Dripping Disease

There was once a little boy with a box of crayons and a sketch book full of parchment far too nice for someone so young. For the next few years of his life, etchings were scrawled onto the paper, like minuscule scars on his time-line. On the first Monday of the second grade he drew a star, and on January 24th 1988, he drew a penny with himself on the front.

Sometime next year, he drew flowers and trees and terrible portraits of his teachers, who didn't like how he payed more attention to artwork than his studies. On September 2nd, 1990, he was suspended because his fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Halie, found a picture of his, which portrayed her as Hitler with an elephant's trunk, colored in the manner of a toucan's beak.

The boy liked to draw pictures for his mom, even though she never put them on the fridge or even said thank you. Once, when she was cleaning the house, he saw her rifling through a set of drawers in her bedroom, throwing away the rubbish she found. He was heartbroken to see that she considered his loving art trash.

His mother liked to drink. Quite often, he would arrive home from school only to receive a kiss with the taste of wine on her lips. Soon after, the alcohol would send her into sleep, and he would be left to fend for himself the rest of the night. So he pulled out the kitchen drawers, each being extended slightly less than the one before, so that a set of steps was formed. This way, the boy could crawl up onto the counter, and open the cupboards where he could reach the cereal.


One evening, his mother realized that the little boy wasn't quite so little anymore. He was in the tenth grade now, almost sixteen years old, and teenage angst was pulsing through his body. Crayons were no longer his medium of choice. On most nights he could be found on the streets with a Sharpie infested backpack clinking with two or three cans of spray paint. His favorite place to tag was under overpasses, going by the light of passing headlights and the stagnant, glaring street lamps.

That night, the boy made his way into their tiny apartment, setting down his backpack, and he wondered if there was any more black spray paint under the sink. He walked into his room, only to find his mom sitting on the carpet, sobbing. She was turning a page in a book with her left hand and lifting a glass of cheap wine to her lips with the other.

“What are you doing?” asked the boy, somewhat coldly.

She jumped, and, in doing so, the contents of her tall glass poured forth. The liquid splattered all over the pages of the book. As he got closer to her, he realized what she had been looking at.

“Do you remember this, Danny?” asked his mother

He didn't answer for a minute, simply stared at the open page, now stained with alcohol. “Yes, I remember it. Thanks for f***ing it up, Mom.”

“Honey, I'm sorry. I didn't m-”

“Stop. Just forget it. I'm done with this! I'm done!”





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