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It had been two weeks since Sam had kicked me out and almost that long since I had seen my son. 

I left work that evening and made a pit stop to the old house to pick up a few belongings. You know, now that Sam’s bitch mom had finally left for a few days, before heading out to grab my son PJ.

I pulled into the old driveway and was shocked by what I saw. Every single one of my plants had died.

The sunflowers were brown and sagging, the corn too. Even “Minty” our praying mantis had left in search of water. Both rows of crops looked liked like potential fire hazards. My cantaloupe and watermelons were nothing but dried vines and even my tomatoes that took me two years to get flourishing were dead.

My lone avacado tree, that had spent three months as a seed, in a shot gloss on the kitchen window seal, waiting to sprout roots, sat brown and lifeless in the dirt. At least I had saved the other by planting it
in a pot and taking it with me to Slappie’s.

After walking up the front steps, I knocked and a few minutes later Sam had hefted his enormous body to the door. Once it was opened, the all-too-familiar stench of a fat man who hasn’t bathed himself in close to a week hit me like a ton on bricks. 

Immediately I felt sick to my stomach.

“You still have a key, don’t you?” he asked, obviously annoyed that I had made him leave the hole he was making on my couch with his beastly body to answer the door.

“Yes, but I don’t live here anymore, remember?” I reminded him. “I’m being polite.”

I noticed Sam’s hand resting on the door. His fingernails were insanely overgrown, and underneath them was a quarter inch line of dirt.

Sam just rolled his eyes.

I watched him waddle, with his pants down below his hairy ass crack, back towards my sofa. He flopped back down onto it with 350 pounds of force, and I heard the wood creak underneath him.

“I can’t believe you killed all my plants!” I began to lecture. “That didn’t take long, did it Sam? I thought they would last at least a month.”

In his usual fashion, Sam was quick to place the blame onto someone else. “Well, I thought my mom was handling it,” he replied, not removing his eyes from the TV. Quickly he added, “I’ll water them myself. I’m sure they will perk up in a day or two.”

“They are dead Sam. They aren’t going to perk up! Come look at them!”

“Quit being so dramatic.”

What was I thinking? There was no way in hell Sam would get up off the couch again.

Defeated, I let out a sigh and went into the bedroom to fish out some clothes and shoes. Once I was done,  I said my goodbye and headed out to pick up PJ.

“Hi baby!” I said, when my munchkin got into the back seat of my car. “I missed you so much!”

“I missed you too mommy! Is Tallulah here?” he wanted to know, looking around for his little sister.

With tears in my eyes, I answered my son,  “No honey, she’s with her daddy still.”

“Oh. Where do we live now? With Slappie?”

“Yup.”

“Are the dogs still there?”

“Yes!”

“Cool! Can I play with them?” PJ asked, excidedly.

“I’m sure you can!”

Once back to the condo, I had PJ help me carry some things inside.

“Hey Asterisk!” Slappie greeted me upon arrival.

“Hi,” I responded, noticing a girl sitting on the chair behind where Slappie was standing.

“This is Veronica! She works with me. She’s going to be staying with us a while until she gets on her feet. Okay?”

“Sure.”

Veronica and I hit it off right away. As it turned out we had a lot in common. Both of us were fighting big battles for our children.

“I used to live in Sunset beach,” Veronica told me.

“Shut up! I was a few blocks from there.”

“I lived on Pink Street!”

I must have turned white as a ghost because Veronica became concerned. “What is it?” she asked.

“I used to know someone on Pink Street.” I admitted. “Did you know a guy named Donut, by chance?” I asked.

“Donut? Mmmm, no I don’t think so, why?” she asked.

“Phew! I’ll give you a copy of my first book. It’s much easier than trying to explain,” I promised.

That evening the four of us went out to Mexican food.

“I wonder if they have any hotter salsa… excuse me, mam,” Veronica called to our server, “Do you have anything spicier than this?”

“No, I’m sorry.”

“What about peppers? Can you bring us a side of peppers?”

“We have habaneros. I can have them grilled for you.”

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“Perfect!” Veronica chirped, happy about the compromise.

“I want to try a heebin arrow!” PJ insisted.

“Oh no, they are too hot for little kids!” Veronica tried to warn my son.

“He might be okay, actually! You’d be surprised,” I said to my new friend. “This kid loves spicy food. He’s been eating it his who life.”

“Seriously?” she asked, wide eyed.

“I love jalapeños!” PJ admitted.

“Tell you what PJ, I’ll bet you two bucks you can’t eat that pepper! Okay?” Slappie butted in, feeling ignored and needing some immediate attention.

“I’ll throw a buck in!” I said, adding a dollar to the pile.

“You know what PJ, if you eat that pepper, I’ll give you five!” Veronica offered, throwing her controbution onto the table as well.

