his hair, and reached to the side and opened the medicine cabinet inside. On the bottom shelf was the purple sleepytime CVS-brand Nyquil. He hurried back downstairs to the kitchen found the two juice boxes and poured them into a glass. After scanning the safety warning on the back, he added three shots of the knockoff Nyquil and swirled the two together.
Matt, beginning to feel that time was not on his side looked at his phone– 45 minutes left. Okay– plenty of time, hopefully.
He entered the guest room and handed Timmy the glass of the sickly looking purple juice. Even though he was being punished Timmy was beaming–not a good sign.
“Here.” Matt said “Drink this.”
“What is it?”
“It’s your juice. You did ask for this so you can have it. Now finish it.”
Timmy followed the order the best he could, choking down the concoction, letting out a cough after.
“I think the juice went bad Uncle Matt.”
“Really?” Matt sniffed the glass and feigned curiosity. “I think you’re right. I’ll get some new stuff for the next time you’re here.”
Matt glanced once more at Timmy’s eyes searching for any sign of dilation. After he decided that Timmy looked fine he turned and walked to the door.
“I’m not mad at you bud, but you can’t go and take things without asking. Good night,” Matt both said and prayed.
“Good night.” was all Matt heard from the darkness.
Matt hit the lights and shut the door behind him. The next two hours Matt sat against the wall adjacent the bedroom wrapped in his own anxiety. Any little movement sent shivers down his body as he strained to listen. Eventually he was able to distinguish the sounds of his own house and settled down a bit.
At 9:30 Diane finally responded. “Really? Okay then. Thanks for watching him Matt. I really needed tonight.” His dealer though, remained silent– typical.