Yellow

March 16, 2011
By , Eureka, CA
The little light was blinking in front of his eyes. It was the color of daisies, only it wasn’t, it was a mechanical light and Eddy hated mechanical things so he raised up his small pale fist and smashed it. The black and gray and shiny shards of alarm clock skittered across the floor, some falling into half-empty bowls of fermenting soup, others sticking in globby lumps of honey. Honey was the color of daisies, too, and sunshine, and happy memories, and Eddy liked it. He had honey every morning, and every evening, and every time in between. His brother hadn’t liked that, he remembered, and then forgot. It was morning, and that was Eddy’s favorite time of day. He raised his white fingers to his mouth and whistled.

Immediately the dogs came tearing into the room. They overturned the stainless steel lamps and the severe stacks of his brother’s papers and scarfed down the chunks of moldy muffins and licked Eddy on the cheeks. Eddy liked his dogs a lot. They were very nice dogs, and they were yellow too, like daisies, and honey, and sunshine, and happy memories, and they squeezed just the right amount of background noise and energy in his brother’s cold old house to bring it back to life. To a certain degree at least. The four dogs were his only friends now, but that was enough for him. They were good friends and would never call him a retard, or a freak, or send him to the place with the barred windows and soft white walls. And they would never leave. Like his mother and father and friends and finally even his brother. They loved him and he loved them. “Time for breakfast, old pals!” he shouted and the dogs sprang up panting and yapping and they all raced on fours to the kitchen.

Eddy glared at the tap. The tap glared back. As usual, this was the worst part of his morning routine. He had always been afraid of water, ever since his he was 6 and he had stolen his brother’s essay and eaten it. His brother had made sure he paid for that. Oh well; it had to be done or his precious dogs would die of thirst. Eddy snapped the sanitary gloves onto his hands twisting his face into a professional sort of expression, and gingerly turned the tap, holding the dog bowl beneath it. Immediately the horrible liquid started pouring out and Eddy started shaking, his ears ringing with the sound of his brother’s voice muffled by time and wetness and his lungs stuttering and dripping with water, water, water. Eddy forced the 4th bowl under the tap and shoved his hand down on the lever. Then there was silence, except the quiet dripping and the sound of his breath slowing down to normal.
Well, that was over with; now it was time for the real breakfast! Eddy picked up the box of cereal and painstakingly measured out four cups into each of the five bowls sitting on the floor. He then artistically drizzled honey on the top of each pile, admiring the way it caught the light. “Daisy- here you go girl! Sunshine- that’s it, now don’t spill your bowl… Honey- Hey, don’t you dare try to steal your sister’s food! Bad dog! Happy Memories- I have a secret to tell you. I poured extra honey on your bowl because you’re my favorite. Don’t tell your brother and sisters or they might get jealous! And me. Of course, I get the most honey of all because, after all, I am the one providing this lovely meal for you. Now eat up!”

Licking honey from his dog bowl, Eddy noted with a smile that his brother’s house had improved a lot since he had first come to it. The walls, formerly a smooth, flawless gray (god how he hated the color) were now peeling with damp and spattered with moldy food, giving it a homely, lively feel. The once-perfect gray-tiled floor (the color of DEATH!) was pitted from sledgehammer incident and smeared with dog feces and honey. The previously barren (except for a few health-bars-ew!) cupboard was bursting with dripping jars of honey, ancient doughnuts, fly-infested cakes, solidified jello… just thinking about it made drool dribble down Eddy’s unshaven chin. Yes, he definitely had a sweet tooth. But anyhow, it was time for the dogs’ morning walk. He whistled and opened the door and the dogs bounded into the big yellow van and they were off!

Eddy liked to drive. I mean, he didn’t really know how but it was fun to turn the wheel and hop on the pedal and see the great machine (even though he didn’t really like machines) dance at his command like a chained bear! He had hit things before, and people, and once he had gotten chased by an evil-looking black car but he had hidden in the trees and he and the dogs had laughed themselves silly as it had gone by honking its horn and flashing its ugly lights to no end. He knew where he was going today and it was a pretty place with lots of yellow sunshine where he and the dogs liked to run, so he kept on the yellow dotted path in the smooth black border and swerved around any other cars he saw. His brother had never let him drive so it was all the more fun this morning. The dogs howled joyfully and he howled joyfully with them. It was a very pretty morning.

They got to the Goldstein Conservation Area and he and the dogs jumped out. The air was crisp and cold and their breath came out as puffs of smoke and they ran and they ran and they ran. Finally they got to the lake. It was frozen and sparkly and for a second Eddy couldn’t see it was so bright and Happy Memories ran out onto it barking merrily and then the ice cracked.

It went off like a gunshot. Eddy couldn’t breathe. What was his lovely yellow dog doing in the middle of so much water, water, water, and why was his dog slipping beneath the ice and barking for help when it should have been next to him, happy, frolicking, like every other morning? The dog’s golden head was the only thing above the awful liquid and so Eddy ran out onto the ice. It was even brighter than it had looked from the shore and he slipped and fell onto his knees. There was another cracking noise and Happy Memories looked at him with his big pleading eyes and jumped out of the water and ran back to the shore and then he was in the water and the water was in him.

He tried to scream to his happy yellow dogs for help, but now his brother’s hand was pressing the back of his head down like a vice and he heard his brother’s voice telling him that he, Edward Frances Grisman, was a freak whose brain wasn’t set in right, and that no one had ever loved him or would ever love him, not even a filthy dog, and Eddy tried to say no, that’s not true, Daisy and Honey and Sunshine and Happy Memories love me, love me a lot! But his brother, older now, dressed in his stiff gray morgue suit, gray hair slicked back from the bald spot and a shriveled flower in his button hole laughed in his sneering way and said, Oh yes they love you a lot, don’t they, running away from you onto the shore. Let’s face it, little brother, they’re stupid animals and they don’t know you from the stinking Queen of Sheba, and his chest was thick and cold and now the beautiful yellow sun was fading into the gray he was born in the gray and would die in the gray and the 4 yellow dogs frolicked joyfully on the shore, and Happy Memories caught a rabbit.





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