No Use                 (Flash Fiction- Macabre)

“When an animal out lives its usefulness, you put it down.” That’s what I was taught since I was five. That day, father spoke this phrase to me as Fitsy our Australian shepard who refused to chase sheep anymore,  was shot in the head. I was told to watch and was forbidden to cry . It’s the same phrase he repeated right before my fat bunny, Harriet’s neck was snapped and fed to me for dinner. I learned my lesson and didn’t get attatched to animals after that. Humans are animals. Sometimes they are the worst kind of animal, I think.

So it makes no sense why I am being forced to spoon feed and wipe the ass of the mean bastard who drilled this into my brain for years. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s only right to let my father live and die by his values. I’m sure those same messed up values are why my mother ran away when I was just a baby. Took off one night without a word, at least that’s what I was told. I only wish she’d taken me along. 

His black eyes follow me around the room as I clean and get set up for a complete repeat of every day we’ve had for the last month. A stroke has left him bedridden, mute, and unable to move much more than his face. The sharp intellect is there, his manipulative gaze is as clear as ever. It makes my thoughts of giving him mercy even sweeter.

It’s the ‘how’ of the matter that I’m having trouble deciding. I can’t have some goverment official marking me as a murderer. Men in suits never understand country folk’s ways. Maybe I should just let him drown in his mashed potatoes. The thing is, I’m not sure if that would be considered negligent homicide or just an “accident”. 

I can’t take having his eyes on me anymore and leave the dim, stuffy bedroom. Pouring myself a cup of coffee, my eyes lock on the plethora of medications layed out on the countertop. Lots of pain pills and blood thinners in there. Useful pills, if you’re looking to kill someone. It seems the easiest way to go and that is why I look away; dropping that idea. Its the first thing anyone with a suspicion would look at.  

I make his breakfast; extra runny oatmeal and applesauce. Spooning it into his slack mouth makes me softly gag every day. Today is no different. It runs down his stubbled chin and I quickly scoop it up and put it in its place. I’m ready to burst with the need to end this torture.

On a whim, I place the cloth napkin over my hand and put it gently over his nose amd mouth. I think of the stray litter of kittens I found in the barn once, that he promptly smothered one by one. By then, the horror that should have bloomed in me didn’t; I knew what to expect of him. The yellowed whites of his eyes flash as the realization comes over him. To my surprise, he quiets down and continues to stare hard into my eyes; egging me on. 

I pull back horrified, realizing that I would be just as bad as him if I were to follow through with it. He stares at the wall, attempting to twist his face to show disgust. Not willing to look at me anymore now that I’ve failed him.  

I can live with that…

And I have found a use for his miserable life after all. 




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      1. So sorry to hear that.☹ There are some great nurses and CNA’s out there, but also so many who shouldn’t ever be responsible for another human being.


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