Just then the server returned with a plate of peppers. PJ happily picked one up, placed it into his mouth and bit down.

“It’s not even hot!” he said with a smile, a few seconds into his snack.

The three of us, impressed, all picked up peppers of our own and began munching when it happened.

PJ’s ears turned bright red. His eyes began to water and I swear to God, there was steam coming out of his nose like in one of those cartoons!

“Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Hot! It’s burning!” PJ screamed.

By then it was too late for all of us.

Our dinner party quickly turned into a coughing and gagging party.

“MILK! WE NEED MILK!” Slappie began shouting through the entire restaurant.

“Eat the chips!” Veronica shouted, between coughs.

“Water! Give me the water!” I begged.

“No it will make it worse,” Slappie lectured.

“I don’t care, no it won’t!” I yelled, almost spilling the glass on her.

Finally, after what seemed like hours the waitress returned with glasses of milk.

“I hate those peppers,” PJ admitted, after having consumed almost a pint of milk.

We all nodded in agreement.

After paying the bill, we headed back to the condo. PJ was wanting dessert. As I had promised, in lieu of stopping for ice cream, I opened up one of the cubbords to pull him out a cookie.

That’s when I noticed it, all the food I had bought him the week prior was gone.

“Where did my food go?” PJ asked me concerned when he saw the empty cabinet.

“I don’t know,” I admitted, stunned. “Maybe Slappie ate it?”

“What?” Slappie asked, immediately after recognising her name.

“Why did you eat all my food?” PJ asked.

“Huh? What? I ate all your food? I ATE ALL YOUR FOOD?”

All of a sudden Slappie went psycho. She started rummaging through a stack of papers.

“Look at this! This is a bill! Do you pay this bill? Huh? No! I pay this bill! Huh? Do YOU pay rent here PJ? Huh? No! I pay rent, okay? So don’t you give me shit about eating your food! Right?”

“That’s enough!” I shouted. “You know I bought some stuff specifically for him and I can’t afford to replace it right now,” I stood up for my son. “Come on PJ, let’s go to the store,” I said, walking back towards the door.

“I’ll go with you guys,” Slappie invited herself.

“Whatever,” I said, shaking my head.

“I’m gonna take a nap,” Veronica decided, heading up the Stairs.

It was a short walk to the store, yet Slappie decided to talk to every passerby as if they were her best friends. So what should have taken us five minutes to get there ended up taking us closer to fifteen.

I grabbed a few necessities off the store’s shelves and was ready to head to the counter, but Slappie was insisting on filling up her cart.

“You should probably stop now Slappie. Remember we have to carry it all back.”

“I can carry it back!” she insisted.

I reminded her again several minutes later about our on-coming walk home after her cart looked to be almost completely full.

Slappie was only more annoyed at my concern. Eventually, she decided to check out at the register, once she was certain that it was on her own terms.

I have no idea how she loaded her skinny arms down with so many bags. PJ and I grabbed all we could but still, the majority of the groceries remained with Slappie.

We were walking out the door of the grocery store when Slappie asked me, “What day will you do my hair?”

“Whenever you want,” I quietly replied, knowing full well “Slappie’s personal hair stylist” was considered to be one of my many duties while living with her.

“You want to do it on Monday or tuesday?” she asked again.

“Either is fine,” I responded.

I don’t know what about my response set Slappie, off but it sure did. She let out a bellowing grunt and then she was off.

I’ve never seen anyone being weighted down with so much shit in their arms fly down a street like that.

It was almost as if there was an invisible magic broom under that witch’s ass.

She made it back to the condo in record time. When PJ and I made finally made it back ourselves, she was already on the phone leaving a voice mail to some poor chump.

“Ferdinand, this is mistress Slappie. I have a lot of aggression I need to take out upon you, right? Please call me back, okay?”

Of course, as was typical, this dude wouldn’t be returning her call either.

“Ehhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhh!” Slappie let out as she stomped her way up the stairs.

The next thing I knew there was a large thud so loud it made the entire condo shake. PJ began to cry as it continued.

“AHHHH!”

THUD!

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

THUD! THUD!

“AHHHHHHHH!”

THUD!”

“Grab your helmet and scooter, let’s go play outside,” I encouraged my son.

He didn’t hesitate to follow my orders.

After a good thirty minutes we made our way back inside.

Veronica was sitting at the kitchen table holding a cup of coffee. “Dude, what was that all about?”

“I have no clue,” I admitted. “Slappie asked me what day I would do her hair. I said I didn’t care and then she raced back here alone, ignoring me.”

“All I know is I woke up to her flogging her bed with a whip! What a fucking psycho!”

“That’s totally psycho!” I agreed.

“We both need to get the fuck out of here.”

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12 thoughts on “Mistress Habanero

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