Stories

(no subject) – Matthew Volkov

Chewing my nails, I sit on the fold-out bed in our basement’s playroom. I’ve just moved into it because I’m finally old enough now. It’s just across the hall. It’s 9:50 p.m. and my father should be home. He’s going to be late. I stare aimlessly at his dirty socks, underwear and undershirts strewn across the floor.

I can hear what has to be my mother–my younger brother Jim is asleep by now–walking  down from her bedroom to the kitchen and back to her bedroom upstairs. I start chewing my cuticula because my nails are so short. One or two of my fingers is bleeding. When 10 o’clock happens I turn on ABC Family.

“Come on down gang and let’s have some fun!” Drew Carey bellows as he waddles down the riser at the Whose Line Is It Anyway studio.

I close the door because my mother doesn’t like it when I stay up late and watch TV. I hop back onto the bed. It’s pitch black outside the playroom, the unnatural light emanating from the TV.

Colin’s my favorite. Wayne Brady has style. He was made for and thrives in the limelight. Ryan Stiles is the same way, though he’s perhaps a little more modest. Colin is more talented than all of them, only because he can perform while being constantly bombarded with insults (though they’re meant in jest?). He has it hardest up there when it comes down to it, and that’s what my 12-year-old self likes about him. He’s seen some shit.

“With the help of Laura Hall on the Piano, it’s time for our hoedown!” Carey says. “What I need from the audience is a suggestion for something you don’t want to be touched with.”

I hear the door leading to the garage open and close. Nine seconds later my father walks in. He tosses a burger king wrapper into the trash can on the way over to the bed. He sits on the corner, takes his shoes and socks off, unbuttons his shirt and lays back in bed.

“Sorry I’m late bud!”

“It’s okay”

The Whose Line credits begin rolling. I yawn, stand up and walk to the door.

“You know none of this is your fault,” my father says.

“Good night Dad.”