THURSDAY: Someone Waiting


Copyright is held by the author.

I ARRIVED home from work at two a.m. I usually leave the porch light on, but I’d forgotten. Night shifts are murder.

The door opened before I turned the key. I pushed it open slowly and stepped inside. I fumbled for the light switch and flicked it on.

When my eyes adjusted, I saw Millie Howard, my old school friend and ex-roommate sitting in the rocking chair. I hadn’t seen her for years.

“Millie! What are you doing here? How did you find me? How did you get in?” I pointed to the blood stains on her shirt. “Can I help?”

She stared straight ahead. She sighed, then answered in a monotone, “I’m here to right wrongs. Your address is in the phone book. You never remembered to lock doors. And you’re the last person I’d ask for help.”

She rocked back and forth. “You hurt me when we were roommates with your loud parties, hippie friends sleeping on the floor, and you married my boyfriend.”

“Hold on. I paid for that. He was gay. We divorced. I saved you a lot of trouble.”

“You always had excuses for everything, drinking, pot, loud music. I had to leave. I moved to Montreal. I hated Montreal. It was your fault, you and your pothead friends.”

I sat across from her on the sofa. She’d lost a lot of weight. Her grey, waxy skin hung from her face, her long, stringy hair hadn’t been shampooed in recent memory, and she needed a shower. Her eyes bored through me from dark caverns.

“I was 18 and selfish. What do you want from me now? Why is there blood on your shirt?”

She ignored my questions. “I’ve got lung cancer from your pot smoke.”

“Hold on, that was 50 years ago, and you got me hooked on smoking.”

“But I quit.”

“I’m sorry. What else can I say?”

She blinked away tears. “Remember Veronica Moretti, Grade 12 homeroom, the gorgeous blonde with the perfect body and beautiful clothes? Her and her perfect friends bullied me about the dark circles around my eyes.”

I nodded. “She was cruel.”

“Well . . .” Millie reached into her purse.

“Well, what?”

She took out a small pistol and pointed it at me. “I took care of her. You’re next.”

“Wait. You can’t go around shooting people!”

“I have four weeks to live. I can do anything I want.”


Based in Victoria, B.C., C. J. Papoutsis has been writing for many years and has had personal essays and short mysteries published in magazines, anthologies and online. She finds humour everywhere, sometimes where she shouldn’t but that’s OK because she believes Oscar Wilde: “Life’s too important to be taken seriously.”

1 comment
  1. Love it. A blast from the past.

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