Eva Mendez…Maytag side-by-side…cellar door

“That is a sweet new TV man,” Travis told his best friend as they sat on the couch watching monster truck rally highlights. The wall-mounted, flat panel 52 inch HDTV was a few grades above ‘sweet’ but Travis was never a very eloquent man.

“Thanks dude,” Carl grunted in response before polishing off the remaining liquid in his beer can. “Can you get me another one? I think my butt is permanently grooved into this cushion.”

Travis heaved his ample frame off the couch and lumbered into the kitchen on unsteady legs. After three failed attempts his flailing hand finally connected with the light switch and he stood there blinking in confusion for a few wheezing breaths.

“You got a new fridge too?”

“Yeah man - that’s a Maytag side-by-side,” Carl shouted over the engine noise coming from the surround sound speakers. “The beer’s on the right.”

“Did you win the lottery or something?” Travis asked as he pulled the final three cans from the cavernous confines of the quietly humming appliance. “This thing looks like it cost more than the TV.”

“Don’t worry your thick little head over it,” Carl told Travis as he stood wavering in the doorway to the living room. “You’ll only give yourself a headache from thinking too hard.”

“Or was it like a big inheritance from some distant relative you ain’t never heard of?” Travis squinted down at his friend, absent-mindedly scratching the two inches of exposed belly peeking out from underneath his shirt with the ice-cold can in his right hand.

“Seriously Trav - shut up, sit down, and drink up.”

Rather than follow Carl’s instructions, Travis handed him the can in his right hand and moved to the thick door set in the wall behind the couch. He stood there, swaying gently from side to side, and studied it for a few minutes before returning to his seat.

“Is that a new lock on the cellar door?” he asked.

“Yes, Trav.”

“What the hell for?”

“Because I’m keeping Eva Mendes locked up down there, Trav.”

“Ha ha… what?” Travis’ face screwed up in an effort to collect his wandering, drunken thoughts.

“Well I can’t leave it unlocked, now can I? I’m not vain enough to think I’ll win her over on my looks alone - but maybe, in time, she’ll be able to see the value of my company and conversation skills. Until then the lock stays on and I‘ll just live off her payments for the DVD sales and rentals of Training Day and her modeling royalties.”

“Ha ha… that’s a good one man,” Travis said with an uneasy laugh. “She was awesome in that movie though; I could watch that every night and not get tired of it.”

“You can tell her yourself next commercial break - I have to give her some more sleeping pills to keep her quiet until morning.”

“Yeah man, I’ll be sure to do that,” Travis said, giving his long time friend a sideways glance.

At the completion of the next race the announcers promised to be right back and Carl peeled himself off the couch and stumbled to the bathroom. Travis looked over his shoulder at the door before returning his eyes to the biggest TV he had ever seen. He folded his hands in his lap and thought happy thoughts.

“Dang it all to hell!” Carl bellowed from the bathroom. He returned to the living room, a scowl darkening his features. “I forgot - I used the last pills this afternoon. I’m gonna make a run to the drug store to get some more. You stay here and watch my stuff.”

“Right, sure thing man,” Travis said with a nervous jerk of his head, sweat beginning to drip from both armpits.

“I’ll be back in ten,” Carl said as he collected his truck keys from the coffee table. Seconds after the front screen door clanged shut Travis heard the V8 engine roar to life. He turned and stared at the door again; he remained in that position until the noise from Carl’s truck faded into the distance.

Travis chewed his lips with yellowed teeth, his head rotating back and forth between the cellar door and the living room window. He knew he was being silly, that his friend was just having some fun at his expense, but he had to be sure.

He approached the door slowly, as though it were the wild cat that roamed the alley behind his trailer. The deadbolt slid open with an uncomfortably loud bang, causing him to take another look out the living room window. With a shake of his head he began to descend the stairs.

The first thing he noticed was the smell. It was sweet, almost sickeningly so. Like when his mother used to put on too much perfume before a big date. The next thing he noticed was that a lamp was on in the room below to light his way. He was used to having to make this trek in the dark as the light switch was at the bottom of the stairs for no reason anyone could ever figure out.

As his left foot met the cool cement of the basement floor he looked around and was shocked to see a figure lying on his or her side in an army cot against the far side of the room, facing away from him.  He could make out curly brown and blonde hair peeking out from the top of the blanket and nothing more. Travis swore quietly and took a step forward.

“I knew I couldn’t trust you Trav,” Carl said from the top of the stairs, his voice all too calm. Travis felt his heart do a stutter-step and he slapped his hand against the wall to his right for support.

“I’m sorry man - I swear I won’t tell anyone!” Travis slid to the floor as the cellar door was slammed shut. His breaths came in desperate gasps that wracked his body and tears began to stream down his face.

“It’s too late for your lies Trav. You’ve ruined everything, you big, blubbering idiot!” Carl screamed from the far side of the door, his voice breaking.

The last sound Travis heard before he blacked out was the bolt clanging into place with a terrible finality.

The End

3 comments about this story Feed