Apartment Life (Part Five)

Apartment Life (Part Five)

(go back to Part Four)

Trena lay quietly, but she couldn’t tell it from the siren’s wail. Her first look inside an ambulance wasn’t what she would have picked. Having to remain so still, she let her eyes take in the interior.

On the left were a cushioned gray bench and several black straps rolled up next to the wall. At the end of the bench, on a shiny gray surface, were two red doors emblazoned with a strange symbol she didn’t recognize, but that seemed to be a warning. Straight down past her feet were the ambulance doors, and above them a big analog clock like the one that hung on the wall in elementary school. To the right was a device that looked like what they used on “ER” to zap people having heart attacks. Next to that was a smaller bench, and a little further up that side was a laptop computer.

“It’s not too scary, is it?” her EMT said.

Her brain told her face to smile, but she wasn’t sure what expression came out.

“Good. We’re trying to take good care of you while we get you to the hospital.”

Thank you. If I could, I would jump up and squeeze you and kiss you all over your face. You are my hero.

She doubted all that got through in the few facial muscles she managed to twitch. All the same, he smiled and placed the palm of his hand on her head. He had large, strong, comforting hands.

As long as he’s with me, nothing can hurt me.

Her mind flashed back to the top of the stairs. Ronnie had reached out to grab her when she fell. So he didn’t push me down on purpose.

She made out a sheet of paper beside the back doors that looked like the inspection certificate in an elevator. As she tried to make out the details, her vision blurred. She felt her eyes flutter as she fought to stay awake.


“It was an accident!” Ronnie yelled as he jumped sideways to avoid Larry Outhouse’s wrath. He landed hard on his shoulder.

Adjusting his arms to reach for the boy, Outhouse flattened Susan.

“Mom!” Ronnie cried, already back on his feet.

Outhouse was trying to roll off Susan, who was grunting in her effort to help him.

You get away from my mom, you son of a bitch.

Ronnie ran over and kicked a spot where he thought Outhouse’s ribs might be, under all that blubber. The man groaned as he finally completed the roll onto his back. Then he started wheezing.

“Ronnie, stop it!” Susan yelled.

“Larry!” cried Mrs. Outhouse.

Ronnie backed up a few steps to make way for Mrs. Outhouse, who knelt down to her husband. She reached into his front pocket and pulled out an inhaler, then shoved the mouthpiece into his waiting maw. A few puffs later, his breathing slowed.

“Please, what’s happened to Trena?” Mrs. Outhouse said.

“There was an accident,” Susan said. “She fell down a flight of stairs. Ronnie rushed right over and I called 911.”

Mr. Outhouse had propped himself up on his elbow, his breathing still labored. “I’ll deal with you later, boy. Honey, go get some clothes. We’re heading to the hospital.”

Mrs. Outhouse hurried into the apartment.

“We’ll come, too,” Ronnie said.

“You certainly will not,” Mr. Outhouse said.

“But I –”

“Have done enough already.”

“He’s right, honey. Trena’s in good hands now. Let’s just stay here and try to cool off.”

They didn’t see her like I did. They didn’t hear it. The sound had been the worst part. Not the bumping and banging, although that was bad. No, what haunted him was that after all that, there was no screaming, no crying. Just silence.

Dead silence.

(Go on to Part Six)

10 Replies to “Apartment Life (Part Five)”

  1. Simon – Yep, I wrote this part from scratch last night starting at about 11 p.m., then posted it at 12:18. Mostly I was uninterrupted, and I dozed off only once. A very long stream of the letter “D” ended up on my screen.

  2. Okay, now THAT’s funny!

    I just hope it isn’t foreshadowing where Trena is headed…

    And that’s also pretty impressive output for just over an hour’s work, depending on how long your doze was.

  3. Can’t help wondering what made you name Trena “Outhouse”.. it’s a tad distracting. Keep picturing Susan with an Outhouse rolling on top of her and flattening her.
    Otherwise, it’s going great Dude.

  4. Dave – Thanks.

    Simon – Enough for about 20 or 30 rows of “D.”

    Linda – I know a man with the last name “Outhouse” and thought it would be a good one to use, for a comment from another character, for development purposes (hasn’t happened yet). Choosing last names always is tough for me (and first names, too, but not as bad.)

  5. I’m sure the image will pass, in fact it already has. I can’t wait to see what comes of it. If they hadn’t named an outdoor toilet facility by that name, it would be a perfectly normal sounding name. I’m convinced. It is hard choosing, you don’t want to rely on Smith and Jones and you have to watch the connotations associated with ethnic sounding names, etc. Fiction is difficult! But you’re good :-)
    A comment I left on Part 4 was “held” I think, for your determination. It was suggested that I alert you. Maybe because I used “bed” and “screwing” in the same paragraph?

  6. Linda – Once when we closed on a house sale, there honest to God was a guy with the last name “Outhouse.” I won’t tell why that ended up being funnier than just the name itself, so as not to spoil future chapters.

    You’ve been setting off my Spam Karma filter a lot lately. It might be the specific words, but it also checks the frequency of comments.

  7. I’ll watch what I say and say it less often. Or is this your round-about way to tell me to get lost, Cowboy??? How come Simon gets away with it? Is this a conspiracy? I just want to read some good fiction…