Kennedy Kills

June 2, 2008
By Brandi Burford, Marion, IL

Her father was dead. Seeing as how he was the only family she had left, you would think she would have been a little more upset. But she had been expecting it; waiting for this moment since she was fourteen years old.

Her father had been drinking himself to death for the past ten years. He self medicates with alcohol, thinking all of his problems will be solved by taking a drink. And then his liver began to fail. His body became his worst enemy.

As she patiently lingered around the waiting room, the doctor approached her to tell her what he expected was bad news. "Miss Kane, there's a problem," the doctor told her. "Your father is dying. There's nothing left we can do for him. We can make his last days as
comfortable as possible..."

The voice of Dr. Smith trailed off. She couldn't focus on him anymore. All she could hear was that her father was dying. She felt no remorse. Was this normal? Was it okay for her not to care? A thousand questions raced through her mind. But she knew that she couldn't allow her father to die there. With her luck, he would haunt her forever if he knew that she allowed him to die in a "poor man's hospital." The last thing she needed was him sticking around after he'd already passed on.

She would have to take him home. Permit him to die there, with dignity. She knew she'd have to be kind to him and treat him the best she could. It was a price she was willing to pay. This was the last day he could ever make her life Hell. God willing, she wouldn't kill him herself.

She walked into his cold, dimly lit hospital room, smiling. She wanted to say something to him, something meaningful. But everything that came to mind felt so forced. She opened her mouth to speak, but he beat her to the punch.

"Kennedy? Is that you?" he father called out to her. She thought seriously about not replying to him at all, and just leaving the room to celebrate. At the last second, she changed her mind and turned to answer.

"Yeah, pop?" she said in reply, attempting to sound sincere.

"When can we get the hell out of here? I'm ready to go." All Kennedy could think was, yeah, you're goin' somewhere alright. "Grab my things, girl. We're getting out of here. I'm sick of this dump."

She grabbed his hat and coat and told him they were going home. The doctor insisted that her father at least be wheeled out to the car. Kennedy agreed and let one of the nurses push him. She thought seriously about wheeling him into oncoming traffic.

When she arrived back to their house, she carried her father's things to his room and made sure that he stayed in his bed. He really didn't have the strength to move, so he wasn't going to cause her too much trouble. Or at least that's what she thought.

"Girl, get in that kitchen and make me some damn food. You oughta at least do that for me. I've wasted all my youth taking care of you, and what have I gotten from it? A slow, painful death into an early grave." Kennedy bit her tongue. She was determined to be kind, no matter how difficult it was.

"Sure, Dad. Whatever you want." She walked downstairs to the kitchen, swearing and cursing her father. Their housekeeper, Maggie, was already there.

"Hey, lady," she greeted Kennedy as she walked through the doorway. "How ya livin'?"

Kennedy leaned against the wall, sighing. She was just relieved to be away from her father, even if it was just for a few minutes. Kennedy rolled her eyes. "I'll be better here in a few hours. Hopefully, he'll be gone by then." She realized how shameful she should feel, but after all these years, she was done feeling anything for that man.

Maggie just laughed at her. "Girl, you're crazy." Kennedy knew that Maggie felt the same way as she did about her father. He was a loathsome man. He had never been kind to a soul in his life, besides Maggie's mother. Since she killed herself a few years ago, her father's jerk factor had been exponentially increasing.

She quickly made him something to eat, and thought seriously about pouring arsenic into his drink. But alas, she changed her mind and delivered his food to him, poison free.

"It's about damn time," her father barked at her as she entered his room. "I could have walked down there, made my own damn food, and had it half eaten by now. Ya can't do nothin' right, can ya?"

Kennedy sat his tray of food down on his lap. "Sorry, I got distracted," she said, forcing a smile across her face. Every word, ever move, every expression she made felt forged. But she didn't care. It would all be over soon enough.

Kennedy left the room and went back downstairs. She needed some peace and quiet, at least for a little while. In her head, all she could think was what she was going to do after he was gone. With her father no longer holding her back, she could do anything. Kennedy had never had that much freedom. She wasn't sure she could handle it.

After sitting there for about an hour, she decided to go check on her father. Praying he had already passed, she entered his room. He wasn't awake, so she checked his pulse. Damn, she thought when she felt his heart beating. She looked to his left. That side of the bed had been empty for years.

She grabbed on of the pillows and held it in her hands. Every molecule of her body was screaming Do it. Just put it over his face. Do it. No one would blame you. For a split second, she almost did it.

Kennedy sat the pillow back down, just in time to see her father stirring. "What the hell do you think you're doin', girl?" he screamed at her. She explained she was just checking on him, making sure he was doing fine.

Kennedy could tell he wasn't breathing well. She asked him what was wrong and he just looked at her. "I'm dying, you stupid girl. Don't you know anything? Now listen closely, I've got something to tell ya." He pulled her closer to him. His voice was barely a whisper. "Make sure to fire the maid once I'm gone. You won't need her around. There's no point in me continuing to pay for her, when you're just gonna sit around the house all day."

She was shocked. She thought that at least on his death bed, he could have something kind, something personal, to say to her. She wasn't expecting an 'I love you' or anything. But the maid? That's all he's thinking about. Before she could stop herself, she heard her own voice, screaming.

"You son of a b****! After all these years I've taken care of you while you've laid around on your lazy a** and drank yourself to death! How have you repaid me? By telling me, on your death bed, to fire the gawdamn maid?!! How dare you?! She's the only person I have in the world, and you want me to let her go? By God, there's a special place in hell for you, Daddy!"

Kennedy was enraged. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't move. She could no longer even speak. She just looked at her father. He said nothing. He barely blinked.

"What? Don't you have something else to say to me? Something mean and nasty before you go to the grave?" she asked him, practically begging for a response.

Instead, he howled and clutched his chest. He fell backward onto the bed, his eyes rolling in his head. She checked his pulse. Nothing.

Kennedy covered his head with a sheet and walked out of the room, a single tear streaming down her face.

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