Flash Fiction: “Creature Catalogue”

The room wasn’t pink like you’d expect a five-year-old girl’s to be. Renter’s-white walls, posters taped up. Can’t have nail-holes, you know.

“I’m so tired of this bullshit! When’s the last time you came home sober?”

There were toys on the floor—a vast array, really— and the carpet was old and a little dingy, though generally clean. The blinds covering the windows let in light and preserved privacy. There weren’t any curtains.

“When’s the last time you gave me a reason—a reason to?”

The child’s bed was her favorite part of the room, dressed in Ninja Turtle sheets a white California Raisins bead spread. Rainbow Brite was buried somewhere beneath the covers, along with what was likely to be the crumbs of a cookie smuggled before breakfast earlier the same day.

“I’m not the only one you’ve made promises to, Ben. For God’s sake, you come home smelling like a whorehouse and what? I’m suppose to just—”

Today, there were three little monsters hiding under that bed. Well—a cat, a girl, and Pee-Wee with his pull-string voice-box.

“You keep your mouth shut. You got no idea what you’re talking about. You want Jess to hear?”

Jess did hear. The cat’s ears lay flat against its head and Pee-Wee’s were covered by tiny hands.

“Oh, the way she hears you stumbling in drunk at all hours of the night? What am I supposed to say to her when she asks why you’re not home? There’s nothing I can say!”

“I don’t like it when they’re mean to each other,” she told the cat.

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